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18 KV students in Kakinada inhale unidentified gas, fall sick

KAKINADA: As many as 18 students of Kendriya Vidyalaya at Valasapakala village in Kakinada rural limits fell ill after they allegedly inhaled an unidentified gas on Tuesday. They were shifted to the Kakinada Government General Hospital (GGH) and their health condition is reportedly stable.

While it was first suspected that the students fell sick after consuming chocolates that were distributed at the school, officials are yet to ascertain the actual cause.

A panel, including AP Pollution Control Board Executive Engineer N Ashok Kumar, Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories D Radha Krishna, DEO Datla Subhadra and Assistant Food Control Officer B Srinivas has been formed to enquire into the incident.

According to school authorities and officials, 418 students attended school on Tuesday and classes began at 9 am. After half an hour, students of class IV, V and VI complained to their teachers of breathlessness and nausea. They were brought to the ground floor from the first floor.

The school management informed the parents of the situation, following which they were shifted to a nearby hospital in a van. Medical Officer of the Panduru PHC, Dr Narayana Rao, arrived at the hospital with his staff. On the doctors’ advise the students were shifted to Kakinada GGH.

Education Minister Botcha Satyanarayana instructed district Collector Kritika Shukla to take all steps to provide treatment to the students. A host of political leaders thronged the hospital premises and took stock of the situation. Refuting the reports that the students fell ill after eating chocolates, Shukla said they would enquire into the incident to identify the cause.

“We noticed foul smell around 9.15 am in the classrooms and within minutes, we collapsed as we were unable to breath,” a student said.The district collector said the samples of the students and water from the school would be sent for tests. She added that the reports would be available in 24 hours.

Stating that there were no poisonous gases in the premises or industries near the school, Shukla suspected that the unidentified gas could have emanated from the school laboratory.

Kakinada MP Vanga Geeta said the Kendriya Vidyalaya was functioning on the premises of Kakinada public school and added that five acres was allocated for the institution at P Venkatapuram near Panduru village.