Archive - 2006
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At the time of the foundation of Auroville most of the lands were waste lands or lands under marginal agriculture, which could support only a small population.
After Auroville came into being, the early residents - with their hard work in collaboration with villagers - built check dams across canyons, put up a large number of bunds to check soil erosion, and reared and planted trees in large numbers. Over two million trees have been planted over the past 30 years. A good part of this work was carried out with support from India and other countries for projects such as waste land regeneration, watershed management and reforestation projects.
The present land use within the 1,963 Ha (20 sq km) of the Auroville area:
Auroville - Present Land Use - 2000
Brief description of land uses:
1 - Residential
2 - Administration
The most important building, which presently serves as Administrative Centre, is the Indian National Pavilion (Bharat Nivas). It occupies 3 Ha.
3 - Commercial
Under this category, retail services providing for food and other items of daily necessity, community eating places and the Visitors Information Centre - with its exhibition space and boutiques selling products made in Auroville - are included.
4 - Manufacturing
There are in total 100 large and small manufacturing and processing units, the products of which are marketed locally as well as internationally. The amount of land occupied by such units ranges from 5 Ha to small plots of 50-75 Sq m.
5 - Recreational
There are no large recreational uses at present, as most of the needs of the small communities are available within the residential neighbourhoods themselves. However, there are a few playgrounds located close to residential communities, such as the Centre Field and Certitude sports areas.
6 - Roads
Auroville is presently accessed from the East Coast Road and the Pondicherry-Tindivanam Road. Panchayat roads of narrow width pass through the Auroville area providing access to Auroville developments as well as village settlements. These are basically tar roads. Apart from these, there are temporary gravel and mud roads providing access to various facilities in Auroville, some of which will be replaced once the planned roads are built.
7 - Peace area
This is the most special area in Auroville. It is the centre of Auroville, which contains the Matrimandir - the soul of Auroville, the Urn and the Amphitheatre, together with the central Banyan tree and well laid-out gardens surrounding the Matrimandir.
The above categories constitute the presently built area, extending over 234 Ha and covering at present 11.92 % of the designated area.
8 - Regenerated plantation areas
From the beginning, Aurovilians have been engaged in land regeneration activities, as it has been central to building a hospitable and sustainable habitat. The trees planted have modified the stark landscape, and are beginning to fulfil the prophecy of Kaluveli Siddhar. These plantations not only have greened the environment but are also bringing back the land to productive agriculture by preventing soil erosion by wind and rain, while enriching the soil organically. There are both indigenous as well as exotic trees. In some of these areas, nearly extinct indigenous tree species such as those found in and around temples have been nursed.
9 - Agriculture
10 - Water bodies
There are five eris in the area of which two are large, namely the Irumbai eri and the other one in Alankuppam. These are full for a short period after heavy rains and help to irrigate small areas of land below them.
11 - Canyons and waste land
This is a unique feature in the landscape of Auroville. Years of erosion by wind and rain have cut these deep gullies. Some of them are 2.5 kms long and 20-30 m wide and 2-5 m deep. These challenging areas are being converted into opportunities for water management for regeneration, farming and supplying drinking water needs of the area, such as in the Forecomers, Aurodam and Utility areas. Apart from these, there are peramboke and other lands classified as waste covering 72 Ha.
12 - Vacant
All other lands not coming in the above categories are treated as vacant.
The categories from 8 to 13 are principally open areas except for very small built-up areas. The total area coming under these categories covers 1,729 Ha, 88.08 % of the designated area.
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