News & Notes 720:Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) Monthly Report - September 2017

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720 icon.jpg   News & Notes 720
21 October 2017


Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) Monthly Report - September 2017



As mandated by the community, the FAMC gave a presentation of its work to the Resident’s Assembly on 26th September. The presentation included an introduction to the FAMC’s work, progress on the annual Work Plan, lessons learnt by the group and a brief look towards the future. It was also clarified at the meeting that the revisions to the BCC mandate had been made in collaboration with the BCC to resolve conflicting mandates, streamline work, and to reflect the actual reality of BCC’s work for the past decade. A brief report of the FAMC meeting with the Resident’s Assembly can be requested from the Residents’ Assembly Service.

We are also sorry to report that Amy has submitted her resignation this month as FAMC member. Amy has served in the FAMC for 7 years now; as secretary for 6 years and as a member for 1 year. In her tenure as a secretary, she helped shape FAMC to be a functional, efficient body, and as a member she played a key role in ensuring institutional continuity for the new group. At the team’s request, Amy has agreed to serve until three new members are selected in early November to join FAMC. We are sorry to see Amy leave the team as a member and glad that she will continue to be available as a resource person to FAMC.

Completed issues

Units and Trusts

  • Mitra Auroville, executive reappointment: The FAMC approved the reappointment of Mr. Viacheslav Astafyev (aka Slava) upon the recommendation of the Auroville Board of Commerce (ABC)
  • La Maison, executive reappointments: ABC endorsed the reappointment of the two executives of this unit, Mr. Balaji Sundervinayagam, and Mr. Sundar Rajamani. After some discussion about the unit’s contribution and future plans with the ABC support group, FAMC approved the reappointment.
  • Tapasya Design Studio executive changes: ABC endorsed the appointment of Mrs. Vidhyalakshmi and resignation of Mr. Aleksejs Golubeus. The other executives are Mr. Eugen Eigennmann and Mr. G.R. Sreevatsa. FAMC approved the changes.
  • Auroville Unity Fund executive changes: After consulting with the Working Committee, the Auroville Council, and current Auroville Unity Fund executives, the FAMC passed a Resolution approving the following executive changes to the Auroville Unity Fund: Reappointment of Lyle, Michael Tait, Otto, and Rathinam; new appointment of Ms. Christine Besson; and resignation of Divya Kapoor, Torkil and Kumar K.. The current executives will serve a term of five years and FAMC will periodically review their work.
  • Reve Guest House (under Guest House Trust) new unit application: The Auroville Board of Services (ABS) endorsed the creation of the new unit, Reve Guest House, with Mr. Xavier Cuinat Guerraz and Ms. Ishita Grassi Lidchi as executives, a couple who have been managing the guest house for many years now. This guest house was previously under the Exploration umbrella but as it had increased its capacity substantially, it was felt that it should be an independent unit. FAMC approved of the creation of this unit, and further recommended adding a third executive who is not a family member. This is being done in all such cases of close family members being in charge of a unit.

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

  • Site applications in the Industrial Zone: ABC requests that its feedback be sought for all site applications in this zone. Their request was agreed to by iTDC and FAMC. It was mentioned that this request had been approved earlier but not implemented.

Land related

  • Land for the Auroville landfill: Eco Service was given temporary caretakership of the plots TH 164/1 (2.42 acres) and TH 165/8 (2.40 acres) to be used as a landfill. As these plots, situated outside the Master Plan area around Aurobrindavan, are on the land exchange list a Temporary Land Caretaker Agreement was drawn up between the FAMC and the Eco Service executives. This agreement is extendable for another two years, after the initial three year period and, upon review of the needs and situation in September 2020.
  • Land stewardship: Fertile Field (Jana & Jan) request for stewardship of newly acquired plots MA 301/1 (3.06 acres) & BO 3/1B (1 acre) was approved by FAMC, upon recommendations by both the iTDC, and the Green Group.

Loans

  • Sunship construction loan: FAMC has very exceptionally granted a short-term bridging loan of Rs. 1 crore to Sunship, a residential project, to help with the flow of funds at the final stage. Louis Cohen, the project coordinator, stands as a guarantor to ensure that the loan will be repaid back in full by end of January 2018.

Ongoing issues

Units and Trusts

  • International Zone / Pavilions Trust (proposed): The International Zone Coordination Team (IZCT) asked FAMC for feedback on the idea to create a new Trust for International Zone (IZ) projects and the national pavilions. FAMC supported the idea of such a Trust and has asked IZCT to work out clear objectives for the operation of the Trust. The FAMC awaits their response.

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

  • Auroville Architects Service site application: Auroville Architects Service (AAS) proposes a multipurpose construction in the Industrial Zone, (ground + 2), with the top floor intended as residential spaces. FAMC has asked ABC for feedback on certain specific issues regarding this site application.
  • Auroville Consulting site application: Auroville Consulting (AVC) has a No Objection Certificate (NoC) for a site in the Industrial Zone, but reported that their work on clearing the site of thorny bushes for an accurate survey of the boundaries was prevented by some people connected to the Pony Farm. Both iTDC and FAMC have engaged in verbal and email discussions with the objectors and requested them to allow AVC to continue with its work. iTDC also clarified to the Auroville Council the process that had been followed in getting feedback from the Pony Farm residents prior to issuing the NoC.
  • Visitors Centre (VC) & Matrimandir Guest House site application: VC has applied for a site for short stay facility of 40 rooms (including common rooms), primarily for visitors to Matrimandir. Proposed location is close to VC at the bottom of the Aurodam football field (International Zone). Initial feedback on the site application has been given to the iTDC.

Housing

  • Housing asset valuations: FAMC wants to institute better processes for determining the value of Auroville’s housing assets. Helmut’s work in this field was acknowledged. FAMC will seek the collaboration of the Housing Board to establish a clear set of criteria and compile a database of capable, willing architects/civil engineers who can carry out the work.
  • Anan Skoles housing loan application: The Housing Board recommended a loan of Rs. 10 lakhs to Anan to be repaid within 5 years for completion of the housing asset he’s building in Eternity. The FAMC has concerns about the amount of the loan, and the purpose for which it is requested, and has written to Anan requesting clarifications. On a related note, this issue brought up the need for scrutinization of loan requests. FAMC will consult with the Loan Group on this issue. At the end of this reporting period, no decision had been reached.

Land

  • Samuthira and the beach erosion: There is a renewed request from Saravanan, executive-manager of Samuthira guest house, for funds to build a seawall in an effort to prevent further severe erosion of the beach. The erosion is causing damage to a part of the guest house, and it has increasingly gotten worse in the past few months. The issue is slated for discussion with the Working Committee to check on the feasibility as it would involve the agreement of external parties.

Miscellaneous issues

  • Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) issues: Noting difficulties recently encountered in carrying out the last CAG Audit, the FAMC, in collaboration with the Auroville Foundation, would like to improve the system in place for managing the audit. In this context, the FAMC plans to create an Auroville Audit team to coordinate and manage the CAG audits and the issues that come up from them. The next CAG audit will be the Transaction Audit in December, 2017.
  • Venkatesh building without an NOC: iTDC and FAMC have been discussing the best way to deal with this proposed guest house, which was built without an NoC in the International Zone and which is not in keeping with the land use plan of that area. Venkatesh (aka Venki) now wants to have the guest house included under the Guest House Trust. A Memorandum of Agreement is sought to be drawn between FAMC and Venki to settle this issue.


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