Students faint due to hunger, MP tells House

By Saman Indrajith

SLPP Anuradhapura District Parliamentarian K.P.S. Kumarasiri told the House yesterday that he had received reports of instances where 20 students fainted in three schools at Vilachchiya Divisional Secretariat division on Wednesday.

These instances were reported from the Vilachchiya Siddhartha Maha Vidyalaya, Kimbulawewa Ananada Vidayalaya and Kimbulawela Maha Vidyalaya, he said.

MP Kumarasiri said that children’s nutrition had become a major issue today as many people skipped meals owing to high food prices.He said that there were media reports of a student bringing coconut kernels as her midday meal to the school in Minuwangoda. Only 60 rupees is allocated per head for midday meals in rural schools. What could one buy from Rs 60 today? Relevant authorities must look into this crisis, the MP said.

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that he was not aware of the latest incident at Vilachchiya. “I made inquiries of the Minuwangoda instance and spoke to the Principal of the school. I was told that there was no such incident. If something of that nature happened then the teachers and other children in the school should be aware of that. None knows such an incident. No child has complained of such an incident. I will look into the Vilachchiya instance.

Leader of the House Minister Prasanna Ranatunga: Minuwangoda comes under my electoral district. I too made inquiries. There was no such occurrence. I spoke to the principal of that school and she told me that she was not aware of such a thing as one of the children bringing coconut kernels to consume as a mid-day meal. These are lies fabricated to instigate people.

Kurunegala District MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa: People have a problem in finding food. They cannot afford the food prices. Children are caught in malnutrition. We must accept the facts and face the truth. It is better to admit the present crisis and bring about solutions rather than displaying your arrogance in the House.

Minister Rambukwella: Yes. There is a crisis. We admit that. Yet dissemination of lies cannot be approved of. That Minuwangoda incident is a lie.Matara District MP Dullas Alahapperuma: We have failed to look after our children. Students faint in schools because of hunger. This is the truth. We must find solutions for this situation. We have to state that we should set up rice banks.

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