22 children hospitalised after consuming jatropha seeds

January 1st, 2009 - 3:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Jan 1 (IANS) At least 22 children, all less than eight years old, were admitted to hospital in a serious condition in Chhattisgarh after consuming seeds of the poisonous jatropha plant which is being grown on a large scale to extract bio-fuel, police said Thursday.”As many as 22 children of Durg town were rushed to the district government hospital in a serious condition after they mistakenly consumed jatropha seeds grown in a local field late Wednesday,” Dipanshu Kabra, district superintendent of police, told IANS.

Durg town, located some 40 km from state capital Raipur, is in Durg district.

The officer said: “The kids are showing signs of improvement and doctors have said they are out of danger, but they have all been kept under observation.”

Jatropha is a plant that grows up to three metres and produces inedible fruits. Several states, including Chhattisgarh, have been planting its saplings in millions in a bid to extract bio-fuel from it.

Some agricultural scientists say large-scale jatropha plantations are becoming a curse for children as just two of its seeds are enough to act as a strong purgative while four to five seeds can cause death.

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