Small towns do not degrade the rural environment

  • 14/04/2000

Can you tell us something about the Auroville township?
The Auroville township project has a population of about 60,000 people covering 13 villages. But in the designated Auroville area, there are only five villages with a population between 8,000 and 10,000. The Auroville community comprises only 1,500 people, 30 per cent of them are Indians.

Is it possible to reach your goals without a healthy environment?
Absolutely not. We started regenerating the environment 30 years ago. At that time, the entire landscape was barren. Now, there are around 300,000 trees.

Are local people involved in the project?
Local people as well as the members of the Auroville community are involved in the project. At present, the mission has employed some 5,000 local people in various sectors. But not all of them are members of Auroville because in order to be one, you have to subscribe to a few basic rules. For instance, there is no private ownership of property. Obviously, we cannot ask people who have been living there traditionally to also give up their ownership of house and land. Geographically they are within the Auroville area and are part of the experiment, which aims to create unity not only among community members but also between members and the local people.

Do you expect a lot of migration from rural areas into the township as is the case in most cities?
The only way to avoid migration and shanty towns is to strictly adhere to the master plan of Auroville where the land use pattern is specified. We have different zones

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