30 November 2022

Dubious Land Exchanges by Auroville Foundation Office against community processes

Dubious Land Exchanges by Auroville Foundation Office against community processes

For the first time in the history of Auroville, the Auroville Foundation Office (AVFO) appointed two non-residents into the Land Board of Auroville. Since these appointments, precious lands are being exchanged without following due processes of the community that have been approved by previous Secretaries.

Last month, a questionable exchange of 1.5 acres of valuable Auroville land located on a national highway to recover 2 acres of land in the Master Plan area was carried out by the AVFO. In comparison, an exchange in similar areas by the Land Board of the residents in 2017 had a ratio of about 1:10, in which 1.03 acres owned by Auroville on the same highway fetched 10.37 acres in the Master Plan area. This indicates a financial loss in the recent deal of about 6 crore rupees (710,000€), which is a massive value loss that could have permitted the acquisition of far more land. This is not only absurd, its legality is also questionable.

According to our sources, the Secretary’s Office is now trying to exchange parts of the oldest Auroville farm, AuroOrchard, which was bought with the blessings of the Mother, and is still managed by the same trusted person the Mother personally appointed 53 years ago. This would lead to a potential loss to the Auroville Foundation of a whopping 25+ crore rupees (2.9 million euros), and greedy eyes are cast on several other valuable pieces of roadside lands to make quick deals.

Legally, no land can be exchanged without following due process, including valuation by an external valuer, and without the consent of Auroville residents, represented by their selected Working Committee and FAMC.

One of the most precious assets of Auroville are its lands, slowly acquired over half a century through support of well-wishers worldwide. Each acre, each plot of land, tells a beautiful story of love and hope, and has been offered to help create ‘the City the Earth Needs’.

In the 1970s, Auroville was a desert of red land on which a few sporadic settlements were built. Land had minimal value, and the plots of land that were bought for Auroville - and sometimes their neighbouring lands as well - were vastly replanted.
Five decades later, over 3 million trees have been planted and Auroville has become a lush forest. The afforested lands of Auroville have gained value significantly, and are essential to the ecological balance and biodiversity of the entire bioregion.

For more information on Auroville, please visit this page.


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