News & Notes 765:Reporting on two issues by the Working Committee
Reporting on two issues by the Working Committee
To the Auroville Community,
We apologize that we have not submitted a report over the month of August, there was too much work preparing and attending the meetings of the Governing Board. We will publish a report over the months of August and September in the News and Notes of the first week of October.
We would like now to report about two issues, the entry refusal of three Aurovilians and the meeting of the Governing Board.
1. ENTRY INTO INDIA REFUSALS.
Three Auroville residents have been barred from re-entering India and returning to Auroville and were sent back to their home country. They are:
1) Vladimir Yatsenko, Norwegian national. He was refused reentry in New Delhi. He has been working for the Auro University in Surat as a Sanskrit scholar to establish Integral Education and this has been considered by the concerned authorities as work outside Auroville and a visa violation. As a Working Committee we have submitted a letter requesting to reconsider the case.
2) Sonia Novaes, Brazilian national. She was refused re-entry in Mumbai. We understand that the reason is that she has violated her dependent entry visa issued to her in order to be together with her husband who is working for a company in Chennai on a business visa, by coming to live with her children in Auroville. The mistake was also made in Auroville, it was thought that she could stay here as she has an Entry Visa, not realising that this was not an Entry Visa specifically issued for Auroville. Even in this case we have submitted a letter requesting to reconsider the case.
3) Marie-Claire Barsotti, French national. We assume she was refused re-entry as she has exhibited her paintings in a gallery in Pondicherry in a joint exhibition with Marco Saroldi. The Working Committee was able to prevent Marco from being sent back to Italy when he returned to India. We immediately tried to prevent any similar problems happening to Marie Claire by writing a letter to the FRRO Chennai on June 13th and informing the RRO, Pondicherry.
Marie Claire arrived in the middle of night, when we tried to reach her she was already on the flight back and it was not possible to give the clarifications like in the previous case.
These issues have been brought to the notice of the Governing Board.
We are working with the Secretary, Auroville Foundation, to resolve these issues and the pending visa renewals.
2. MEETINGS OF THE GOVERNING BOARD.
The community interaction with the members of the Governing Board took place over 2 days, Friday, September 7th. And Saturday morning September 8th.
These interactive meetings were attended to by Dr. Karan Singh (Chairman), Dr. Prema Nandakumar, Prof. Satchitananda Mohanty, Dr. Nirma Oza. Mr. Siljo, Director and Deputy Secretary HRD Ministry, who came instead of Dr. Saravana Kumar, the Joint Secretary in charge with the Auroville affairs, attended the meeting on Saturday morning. Dr. Anirban Ganguly could not attend these meetings and was only present during the Board meeting proper which was held in the afternoon of Saturday September 8th.
On Friday, the following presentations were made:
- The 50th anniversary team reported about its work, and the book Auroville in The Mother's words, volume I was presented. A report of the work of the 50th team is available on the Auronet at [...]
- The Matrimandir Executives gave a presentation on the works being done and on the ongoing work to find the best design for the Garden of the Unexpected. The Board expressed that work on the other gardens should not stop because of the work on the Garden of the Unexpected. The executives replied that the module chosen for finding the best design for the Garden of the Unexpected may also be used for the design of the other gardens in future.
- SAIIER executives presented their new annual report, which also includes a brief overview about SAIIER. Manoj, Sophie and others presented the Auroville Gap Year and the Swadharma programmes. (Swadharma is a 5-week programme of self-discovery for young seekers of the world, aged 18-28. The 5th group (there are 2 groups per year) had just completed its programme by the time of the GB meeting.) This was followed by a short presentation about the Outreach Board that has recently been revived and expanded by Sanjeev Ranganathan, and the showing of a 12-minute film that gives an impressionistic view of SAIIER with its scope and diversity of activities and people.
