News & Notes 633:Restructuring TDC/L’avenir
As you are aware, the Governing Board, in its meeting held at the beginning of October, 2015, decided to restructure the TDC and establish a Town Planning Department before March 2016. This Town Planning Department would be the nodal agency to execute the Master Plan and the detailed Development Plans. The TDC will continue with other activities as explained at the end of this document. The Board constituted a ‘Selection Committee’ to formulate the strategy, tasks, and programmes for this new Town Planning Department, comprising of the following members:
- Dr. B. V. Doshi (Chairman)
- Mr. Walter Helmut Schmid, Architect, Auroville
- Mr. Durganand Balsavar, Architect, Chennai
- Ms. Sonali Heramb Phadnis, Architect, Auroville
- Mr. Ganesh Balasubramanian, Architect, Auroville
The Board mandated the Selection Committee to prepare a list of key personnel and their job descriptions required for the functioning of the office. The key personnel would be selected by merit and appointed with the approval of the Governing Board in their next meeting. However, this proposal was not taken further by the Selection Committee, a major issue being the difficulty of attracting highly-skilled planners to the relatively remote area where Auroville is located.
A new proposal
The Auroville Foundation Act stipulates that the Residents’ Assembly “may formulate the master plan of Auroville” (section 19.2.c) and that the Governing Board has the power “to prepare the master plan of Auroville in consultation with the Residents’ Assembly and to ensure the development of Auroville as so planned.” (Section 17.c).
After discussion with Dr. Doshi and Dr. Karan Singh, and with their agreement, the Working Committee now submits the following proposal to the Residents’ Assembly for its approval.
- The Vastu Shilpa Foundation will be given the work of making the detailed development plans of the Galaxy. The Vastu Shilpa Foundation is a non-profit research organisation for sustainable habitat design, sustainable development, appropriate technology and heritage preservation. It is founded by Mr. Doshi and now headed by Mr. Rajeev Kathpalia, Architect-Urban Designer.
- The community will set-up a 12 or 15 person Client Body consisting of qualified Aurovilians working in various community areas such as planning, infrastructure, environment, economy, services, education and regional development to act as ‘interface’ between the community and the Vastu Shilpa Foundation.
- The work to be done by the Vastu Shilpa Foundation and the period in which it is to be done will be specified and agreed upon by the Client Body and the Vastu Shilpa Foundation. Initial discussions can take place in a one or two-day workshop in Auroville.
- The charges of the Vastu Shilpa Foundation will be borne from the GOI grant allocated to the Auroville Foundation.
- A formal agreement will be entered into between Auroville, represented by the Governing Board and/or the Working Committee, and the Vastu Shilpa Foundation.
- The Vastu Shilpa Foundation will do the work preferably with its own people and not subcontract the work to individuals, though it may seek the help of qualified Aurovilians.
- The Client Body and the Vastu Shilpa Foundation will endeavour to start a capacity building program so that at the end of its assignment a proper Auroville Technical Planning Office can be set-up. This will be done by hiring Aurovilians interested to do the work, and by attracting young people interested in a) Auroville and b) town planning to learn about town planning at the Vastu Shilpa Foundation and in Auroville.
- The Client Body and the Vastu Shilpa Foundation will prepare a proposal on how the present TDC and the Auroville Technical Planning Office will function once the assignment of the Vastu Shilpa Foundation is completed.
- Mr. Doshi has agreed to resign as Chairman of the TDC as well as member of the Governing Board.
- The present TDC consisting of Sauro, Toby, Cristo and Jacqueline, will continue to function, but only for the implementation of annual development program, approval of development, building permissions, Master Plan Status and protection, regional and village development activities, development budgeting, administration, and interface of the existing technical services (survey, gis, engineering, etc.). The TDC should work in close coordination with the Client Body.
The Working Committee further proposes that:
- The mandate and term of office of the Client Body will be formulated by a subgroup to be setup by the Auroville Council (whose task it is to formulate mandates). The mandate will be submitted to the Residents’ Assembly for its approval.
- The selection of the Client Body will be done on the basis of competence as mentioned above. The selection process will be similar to the selection of the members of the Working Committee and Auroville Council, e.g. in a 2 or 3 days selection process.
The Working Committee will invite the Auroville residents for a general meeting to discuss this proposal. Details about time and location will be published separate. The Working Committee would like to communicate the decision of the Residents’ Assembly to the Governing Board for its meeting in March.