Baripada: The dropout rate of students in tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district is very high as many of them give up studies due to poverty and a variety of other reasons, a report said. Many of them simply abandon their studies due to poverty and leave the state with the help of middlemen to work as migrant labourers.
However, government officials have done precious little in rescuing and rehabilitating the children, alleged a local outfit Bhanja Sena as Mayurbhanj Collector Vineet Bhardwaj flagged off an awareness vehicle on child labour recently. Bhanja Sena president Pintu Maiti and its OBC cell president Rakesh Behera have alleged that the government officials only remain busy organising awareness programmes but have done little for the betterment of these children.
According to their complaint, this year 34,417 students had filled up forms for the High School Certificate (HSC) Examinations but around 1,000 students did not appear in the examinations. Similarly, 67 students in Plus II Science and 98 in Commerce skipped the examinations.
A total of 1,166 students have been found to have dropped out and worked as child labourers to earn a living for their families. Many among them have left for other districts and states to work as migrant labourers. They alleged that the district administration has completely failed in rescuing and rehabilitating the child labourers and absolving their obligation by making awareness vehicles take tours of the district. Locals have demanded to rescue the children and bring them to the mainstream of society.
Reports said that 23 child labourers were rescued in the district in 2022-23 of which four were from Bihar. Among the rest of the children, 17 are below 14 while two of them are juveniles. When contacted, district labour commissioner Monalisa Nayak said many child labourers have been rescued and rehabilitated while efforts are being made to rehabilitate those who have crossed their age as minor.