Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has asked
the Maharashtra government to open schools in rural areas to
provide free primary education to the children of migrant
labourers who work in sugarcane fields.
Hearing a petition filed by Maharashtra Sugarcane
Growers and Transporters association, Justice BH Marlapalle
observed that the children of agricultural workers cannot be
denied the Right to Education guaranteed by the Constitution.
The petition contended that the workers should be
given enhanced wages and facilities such as education to
children. It alleged that the state had come out with many
schemes for such children but was not implementing them.
The petition said that workers migrate from their
homes to various places in rural areas in search of jobs in
sugarcane fields and along with them their families also move
for temporary period upto six months till the cultivation
season lasts. As the children go with their parents they are
deprived of education.
Sudhir Goyal, Secretary of School Education, filed an
affidavit saying that the state had taken many steps in the
last six months in its pursuit to provide free education to
children in rural areas. A survey had also been conducted to
study the needs of migrant workers in sugarcane fields.
The survey had revealed that most workers migrate from
Beed district while maximum sugar factories are located in
Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara districts, he said.
Accordingly, the state was considering to open free
schools and residential hostels in Beed district and other
parts of rural areas for children of migrant agricultural
labourers. Even if 20 such children are found in a particular
area, a residential school and hostel will be set up for them.