News & Notes 694:Working Committee report March 2017

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694 icon.jpg   News & Notes 694
8 April 2017

Working Committee report March 2017

The main issues dealt with in March have been the following:

Feedback on February report

The Working Committee thanks the individuals who have taken the time to give feedback on the monthly reports. In the coming days, all substantive feedback and questions from the February report will receive an answer.

Award for Auroville

The Sri Lanka-United Nations Friendship Organisation (SUNFO), is a non-political, non-racial and non-sectarian organization working for peace, harmony and well-being of mankind according to the principles of United Nations.

SUNFO was inaugurated on 22 May, 1999 under the patronage of Hon. Speaker of the Parliament Sri Lanka Dr.K.B.Rathnayake and with the blessings of the United Nations Resident Coordinator Mr. Peter Witham. During the last 17 years over one million youth, children, and citizens have participated in SUNFO programmes, activities, mobilizations and campaigns.

One of the main objectives of SUNFO is developing social, cultural, volunteerism, tourism cooperation between people of Sri Lanka and people in other diverse friendly nations. With the blessings of SUNFO Patron Hon. Deshabandu Karu Jayasuriya (The Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament) SUNFO declared a Global Village Programme in year 2016. This programme recognizes special initiatives in the world to develop people’s cooperation globally.

SUNFO decided to honour Auroville by awarding it the “SUNFO Global Village Award of Appreciation” on March 30th during a brief ceremony at the Unity Pavilion. The award, consisting of an award plaque and framed certificate, was given to Auroville Foundation Secretary Mr. M.V. Chunkath by Ambassador of Peace and SUNFO Director General Dr. W.A. Deshapriya S. Wijetungem and Chartered Architect Ranga Soysa-head of the SUNFO Global Village Programme.

Mohanam Village Heritage Centre

Together with the FAMC and after consultation with the Secretary and all parties involved, the Working Committee has looked at the creation of the Mohanam Village Heritage Centre on Auroville land near Alankupam, the site of which was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Puducherry on January 2nd, 2017.

The Mohanam Village Heritage Centre is set up under the Scheme of Rural Tourism and is funded by the Government of Puducherry and Ille-et-Vilaine, a County Council in France. The project costs are estimated at Rs.96.00 lakhs.


The Government of India has made the holding of an ADHAAR card mandatory for many issues, such as railways bookings and opening of bank accounts. ADHAAR is a unique identification number, for which biometric data (scan of finger prints and eyes) are recorded.

Anyone, including foreigners who have been more than 182 days residing at the same address in India for the past year, is eligible for an ADHAAR card.

The Working Committee will soon organize an ‘ADHAAR Camp’ in or around the Town Hall, to facilitate the registration of Auroville residents, including children, and the issuance of the ADHAAR card. More information will follow in the coming days.

Visa issues

The Working Committee continues its efforts to resolve a number of long-pending visa issues with the much appreciated help of François Gautier.

We request all those who are contacted by the Regional Registration Office representatives to inform the Working Committee immediately.

Location Youth Hive

The Working Committee, jointly with the Auroville Council and the TDC, has become involved in trying to find a solution for the location of the Youth Hive project, a 60-100-bed youth hostel. The location next to the Pump House, proposed by the TDC at the recommendation of the International Zone Group, has met with opposition from the Pump House residents who consider the site too close to their residences, as well as from Poppo, who would like to reserve the same site for a future archaeological museum. The matter has been discussed in a restorative circle and in joint meetings of the Working Committee, Auroville Council and TDC, together with Pump House residents, Youth Hive representatives and with Poppo and his support group. The matter has not yet been resolved.

Renewal of executives / New executives for Matrimandir

A call for nominations for renewal of/new executives of the Matrimandir has gone out and was published in the News and Notes # 692 on 25th March 2017 and can be read here [...]. We aim for that by the end of April a decision on the new executives will have been made.

iTDC – term of office extension, and new TDC process

The Auroville Council, jointly with the Working Committee, has requested the members of the iTDC to continue serving as iTDC member, till the new TDC is in place.

Regarding the new TDC, a General Meeting was held on the 16th of March, at the Unity Pavilion. It was attended by approximately 75 residents. The meeting included an introduction by the Auroville Council and was followed by a presentation by the Core Team on the Planning Guidelines, the recommended structure for TDC/L’avenir and a proposal for the selection process.

Code of Conduct for Trusts and Units

In August 2014, the Governing Board approved a “Memorandum of Understanding between the Board of Trustees and Units under various Trusts of Auroville” and “Guidelines for Trusts and Units”. The Board directed that the Guidelines be reviewed after three years. On the basis of this Board decision, the Under Secretary and Secretary-in-Charge of the Auroville Foundation issued a Standing Order whereby the Foundation discontinued the issuing of office orders and authorized the FAMC to issue resolutions for the creation of units etc.

Soon after this, the Working Committee that took office in December 2014 proposed a revision of the Guidelines. This revision was discussed with the FAMC and was subsequently submitted for approval to the meeting of the Governing Board of March 2016. However, the topic was not taken up by the Board. The document was once again submitted to the meeting of the Board, this time in October 2016. This time, the Board requested the advice of the new Secretary of the Auroville Foundation, who was not present in the Board meeting.

Jointly with the new Secretary the revision was reviewed, and changes were made. The new document, now called Code of Conduct, was then submitted to the FAMC and to the Working Committee for their views and comments.

Jointly with the FAMC Office, the Working Committee has made further comments to this document. It is the intention that once the comments have been approved by the Secretary it will be submitted to the Governing Board for its approval. The final document will be presented in a General Meeting before submission to the Governing Board.

Mattram (Emotional and Mental Health Group)

The Emotional and Mental Health care group has named itself “Mattram (the Tamil word for 'Transformation') Institute of Integral, Individual Development and Research”. The group is preparing a presentation for April and is still actively searching for a place out of which to work. The core group consists of Jerry B, Linda-Grace and Rita E.

Facilitating the entry of young people in Auroville

The Working Committee organised a half-day workshop with invitees from Savi, Housing, TDC, ABC, AVC, BCC, ACI, FAMC, to deliberate on easing the entry for young newcomers and volunteers. The outcome of the meeting will translate into a policy and will be communicated by the relevant working groups.

Working Committee feedback on its performance

The Working Committee appreciates feedback and input from the wider community about issues that are deemed relevant. We would also highly appreciate genuine constructive feedback about the functioning, mandate, strengths or shortcomings that can be used to improve our work-output and performance.

Pending issues

  • Entry – jointly with the AVC, Entry Service and the ETG
  • Windarra Arbitration and the Implementation and Monitoring Group (IMG) – jointly with the AVC
  • Strengthening AVHS
  • Work of sea erosion control on Samuthira beach

The Working Committee (Angela, Carel, Hemant, Inge, Kumar, Mandakini, Ranjithkumar)