On Friday 8th and Saturday 9th July, without prior notice, a JCB entered the Youth Centre accompanied by Joel Van Lierde (“spokesperson” for the AVFO) to ‘flatten the road area’. The JCB started to destroy the vegetable garden next to the pizza oven and a 3-meter tall pipal, as well as many other smaller trees and bushes, were destroyed. On Saturday 9th July afternoon the JCB left a large earth mound blocking the main road access to the Youth Centre, a dangerous obstruction that may have caused road accidents. It was only removed on the insistence of an Aurovilian present at the Youth Centre. On Monday 11th July, the JCB returned to the Youth Centre area and continued clearing trees and bushes despite the clear ruling of the NGT court case that no trees were to be touched before the survey by the NGT Joint Committee, and a formal decision is taken.
On Tuesday 12th, another JCB accompanied by Joel came to the Youth Centre area. When asked for the relevant work order, he refused to produce one and claimed that the residents present were ‘blocking’ the work of the Government of India since this work was executed by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). This was followed by an announcement from AVFO naming the people present and threatening legal action against them, in another move to silence the concerns of the residents of Auroville. To date, the contract with the CPWD and the subsequent work orders have not yet been shared with the Residents’ Assembly or its working groups.