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Mid-day meal tragedy: Bihar plans memorial for 23 dead students
Saturday August 3, 2013 3:41 PM, IANS

Bihar plans a memorial for the 23 children who died last month after eating a mid-day meal at a government school in Saran district, an official said Saturday.

Saran District Magistrate Abhijit Sinha said a memorial would be set up at the school in Gandaman village, from where all the victims of the July 16 tragedy were from. "We have made a blueprint for the proposed memorial," he said.

He said a boundary wall would be built around the open field near the community centre-cum-primary school campus where the children were buried.

According to district officials, the village would be connected to the main road to ensure development and solar-powered streetlights would be installed.

Soon after the tragedy, Bihar Chief Minister had announced a special scheme to turn Dharmasati-Gandaman into a model village with a high school, a public healthcare centre, a metalled road, drainage system and potable water facilities.

Meena Devi, principal of the school, who has been charged with murder and criminal conspiracy, was arrested last month and is in judicial custody. She underwent a lie detector test Friday. The report of the lie detector test will be released next week.

A Bihar court Saturday rejected Meena Devi's bail application, Saran Superintendent of Police Sujit Kumar said.

Police raided her house twice and recovered a bottle of pesticide whose traces were suspected to be present in the school food.

According to district officials, Meena Devi had forced the cook to use an allegedly contaminated cooking oil despite the latter's complaint that it had a pungent smell.

A forensic lab report confirmed traces of toxic insecticide in the cooking oil used for making food at the school, police said.

The mid-day meal scheme is running in 72,000 schools across the state, feeding 1.60 crore students.

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