Thursday 23 March 2017 News Updated at 04:03 PM IST
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Students' death: book all responsible - Deccan Herald
Students' death: book all responsible
Bengaluru, March 17, 2017, DHNS
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The recent death of three teenaged students and the security guard of a school hostel at Huliyur in Tumakuru district, possibly due to food poisoning, exposes the pathetic state of the hostels and the overall supervision by the Education Department. The remains of the food served at the hostel have been sent for forensic examination and it may take some time to establish whether it was food poisoning or something else which led to the unfortunate death of three boys and the security man, who was the sole breadwinner of his family. An alert student, Sudarshan, who was among the first to eat the food and suspect there was something wrong, warned his friends not to have the sambar and possibly saved more lives.

District in-charge minister, T B Jayachandra, who visited Sudarshan in the hospital where he is recovering, did not cover himself with glory by offering his instant hypothesis on how the consumed food may not have been the source, but "someone could have poisoned the boys." The same kind of mistake then Home Minister K J George had also made when he had visited the flat where IAS officer D K Ravi had been found hanging. Ministers and senior officials should stop making sweeping comments, getting carried away by the electronic media which usually surrounds them, and let the investigators do their job.

It has emerged that the 'international' school, run by a former legislator, did not have permission for the hostel which was in existence for three years. How did the block education officer, who is now complaining that the hostel neither had a licence nor basic facilities, allow it to run? Why did not the health officials, of social welfare and health departments, who visited the hostel after the tragedy, and found its kitchen to be extremely unhygienic, initiate action against the school administration earlier? Did the politician-owner of the school prevent them from doing so? Who is to be held responsible for the non-functioning of CCTV cameras at the hostel?

The state government should immediately bring an amendment to the Karnataka Education Act 1983 to ensure that all schools are covered under the State Child Protection Policy which lays down safety measures in schools. It is also heart-wrenching to recall that the boys' lives could possibly have been saved had they received immediate medical attention. It appears that the three hospitals in Tumakuru denied admission to the sick students and more than four hours were lost before they were brought to the district hospital. We need to sensitise the whole society to the 'golden hour' concept, if we are to avoid needless tragedies.