36 food poisoning cases reported in TS govt institutes in 2022, 1,247 students suffered: Study

The 36 cases of food poisoning have been reported in 34 educational institutions located in 20 districts in the state

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  9 Nov 2022 2:30 AM GMT
36 food poisoning cases reported in TS govt institutes in 2022, 1,247 students suffered: Study

Hyderabad: Around 35 students of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) in Pulkal, Sangareddy started suffering from stomach pain and vomiting after consuming poha provided at their school for breakfast. The students, belonging to classes 6 to 10, were immediately taken to the Narayankhed hospital and admitted for treatment. After an inquiry, it was found that the foodgrains that were used to make the poha were taken from an outdated stock.

This is not an isolated incident in a government school in Telangana. This is the 36th food poisoning incident in a government residential educational institute in Telangana from January to 6 November 2022.

During the period, 1,247 students suffered from food poisoning in government residential educational institutes in Telangana, according to a study by Hakku Initiative, a campaign-based online platform that works towards solutions to people's problems engaging citizens and the government.

The 36 cases of food poisoning have been reported in 34 educational institutions located in 20 districts in the state—Sangareddy (3), Jangaon (1), Narayanpet (1), Warangal (2), Siddipet (3), Asifabad (4), Vikarabad (2), Mahabubababd (2), Adilabad (2), Kamareddy (1), Nirmal (3), Nalgonda (2), Mancherial (1), Sircilla (1), Karimnagar (1), Medak (2), Mahabubnagar (1), Hanamkonda (1), Gadwal (2) and Khammam (1).




From January to July 2022, 17 cases of food poisoning were reported in the state. In August 2022, 12 cases were reported. In September and October, six cases were reported. In the first week of November, one case was reported. Except in January 2022, in all the other months, the state recorded food poisoning incidents in government educational institutions.

Most of these cases have been reported in KGBV schools, minority residential schools, tribal welfare schools, and social welfare schools. Two of the cases in Nirmal have been reported from IIIT Basar.

Students afraid of eating in schools, colleges

Kota Neelima, who led the research at Hakku Initiative, recalled how children she had spoken to during the study shared their fear of having a meal at school or college. "The students said when they sit down to eat, they become nervous. Some of them even said they were unable to focus on their studies. It is important to remember that most of these students come from vulnerable sections of society and are desperately trying to take their families out of distress," said Neelima.

Further, she said the government should take 10 serious cases out of the total food poisoning cases, study them in detail and later, prepare a report with some rules and guidelines that all schools need to put in place.

No long-term solution in place

In the recent incident in Sangareddy, inquiry was conducted after the incident and the principal and five of the mess staff were fired. But beyond this, is the government taking steps to improve the quality of ingredients used for food preparation in government schools in Telangana?

"There is a lack of a long-term solution. Food is their basic right. Beyond meetings with ministers and clicking photos of having food with the students, what has the government done?" asked Neelima. She also said it's all about priorities. "When the government is spending so much money on Formula E racing, why is there no attempt to address the food poisoning cases?" she asked.

Neelima also raised concerns regarding the unreported cases and said that we still do not have a full picture of the food poisoning cases in the state. "In some cases (unreported), the parents and students are intimidated so that they do not reveal information about the incident," she added.


Cover pic: Amrutha Kosuru

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