- The proponents of the Line of Goodwill presented the project to the Governing Board and spoke about their research. They have received a" Letter of Intent" in lieu of a "Site Permission" from L'avenir d' Auroville giving them permission to instigate a feasibility study. The Board expressed amazement that any building in Auroville could be planned which would be higher that the Matrimandir. It was explained that the 18-storey building would be at the Visitors' Centre side of the Line of Goodwill, not at the Matrimandir end.
In the afternoon a community interaction took place at Bhoomika Hall, in which the members of the Board interacted with the community. It was planned that the members would reflect on the questions the Working Committee had proposed, but this did not happen. The members spoke freely about issues of their concern.
This discussion has been recorded by the Auroville Radio and can be listened under this link: www.aurovilleradio.org/meeting-session-with-the-governing-board.
After the discussion, Dr. Karan Singh released the second issue of Bharat Nivas' journal “Bhavishyate” and the book “Chronicling Auroville”, a compilation of articles from the last twelve years of Auroville Today.
Then Aryadeep introduced the book “Dear Aurovilians - Inspiration from Dr. Karan Singh's Auroville collaboration” written by him, which was subsequently released by the hon'ble Lt. Governor of Pondicherry, Dr. Kiran Bedi.
A high tea concluded this day.
The Saturday morning started with a 2-hour meeting with the Working Committee, followed by a meeting with the FAMC. The following topics were discussed:
- Highway NHAI NH332A. The Highway Task Force gave a presentation about its work, and the resolution of the Residents' Assembly seeking the Board's support that this highway will not be located in between Kuilapalayam and Auroville was submitted.
- The resolution of the Residents' Assembly about the International Advisory Council, was submitted to the Board.
- A long and often heavy discussion took place on the disputed land purchase and an update was given on the pending court case and on the internal community processes. The Working Committee explained its and the FAMC's role in the land purchase process; its work in seeking a legal opinion if the Land Board has done due diligence in its preliminary investigations before deciding to purchase the land; and the opinion of the lawyer that, in case the file contains no document pertaining to a court case on the land proposed to be purchased, there is virtually no possibility for Land Board executives to come to know that a case is pending. The Working Committee reiterated that, in their view, the Land Board executives have not been party to any suspect dealings. Dr. Karan Singh replied that this was a private point of view and that the investigation should bring clarity on this issue.
- The proposed budget allocation of the Annual GOI Grant 2018/2019 was discussed. In this respect, the Secretary expressed that, similar to the 50th anniversary grant, his office should have a say in the allocation and monitoring of the grant. The Secretary has been invited to the next meeting of the Government of India Grant Subgroup.
- A discussion took place on the status of the research into the possibility of a New Town Development Authority (NTDA) for Auroville and its environment. This research has not yet been completed. An update was given about the interaction with the TN Govt and the community process.
- Beach Erosion. The Board was informed about the work done to protect the Quiet Healing Centre from disappearing into the sea. The National Institute of Ocean Technology has submitted a plan and budget; most of the required funds have been raised; and permission is being sought.
- Auroville Foundation (Entry and Removal of names of Persons in the Register of Residents) This is still pending with the Ministry.
- Amendment of the Rules of the Auroville Foundation. This is still pending with the Ministry.
With the members of the FAMC the following topics were discussed:
- Tamil Heritage Centre. The final report of the forensic auditor was submitted and the Board was informed about the next steps which will be taken soon. The Board also discussed the necessity to make the building operational as soon as possible. The Secretary will take the lead in this issue.
- The Board was informed about the decision of the FAMC to start having Internal audits of random Auroville units.
- The Board was informed about the decision of the Ministry of Finance that Auroville Maintenances are not subject to GST, and that Auroville is now fully GST compliant.
For information only, the Board members were handed the reports from:
a) The Safety and Security Team
b) Outreach Media
c) Exploring prosperity
d) Entry policy
e) Land Board
f) L’Avenir d’Auroville - TDC
g) Land Protection Team
h) Auroville International's recommendation for the International Advisory Council
The Working Committee
Carel, Hemant, Inge, Mandakini, Partha, Ranjithkumar, Sauro.