The secretary, Ms J. Ravi together with Dena Merriam and Raghu along with an international delegation attending the so-called spiritual science summit in Auroville, held a pooja in Darkali to basically announce the imminent destruction of over 300 trees in Darkali alone.
The “spiritual summit” invited participants are carted off to pray for the destruction planned by the office of the secretary against the wishes of the majority of the residents circumventing participatory planning, evolution and flexibility which are enshrined in the master plan.
In a speech at the start of the ceremony, Dena Merriam member of the IAC claimed that the trees in Darkali “were planted knowing that they were in the way of the road and that they would have to be taken down”. This is incorrect since the stewards of Darkali planted the area in consultation with Roger Anger and TDCs over the years, planting an alleyway which is now 6 meters away from the new alignment favoured by the AVFO’s illegally appointed ‘ATDC’. Endangered trees and vital water catchment areas are now threatened. The Darkali community proposed an alternative pathway last year which, with a reduction in the width of the road, would have remained within the perfect circular alignment of the 30m Crown and would also have protected the natural area. This proposal was rejected by the AVFO and their ‘ATDC’ without reason.