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Is malnutrition cause of deaths?

Staff Reporter

Sole post-mortem discounts food poisoning

Bangalore: The mass deaths of inmates of the Beggars' Rehabilitation Centre on Magadi Road seem to be due to malnutrition and not food poisoning, if the results of the sole post-mortem done are anything to go by.

A highly placed source in the Social Welfare Department told The Hindu on Saturday that Victoria Hospital authorities, where the autopsy was done, had indicated this. However, with only one post-mortem done among 24 dead, this could not be generalised, the source added.

This was corroborated by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. “As almost all the inmates are aged and malnourished, I have directed the officials to provide nutritious food to them. We are also thinking of taking the help of a committed non-governmental organisation (NGO),” he said, and added that from now on, outsiders would not be allowed to distribute leftovers to the inmates.

Report

The doctor at the centre, G. Harimurthy, said the post-mortem report had shown that the deceased had gastroenteritis (GE) symptoms, and “not any poisonous elements”. Malnourishment could have made the inmates more susceptible to GE, he added.

Food expenses

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Siddaiah told The Hindu the palike was ready to bear the inmates' food expenses. “If the catering service is provided by any NGO such as ISKCON, which is already providing mid-day meals to our schools, we're ready to foot the bill,” he said.

He said the palike was trying to clear the beggary cess dues collected as part of property tax to the Central Relief Committee (CRC) by the year-end.

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