Archive for the 'Events' Category

PondyCAN’s Aurofilio Schiavina Interviewed on Auroville Radio

Aurofilio Schiavina, a member of PondyCAN, was interviewed by Auroville Radio on 16 May 2008 regarding the consultation meet on “Water Management Through Integrated Planning and Regional Collaboration” held at Town Hall on 15 May. Aurofilio’s comments make up the first part of the report.

A Passion for the Environment
Written by Radio Team
Friday, 16 May 2008
Dr Anand - Secretary of Ministry of Urban Development In today’s English news an interview with Aurofilio is presented; he speaks about his passion for the environment and how that gets him into various involvements.

To download the news click here or in the picture.

For a more personal interview with Aurofilio, in Italian, French and English, listen to the program below.

Eclettico Aurofilio
Written by Radio Team
Friday, 16 May 2008
Aurofilio Chi e’ nato per primo ad Auroville? In questa parte dell’intervista in italiano Aurofilio sfata la leggenda.
En Français, il nous parle de ses multiples activitées dont l’eau, la 3D et l’écologie.
And in English Aurofilio tells us about the difficulty of having so many poles of attractions and how he arrives to integrate them.
To listen (per ascoltare) click the logo play.

To download (per scaricare) cliquer ici .

Happy listening…


List of Attendees for “Water Management Through Integrated Planning and Regional Collaboration”

To view the list of the people who attended the Consultation Meet on “Water Management Through Integrated Planning and Regional Collaboration” on 15 May 2008 at Town Hall in Auroville, please click on the link below.

List of Attendees

Welcome Speech – “Water Management Through Integrated Planning and Regional Collaboration”

Here is the text for the welcome speech delivered by Probir Banerjee, President, Pondy CAN, at the opening of the consultation meet on “Water Management Through Integrated Planning and Regional Collaboration” held at Town Hall in Auroville, 15 May 2008.

Good morning, bonjour, vanakkam.

Chief guest of today’s consultation meet Shri Harjit Singh Anand, Shri Negi-ji, distinguished panelists, senior government officials and friends,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this seminar on “Water Management through Integrated Planning and Regional Collaboration” jointly organized by Town and Country Planning (TCP), Govt of Pondicherry, L’avenir d’Auroville, Pondy CAN and INTACH.

We are indeed privileged to have with us this morning, Dr Harjit Singh Anand, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India. He was earlier head of the National Capital Region Board and is highly respected for his profound knowledge and vast experience. The National Capital Region is carved out from 5 states, namely Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan. We are most grateful to you Sir, for kindly accepting our invitation.

We are thankful to our eminent panel of speakers, our distinguished guests and the press for kindly agreeing to be with us this morning.

Friends, you will agree that it is time we take up this issue of water very seriously. It is said “The wars of the twenty-first century will be fought over water”. We keep reading in newspapers about people being killed in water disputes. Water is life. Water truly is everywhere; still most take it for granted.

Water is a key component in determining the quality of our lives. Contrary to the past, our recently developed technological society has become indifferent to this miracle of life. Our natural heritage, the lakes, rivers, seas and oceans, has been exploited, mistreated and contaminated. So much so that today, treatment of water for drinking is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity!

Integrated water management is vital for poverty reduction, environmental sustenance and sustainable economic development. National Water Policy (2002) envisages that the water resources of the country should be developed and managed in an integrated manner. Clean water is an investment in the future of our country.

We are happy that today we have all agreed to discuss the issue of water with a regional perspective as water knows no boundaries. As we look forward to learn from the distinguished speakers and specialists, let me quickly recapitulate some of the challenges we are facing regarding water in this region.

There is depletion of ground water due to over extraction, salt water intrusion into the aquifers, poor ground water recharge from the rains, contamination from open defecation, garbage, and industrial waste etc. The waste water is not treated (and thus not available for re-use) and just runs off into the sea thereby polluting that environment.

We are also happy that we have started off a consultative planning process involving all the stake holders, including the government agencies from both Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu, NGOs and citizens.

I have attempted to flag a few critical areas with the hope that this would elicit responses and reactions from the experts and practitioners present here. Seeing such a distinguished gathering, I am confident, significant recommendations and strategies will emanate from today’s deliberations, which will go a long way in helping us to develop strategies for this region’s water management.

And what better place to start this regional planning on water than Auroville. This once dry and arid land has become a forest, a classic example of excellent water management. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity. Auroville is conducting practical research on sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind.

It is only by creating harmony not only among ourselves but with our environment that we can make this world a better place to live.

With these words, I once again welcome all of you.

Thank you.

Conclusions of 15 May 2008 Consultation Meet on “Water Management Through Integrated Planning and Regional Collaboration”

Dr. Harjit Singh Anand concluded the 15th May meeting by coming up with a strategy on how to collaborate to come up with The Habitat Plan for the Pondicherry Geographic Area (HPPGA).

The following Task forces are to be set up made up of the Chief Town Planner (CTP), Pondicherry, and appropriate members of the Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu administrations, PondyCAN, INTACH, L’avenir d’Auroville and necessary resource persons.
Task Force 1: Regional Planning
Task Force 2: Water
Task Force 3: Energy, including electricity, hydro, renewable, alternative, etc.
Task Force 4: Transportation, including MRTS
Task Force 5: Health, Education, Livelihoods (income generation), Rural and Urban poor
Task Force 6: Heritage, Conservation, Arts and Culture, Tourism
Task Force 7: Demography, Economics
Task Force 8: Environmental management and sustainability
A Component plan will have to be worked out on all these 8 issues.
In addition to setting up these task forces, the first task of the CTP, Pondicherry is to delimit the region and get back to Dr. Ananad on this by the 15th of June.
The next meeting is planned for the end of July and Dr. Karan Singh, Board member of the Auroville Foundation, will attend.

