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Auroville bioregion data

Census 2001

Area and People


The Vanur Block is one of 22 blocks in the Villupuram-Ramasamy-Padiyachar District in Tamil Nadu, south. This block, located along the Coromandel Coast, covers 45,000 square kilometres. The Vanur Block is an approximately contiguous watershed; and this 'bioregion' can be defined by the large marsh, Kaluveli Tank, to the north; the Bay of Bengal to the east; Pondicherry City to the south; and Ousteyri Lake to the west.

Reserved constituency

At the last census in 1991 the population of the Vanur Block counted approximately 154,000 individuals in 30,700 households. Around 30% of these are classified as backward and disadvantaged. The entire block is a 'reserved constituency' from which only Dalit(i.e. untouchable) people can be elected to the state legislature.


The block contains 64 village Panchayats, including 107 'revenue villages'. Most of these 'revenue villages' consist of one main village plus one or two attached hamlets of Dalits.

Only 44% (67,000) of the block population are literate, and only 42% (64,000) are employed. The Vanur Block contains 98 public schools, but has no colleges, universities, or schools for vocational training. The block contains three public health centres and 29 health subcentres. The public water utilities of the Vanur Block include 65 tanks/ponds, and a borewell cum overhead tank in most revenue villages.


The majority of people in the Vanur Block are engaged in agriculture, as small landholders and labourers. Major crops are cashew, casuarina, sugar cane, rice, flowers, and cattle. Fishing, fish vending, shrimp farming, salt and lime production are the prevalent employment along the coast.
Approximately 20% of the population is employed as potters, truckers, carpenters, masons, electricians, and small retail businesses. Recently, a significant number of young people have been moving to urban centres, industries, and a large university, for employment, primarily in construction trades.

Social structure

The traditional social structure of the Vanur Block villages is based on male clan leaders. The movement of people to the cities and the introduction of elected leaders on the Panchayat system have undermined this structure. The Government of India's 'Panchayati Raj' Act grants more power to the local governing bodies, and stipulates the inclusion of women and other previously excluded sections of society, such as Dalits.
Presently, traditional leaders look after the temple festivals and the elected leaders allocate local budgets.

Block Data

Vanur is one of 22 blocks in Villupuram District, which is one of 29 districts in Tamil Nadu. Villupuram District is 7,12,235 sq.km and divided into three Divisions. Auroville is in the Tindivanam Division (the other two divisions are Tirukoilur and Kalakuruchi). In the Tindivanam Division there are 7 blocks, of which Vanur is one (the others are Mailam, Melmaruvatur, Marakkanam, Vallam, Gingee, Olakkur).


'Our' block consists of 107 villages, under 64 village Panchayats, and one town Panchayat (Kottakuppam).
Total population: 1,53,544 (as of census 1991); SC: 48,073 (one third of the total pop) ST 1345 (Kilianur); non-ST/SC 1,04,126.
Total households: 30,196
Tamil Nadu population growth rate: 1.43% (second lowest only to Kerala at 1.23%)


Other indicators

Existing government handpumps: 234
Existing rainwater catchment ponds: 65
Primary schools: 98
Noon meal centres: 103
Primary health centres: 3
Health sub-centres: 29


Population of Pondicherry: (as of 1991) 6,08,336, in and area of 293 sq.km.(not including Karaikkal, Yanam, Mahe).

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