News & Notes 744:Report Working Committee over the month of March 2018
Report Working Committee over the month of March 2018
The month of March was marked by the absence of a few members who took a brief breather after the February events. The following are the major events of the month.
1) Working Committee functioning: A Restorative Circle (RC) process has begun to try and heal the rift in the Working Committee. In this RC, some members expressed the hurt felt, following the allegations from two members of the Working Committee that they had not been given a proximity pass for the visit of the Prime Minister, due to actions of the PM Task Force in which a few Working Committee members were involved. We would like to express our gratitude to the Auroville Council for helping initiate this process, to Janet and L'Aura for guiding it, and for Sheba and Manas to attend. A second restorative circle is scheduled for Saturday, 7th April.
2) Proximity Passes and feelings of discrimination: The letter of Dr. Karan Singh, regarding the perceived discrimination which has been published on the Auronet has been replied to as follows. The Auroville Council is following up on this topic.
- Dear Dr. Karan Singh,
- We apologise for the delay in responding to your second letter. This is mostly due to the fact that the Working Committee did not arrive at a uniformed voice within its group on this matter.
- During this crisis, the Auroville Council had already been asked by many members of our community to look into the matter of feelings of discrimination in this particular incident of issuance of proximity passes during the visit of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.
- Since the Working Committee was so closely involved in this issue, and in the absence of a uniformed voice within the group, we thought it best to request the Auroville Council to arrive at a statement, if possible.
- The Auroville Council has in the meantime shared with you their response to your second letter.
- We were hoping to respond to you when we had a consensus within our group. However, consensus within our group on this topic seems difficult to arrive at in the very near future.
- We apologise that we did not think of conveying even this information to you, so as to update you and the Governing Board, of our predicament.
- With regards,
- The Working Committee.
A discussion took place with the members of the Auroville Council and Residents' Assembly Service how best to follow up on this issue. The Council will report on his issue soon.
3) Follow up on GB meeting in New Delhi: Hemant and Carel met with ex-officio member of the Governing Board and Joint Secretary HRD Dr. Saravana Kumar in New Delhi to follow up on the various issues discussed in the meeting of the Board, e.g. progress with the appointment of two members of the Board and all members of the International Advisory Council, progress with the approval of the Regulations Entry and Exit, progress with the approval of the change of the Rules of the Auroville Foundation, and financial matters, e.g. release of the final installment of the regular Government of India grant and release of the additional installment of the grant for the 50th anniversary.
4) Clemency: At the occasion Auroville's 50th anniversary, the Working Committee has sent a request to the Hon'ble Minister of Home Affairs to allow the return of three Aurovilians who have been barred from returning to India for unknown reasons, e.g. Gilles Pfeiffer, Stuart Leard and Stuart Coles.
5) Selection new Land Board members: A separate communication on clarifications around the selection process of the new members of the Land Board has been published separately by the Auroville Council jointly with the Working Committee.
6) Land issues: We have asked the Secretary in his function as Estate Officer to address a few land encroachment issues, e.g. at Sri Ma, nearby Djaima, and nearby Rêve.
7) Visa issues: Following the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs that people who have been given 5-year Stay Visa and Residential permits in the past, though they entered India on a visa issued for a lesser period, can continue to obtain 5-year extensions if their original visa had been has issued with a recommendation from the Secretary to the Indian Mission abroad to issue a 5-years Entry Visa, a list of approximately 187 people, has been submitted to the Regional Registration Office, Pondicherry.
8) Post office location: We are looking into the possibilities to shift the Post Office to a building in the Service Area, next to the BSNL building and the offices of UTS, the Safety and Security Service. the Telephone Service and the Electrical Service.
9) Beach erosion: To tackle the ongoing beach erosion at Auroville beach communities, a team of Guy, Jan and Samrat have established contacts with IIT and NIOT in Chennai to find out workable solutions and obtain the required environmental clearances; another team is investigating the legal steps required to obtain permission to execute protection works on Auroville's properties, which is now blocked due to decision of the National Green Tribunal.
10) Parking Kuilapalayam: The search for the best way to allow for short term parking in Kuilapalayam to relieve stress on the road is ongoing.
The Working Committee
Carel, Hemant, Inge, Mandakini, Ranjith, Partha, Sauro.