News & Notes 631:Report of the Working Committee
Report of the Working Committee
Major topics dealt with in December 2015
1. New members of the Working Committee: The selection process in early December chose Hemant and Inge as new members who have replaced Eric and Manohar. We are grateful to both Eric and Manohar for their contribution and presence in the WCom and welcome Hemant and Inge aboard.
2. Windarra: The implementation process of the arbitration decision on Windarra conflict has reached a point where the implementation can finally be effectuated. The FAMC has approved and each of the two parties has meanwhile signed for taking up a long-term loan.
3. Mangalam and road blockages: Both, Auroville and the village, have come to a mutual agreement on the issue. A MoU has been drafted and will be signed soon.
4. GoI Grant: The Government of India Grant subgroup, in collaboration with the main beneficiaries of the GOI grant, are looking into the timely utilization of the GOI grant 2015-16 and the budgets for the financial year 2016-2017.
5. Request for tax relief for Indian donors: We have been informed that our proposal that the Auroville Foundation be included in the list of entities mentioned in section 80 G (2) of the Income Tax Act 1961, donations to which are eligible for 100% deduction without a qualifying limit, has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance.
6. Mobility and traffic matters: The sub-group constituted by the Auroville Council has completed its work and submitted their report to the Council and Working Committee. The work will be shared with the community in a general meeting.
7. Extortion threat: The Working Committee has filed a police complaint that one of Auroville’s units located in the Kuilapalayam area has been subjected to threats of violence, with the request for payment of a substantial sum, and that those threatening the unit executive have subsequently threatened the Working Committee. The DSP has taken note of the matter and has stated explicitly that Aurovilians should not be fearful of threats of this nature and report them to the police.
8. Visa issues:
- a) The Working Committee would like to express its thanks to Mr. Srinivasamurty and to François Gautier for their efforts to ensure that Satprem Maini and Sabine Fourquez obtained their new Entry Visa from the Indian embassy, Paris.
- b) The Working Committee will visit New Delhi in the beginning of January to pursue the visa problems encountered by a few Aurovilians who have overstayed or otherwise acted against Indian visa regulations. We will also discuss the list of pending visa extensions.
- c) Officers from the Regional Registration Office and/or Police are visiting various communities in Auroville to see if residents of foreign origin are indeed living in the place mentioned in their Residential Permit / Stay Visa. We request all Aurovilians to extend their cooperation and courtesy in their interaction with them. In case of lack of details or doubts, if any, please refer the officer to the Working Committee.
9. Guest/Volunteers/Prospective Newcomers in Auroville – We would like to make the following clarification:
- a) Foreign guests. Foreigners visiting and residing in Auroville holding a tourist visa are welcome to participate in Auroville workshops, activities and educational events. They cannot volunteer and/or work in Auroville.
- b) Volunteers. A volunteer is someone who engages in a specific activity for an Auroville unit or project for a fixed and limited time period: 2 months minimum for Indians (one month minimum in Farms & Forests), 6 months minimum for foreign nationals. Foreign nationals can only volunteer in Auroville while holding an Entry Visa. Foreign nationals can make applications for volunteering through the Auroville volunteering service Savi which assists in obtaining the required letter of recommendation for obtaining an Entry Visa.
- c) Prospective Newcomers. Foreigners staying in an Auroville Guest House/Home-Stay/House-sitting who hold a tourist visa coming to experience Auroville in order to see if they wish to start a “newcomer process” and subsequently join the community as Aurovilian, can contact one or several Auroville activities/services/units and propose their participation for a short duration (1 to 6 months). The Entry Service (Town Hall) will register the foreigners as ‘prospective newcomer’. This registration does not hold the foreigners to any commitment.
10. Special Guest Reception for Matrimandir: The Working Committee and the Matrimandir Access Team have been fine-tuning and improving the working protocol between the Foundation, Working Committee and the Matrimandir Access Team for the reception of Special Guests for Matrimandir visit. Former Working Committee member Eric has agreed to join the Matrimandir Access Team to receive special guests.
11. Repairs and maintenance funds of public buildings: A few months ago we were informed by the Acting Secretary, Auroville Foundation, that an amount of Rs 10 lakhs might be available for the repair and maintenance of public buildings. At the request of the Working Committee, the BCC invited proposals and made a list of repairs needed. However, we have now been informed that the money is not available.
Ongoing matters: The Working Committee is also involved in the following topics, which are still ongoing and not yet concluded:
- Water Harvest / Water Service complaints
- Non-Aurovilians occupying Auroville assets
- Appeal process (jointly with the AvC)
- Auronet Postings (jointly with the AvC)
- Centralised Auroville Accounting Service
- Aspiration Sports Ground (jointly with the AvC)
The Working Committee (Angela, Carel, Elisa, Eric (till 15/12), Hemant (from 15/12), Inge (from 15/12), Mandakini, Manohar (till 15/12), Ranjithkumar)