They come as a family from Andhra Pradesh and Orissa and are constantly on the move from one project site to another. Moving along with these migrant workers are their children, who eventually end up as child labourers as they have no access to school. The government on Wednesday announced a scheme to admit such children in schools functioning close their work sites.

“We have identified children of 6,081 families who have migrated from other States and districts. The government will spend Rs 4.30 crore on this scheme. Besides the regular subjects, they will be taught their mother tongue, too,” Chief Minister Jayalalithaa told the Assembly.

Welcoming the move, R. Geetha of the Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam, said the children should not be admitted to regular schools, but covered under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) to ensure that there were no dropouts.

She said the number of children could be much higher since a total of 35,000 children had been covered under immunization programme.

“This mean there should be at least 50,000 children, who are either child labourers or bonded labourers,” she said.

Ms. Geetha also wanted an open classroom in all schools to provide a bridge course to prepare the children for the general classroom.

“The government collects a lot of money as levy from construction sites. The site owners could be asked to put up a shed for teaching the children,” she said.