Posts Tagged 'INTACH'

Vysial Street Restoration Project receives Award of Merit 2008

Poster for Award Ceremony

Poster for Award Ceremony

14 February 2009

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage “Award of Merit 2008” for cultural heritage conservation was awarded to the Government of Puducherry for the Vysial Street Restoration. Lieutenant Governor Govind Singh Gurjar received the award certificate from Moe Chiba, Program Officer for Culture, UNESCO, New Delhi.

Lt. Governor, Govind Singh Gurjar, speaking at the award ceremony

Lt. Governor, Govind Singh Gurjar, speaking at the award ceremony

Congratulations to INTACH, Pondicherry, for preserving a stretch of Vysial Street (Rue Calve Subbraya Chetty) between Rue de la Cathedrale (Mission Street) and Mahatma Gandhi Street in the “Tamil Town”, an area where the traditional continuous verandas (thalavaram) and semi-public benches (thinnai) have survived. Twenty traditional facades were restored and an additional four houses redesigned to fit in with the streetscape.

Vysial Streetface

Vysial Streetface


PondyCAN! Did!

Gingee Bazaar Architectural Rendering

Pondicherry Citizens Action Network (PondyCAN!) has a rather ambitious agenda: to effectuate long-range, integrated regional master planning which will preserve, restore, and enhance this once-beautiful, rapidly despoiled, utterly unique heritage town and its surrounding natural resources, and place them within a small-radius network of symbiotic economic hubs. Some of our endeavors are far more modest, however. One recent effort involved dissuading the Pondicherry Municipality from constructing a massive concrete market block at the top of the central canal which divides the French and Tamil districts of the historic Boulevard Town.

The Public Works Department had designed and sent-for-bid an architecturally abominable, two-story, air conditioned, concrete structure to house the few dozen ragamuffin vendors who sell fruit, vegetables, flowers, and fish on what is now a patch of tree-shaded dirt ground at the same site. The PWD plan would have accommodated 120 vendors in a bloated footprint extending street-to-street-to-street-to-street, with neither footpaths nor parking areas. It would have visually and physically have choked on of the area’s few remaining open spaces.

Working with architects from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Pondy CAN! made a detailed study of the project and developed a new design for the proposed structure. With the help of our Legislative Assembly Member, we lobbied hard for the new plan, which incorporated open-walled, tiled-roofed, vernacular architecture and systems for recycling, collection of organic waste for composting, public toilets, and other public hygiene improvements. Our plan accommodates 60 vendors, physically separating the fish mongers from the fruit and vegetable sellers and providing segregated veg and non-veg wash facilities.

And we won!

The Government of Pondicherry has just announced that the new Gingee Bazaar, built according to our design, will commence construction next month.

Continue reading ‘PondyCAN! Did!’

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