Efforts by the Labour Department notwithstanding, the number of child labourers in the district has gone up. A fresh survey conducted by the State Labour Institute (SLI), Bhubaneswar, has identified at least 8,598 new child labourers in the district. This is in addition to 17,365 identified in a survey in 2005-06.
The survey found maximum number of child labourers in Maoist-infested Jujumura and Maneswar blocks.
Keeping that in mind, the authorities have decided to open 68 new child labour schools under the National Child Labour Project to accommodate 2,908 children. While 26 schools will have an intake capacity of 50 students each, the rest 42 schools will have strength of 25 each.
At least five schools will operate under Sambalpur municipal limits to accommodate 341 children. Seven schools will function under Burla NAC area providing education to 272 child labourers while Hirakud NAC will have four schools with 168 students.
Similarly in 12 schools in Dhankauda block 500 children will be accommodated. Jamankira block will have four schools and 145 children, Kuchinda block two schools with 86 children and Rairakhol block will have two schools with 90 children. Besides, four schools in Rengali block will provide education to 124 kids while Naktideul block will get one school to take care of 58 children.
Maoist-infested Jujumura and Maneswar blocks, with the highest number of child labourers, will have 14 schools each to accommodate 577 and 546 children respectively.