As many as 74 students of a government meritorious school in Punjab’s Sangrur district were hospitalised following suspected food poisoning.
Students of the school at the Ghabdan village reportedly complained of stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhoea after having food from the hostel mess Friday evening.
According to officials, 18 students were admitted to the Sangrur civil hospital Friday evening and 56 Saturday morning. Of these, 14 have been discharged and the remaining 60 are still permitted to the PGIMER satellite centre in Sangrur and the civil hospital. All the students are reported to be stable.
Taking note of the incident, Punjab Education Minister Harjot Bains, in a video message, said, “All the children are stable now. Few children complained about bad food on Friday evening. Authorities examined children as a precautionary measure. Most of them are in panic. However, we have kept them in observation in hospitals.”
“We have cancelled the contract of the mess contractor, and an FIR is being lodged against him. I have learned that students had been complaining about bad food for the previous four to five days. An inquiry will be conducted as to why their complaints were not taken seriously. The guilty will not be spared at any cost,” added Bains.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Jatindra Jorwal formed a three-member inquiry committee comprising the senior medical officer of the Sangrur civil hospital, Sangrur sub-divisional magistrate Sangrur and the tehsildar. Bains sought a report from this committee within 24 hours. He said the authorities are checking food samples from all the meritorious schools.
The state government manages the meritorious schools through the Society for Promotion of Quality Education for Poor and Meritorious Students of Punjab, which offers students free education, accommodation, food, uniforms, and books. There are 10 meritorious residential schools in Punjab enrolling students from classes 9 to 12.