The blame game in the Vasco food poisoning case wherein 52 students were affected has already begun with the supplier of the mid-day meal blaming the school management which in turn has accused the Education Department officials.
On Wednesday 52 students of Murgao High School at Sada fell sick after consuming the mid day meal that was supplied by Saraswati Self Help Group and two of the students were admitted to Goa Medical College Hospital at Bambolim.
The school authorities found a lizard in the food supplied by Saraswati Self Help Group.
However, Urmila Salgaonkar, the former Vasco Block Mahila Congress President who rushed to the school when the news broke out, accused the school management of introducing the lizard in the food.
Parshuram Gurav, the physical education teacher at the school who received the meal and distributed it to the teachers to be given to the students during recess rejected Urmila’s contention as absurd.
He revealed that the lizard was totally cooked and argued that this implied that the lizard was cooked along with the meal.
He said that despite their complaints to the Education Department about the quality of food supplied by Saraswati Self Help Group, the department did not take any action.
Instead, an official of the Education Department reportedly retorted asking the school management what better quality could they expect at Rs. 5 per meal only.
Significantly, on 8th August 2009, 18 students of Yuvak Sangh High Schools at Sada were hospitalized as they fell sick after consuming the mid day meal supplied by the same Saraswati Self Help Group.
Then too Urmila had blamed the school authorities of tampering with the food supplied by her association.
Ironically, though the Education Department had terminated the contract with Saraswati Self Help Group when the incident occurred in 2009, the cancellation was subsequently revoked probably because of Urmila’s connections with the Congress Party.
While claiming to have restored Saraswati Self Help Group due to a report submitted by the Food and Drugs Administration, Education Director Celsa Pinto revealed that following the Wednesday incident, the license is cancelled once again.