Over 50 students ill after drinking water in Bihar

    By IANS,

    Patna : More than 50 children, mostly girls, were taken ill Friday after drinking water from a handpump at a school in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district. They are now out of danger, officials said.

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    The incident took place at the Kasturba Gandhi middle school in Runnisaidpur of Sitamarhi, a district police officer said.

    It came a day after 30 children fell sick after drinking water from handpumps at two separate schools of Saran and Gopalganj districts.

    In the Sitamarhi incident, the children complained of pain in the stomach and started vomiting after drinking the water.

    The sick were first admitted to a primary health centre (PHC) in Runnisaidpur. Over 30 of them, who were critically ill, were shifted to the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur district for treatment.

    “All girl students admitted at SKMCH are out of danger and their condition is stable,” said Bindeshwari Kumar, a doctor at the hospital who treating the children.

    After the news spread, hundreds of villagers thronged the PHC where the children had been admitted.

    Education department officials claimed it “appears to be the handiwork of some anti-social elements as the handpump might have been poisoned”.

    Expressing concern over the incidents, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said: “I am really worried as after the mid-day meal tragedy, now reports of poison in handpumps at schools are coming in from various places.”

    The chief minister added that state Director General of Police Abhayanand had been directed to initiate a probe into the incidents.

    As many as 23 children lost their lives July 16 after consuming contaminated mid-day meal at the government primary school in Dharmasati Gandawan village at Mashrakh block of Saran district, 60 km from Patna.

    The mid-day meal scheme is running in 72,000 schools across the state with 1.60 crore students availing hot, freshly cooked meals.