Mango kernel soup kills four tribals in Koraput

KORAPUT: A 12-year-old tribal girl and three others died of suspected food poisoning after consuming soup made of mango kernel at a remote hamlet in Koraput district.

Sub-collector (Koraput) Rajesh Patil, who visited Bhalupadar in Narayanpatna block on Saturday, said, "Preliminary medical reports indicate that the villagers had eaten inedible food. They had not only consumed soup made up of mango kernel, which was probably affected by bacteria, but also ate some wild mushrooms. This may have killed them."

Though the incident took place on Wednesday, the matter came to light only on Friday when district officials visited Bhalupadar to take stock of the situation. The deceased have been identified as Daharau Huika (32), his wife Sambari Huika (25), Diudu Sirika (50) and her granddaughter, Kamalu Sirika (12).

"Soon after consuming the soup, they fell ill and started vomiting. After vomiting three to four times, they died," one of the villagers told the officials. Panicked over the deaths, villagers on Friday destroyed mango kernels which they had stocked in their homes.

Officials said the tribals at Bhalupadar were often forced to consume mango kernels and forest products because government aid rarely reached the remote hamlet. One has to trek around five km on hilly terrain to reach the hamlet, which is nestled amidst a dense forest.

"We regularly send the villagers their quota of the Rs 2 per kg rice sanctioned by the government. But due to the inaccessibility of the place, they are unable to get other benefits," the sub-collector said. "Since only eight families reside at the hamlet, we are trying to convince them to settle down at the foothills. They can then easily avail other benefits such as housing and employment," he added.