NHRC Issues Notice to Bihar Government over Mid-Day Meal Illness in West Champaran
New Delhi, 8th June 2023:- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of a distressing incident reported in the media. Approximately 150 children fell ill after consuming the Mid-Day Meal at a government middle school in the Narval-Barval area of West Champaran district, Bihar, on 1st June 2023.
The NHRC has noted that if the contents of the media report are true, it constitutes a violation of the children’s human rights. The incident suggests a lapse in supervision on the part of the school authorities, leading to the preparation and serving of unhygienic food to the students. In light of this, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary of the Government of Bihar, demanding a detailed report on the matter within a period of 4 weeks.
The report should encompass the measures taken or planned to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future. The Commission seeks clarification on whether the government guidelines were followed by the school in question. If not, it requests information on the actions taken against the responsible officers/officials for their negligence.
According to media reports published on 2nd June 2023, the affected students complained of vomiting and stomach pain shortly after consuming the food. They were subsequently taken to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed food poisoning as the cause of their illness. In response to this unfortunate event, the parents of the children reportedly expressed their dissatisfaction by staging protests against the school authorities.
The NHRC’s notice aims to ensure accountability, thorough investigation, and the implementation of appropriate measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. The Commission remains committed to safeguarding the rights and well-being of children, urging authorities to take prompt action and prioritize the safety of students receiving meals under government schemes.