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Parents ask wards not to have mid-day meal at Sakinaka school

School stops scheme; claims number of students who took ill inflated

Written by Dipti Sonawala | Mumbai | Published: December 23, 2013 2:10:45 am

Following last month’s incident in which 493 students of Anjuman Noor-ul-Islam school at Sakinaka,Andheri (East) took ill after eating cupcakes,parents of the students have asked their wards to skip the mid-day meal served there. This has forced the management to stop the mandatory scheme.

“After the incident,parents have asked their wards to skip mid-day meal,hence we had to stop serving food. Students either get food from home or get money to buy food,” said N M Malik,principal of the school.

Anwar Khan,a parent,said,“We give our kids whatever is cooked the previous night in the lunch box. We can at least afford that much,but cannot risk the lives of our children.”

Another parent,Mehnaz Khan,said “Our children were lucky this time,but I have asked my daughter not to eat the food given at the school.”

The school has now called for a PTA meeting,following which they will send a report to the BMC’s education department. “We will have to inform the department that parents do not want us to serve the meal,” said Malik.

According to the school management,the number of students who took ill in the incident was inflated. Malik said,“Barely 70 students were seriously ill,others were taken to hospital as a precaution. There was a rumour among parents that those admitted in hospital would get compensation from the government. Hence,the students who consumed the cake but were not ill were also rushed to the hospital. It was the agency’s fault but we are facing the consequences. The government must understand that we are academicians; keeping tab of mid-day meal is not our job. Not a single BMC or education department official has inspected the food served by the agency.”

The BMC’s education department has issued a showcause notice to Malik and the case is being heard by the child rights commission.

Malik added,“We did make a mistake by asking the self-help group to serve cake. However,we did so because students love cupcakes. We had no idea from where they got the cake from. We had tasted the cake before serving it to students. We care for our students more than anyone else.”

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and BMC health department have not yet released the full report on cupcake samples. Suresh Annapure,joint commissioner (food),said,“We have received only one of the reports. We are awaiting others and only then will we be able to release the entire report.”

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