News & Notes 716:FAMC Monthly Report - August 2017

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716 icon.jpg   News & Notes 716
23 September 2017


FAMC Monthly Report - August 2017



In August, 10-12 smiley faces started to regularly join our meetings. These were in the form of yellow squeezy balls that Chali and Amy brought to lighten up our meetings, and now no meeting is complete without them. The balls come in handy in pelting someone who speaks out of turn or does not stick to the agenda! With 25 or more issues on the agenda at each meeting, we agreed during our review process to try and avoid burnout by making our meetings more joyful, and the balls have played their role in this context.

We would also like to publicly thank Aloka for offering a special session on Awareness through the Body for our entire team and to Pitanga for hosting this session.

Finally, in terms of process, currently we devote most of our meeting time on Thursdays to work on our annual work plan.

Completed topics

Units and Trusts

  • Bamboo Centre Auroville, new unit application (Swagatam Trust): creation of the unit was endorsed by the ABC and then approved by the FAMC. The executives are Mr. P. Balusundharam, Mr. R. Ranjithkumar, and Mr. Gert Jan van den Eijk (aka Yuval).
  • Treecare new unit application (Discovery Trust): creation of the unit was endorsed by the ABC and then approved by the FAMC. The executives are Mr. Anadi Skoles, Mr. Jonas Suchanek and Mr. Julian Becker.
  • Aqua Engineers new unit application (ADPS Trust): creation of the unit was endorsed by the ABC and then approved by the FAMC. The executives are Mr. Dirk Nagelschmidt and Ms. Lila Neemberry.
  • Light Fish (ADPS Trust) executive reappointment: the reappointment of Mr. Samvit Blass and Ms. Simone Dumont was endorsed by the ABC and then approved by the FAMC.
  • Naturally Auroville (GNP Trust) executive resignation: FAMC approved the resignation of Ms. Ila Nadja Zadrozny based on a Resolution passed by the Trust.
  • Artisana Trust trustee changes: the following changes were endorsed by the ABC and then approved by the FAMC: resignation of Mr. Michel Hutin, appointment of Mr. Guy Dinet. The Working Committee was requested to submit the changes to the Office of the Secretary, Auroville Foundation for issuance of the Office Order.
  • Matrimandir executive changes: Based on a due process by the Residents’ Assembly and subsequent procedures involving the Working Committee and the Auroville Foundation, FAMC is in the process of issuing an FAMC Resolution appointing Mr. John Harper, Mr. Vladimir Ivanov, Ms. Aurosylle Bystrøm, Mr. Jyoti Eri, Mr. Eric Avril, Mr. Louis Cohen, and Mr. Hemant Shekhar as Executives of Matrimandir for a period of four years with effect from August 1, 2017.

Guest-houses and homestays (guest house trust) issues

  • Request for an outside bank accounts Isai Ambalam Guest House (Suryan) requested to open a bank account to facilitate income collection from guests booking through outside websites. As there is no policy in place and Auroville is trying to move towards a collective economy, allowing guest houses to open outside bank accounts cannot be encouraged as this would set the wrong precedent. There is an existing guest house collection bank account where all outside bank transfers can be made, managed by the Guest House Trust and from which 20% contribution is collected from each guest house transaction. This facility can be operationally improved to support the guest houses with a more efficient service. On this basis, the request was denied.
  • Martuvam homestay application: The homestay application was approved following the Guest Facilities Coordination Group (GFCG) recommendations and confirmation that proposed improvements requested by FAMC has been made. On a related issue, FAMC recognizes the need for better fencing at Martuvam, but funds for this will need to be raised by the steward.

Interim Town Development Council ((iTDC) aka L’avenir d’Auroville) related

  • Surya Power Plant site application: This is a solar power plant that is proposed to be built on land owned by Aditi Diamonds Pvt. Ltd. The generated solar energy will be donated to Auroville via Varuna Auroville. After lengthy discussions, FAMC approved this site application. However, it determined that as the plot is in the Auroville Master Plan area, it is best if the land is leased out to Varuna, Auroville, a unit under Auroville Foundation by Aditi Diamonds. A lease agreement is being currently worked out. An additional concern was raised about the wastage of electricity due to inefficient use or air-conditioners being used by Aurovilians since the introduction of Varuna Auroville’s supply of energy in-kind scheme. FAMC has informed BCC to review this scheme.

