News & Notes 644:Final Report of Outgoing Auroville Security Service
Final Report of Outgoing Auroville Security Service
We started to take security in Auroville seriously in 2004 after the murder of one of our fellow Aurovilians. The Security Task Force (STF) was established to deal with matters related to the murder case, but also in maintaining a safe environment inside Auroville. In 2007 the STF was disbanded and the AV Security Service was formed with Ramesh, Shahar and Anandamayi heading the service.
Security on the roads, and as required in other occasional circumstances, is currently provided by experienced civilians and several Aurovilians. Matters occasionally requiring the involvement of the Indian Police were handled by Ramesh.V who did the necessary liaison work.
AV Security was composed of three Aurovilian Board members (Mr. Ramesh.V, Mr. Shahar and Ms. Anandamayi) along with WC and AVC representatives. The Board members acted and attended to all incidents and security related issues as required from the members. The field work was done by several Aurovilians, as well as the above mentioned experienced civilians. AV Security also worked closely with the Auroville Working Committee and Auroville Foundation Office on issues involving outside parties or the local police.
Security Guards: The Auroville Security Board hired the security personnel from G4s Company on a contract basis in 2004 till August 2011. During that time the G4s Company failed to fulfill the terms of their contract on numerous occasions. Several other Security Companies were tried out but with the same result. Since then AV Security Service has employed trained civilians. A team of 6 security guards were appointed in September 2011 and it has increased to a team of 18-20 personnel.
The main structure consists of several teams of security guards patrolling different areas of Auroville, 24 hours/day. They were coordinated by Ramesh.V and supervised by some paid personnel (Karuna). The guards were divided into 2 teams for day and night duty. They patrolled the roads, kept a watch on activities and visitors while providing assistance and security to those who were in need.
Asset development: When the Security Service was established in 2008, the only assets were 4 motorbikes and cell phones. Since then, a Security administration office has been established in Town Hall where all of the security records are maintained. All security issues were communicated to working groups as well as to the Security Board members through this office. The Security Board members held weekly meeting (Monday mornings) where they discuss security related issues. A monthly report was prepared and it was sent to the relevant working groups. One office secretary (R.Sakthivel) was available at the office from 9.30am – 12.30pm and 2.30.pm – 4.30.pm. He looked after the office work, accounts book keeping and often assisted with some police liaison work.
The Field Security Office is located in the Service Area where the personnel coordinated the overall security of Auroville. It was operating from 7.00am to 10.00pm. Ramesh.V was organising and coordinating the day and night guards from this office. Shiva was supervising the guards in the field. Since 2008, 2 motorbikes, 8 cycles and other equipment and tools were added to the Service.
Fire fighting: In the aftermath of cyclone Thane, Auroville forests were strongly affected and there was a growing threat of forest fires. Two 6,000 liters water tankers, some fire extinguishers and various tools and equipment were purchased. They have been utilized in all the fire incidents that occurred in Auroville. The Auroville Security guards were trained to use the firefighting equipment and played a major role in putting out the fires.
Volunteers: In 2010, appeals were made to the larger community for volunteers to help patrol different areas of Auroville and to escort people upon request. Initially there were over 60 volunteers, but within a year that figure had dwindled down to 2. A couple of years later another appeal was made but only 2 people responded.
Mobile Police Patrolling Unit: In 2013, a mobile Police patrolling unit was assigned specifically for the Auroville area and its presence on the roads and in nearby villages has significantly reduced the number of roadside incidents.
Meetings and Proposed Plans
- Sub-Committee: From 2009 till 2013 a series of meetings were held with the offices of District Collector & the Superintendent of Police, Villupuram, along with the Auroville Foundation, Working Committee, L’Avenir, LRM and AV Security representatives to establish a Sub- Committee to help deal with law & order problems, and land related issues. There are several pending topics (see below).
- Access into AV: At present there are over 34 different access points into Auroville. In 2009, 2012, 2013, AV Security requested a meeting with L’Avenir and they finally met in Sept 2013 to discuss this matter. A survey and map was made, plans of action made and priorities were set by L’Avenir but not much follow up has been done until to this day.
- Check posts: Two more check posts have to be erected at the Certitude corner and Kottakarai.
- Streetlights: Additional solar streetlights have to be installed inside Auroville. There is a need to approach the local authorities to erect standard streetlights along the tar road between Kuilapalayam and Edayanchavadi. Around 10 standard streetlights were installed on the tar road of Auro Orchard by the Thiruchitrambalam Panchayat.
- CCTVs: Installing speed dome or wireless CCTVs in key public areas (Certitude corner, Solar Kitchen, Dana area, Kottakarai area and Kuilapalayam Tar road) to observe the movements of people in and out of AV and to help identify people/vehicles in case of accidents or other incidents. Since 2013, 6 CCTVs were installed at the Visitors Center by the management, 8 CCTVs were installed at the Town Hall by the management and 16 CCTVs were installed the Auroville Foundation Bhavan.
- Fire Sub-Station: In general, and especially after cyclone Thane in which the Auroville forests were strongly affected, there has been a growing threat of forest fires. The closest Fire Station is in JIPMER (8 kms away), Vanur (9 kms away) and Kalapet (12 kms away). Whenever fire incidents happen, the fire engines take a long time to reach the spot. Therefore a fire sub-station is required close to Auroville to protect Auroville forests from fire.
- Steel Overhead bars: There has been an increase in heavy vehicle traffic; trucks and lorries that have been driving through Auroville as a shortcut to the by-pass (NH 66) and ECR. To control the heavy vehicles 2 steel overhead bars need to be installed, one in Chinnamudaliyarchavadi (the entrance road to Auroville) and the other at the junction of the NH66 (near the Toll Gate).
- Police Outpost: Over the years, several discussions have taken place on finding a suitable location for a Police Outpost.
We would like to thank the community at large for their help and support over the years.
Ramesh V., Anandamayi Legrand & Shahar Yaari (Outgoing Auroville Security Board members – date: 04 April 2016)