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Chhattisgarh: Two girls die after drinking milk under government scheme

Tuesday, 31/05/2016

RAIPUR: Two tribal girls, each three-year-old died at Bijapur district after consuming flavoured milk distributed at Aanganwadi centre under newly launched Mukhyamantri Amrit Yojana to prevent malnutrition among children. While two kids were admitted to hospital, six others were reportedly normal. Five more children at Janjgir-Champa district also fell sick after drinking the flavoured milk on Monday who were discharged next day after treatment.

Chhattisgarh chief minister expressed deep concern over the deaths and immediately called for an emergency meeting followed by ordering a probe into the matter and he also asked education and women and child ministers to visit the centre and affected children immediately.

The incident comes exact after a month of the launch of Mukhyamantri Amrit Yojana during Lok Suraj Abhiyan for poor children to prevent malnutrition. The two girls Aarti Kudiyam and Pramila Michcha at Ketulnar village of Bijapur district complained of uneasiness soon after drinking the milk and were admitted to hospital. But both of them died while undergoing treatment.

Talking to TOI, minister for women and child Ramsheel Sahu said, "It would be too soon to conclude that milk was the cause of death as there were eight other kids too who consumed same milk along with the two girls who died. It is shocking and a serious matter but without finding the truth I can't say they died due to flavoured milk. Each and every aspect would be thoroughly examined while next distribution of milk takes place across state would be put on hold."

She added that extreme heat or weak immune system could also be the reason of girls' death else the milk would have affected other kids as well.

The milk comes from state government's own Chhattisgarh State Cooperative Dairy Federation that distributes Deobhog milk.

Bijapur collector Ayaz Tamboli visited the spot after the incident and told media that the district administration has sanctioned immediate relief compensation of Rs 10,000 to deceased families.

Meanwhile, in Janjgir Champa too, there were five kids who complained of nausea and vomiting soon after consuming milk at Barra village of Navagarh block Aanganwadi centre. They were admitted at public health care centre and were discharged on Tuesday morning after keeping in observation.

Janjgir-Champa collector S Bhartidasan ordered to collect milk packets from all the centres across district and the samples were sent to labs of food and drug control department.

Chief minister has instructed officials to strictly check the quality of milk being served to the children and take seriousness of the matter. Taking cognizance of Janjgir-Champa incident too, Singh asked the collector to inquire what went wrong and lead to sickness in children.

The scheme aims to provide 100 ml of sweetened and flavoured milk to children of three to six years of age every Monday at 50,000 Aanganwadi centres across the state with budgetary provision of Rs 25 crore.

Calling it a criminal negligence, main opposition Congress strongly reacted over the issue demanding that amid such a huge carelessness that has claimed lives of two innocent, minister for women and child should resign from her post.

Congress spokespersons Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said that it can't be a mere accident but it's utter negligence on part of administration where poison is being served to children on the name of 'Amrit' milk.

"I see no point in distributing milk only once a week to poor children, how could state eradicate malnourishment by providing 100 ml milk just once a week? Minister of women and child should immediately resign for such negligence and others responsible for serving stale milk should be put behind bars," Trivedi said.


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