August 10th, 2022

Aug 10, 2022

Auroville Earth Institute – Report on Quality of Crown Road Work

Satprem Maïni of the Auroville Earth Institute, UNESCO Chair of Earthen Architecture, has written an extensive report detailing the quality of work done on the Crown Road by the contractor of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), India. It was sent to the Secretary of the Auroville Foundation, Governing Board members, and Dr. Karan Singh, amongst others. An accompanying email outlines Satprem’s history in Auroville, his understanding of the history of development here, and questions the means used to develop the Crown by the Secretary and her supporters, in light of Auroville’s ideals.

The report gives an extensive technical assessment of the quality of the materials used and the work done. Satprem’s report concludes on the following highlights:

  • The original blocks of the Crown Road (which were taken out at various locations) are stronger by 14% and thicker than the new ones by 4.1 mm. The evaluation of the existing road shows that it is still in good condition after 10 and 14 years.
  • The old road was made by use of GOI funds – removal of the old pavers is a waste of government money worth 97.78 Lakhs Rs.
  • The contractor does not follow the Indian standard published by the Indian Roads Congress and the Ministry of Surface Transport (Roads Wing), using incorrect materials, sub-grade paver blocks for the intended purpose of the road, and techniques that are either not applied properly, or not appropriate for an area that experiences heavy monsoon rains.
  • No infrastructure details are given on current plans for the Crown that the CPWD is using. This means that there are no provisions for future laying of pipes, cables, etc, and that for such work the road will have to be dug up again.
  • The design for the road is highly inappropriate for the climatic conditions of Auroville, and the road will be “unliveable during the hot season because of the heat caused by the sun radiation.”
  • The current plans do not take into account accurate land elevations and slopes, which are essential for creation of a road such as this.
  • Work is not done properly, leading to consistently misaligned kerbs and uneven paving.

The report also gives an overview of the events that happened in the Youth Centre between 3th-10th December, including witness testimonials, as well as video and image documentation.