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30 students ill after lice rub

Thirty students of a government-run residential school in Kasba complained of scalp irritation and burning sensation in their eyes and faces after using an anti-lice lotion.

Eleven of the ailing students of Kasba Modern Institute for Girls, were admitted to Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan while 19 more were taken to SSKM Hospital. Three girls have been kept under observation while the rest were discharged after treatment.

Doctors at Seva Pratisthan said a sample of the lotion sent to them revealed that it was an unbranded product and its composition was not mentioned on the container. The sample has been sent for tests.

The teacher-in-charge of the school’s senior section, Soma Roy Sarkar, said some students had applied the lotion on Wednesday night. “Soon they complained of itching and a burning sensation on their scalp and face. Some of them had red eyes. We took them to hospital when the condition persisted even after applying shampoo,” she said.

Kasba Modern Institute for Girls is one of the 15 residential schools run by the state government under the Sarva Siksha Mission, a central scheme.

Of the 160 students of the school, 100 stay in the hostel run by a voluntary organisation. The lotion had been given to the students by members of the organisation. “If forensic tests prove that the lotion was adulterated or was past its use-by date, we will terminate the contract of the NGO,” said a Sarva Siksha Mission official.

Dermatologist Sanjoy Ghosh said some anti-lice lotions contain malathion, an insecticide that causes skin and eye irritation.

Police medal

IPS officer Damayanti Sen will get the police medal for meritorious service this year. The deputy inspector general of police (CID) has been Calcutta's first woman crime chief and had cracked the Park Street gang-rape case. Apart from Sen and joint commissioner of police (crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh, 39 others from Bengal would get the award. Alok Rajoria, the Birbhum superintendent of police, will get the President’s medal for gallantry.