Bhubaneswar: As many as 40 girls of a government-run residential school in Odisha's Nabarangpur district fell sick after consuming expired biscuits.
The girl students of Dalabeda Kanyashrama residential school in Chandahandi block, about 130 km off the district headquarters town of Nabarangpur, complained of pain minutes after they were given biscuits as part of their evening snacks on Wednesday.
While some of them ran a fever and experienced headache, others complained of pain in the abdomen and had bouts of vomiting and loose motion, said officials, adding that they had to be hospitalised thereafter.
The girls, aged between eight and 14 and hailing mostly from tribal communities, were shifted to a health centre at Chandahandi around 9 PM. While 17 of them were discharged within an hour, the rest of the 23 girls are still under treatment. Their condition is stated to be stable.
Sources said the girls were given glucose biscuits by the residential school's staff in the evening as part of their snacks. The biscuits were allegedly several months beyond their expiry date.
The incident sparked outrage in Nabarangpur. District magistrate Dr Asit Kumar Mishra ordered the district welfare officer to conduct a probe into the incident and submit a report to him in a day.
“All the girls were treated immediately. They are out of danger. Action will be taken against those responsible for this situation after a probe report is received,” said Mishra.
Incidents of school students in Odisha falling sick after being given food items by the school authorities are often reported in the state. Adulteration of food items prepared at the school and the resultant food poisoning is often the cause behind the students’ sickness.
In March, a minor girl student died and five others fell ill after consuming a meal at the hostel of a government-run residential primary school in Gajapati district.
More than 40 students of a primary school at Rangamathia under in Mayurbhanj district had fallen sick after consuming bhog during Saraswati puja celebrations in February.
Nearly 230 students, including 150 girls, were taken ill allegedly after having meals at their schools in Malkangiri and Kalahandi districts in September 2017.
(With inputs from Hrushikesh Mishra)