News from Gaia – Can you hear Her scream

Feb 14, 2023 | Destruction

Letter from an Aurovilian

After over a year of bearing the chaos of our so called development push, today a term came to me that simply expresses my observations….”Zero Gain Development”.

I think we all have had to witness the destroying of our pathed roads, which were made with such diligence by our AV road service, which were completely functional, and in most stretches had had the HT line placed parallel along with the pressurised water pipe. Not only that, it was built under the guidance of the then TDC following the gazetted Master Plan. To see the removal of perfectly useable pavers was already painful enough, but to see the stabilised sub strata gravel scraped away to be used for the underpinnings of a massive, full sun parking area, was becoming unfathOMable. All this to gain a concrete road !!…but with no real gain.

Over the last few days our planners have seen fit to implement a 2-metre-wide cycle path (which is not on the Master Plan), on top of an existing 2.5 metre-wide earth road from Gaia security into Gaia community. Yes, on top of an existing access road which is the only way into Gaia community and which is being used by 4 wheelers, tractors to deliver hay, construction vehicles delivering to CRIPA and vehicular access to the frisbee field, as well as a lot of cyclists and walkers. You may ask what does this mean? The logic behind I can’t even attempt to conjure up, but I can see what it means physically. It is about a team of 8 to 10 people (some carrying their babies) digging 2 shallow trenches 6cm, yes 6cm deep, and 2 metres apart. Then fire bricks are placed in the narrow, shallow trench. The lines followed are dubiously not straight. I am guessing there will be a filling of some, unknown as of yet, material between the brick work, creating a raised cycle path superimposed on a regularly used earth road used by cars minibuses, tractors and load carriers that have no other access. One could not be criticised for having the feeling that this is completely absurd, even unbelievable. The road in question has over the years, due to its usage, been regularly maintained, stabilised, and also had a functional water catchment grid. It has been used as an all-season cycle path connecting to the greenbelt and with the rich diverse evergreen vegetation either side has been enjoyed by many. I really leave it up to everyone to come and take a look, but for me it shows desktop planning at a pinnacle of incompetence. It clearly is an example of zero gain development. Maybe it might appear on some list of achievements as XXX hundreds of meters of cycle path created, but those who have used it for over 20 odd years will rightfully claim it already existed, had a beautiful stabilised red earth surface, and even room to let a 4-wheeler pass safely, which todays creation clearly won’t have. I wonder how long such a small group, under the banner of “officials in charge”, can continue destroying our beloved Auroville’s physical body and how another small group that holds the purse, and that are on a mission to make us more financially viable, will keep their blinkers on and see where really funds are being wasted.

When I discuss this with people, there doesn’t seem to be much surprise, as if this absurdity is the new norm. One person even poignantly pointed out “ ….what do you expect from this new regime, when they announced that their first focus was addressing the housing crisis and one of their first actions was to send letters out to many asking them to contact Housing Service as their house needs to be destroyed, adding them to the list of homeless Aurovilians”.