When the students of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Gurukul hostel ate dinner on Saturday, they did not think they would be landing up in a hospital. The state run Gurukul in Nellikuduru village, Mahabubabad, Telangana, reportedly served the students half cooked food which also had worms, causing the girls to get food poisoning.
The students also said that when they pointed out the rasam was half-cooked and there were worms in the rice, the cook told them to remove the worms and eat the rice.
According to a report in Deccan Chronicle, the hostel had served tomato and potato curry, along with rasam to 200 residents on Saturday, after which many complained of nausea and began vomiting. Many others also experienced diarrhea. By 9.30 pm their condition worsened, prompting the hostel authorities to call an ambulance.
At least 29 girls were then rushed to the Mahabubabad area hospital around midnight. However, once they arrived at the premises, it was found that there were not enough doctors to attend to them. The New Indian Express reported that superintendent of the hospital had to ask for help from a doctor at Bayyaram primary health centre.
The girls were admitted and are undergoing treatment for food poisoning. Three of these girls had to be shifted to the ICU and are said to be stable now.
Not the first time worms were found
According to media reports, the students would often complain about the substandard quality of the food. One student told TNIE that they had even complained to the Gurukul principal about worms in the food, but no action was taken against the cook.
After the students were admitted, district medical and health officer Dr Sriram also inspected the hostel and spoke to the students on Sunday. He said that the students were taken ill not only because of the food but also the unhygienic conditions in the hostel.
The rice was also inspected and found to be of bad quality and contained worms. It was also found that bore water was being used in cooking instead of mineral water.
The hostel has only three functioning toilets for 200 students, which were also not cleaned regularly. “There are flies and mosquitoes everywhere,” said Dr Sriram. “Bleaching powder and phenol must be used for cleaning the toilets but that is not happening here,” he added.
Authorities express anger
Following the incident, MLA Shankar Naik also went to the hospital and reprimanded them for not having doctors to treat the girls. The joint collector also came to the hospital to assess the situation.
Deputy chief minister Kadiyam Srihari, who holds education minister's portfolio, also expressed displeasure over the incident and directed his department to cancel the hostel caterers’ contract.
Representatives from Congress, CPI and students' union gathered in front of the Mahabubabad hospital, demanding strict action against the Gurukul warden, principal as well as the cook. They also insisted that the collector take action against the doctors for not being on duty.