The postmortem report on 23 people who died after consuming the midday meal in Saran district has confirmed that they were poisoned by insecticide, which was either in the cooking oil or food, doctors said on Thursday.
Patna Medical College hospital superintendent Amarkant Jha Amar said that although it was clear the children died from insecticide, results were still pending to determine what the chemicals were.
Centre on Thursday decided to constitute a monitoring committee to look into the quality of food supplied.
The committee is expected to supplement the efforts of the existing mid-day meal monitoring committee which meets twice a year and warns the States if there are any shortcomings.
Asked if any warnings were issued to Bihar by the committee earlier this year after some shortcomings in the implementation of the programme were identified, HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju replied in the affirmative.
“Yes, apparently there has been. There were 12 districts that were identified and alerts were sent and Saran (hit by the incident) was among them,” he told reporters on Thursday on the sidelines of a function.
He, however, said they do not wish to highlight the issue right now and play a blame game over it as the death of the children have shocked all.
The focus would now be on strengthening the programme and to ensure such incidents does not “recur again”, he said.
(With inputs from agencies)