336 students fall ill due to food-poisoning at IIIT Srikakulam

In a case of food-poisoning, 336 students have fallen ill, 16 of them critically indisposed, at the IIIT at Etcherla in Srikakulam district

Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGUKT)

SRIKAKULAM: In a case of food-poisoning, at least 336 students have fallen ill, 16 of them critically indisposed, at the Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies (RGUKT), popularly known as IIIT, at Etcherla in Srikakulam district. The Hostel inmates reportedly started suffering health complications like vomiting, stomach pain and dizziness in the early hours of Friday. The incident, which was kept under tight wraps by the IIIT authorities, however came to light on Saturday, causing commotion and outrage.

Srikakulam District Collector Srikesh B Lathakar visited the campus on Saturday to take stock of the situation before ordering an inquiry into the incident. The number of students who took ill in the food-poisoning incident came to light during an earlier inspection conducted by the local tahsildar. The students were served chapathi among other items in dinner on Thursday night and efforts were on to ascertain if the meal provided met the prescribed quality.

According to reports, the students who started falling ill since early Friday, were being treated at the IIIT dispensary located on the campus. Ironically, it was alleged that, with no doctors available, the patients had to be attended on only duty nurses at the dispensary. It became evident during the tahsildar's inspection that a total of 336 students were either treated or were still being treated at the dispensary, as per the register. The condition of 16 of them was earlier stated to be critical. A few of them were also reported to have been rushed to the RIMS by ambulances for emergency treatment.

However, District Collector Srikesh Lathakar, following his visit to the campus, ruled out any danger to the life of any of the students. Accompanied by authorities, he went around the campus and inspected the kitchen and dining area besides speaking to the students to elicit more information.

Srikesh said that all the affected students, including those critically ill, could be treated with basic medication like antacids and antibiotics. A detailed inquiry has been ordered with specific instructions to fix the responsibility for the food-poisoning incident, according to the district collector.

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