Close on the heels of the death of an 11-year-old girl at a government-run residential school in tribal-dominated Vikramgadh tehsil of Palghar district, nearly two dozen students at the facility have been taken ill and hospitalised.
Palghar District Civil Surgeon Dr Kanchan Wanere said Saturday that 23 students from the Ashram School were brought to the Jawhar Hospital (Patangshah Kutir Rugnalaya) last evening, after they complained of high fever and body ache.
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Out of the 23, seven have tested positive for typhoid and the rest have been kept under observation, she said adding that among those hospitalised, girls outnumbered the boys. Another girl from the Ashram school, who was hospitalised on Thursday night was transferred to Nashik Civil Hospital after her condition deteriorated.
Activist and former MLA Vivek Pandit, who visited the school, alleged that there was no warden there, no reliable water supply and the conditions were unhygienic. He also said that there was not enough staff at Vikgramgadh Rural Hospital, which is why children need to be rushed now and then to the Jawahar facility.
Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly and Congress leader Radhkrishna Vikhe Patil, in a statement, demanded that a case of murder be registered against the Tribal Development Minister Vishnu Sawra, under whose department ashram schools come, for alleged apathy and mismanagement.
Earlier, the 11-year-old girl Kausalya Kasa Barsat, a resident of Shevale Awalicha Pada at Sakhare of Suksale grampanchyat area, died at the school on Thursday night. Kausalya, a Class VI student, had been treated at Vikramgadh rural hospital earlier and brought back to the school.
Notably, thousands of tribals had recently gheraoed Savra’s house at Wada in the district in support of their demands, including effective steps to deal with rampant malnutrition and death of children.