News & Notes 777:Report of the Working Committee of the months of October and November 2018

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777 icon.jpg   News & Notes 777
17 December 2018


Report of the Working Committee of the months of October and November 2018



Dear Community, we were unable to publish monthly reports since October. You will find here a combined report for the months of October and November, 2018.

1) Closure of the conflict between Boobalan/Ambulance Service

In the end of April, 2018, we were informed of a conflict between Boobalan and Ambulance Service. We regret that we haven’t been able to report to the community and close the matter. We apologise for this oversight on our behalf. We consider the matter duly closed.

Further information: Due to the fact that the matter was left open for so many months some residents of the community had written to the Auroville Council and the Working Committee asking for clarifications on some facts and our process of handling two cases, namely, Boobalan / Ambulance Service and Eric / Sumit.

We then replied to the residents clarifying the difference between the nature of the two incidents, and provided comparisons between the processes with which each case was handled. This comparison describes the facts and compares, in brief, the process with which the Auroville Council and the Working Committee processed the two cases: Boobalan / Ambulance Service and Eric / Sumit.

On 23rd November, we have responded to Boobalan via email dt. 23.11.18, acknowledging the oversight on our part and confirming closure of the issue. Boobalan replied, thanking us.

If you wish to read the comparison, and our email to Boobalan,kindly pass by the WCom office in the morning hours, or click the link to access our report on Auronet which has the accompanying document: [...].

2) Visit of two members of the Governing Board

On 29th and 30th November, 2018, members of the Governing Board, Dr. Prema Nandakumar & Dr. Nirima Oza, visited Auroville to follow-up on the topic of discrimination and related matters, when they met with several individuals and groups. To name a few, they have met with Balu K, Aurosangamam, Restorative Auroville, Koodam, ex members of TFRC, members of the Study Group (Selection Process), members of the Residents’ Assembly Service (RAS), Mouttou, Nandini Service, Boobalan, Ambulance Service, Sumit, Eric, Shankar (Aikiyam), Auroville Council, FAMC, WCom, AVAG, PCG, and other residents. The GB may get back to us (RA) in due time.

3) Highway

The Highway Task Force (HTF) publishes periodic reports on developments regarding this matter. For an update on progress, kindly refer to their latest report in N&N (26th November, 2018 #774).

We continue to closely coordinate with the HTF, and with close cooperation with the Secretary of the Auroville Foundation, the work goes on. We have also formally communicated to the Auroville Foundation about the constitution of the HTF with the names of the Aurovilians authorized to meet with the external authorities on behalf of Auroville. We wish to thank and acknowledge for the work done until now.

4) Visa

Kindly refer to our previous report for an update on visa matters, N&N (15th October, 2018, #768).

5) Disputed land purchase

A case has been filed by the Office of the Secretary in the High Court at Chennai. We are waiting for the judgment. We will come back to you when we have something substantial to report. As directed by the Governing Board a group has been set up by the Secretary, AvF, to conduct a Departmental Enquiry into the purchase of land R.S No. 426 / 1C2. You will find an update by the Auroville Council, in N&N (3rdDecember, 2018 #775).

6) Revision and improvement of the Entry Policy, 2017

The revision and improvement process is ongoing, jointly with the Auroville Council. The Entry Board, the Entry Secretariat, the Aspiration Team have provided their inputs for improvement based on their experience of the EP 2017. Similarly, some out of the many who have been at the receiving end of the EP, have also been encouraged to provide their inputs and suggestions for improvements. We will continue to keep you informed and in the loop.

7) Mandate of the Auroville Council

The WCom has not yet been able to begin the process of review of the AVC mandate. At first this was because we were inundated with work and this matter took a back-seat. Then we found that the community is quite full with ongoing processes such as improvements for the Selection process, the selection of members for the Temporary Feedback Review Committee (TFRC), the approval of the Clearance Panel proposal, the strengthening of the RAS, the selection of interim members for L’Avenir, and finally the process for improving the Entry Policy 2017. We hope to begin the process of reviewing the mandate of the AVC as soon as possible. We regret any inconvenience caused.

8) Auroville Internal Complaints Committee (Auroville ICC)

This is to remind all Aurovilians, Auroville units and services, that in 2015, the WCom has constituted the Auroville ICC, in accordance to the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013.

The Auroville ICC is required to deal with all issues of Sexual Harassment as defined in the Sexual Harassment Act that are brought to its notice, which involve a Resident of Auroville, a Newcomer, a Friend of Auroville, a Volunteer in Auroville, a Student of Auroville, a Guest of Auroville, as well as a person employed by or working for an Auroville trust, an Auroville unit, an Auroville service, any other Auroville legal entity, or individual residing in Auroville. The Auroville ICC is also mandated to deal with issues of sexual harassment occurring in Auroville but not regulated by the Sexual Harassment Act, if such does not contradict any Indian law. All Auroville workplaces, units and services, are to direct any aggrieved to write directly to the ICC: icc@auroville.org.in, Tel: 7639305678.

Membership: The term of three years of members of the ICC as constituted in October 2015, is complete. We thank the team for their diligent work. As of 24th October, 2018, the WCom has renewed the membership for the next three-year term. The members are: Niva Kovshi, Anbu Morris, Paula Murphy, Kathy Walking, Dr. Palani Muthuganapathy, and Dr. Vidyaa Ramkumar (as an external member).

9) Poaching taking place in forests of Auroville

We have been informed of various instances of illegal poaching taking place in areas of rainwater harvesting near the Auroville community of 9 palms, as well as near the Eastern Greenbelt and also near the Auroville community of Adventure. Several residents of the area have reported to the Working Committee that in the past month gunshots have been heard, and that poachers are invading residential areas in the neighborhood and are flushing out wildlife. In view of the above, we have requested the Secretary, AvF, to kindly inform the Forest Department of the same in order to take necessary action.

10) Cases of labour dispute / payments issues etc.

Increasingly the WCom has been receiving cases of labour disputes or cases where there are payment issues due to inclarity at the time of hiring labour. We wish to remind all Aurovilians and Auroville units and services to be mindful of related laws and ensure that all employees are well informed of the same before hiring. We recommend you enter into written contracts as a safe-guard, no matter how small the job is.

11) Visits of Ambassadors and Consuls

We urge all those who invite ambassadors and consuls to inform the Working Committee beforehand, as there may be formalities to be observed.

12) General Meeting

We plan to hold a general information meeting by the Wcom sometime in end January, 2019. We will inform you of the date in due time.


Ongoing topics:

The Working Committee is also involved in the following topics, which are still ongoing and not yet concluded:

  1. Garbage matter
  2. Kuilapalayam parking
  3. Drone usage
  4. Filming and photography guidelines
  5. Cases of misuse of Auroville name and symbol
  6. Beach erosion
  7. Sumit / Eric


The Working Committee:
Carel, Hemant, Inge, Mandakini, Partha, Ranjithkumar, Sauro