A day after three children of Siaria primary school in Taila Sahi fell ill after eating the mid-day meal contaminated with a scorpion, officials of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan expressed concern over untidy kitchen in the school where the meals were cooked.
The three children - Lalita Padhan, Situ Behera and Saroja Behera - and 36 other children who had taken the meals, were admitted to district headquarters hospital. While the three were discharged on Friday night, the other children were released after preliminary examination.
SSA district project coordinator Sachitananda Sahoo and Block Education Officer Dhanjaya Mohapatra and other officials on Saturday went around the kitchen of the primary school where the food was being cooked and found it in “very unhygienic” condition.
Sahoo said a scorpion had fallen into the soyabean curry.
Officials of the District Child Welfare Committee also visited the school and found that the kitchen was dirty and very small. They also spoke to the cook Ruma Behera about circumstances under which the meal was cooked on Friday.
She said she had poured the curry into a container after cooking it, but left the container open for which a scorpion fell into it. However, the school teachers and the headmaster had checked the meals before it was served.
The three children started vomiting after eating the curry.
Protesting the incident, villagers stopped preparation of mid-day meals in the school on Saturday. They also called a meeting of the school managing committee and asked its members to be vigilant during preparation of the meals.
Villagers urged the SSA authorities to set up a separate kitchen for the school to which the officials agreed.
The officials visited Kamakshyanagar and Bhuban blocks and held meeting with block resource coordinators and cluster resource coordinators and directed them to give them reports on status of kitchens and store rooms in schools where the meals are prepared and essential commodities stored.
Collector Rupa Roshan Sahoo also took stock of the situation. Siaria school has 31 students belonging to ST and OBC communities.