Land

  • Land Purchase: FAMC approved the purchase of plot BO 21/3 (0.77 acres) upon the recommendation of the Land Board. The plot borders Baraka community on two sides.

Miscellaneous

  • Presentation to Governing Board (GB): FAMC’s planned presentation to the GB was severely curtailed due to lack of time. We gave a brief financial overview of Auroville and introduced them to the team informing them of the new mandate.

Ongoing issues

Units and Trusts

  • Mukti Accounting: FAMC met with the unit’s executives - Ananda, Kumar and Sathiya - to figure out challenges with the unit and see how this accounting service could be strengthened. Michael Tait attended the meeting as a resource person. Additional clarifications from the executives are awaited.
  • Foodlink new unit application under Service Trust: creation of the unit has been endorsed by ABS and the Service Trust but FAMC has further questions and is waiting for a response from Foodlink executives.
  • Imagination (Auroville Exports Trust): The separation of the two sections of Imagination is yet to be completed as the ‘doll section’ has not been audited for two years due to lack of proper submission of accounts.

Interim Town Development Council ((iTDC) aka L’avenir d’Auroville) related

  • Invocation Radial Project building application: FAMC members met with the project holders, architect, and iTDC to discuss the mixed usage of the proposed building. The building application is currently pending with iTDC. We apologize for the fact that our last report on this issue created some confusion as it was seen in being contradiction to iTDC statements. We were reporting on our internal discussions.

Housing

  • Housing Board: Process and Criteria for public housing allocation: The youth housing projects, Humanscapes, and Project X & Y will soon be completed. Housing Board and representatives from FAMC and WC will be working out process and criteria for the allocation of housing units in these projects.

Policy and Guidelines

  • BCC mandate: A revised mandate was worked out in collaboration with BCC by FAMC and shared with the Residents’ Assembly for feedback. Objections and requests for clarification were received by the residents, to which the FAMC has responded by publishing a detailed note on Auronet and in the News and Notes.

Land

  • Land encroachment opposite Tanto’s in New Creation: WC and FAMC jointly discussed this matter and together requested the Land Board to take the appropriate action in addressing the encroachment.

Miscellaneous issues

  • Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) issues: For the CAG auditors, hard copies of bank accounts and financial information are required from all units, services and Trusts submitting accounts. FAMC requires soft copies of this information for their records. The work in establishing a better process is currently underway.
    We would like to annually review and improve the entire process of CAG audits. We are working out a review process. Auroville Foundation also had sent us their observations about the CAG audit, which we will soon be responding to.
  • Assets in the Abri area (Auroville Electrical Service old building allocation): AVES and Solar Service have moved out of Abri into their new location in the Service Zone. The vacated old buildings in Abri are community assets and most of them need to be renovated. Abri is in the green belt. Keeping all these factors in mind, FAMC will work out a process for re-allocation of the assets.
  • Unity Fund (UF): The current UF executives’ term expired on 16 September 2017. Based on the new FAMC mandate, which makes the FAMC responsible for the constitution and oversight of the Unity Fund, FAMC started the process for selection of the UF executives based on responsibilities of the job and skills required. Recommendations were solicited from different working groups who work with the UF, however no recommendations were received.
  • GST: We are still working on the best way to legally tackle this issue, in keeping with our internal ideals for a collective economy in Auroville. Please bear with us as we take the time necessary to fully investigate the subject. Sorry for the delay, but we have to ensure that whatever official notice FAMC issues as a group, it will be comprehensive and take into account the needs and ideals of Auroville and also be in accordance with Indian law.


In community,
FAMC (Amy, Bindu, Chali, Chandresh, Lyle, Prabhu, Ulli, Yuval)