Khichdi was unfit for consumption: Lab report
Nagpur: The khichdi served as part of midday meal (MDM) at Shantiniketan School (Hingna Road) on February 20 was "not fit for human consumption", according to the food test report prepared by a state govt lab.
Ninety-three students from the school were hospitalized after consuming the khichdi in which a lizard had fallen during its preparation.
Nilesh Waghmare, district in charge of MDM scheme, said, "The lab report says that the khichdi did not conform to food safety standards and was unfit for consumption. However, the report also says that the bacteria which caused food poisoning could not be found."
The Zilla Parishad, which oversees MDM implementation in the district, will now prepare its report based on both the test and statements taken from the staff. Waghmare said, "The report will be ready next week and we will submit our findings to the government. A similar incident happened in Umred and we are awaiting the lab reports of that incident as well."
In the Shantiniketan School case, it appears to be a case of negligence rather than any sinister sabotage, and it is unlikely that the education department will take any strict action. The police investigation will however continue independently.
In the Umred case, it is suspected that the problem was with the red chilli powder used in cooking the MDM.
The state government is working towards a centralized kitchen scheme which will ensure that quality is monitored. This scheme was stalled for a couple of years because certain self help groups, who were engaged in cooking MDM, went to court citing loss of employment. The court ruled in favour of state and the process for starting it is now underway.
Nand Kumar, principal secretary for school education, said, "The process is on and we are looking at tender documents submitted by people three years ago. We have to verify whether or not those companies still exist and what we need to do now. So regardless, the centralized kitchen scheme is very much on and we are working towards that. "