For the day-to-day management of the Foundation, the Central Government appoints a Secretary who is responsible to the Chairman of the Governing Board.
The Secretary is a high-level officer from the Indian Administrative Service or a similar organisation. The Secretary lives in Auroville.
On Monday, June 13, 2016, Mr. Mohan Verghese Chunkath I.A.S. (retd.) joined the Auroville Foundation as its Secretary. His term of office is three years.
Mr. Chunkath was born in Thrissur, Kerala, on March 10, 1956. He holds a post-graduate degree in Zoology. He belongs to the 1978 batch of IAS officers.
As Additional Chief Secretary, Mr. Chunkath was heading the Tamil Nadu State Department of Environment and Forests since December 2012. He was later posted as Chief Secretary in May 2014 and held this post till December, 2014. Later he became the Additional Chief Secretary / Director, Anna Institute of Management and Director General of Training. He retired from this position on March 31, 2016.
Mr. Chunkath has held various positions including that of Collector of Dharmapuri district and Secretary in charge of Higher Education Department. As the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency from January 2008 to May 2009, he identified solar energy as an area to be promoted vigorously. He served as an Independent Non Executive Director of Seshasayee Paper and Boards Ltd., since February 2, 2013 until July 2014. He was ex-officio Director of Tamil Nadu Water Investment Company Limited, nominee director of the Tamil Nadu Forest Plantation Corporation Ltd., ex-officio Director of the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. and ex-officio Director of Adyar Poonga.
Mr. Chunkath is a well-known Scrabble© player and he has won many tournaments.
Three years ago, his publication Nature Rambles (Mover Books) was released by the former Chairman of the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation, Dr. M. S. Swaminathan who hailed him for showcasing urban biodiversity heritage through just 200 examples of the variety of nature in Chennai.
Mr. Chunkath and his wife Mrs. Sheela Rani Chunkath (who was then Additional Chief Secretary TN and Managing Director of the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation, now retired), were the Chief Guests at the presentation in Auroville of the book Economics for People and Earth – The Auroville case 1968-2008 authored by Prof. Dr. Henk Thomas from The Netherlands and Chartered Accountant Manuel Thomas, on October 2nd, 2013.
Mr. Chunkath was welcomed in an open reception on Tuesday June 21st at the Unity Pavilion.
Previous secretaries were:
Mr. N. Bala Bhaskar, I.A.S.
Mr. M. Ramaswamy, I.A.S.
Mr. S.R. Sharma, I.A.S.
Mr. N. Bala Bhaskar, I.A.S.
Dr. S.C. De, I.P.S.
Mr. L.K. Tripathy, I.A.S.