9TH Dec 2021
Clearing work of the Crown starts in Youth Center area but protestors block again the machines
Unfortunately, the work of clearing and removing trees on the 4th of December (none being older than 20 years old) was stopped by Aurovilians who blocked the JCBs (earth-movers) and workers of Auroville Road Service.
In a meeting held by the Secretary of the Auroville Foundation on the 6th of December 2021, and the inhabitants of Youth Center, it was agreed that the residents themselves will dismantle the buildings for the Crown Right-of-Way in the Youth Centre area by the following day, while a site for a vocational centre for youth will be allocated in the township. Funding for the vocational centre was also offered. The Youth Center sent out a mass bulletin email to all residents asking them to help dismantle the structures.
The following day, when the dismantling was supposed to start, a few senior Aurovilians (some of whom had earlier supported the Crown Road work) met with the youth of Youth Centre and asked them not to dismantle the structures and not to respect the agreement of the previous day.
As a result, the Youth Center did not dismantle the buildings, and did not respect the agreements made, asking for more conditions to be fulfilled before acting. This was yet another tactic for stalling the City development that is waiting for the last 53 years to be built.
On the morning of the 9th of December, Auroville Foundation Secretariat and ATDC representatives and some Aurovilians went on site with 3 JCBs, accompanied by residents of the bioregion as volunteers who had offered their support due to the protest of Dec. 4th. They went to the Youth Center to start the work of clearing that Youth Center should have done in the days prior. The residents of the bioregion showed up with enthusiasm to be part of finally unblocking the development of Auroville, and came in peace. Despite being provoked with name-calling and being asked to leave by the inhabitants of Youth Center, their poise and calm and dedicated action was laudable. For decades now the residents of the bioregion have been eagerly waiting to participate in the development of Auroville, which will bring them educational and economic opportunities. It is important to remember how some of the older residents of the bio-region graciously gave their land early on for the project of the Mother to be realised.
Images showing the workers from the bioregion holding hands and forming a protective chain around the work area
Some Aurovilians present at the Youth Center tried to physically oppose the entry and the work of the JCBs and were firmly restrained and moved out of the way by some of the workers. Auroville Security then helped secure the site and prevent people from coming too close to the JCBs, and evacuate the structures, ensuring that no harm came to anyone. Indeed nobody was hurt, even though emotions ran high and discontent was expressed.
Image showing Aurovilians blocking the JCB
Image showing an Aurovilian climbing on the JCB
Image showing the workers from the bioregion directing the JCB to prevent accidents
Image showing the workers from the bioregion removing a fridge from a structure to be demolished
The work started at 7am, and after a moment of struggle, continued and was completed by 12 noon.
A few temporary shacks and buildings, all built without authorization, and some trees were removed by the earth-movers to make way for the Crown Road Right-of-Way.
Images showing the cleared path at Youth Center
Clearing work of the Crown starts in Darkali area but protestors block again the machines
After the clearing of the Crown Right of Way (RoW) at the Youth Center, the work team moved on to the Darkali forest and they were met with other Aurovilians protesting and obstructing the work. They have spent 5 hours in a locked situation where Aurovilians were physically blocking the machines and the work team was made to wait.
Images showing Aurovilians blocking the JCBs
Image showing Aurovilians blocking the JCB from working by sitting in front
During this time a few residents met with the Secretary at the Auroville Foundation upon her request and they reached the following agreement:
1. The work team would go home for the night as it was already dark and the markings for the RoW were not clearly visible.
2.The work team will start clearing work as per the markings of the RoW as per the Master Plan the following morning at 6 am, with proper direction and guidance on the ground.
3.The residents agreed that they will allow the work to continue without obstruction.
This was reported on site to those obstructing the work and there was agreement on site by the Aurovilians to respect the above agreement and to allow the work to go on peacefully.
It was requested via a community announcement that the Auroville residents do not congregate at the site and let the work progress peacefully, to prevent a repeat of the events as they unfolded at the Youth Center in the morning.