Securing the land for Auroville is now of crucial importance so that a coherent development of the township can take place, enabling the vision to unfold in its full potential.
In recent years, however, Auroville faces great challenges in this work, some threatening the future development of the city and its surrounding greenbelt area.
Soaring land prices
Due to Auroville’s growth over the past three decades, the land within the Auroville Township area has become a commodity for big financial gain, both in the eyes of the landowners as well as outside speculators and real estate developers.
As a result, land prices are soaring in the Auroville area. Over the last 10 years, prices have skyrocketed.
Change of land use
Today’s landowners are not any more the traditional farmers, who are ploughing their fields and harvesting local grains as was still practiced a few decades ago. The sons of these farmers often work in the nearby town of Pondicherry or have a regular occupation in Auroville with a steady income. The land is mainly used for cashew or casuarina cultivation, which provide an additional source of cash revenue for the owner. Pesticides, which are harmful for the soil, the watershed and human beings, are heavily sprayed during the season and damage Auroville’s ongoing environmental regeneration efforts.
Another challenge is real estate developers and business people, who are trying to profit from Auroville’s growth and the worldwide attraction of visitors and guests. Restaurants, guesthouses, travel services, massage centres and shops are already booming in the neighbourhood. They may soon extend their commercial tentacles into the planned Auroville Green Belt, which is a very sensitive and critical area for environmental conservation and water resource management. Some land in this area has already been bought by outside parties for real estate development.
Auroville finds itself today at a crucial junction. If market forces are allowed to dominate, the entire development of Auroville may suffer seriously.
So far, Auroville has acquired about half of the land designated for the future township through contributions from within Auroville itself and from friends and well-wishers worldwide. Today, with increasing land speculation and the growing danger of real estate developers buying up land for private business ventures, the purchase of all remaining land for Auroville has become an urgent necessity!
A new effort to consolidate the city area is being made in a campaign leading up to Auroville’s 50th birthday in 2018. It is called “Acres for Auroville” and asks for all of us to contribute so funds are available for land purchases whenever possible. The goal of Acres for Auroville is to secure, consolidate, and protect the land in the Matrimandir and International Zone areas. The campaign is a joint effort of Auroville International and Lands for Auroville Unified (LFAU).
Donations can be made through our donations page. Please specify “Acres for Auroville” when making a donation to the campaign. Thank you!