Auroville, Tamil Nadu – Auroville, a globally recognized symbol of unity, environmental rejuvenation, and sustainable urban living, faces an imminent threat to its rich biodiversity.
In April 2022, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed a judgement to protect Auroville’s world renowned verdant environment due to the destruction of several green areas, which was done without any form of process. The tribunal unequivocally instructed that no tree cutting or development should occur in Auroville until comprehensive town plans have been formulated and approved by the relevant authorities, and until environmental clearance has been granted. Additionally, a survey of tree cover and water bodies on the entire projected Crown route must be carried out by a Joint Committee appointed by the NGT. To date, only a small section has been surveyed by the Joint Committee.
Regrettably, recent events have depicted a grim scenario:
- 400+ trees have been felled in the last months.
- Plans for the “Matrimandir Lake” threaten another 1,000 trees.
- The Crown road project endangers thousands more trees.
- Tree felling, alarmingly, has been clandestinely executed, often during the early hours, on Sundays, or by leveraging third-party entities unrelated to the Auroville Foundation. The ability of vigilant Auroville residents to intervene has been systematically undermined, often with threats.
- Various official bodies, although informed, remain distressingly silent.
It’s not just trees at stake. This unchecked activity, allegedly under the guidance of appointees from the Office of the Secretary to the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation, undermines the very foundation of Auroville’s ethos – a commitment to conscious, environmentally-respectful urban development.
Concerned Auroville residents urgently call upon relevant officials and agencies to acknowledge and act on these breaches of the law. We also urge media representatives, environmental advocates, seekers, and the broader public to unite with Auroville in preserving its invaluable green corridors and offer support for Auroville to continue to take steps towards becoming “the city the earth needs”.
Auroville, at its core, represents a beacon of human unity and spiritual evolution. The very ethos of Auroville lies in its commitment to realising the city consciously, which includes basic respect for the environment. Neglecting the NGT’s judgement not only tarnishes Auroville’s name and monumental re-afforestation efforts but also imperils the ecological balance that has been nurtured for over half a century.
Finally, the stakes extend beyond merely environmental concerns; they threaten a conscious urban development and society which would benefit, and be improved by, future generations.
For more on Auroville’s transformational journey and re-afforestation efforts, visit this page.