Abhilash Botekar-NASHIK: After food samples taken from an ashramshala in Surgana tehsil, where 58 tribal students fell ill after reportedly consuming sub-standard food, tested negative, the tribal development commissionerate’s project officer, Kalwan, Gajanan Kendre, has decided to handover the responsibility of school and hostels to employees in his jurisdiction.
“The sample of the prepared food taken from the hostel on the day of incident has tested negative. In order to prevent recurrence of such incidents, we have decided to handover responsibility of every school and hostel to department employees. They will visit and stay at the hostels, have lunch and dinner with the children and report to me every Monday, during the review meeting,” Kendre said.
The department is also trying to raise awareness among locals and parents about services provided at the schools. “We are thinking of strengthening the parents’ and teachers’ coordination, which will help eliminate problems,” he added. Flying squads will also be intensified and will also be carrying inspections every day.
“The concept of flying squads is there, but henceforth the frequency of their visits will be intensified to ensure there are no loopholes going unplugged. These measures will not only improve quality of food but also help better the hospitality issues in the hostels,” Kendre said. Though the food tested negative, the cause of vomiting among students remains untraced. There was a possibility of few girls having eaten something bought from the market by their parents, who might have visited them, a source said. The number of such girls could be limited to just four or five, but after they felt uneasiness, the panic-stricken villagers and the school teachers must have admitted all the girls to hospital.
“We looked for any kind of eating material bought from the market. We checked every bag in every room,” the project officer said. The food and drugs administration (FDA) has asked its counterpart in neighbouring Gujarat to take action against the supplier of chillies to the contractor. “The chillies supplied to contractor at ashramshala in Borgaon, were found to be sub-standard after testing in laboratory. Earlier, we had asked the FDA in Gujarat state, to take action against the supplier in Gujarat. But now we have asked the department to take necessary action against the supplier based on the reports of the Pune-based laboratory,” the officials from the department said.
On January 8, 58 tribal girls from the government ashramshala in Borgaon had complained of giddiness and four of them had started vomiting after having the afternoon meal in school. The girls were then admitted to Vani, the primary health centre, and later, to the civil hospital in Nashik. All of them were discharged after treatment, the next day.