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Wiser after ashram school tragedy, Odisha govt to issue new guidelines

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Nayagarh, Sep 1:

The ST & SC department of the Odisha government today decided to issue new guidelines, within 48 hours, for the security of students in residential schools run by it. The department’s response came after a girl student died and 60 others were taken ill post dinner on Saturday at the Kendua Ashram School under Ranpur block of Nayagarh district.

Wiser after the incident, the secretary ST & SC department Surendra Kumar said “We have asked the Nayagarh collector to conduct an inquiry into the tragic incident. We are also going to come out with a guideline for the security of the children with regard to quality of food etc. within two days. Responsibility must be fixed”.

A total of 37 students are undergoing treatment at Nayagarh district headquarters hospital and Sishu Bhawan in Cuttack. While the condition of most of the students is stated to be stable, the condition of two remained critical, sources said.

Under orders from the collector a team led by ADM Nayagarh Rabindra Kumar Sahu today visited the school to conduct a field inquiry. He was accompanied by the ADMO Nayagarh, food inspector and sanitary inspectors.

Sahu said “We have recorded the statements of the head master Krushna Chandra Sahu, assistant superintendent of the hostel Sabita Manjari and cook Mamata Biswal and others. We have also seized samples of rice, dal, edible oil used for the cooking.”

The team will be submitting its report within 48 hours, sources said.

Earlier in day, Joseph Majhi, father of Mini Majhi, the minor girl student who died of food poisoning lodged an FIR at the Ranpur police station alleging his daughter died because she was served with stale food at the school, police said.

Investigating Officer in the case Srinibas Samal of Ranpur police station said they are investigating the case and are waiting for the post mortem report.

A five-member team from the SCB Medical College and Hospital visited the Nayagarh District headquarters hospital where some students of the school are undergoing treatment. The team oversaw the treatment being provided and enquired about their health.

Three employees of the residential school at Kendua under Ranpur block were placed under suspension on Sunday for negligence and dereliction of duty.

Those suspended are the head master Krushna Chandra Sahu, assistant superintendent of the hostel Sabita Manjari and the cook Mamata Biswal.