A conference of the Narikoravas held at Devarayaneri, near here, recently has urged the Centre to implement a special plan for socio-economic development of the community.

A resolution adopted in this regard, referred to the inclusion of the Narikoravas into the Scheduled Tribes list after a prolonged struggle for about six decades. With the Narikoravas having lost their due during this period, the Centre should evolve a comprehensive plan to compensate the loss, the resolution said. The two-day conference was organised by the Tamil Nadu Narikkuravar Tribal Movement.

Another resolution pleaded for allotment of forestland and conferring community forest rights on the Narikorava. The inclusion in the Scheduled Tributes list will facilitate the Centre for ordering the allocation of forestland and conferring the rights. The facility, the resolution said, would enable the Narikoravas to take up their livelihood.

The conference urged the government to set up special centres for the aged and senior Narikoravas as the nomadic lifestyle posed a hindrance for proper nursing of the aged members of the community. Similarly, day care centres should be started for the welfare of the children, the resolution said. For ensuring educational opportunities for the children, special residential schools should be started on the lines of public schools in Udagamandalam and Kodaikanal.

The conference adopted a resolution pleading for bank loans at differential rate of interest (DRI) to the community men so as to check the exploitation by money lenders. Yet another resolution pleaded for adequate compensation for the Narikoravas who were evicted for the implementation of government projects in different parts of the State.

Julie George, Coordinator, Skill Share International, India, inaugurated the conference. Deepthi Sugumar, Consultant, Christian Aid, Chennai, V.J. George, Consultant, Narikorava Education and Welfare Society (NEWS), Sivakumar, District President, Tamil Nadu Narikoravar Palangudi Iyakkam, M. Mahendran, secretary, NEWS spoke.