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Safety and welfare of students appears to be in jeopardy in the State’s gurukuls and welfare hostels, with an increasing number of food poisoning incidents. Four incidents have been reported in April so far. The latest incident at a Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya hostel in Narsapur mandal centre of Nirmal came just three days after a similar food poisoning incident in a social welfare institution’s hostel in Bhongir led to the death of a Class 7 student.

On Friday, 20 students in a social welfare boys hostel in Sultanabad of Peddapalli complained of vomiting and diarrhea and were admitted to the Sultanabad Government Hospital. The students were served bonda in the hostel on Thursday evening. While 20 students soon started vomiting and were shifted to hospital, five more students were admitted on Friday. School authorities have blamed the bonda flour and the heat wave conditions for the incident.

Hours later, the Nirmal incident came to light on Saturday, with 11 girls of the KGBV hostel falling ill. Incidentally, on April 3, 25 students of the same hostel had taken ill after consuming stale breakfast. The incident had led to the suspension of a special officer in charge of the hostel, the head cook and accountant but a repeat of the incident within three weeks shows that nothing much has changed in the institution.

Similarly compromised quality standards in food preparation and negligent supervision by officials had led to the Bhongir incident, wherein a Class 7 student, Prasanth, 13, died. In that incident, 29 students had



fallen sick due to food poisoning at the Social Welfare Ashram School in Yadadri Bhongir on April 11, with Prasanth fighting for his life for six days before breathing his last. Sixteen other students who took ill in the same incident also had to be admitted to hospital.

On March 22, five students from the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS) for girls in Pembarthy village of Jangaon had to be admitted after food poisoning. In January, 76 students fell ill at the Mudhole Social Welfare Gurukul College in Nirmal after consuming contaminated food.

In most of the incidents, which had children complaining of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain, the failure of institution officials to ensure hygiene in the hostel and in the food served to the students came to light, but apart from district officials initiating namesake action, the State government has remained silent.

Voicing concern over the conditions prevailing in the residential schools in the State, BRS leader and former Minister T Harish Rao on Saturday pointed out that close on the heels of the death of Prasanth in the Bhongir Gurukul due to food poisoning, another instance of food poisoning had come to light in the State. Citing the KGVB Nirmal incident, Harish Rao held the Congress government squarely responsible for the state of affairs on the hostels and demanded the government to initiate measures to avoid recurrence of such instances. He also demanded the government help provide better treatment to students who were hospitalized.
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