News & Notes 611: Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) July 2015 Report
Funds and Assets Management Committee (FAMC) July 2015 Report
Regular members: Anandi (Auroville Board of Services), Chali (Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research), David (Forest group), Jeff (Farm group), Mandakini (Working Committee), Matriprasad (Auroville Council), Michael (Auroville Unity Fund) temporarily out of station (TOS), Rathinam (Budget Coordination Committee), Sauro (L'avenir d'Auroville), Sonja (Housing Service) resumed end-July, Ulli (Auroville Board of Commerce), and Mr. Srinivasmurty (Finance & Administrative Officer, Auroville Foundation; currently Secretary-in-Charge).
TRUST & UNIT TOPICS
- The Auroville Board of Commerce (ABC) recommended, and FAMC approved, Inside Trust trustee reappointments of Joster, and Bunty.
- The Auroville Board of Services (ABS) endorsed, and the FAMC approved, Auroville Village Action Trust trustee reappointments of Alain B., Anandi V., and Divya K.
- The executives of Earth & Us, Min and Bindu, requested from the FAMC a 'green light' to do a Zero Waste project with the Tamil Nadu government. The FAMC members commented that it looks like a good project: there is no financial or other risk. The executives were informed to proceed. At the same time the FAMC asked them for an update on their last project presented to the FAMC, namely with ONGC. They were asked how they will meet all the human resource needs required by these two projects. They were also asked if they are collaborating with other related Auroville activities such as WasteLess.
- Per an FAMC request, the ABC submitted a list of units that are not doing well financially and need to be reviewed. The FAMC are in the process of following up with some of the identified units.
- Varuna Auroville requested an overdraft of Rs. 45 lakhs to cover expenses during cash-flow delays. The overdraft was approved, with any running balance contributing back to Auroville for loss of income on funds as with ABC loans.
- The Guest House Trust submitted a Trust Resolution accepting a Rs. 70 lakhs loan to the unit, Afsanah Guest House, from the executive Afsaneh. FAMC approved the loan. The trustees were informed, for future Resolutions, to include the purpose of the loan and provide a balance sheet of the unit. Afsaneh has been asked to provide an updated estimate and plan in light of the fact that the L'avenir No Objection Certificate is from May 2011. FAMC inquired with L'avenir concerning the water capacity of the area as the loan is for a swimming pool.
The Land Board (LB) continues to acquire lands for Auroville through purchase and exchange, all of which are brought to the FAMC for final approval. Details are available from the LB. The LB requested fencing at Annapurna for land protection due to the highway boundary moving closer to the Auroville land. The request for fencing at Annapurna was approved (estimated Rs. 90,000.00). There is a working paper entitled 'Land Board Consolidation Strategy'. The FAMC have invited a small team to discuss the proposal and develop it further including going into more details. Members of FAMC, LB, L'avenir d'Auroville, Green group, and the Working Committee have been invited to participate.
The Housing Service asked the FAMC for ideas on how to support Aurovilians impacted by coastal erosion which has led to loss of housing. Two Aurovilians are immediately in need: Bhaga, and Pavitra. FAMC have advised that Bhaga's relocation to Quiet be handled as an urgent priority. FAMC stated also that Pavitra's housing is expected to be handled as a priority by the Housing Service. In connection with the above it was reported the fisherman villagers next to Quiet community obtained compensation from the Tamil Nadu state government for loss of their homes, and perhaps also livelihood, due to beach erosion. The FAMC asked the Working Committee to find out how, and under what conditions, the villagers received compensation and to look into the feasibility of Auroville applying for compensation due to loss of land and houses due to beach erosion at Quiet, Waves, Gokulam, and Repos communities.
Concerning the situation of New Service Farm, the Green group proposed to the FAMC that the farm be established as per the earlier arrangement, at the location adjacent to Sustenance Farm. The FAMC gave its full support to the Green group recommendations. This movement is in process of being reiterated and implemented involving all concerned. A subgroup met with Ramalingam, manager of Sustenance Farm, on site to go over details such as access, water, and fencing. FAMC will accelerate the implementation, which has taken already too long.
The FAMC and Working Committee (WCom) met and discussed various topics such as:
- the Kottakarai (Mangalam) situation;
- the proposed Mohanam village heritage centre (in collaboration with Puducherry Tourism Department);
- The Sustainable Livelihood Institute (SLI) project about which there is still some concern about the legal structure of a 'Society';
- an AVC subgroup working on the new Entry Service mandate;
- the ongoing Eco Service crisis;
- WCom requested, and FAMC agreed, they will receive a copy of email communications to the Land Board concerning all land transactions;
- Wcom shared with the FAMC, citing lack of information coming from the BCC, their idea to include one of their members in the BCC. Instead of adding another member the FAMC decided to write to the BCC recommending that they invite the WCom to meet to discuss how to improve the communication between them.
The Auroville Electrical Service (AVES) requested Rs. 61,620 to re-route an electrical line that crosses through private land and is used by several Auroville units and communities in the Kottakari area. FAMC authorized AVES to make a pro-rata calculation of all income-generating users of this electricity connection, to inform them of this action, and to obtain the money required from those units using electricity from that line. AVES was informed to proceed.
The FAMC received a request from Torkil, Daniel and others from the post-Retreat 'Economy Group/Integrated Entrepreneurship Lab' concerning the former Land Resources Management (LRM) wood yard. They proposed to create a 'Knowledge Centre' at that location. The FAMC advised Torkil and the others to contact the Town Development Council/L'avenir d'Auroville for a site permission, as per the normal procedure for projects that need a place.
The Guest Facilities Coordination Group (GFCG) submitted their 'Conditions for Auroville Home Stays' document for input from the FAMC. The FAMC was still reviewing the document at the end of this reporting period.
The FAMC discussed the Auroville Council AuroNet posted Green group mandate. FAMC sent its concerns and feedback to the AVC:
- The AVC announcement should be clarified to state that this is a draft document and the AVC is open to discussion to make changes;
- Extend the time for community feedback;
- Please be sure both Forest and the Farm groups have sufficient opportunity to give input on the document. We are advised this has not happened yet;
- As it is presently written, there is overlapping responsibility with other groups. This needs to be amended.
- If the Green group is proposed to have more than an 'advisory' role or to make recommendations, but to have decision-making authority, then the membership of the group should be based on a community approval. For example, Auroville Board of Commerce (ABC) members are not nominated by the community and the ABC has mainly an advisory role;
- Development of the mandate, and process of approval, must be much more inclusive. The approval would need to be done as per the agreed-upon RA process, including an RA 'decision-making event'. A two week feedback notice on the AuroNet is not sufficient.
FOLLOWING UP FROM PREVIOUS REPORTS
FAMC reported in June about the rejuvenation of a Water Supervisory Board. Some feedback was received and it became clear that the next step is to meet together, with the individuals who participated in the former Water Supervisory Board as well as with some Aurovilians directly involved in water-related matters, to discuss in more detail how best to proceed. The FAMC is scheduling the meeting now. The FAMC has informed Auroville Water Service that the ABS has been asked to recommend to the FAMC a third, active executive to the unit.
The Project Coordination Group has given input on a Fund raising procedure document. Once it is finalized it will be published as information for residents.