MALKANGIRI: At least 70 students of a school in Malkangiri district fell ill on Friday after consuming flattened rice that apparently was laced with phenyl for breakfast. The Badapada Education Complex, where the incident occurred, is a residential school run by the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Department. The student strength is about 250 from Classes I to VIII and the school is located on the other side of Chitrakonda reservoir.
While all the 250 boarders had consumed flattened rice with sugar and jaggery for breakfast, 70 of them complained of stomach pain, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea after eating the food. The flattened rice bags had apparently come in contact with phenyl that was spilled on the floor.They were rushed to Janbai dispensary on a boat by the BSF jawans for preliminary treatment before being shifted to Balimela Dam Project Hospital in Chitrakonda in a BSF ambulance.
Collector K Sudarshan Chakrabarty, who visited the hospital, said the condition of the students is stable now and they would be kept under observation for the next 24 hours. The ITDA Project Administrator R K Gond collected food samples from Badapada Education Complex to ascertain the cause behind the incident.
Meanwhile, the efforts of BSF jawans in shifting the ailing children to Janbai dispensary and then to Balimela Dam Project Hospital have been lauded by BSF DIG (Intelligence) Jaya Chandra Nayak. The BSF camp is located close to the hospital.
He said the BSF troops of Badapada provided first aid and evacuated them to Janbai dispensary on a speed boat by crossing Balimela reservoir. Nayak said as condition of 26 girls was serious, they were admitted to 8th Battalion BSF Hospital at Chitrakonda and the others were shifted to the dam project hospital. Timely provision of preliminary treatment and shifting them to hospitals saved many lives, he said.
This was the third incident of contamination of mid-day meals in Odisha in the last 24 hours. In Kalahandi, 80 students took ill on Thursday. Another 40 students were hospitalised in Gumma block of Gajapati in a similar incident.