Four mid-day meal workers were killed and at least three others injured when the boiler of a plant exploded in Bihar’s East Champaran district on the morning of Saturday, November 16. The incident has left the local residents shocked.
According to Rohit Kumar, a police officer in the district, the incident took place when around 12 workers were preparing mid-day meal in an NGO's kitchen in the Bangra village under Sugauli police station. The food was to be supplied to the students of 57 government schools. Kumar said blast was very strong, and the fragments of the bodies of the victims were scattered because of the force.
He told NewsClick that the injured workers were first admitted to Sugauli Primary Health Centre and later shifted to district’s Sadar Hospital for treatment. One of the workers was taken to Patna Medical College and Hospital in a critical condition. The government has announced compensations of Rs 4 lakh to the family of each deceased worker.
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According government data, there are 71,000 primary and middle schools in Bihar, where mid-day meals are served to 1.20 crore children. The state government had recently decided to supply mid-day meals to schools through NGOs kitchen instead of cooked by midday meal cooks in respective schools.
CITU leader Vinod Kumar, president of Bihar Rajya Midday Meal Workers’ Union, has opposed the move to supply mid-day meal to schools through NGOs, as it will take away the livelihoods of the mid-day meal cooks.