NGT grants interim stay against felling of trees at Auroville

Auroville has been tense for days after earthmovers were brought in and a few meters of trees were cleared for laying a road for the Crown project of the foundation.
Auroville residents protest police bandobast
Auroville residents protest police bandobast
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The National Green Tribunal on Friday, December 10, stayed the felling of trees at Auroville, which has been tense over the past few days, after the Auroville Foundation and Town Development Council (TDC) brought in earthmovers and cleared a few meters for laying a road for the Crown project of the foundation. The NGT has posted the matter for further hearing on December 17. The NGT admitted the petition against the felling of trees, saying that "we are satisfied that there arises a substantial question of environment," as to whether any permission is required the law for cutting trees from an area which can be treated as a ‘Deemed Forest.’ The NGT has issued a notice to Auroville Foundation to file its response to the petition. 

"We feel that the status-quo order can be passed directing the 1st respondent- Auroville Foundation not to fell any further trees till 17.12.2021 as no much damage will be caused to the other side if it is stopped for a short while in the interest of protecting environment," the NGT said in its order on Friday.

The project targets to implement four zones — industrial, cultural, residential and recreational — which will go out of the Matrmandir, the centre of Auroville which was established in 1968 for universal peace. People from across the globe stay in the township floated by the Auroville Foundation in Villupuram.

The Auroville Resident Assembly is of the opinion that they were not blocking development, instead they were requesting for the community process to be followed. A Resident Assembly member told IANS: "We generally make decisions as a community through a process and this decision is approved by the Resident Assembly. Here the Auroville Foundation has not followed this process and is charging that we are blocking development which is not true."

Some members of the Resident Assembly had alleged that some members in the Auroville Foundation were adamant to implement their decision which was not approved by the Resident Assembly. The residents say that the Foundation and the TDC had brought in earthmovers to cut and remove the trees which were blocked by the residents but at 1 am, the TDC and Auroville Foundation came and created a scene with the police.

Villupuram MP and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader D Ravikumar called upon Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to immediately intervene in the dispute between the Auroville Foundation and members of the Resident Assembly.

With IANS inputs

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