BALANGIR: Even as large number of labourers migrate from the district to alien land to earn livelihood, there are not enough seasonal hostels for their children to provide an alternative accommodation and education.
The seasonal hostel project was started by the State Government in 2012-13 with an aim to prevent children from migrating with their families to other districts or states so that their education is not hampered.
The hostels ensure that a child has a shelter to stay and attend school after his or her parents move out to earn a living. The hostels are opened for six months from November to April in a financial year.
Sources said distress migration occurs every year from Balangir and other KBK districts to brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka due to lack of work after kharif season.
The number of migrant workers in the region is estimated to be around two lakh and their children around 40,000. Only 10,000 labourers have registered themselves with the district labour office for migrating in the last one year.Last year, the State Government had sanctioned 77 new seasonal hostels for Balangir district but 73 have been opened so far. While five hostels were opened in Bangomunda, three were in Muribahal, 10 in Turekela, 27 in Belpada, four in Patnagarh and 24 in Khaprakhol.
The Odisha Primary Education Project Authority (OPEPA) had set a target of enrolling 3,500 children of migrating parents in the hostels, but 3,100 children have been enrolled so far. Sources, however, said the requirement of such seasonal hostels in the district is much more.
Consider the case of Muribahal block, which was recently in news for the killing of a young migrant couple - Parmanand Majhi and Hemalata Majhi - at a brick kiln in Ulinakonda of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh.
It is one of the blocks in Balangir that has the highest number of migrants, but there are only three seasonal hostels. Director of ChildLine Umesh Purohit said at least 11,000 people migrate from Muribahal block every year in search of work and of them, 2,500 are children.
He added that five years back, there were 20 seasonal hostels in Muribahal but the number has now come down to just three.
“Education of these children has taken a major beating. They leave the school in the middle of an academic year and when they return, teachers do not accommodate them in the same class,” he added.
As per the guidelines, the survey for identification of migrant families is conducted and a proposal is submitted to the State Government for opening the hostels by the Education department of the district.
Balangir Collector Bhirav Singh Patel said this year the district administration received less number of proposals for opening seasonal hostels from block education officers. All the 77 centres will be opened by January-end, he added.
Number of migrant workers is estimated to be around two lakh and their children around 40,000
Only 10,000 labourers registered in the district labour office for migration in the last one year
At least 11,000 people migrate from Muribahal block every year in search of work and of them, 2,500 are children
OPEPA had set a target of enrolling 3,500 children of migrating parents in 77 hostels, but 3,100 children have been enrolled so far