What is next for development next to Arunachala’s Inner Path?

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This blog has shown some of the disruption to the silent beauty of Arunachala’s Inner Path. For many months, preparation for development has been going on next to the Inner Path, between it and Adi Anamalai village. Much money has been spent on the development. The main expenses have been rerouting the Inner path, and fencing in and clearing a large tract of land. I first wrote about this, before I knew what was going on, in March of 2009 in the post, Repairing the Tanks of Arunachala.

First we feared the development of a housing tract. After some investigation, we learned from the Tiruvannamalai District Collector that it was to be a farm, and that development near the Inner Path was prohibited. A farm seemed better than buildings and that kind of development, but still the environment of the path has been changed by this.

The change has been mitigated somewhat by the wonderful new path segment described in the post, Making a new Inner Path segment on Arunachala. But the peaceful beauty around the tank we call The Frog Pong is gone forever. Instead, there is a fence and barbed wire next to it.

A friend talked to the land owner, who told him that his grandfather had owned this property, and that they were going to use it now. He told my friend that he had already made great concessions to the Inner Path, giving them five feet of right-away on the edge of the property and giving them the Frog Pond, which was actually part of “his” private property.

The owner went on to say that he was much involved in land development around Tiruvannamalai, but since this has slowed down this year, he was working on this land now.

We heard from someone else involved with Arunachala reforestation that the land “owner” offered the reforestation project five acres for an organic farm, then he reduced the offer to 1/2 an acre instead as a tree growing area.

As we walked past this area a few days ago, we saw a new sign. Today we took the camera to take these photos.

As you can see below, Carol is not impressed.

Now the owner is trying to rent it out. This land is good for an organic farm, not because of the soil or water, but since it has not been used for anything for a number of years, and so has no chemicals in the soil. We heard that the one well they drilled came up dry, so we wonder about water. And if there is no water, how can it be farmed?

Since he seemed to not really have a plan, it sure seems to me that maybe the real purpose of all this activity was from him to assert ownership. Why else would this expensive fence be built?

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Opportunity to preserve Arunachala

I think there is an opportunity here for those who love Arunachala. There is still a way that the land can be saved. Probably, since the land is classified as Agricultural, it can be owned only by an Indian citizen. Maybe if people could raise the money and if the  owner is willing to sell, it could be purchased and set aside in perpetuity? Or, on a short term basis, rented and not used. (If it were me I would say, sure I will rent it. But only if we can tear down that fence.)

This way, Arunachala can be preserved, and the owner can make a profit on the land (which is what I think he wants).

Arunachala this morning

Also, here are a few photos I took this morning. It has been raining a lot recently. Today, no rain so far, but lots of clouds. I took a few photos to show you this one of the many ‘Moods of Arunachala.’

This shot is across the area that is to be farmed. It is a bit foggy this morning.

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There is a bullock cart on the  land. Something is happening, I do not know what.

The Northside Basin is has much water from the recent rains.

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The top half of Arunachala is concealed by clouds. Usually here, you would see The Elephant.

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Tiny flowers on sprigs fall from this bush now.

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Arunachala is still in the clouds. Faintly through them you can see the knob that forms the trunk of The Elephant.

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Arunachala stands in silent beauty. Can this be preserved for future generations? To do this, we must find ways to preserve Arunachala.

The beauty of Arunachala has grown over the last twenty years, since the reforestation efforts have started and taken hold. It is up to those who love Arunachala to preserve it for the next twenty years (and beyond). Who can help?

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