Close to 250 children in Maharashtra's Palghar district fell ill on Thursday, after they consumed 'khichdi' in a government school that was served as part of the mid-day meal scheme, reports NDTV.

"Ninety-seven have been admitted to hospital, a few of them are critical. They started vomiting after eating their midday meal," Shrikrishna Kokate, deputy police chief of Palghar district in the western state of Maharashtra, told AFP.

Representational Image | Source: PTI

Around 50 students started complaining of vomiting, headache and stomach ache and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital, where the doctors said they suspected food poisoning, reports Times Of India.

"It looks to be a case of food poisoning," Kokate said, adding that the pupils are aged between six and 14.

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The midday meal programme is the world's largest, feeding 120 million children daily, and for many it is their only substantial daily meal.

But there have been multiple cases of students falling sick after eating contaminated or poorly prepared food. The worst case was in 2013 when around two dozen children died in Bihar after they ate a meal laced with pesticide.

(With Inputs from AFP)

(Feature Image Source: PTI)