“Water Management Through Integrated Planning and Regional Collaboration” – A Consultation Meet – 15 May 2008

Water management and conservation is an essential component of sustainable regional planning. Surface as well as ground water knows no administrative boundaries and should be managed and conserved in a  coordinated way. The key issues affecting our water currently are:

Depletion of groundwater. Aquifers in coastal regions (as well as inland) all over India are reported to have turned saline because of salt water intrusion and groundwater levels are fast declining due to unsustainable extraction and inadequate recharge.

Surface water management. Most of the traditional irrigation tanks of south India today are in neglected conditions and are heavily silted up, having lost their original storage capacity. Additionally loss of forest cover has further led to soil erosion, disappearing biodiversity and finally poor groundwater recharge from the rains.

Ground and surface water pollution. While solid waste management is now slowly being recognized as an issue to be addressed in the urban setting, this awareness is only gradually extending to the rural areas. The problem is worsened by inappropriate sanitation and open defecation. Treatment of waste water will not only avoid ground and surface water pollution, but also make it available for re-use.

An Integrated Planning approach at a regional scale is the only way out for appropriate water management and conservation and we can do this in the Auroville, Pondicherry and surrounding areas by working in a coordinated way with the administrations of Pondicherry & Tamil Nadu (Villupuram & Cuddalore districts).

In light of these issues, Town and Country Planning, Government of Pondicherry, L’avenir d’Auroville, Pondy CAN and INTACH are organizing a consultation meet on “Water Management Through Integrated Planning and Regional Collaboration” to be held at Town Hall in Auroville on 15 May 2008. The Consultation Meet will bring together the concerned authorities from the administrations and experts who have worked in this region to address the water issue at regional scale and give recommendations for future water management and conservation. Dr. Harjit Singh Anand, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) will be the chief guest.


09.00 am – Tea

09.30 am – Welcome by Mr. Ramaswamy, IAS, Secretary, Auroville Foundation

09.35 am – Purpose of the meet by Mr. G. Durairaj, Chief Town Planner, Govt of Pondicherry

09.45 am – Address by Dr. Harjit Singh Anand, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India

10.00 am – 11.15am – Presentations followed by Questions/Answers

  • Regional Perspective & Historical Evolution – Tency & Prashant, Auroville
  • Salt water intrusion into ground water in Pondicherry -Dr. A. Baskar, Professor and Head, PAJANCOA & RI

11.15 am – Tea

11.30 am – 12.15 – Presentations followed by Questions/Answers

  • Water supply proposals for Pondicherry- Future plans – PWD, Pondicherry
  • Water Projects in eastern Villupuram – Villupuram Collectorate

12.15 – 12.50pm – Panel discussion

12.50 – Concluding remarks by Dr. Harjit Singh Anand, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India

1.00pm – Lunch

Beautiful Pondicherry Awareness Campaign

Beautiful Pondicherry - English

Beautiful Pondicherry - Tamil

Thirty three students from Tagore Arts College, members of the National Service Scheme (NSS), took to Beach Road in Pondicherry on Saturday, 12 January 2008 from 5:30 to 7:00pm to raise awareness among the strollers and revelers about littering, kicking off a student-led “Beautiful Pondicherry” movement. Shuddham, in support of the NSS Students, had a full complement of “beautifiers” who swept the street and sidewalk and emptied garbage cans while the students spread their message in various ways.

Singing Group
Three NSS Students of Tagore Arts College singing their message

The three students above sang a song on litter, composed by Salim, the young man on the right, set to a popular tune. One young man read out a poem; another read out a series of announcements, a group of six performed a mime, and the last group (pictured below) performed a skit.

Drama Group
The drama group after their second performance

Towards the end, the entire group assembled to march en masse down Beach Road, shouting slogans.

At least five local television channels and print media covered the inaugural event – not bad considering an event-packed weekend preceding the Pongal festivities.

Meeting on 4 February 2007 to discuss the formation of a group to make Pondicherry beautiful

Many organizations and individuals are working independently to make Pondicherry a special place. Working together, we can have a more effective and holistic impact.

A meeting will be held at 10:30am on 4 February 2007 at the Golden Chain Office, 2 Rue de la Compagne to discuss the formation of a consortium. The agenda will be:

  1. To finalize the mission statement and objectives of this consortium.
  2. Come up with a name for the consortium.
  3. To enumerate what makes Pondicherry unique.
  4. To prepare a list of organizations and individuals to be a part of this group.

Some preliminary ideas which could form the basis for the discussion are as follows:

Mission statement: To work as a group to preserve and enhance the unique quality of life of Pondicherry.

Name of the consortium: Beautiful Pondicherry Consortium.

Some ideas on what makes Pondicherry unique:

  • Heritage
  • Small town feeling with city infrastructure
  • International and multicultural residents
  • Religious harmony
  • Spiritual center
  • Peaceful Surroundings

All these factors give Pondicherry a special ambiance that draws and keeps people here.

Let’s all collaborate for a Beautiful Pondicherry!