Two held, principal suspended as students fall ill after eating at school mess in Punjab

Eighteen students of the government meritorious school at Ghabdan in Punjab were rushed to the civil hospital on Friday evening.

Students are provided free-of-cost education, accommodation and food at Punjab meritorious school. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)Students are provided free-of-cost education, accommodation and food at Punjab meritorious school. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Press Trust of India | December 3, 2023 | 12:06 PM IST

CHANDIGARH: More than 70 students of a government school in Punjab's Sangrur district were hospitalised as many of them complained of stomach ache and vomiting after eating in the hostel mess, officials said on Saturday.

Taking serious note of the incident, the mess contractor and its incharge were arrested after police booked them under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), they said. The principal of the government meritorious school at Ghabdan was also suspended for not taking any action on the students' complaint about the food.

In meritorious schools, students from Class 9 to 12 are enrolled and they are provided education, accommodation, food and other facilities free of cost. Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains said an inquiry by the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) has been ordered in the matter. Eighteen students of the government meritorious school at Ghabdan were rushed to the civil hospital on Friday evening after they complained of stomach ache and vomiting, an official said.

The officials suspect it to be a case of food poisoning. Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Jitendra Jorwal on Saturday said a total of 73 students were brought to three different hospitals. Eighteen students were brought to the civil hospital on Friday, he said, adding that 35 more students were brought to the civil hospital and another 20 were taken to PGI satellite centre in Ghabdan on Saturday.

Also Read | No government school will function with single or no teacher by March, says Punjab education minister

"Everyone is alright. Many students did not have symptoms when they came but they had anxiety. All were checked and adequate treatment was given. Everyone is discharged," he said. Minister Bains earlier enquired about the students at the civil hospital where he said most of the students were complaining of anxiety. "The contractor's licence has been cancelled, also he along with the mess incharge has been arrested under Section 307 of the IPC. The principal concerned is also being suspended for not taking timely action on students' complaints," Bains said.

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