News & Notes 652: WCom reply to community feedback

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652 icon.jpg   News & Notes 652
18 June 2016

WCom reply to community feedback

Dear community,

The Working Committee thanks all the individuals who took the time to give constructive feedback and/or express concern about our new way of communicating. Many suggestions will be incorporated into the next report. Generally, the response was overwhelmingly positive, albeit a few concerns were expressed. To address these concerns, we would like to clarify several things.

There was a misunderstanding that the report would replace general meetings. We do not intend to replace general meetings with any other kind of communication, these types of reports included. One of the intentions behind the report is to ensure communication outside of general meetings and to create a platform where feedback and concerns can be streamlined and answered before having a general meeting. Also, we are aware that not everyone will or can attend general meetings, so this is a way to enable all Aurovilians and Newcomers to be informed and ask questions. We will hold our next General Meeting in August, after people have returned from the summer break.

Questions were also raised about the rating scale and whether it is appropriate or desirable. We would like to clarify that in the rating, 10 = excellent, and 1 = extremely poor. We noticed that a few people gave a negative (1) rating without explaining why. We assume this was done out of a particular discontent with the Working Committee’s functioning, but it would have been helpful if the complaint would have been explicitly mentioned. Please bear with us while we attempt some trial and error here in order to ameliorate this communication.

Lastly, some residents expressed interest in knowing the outcome of topics rather than only that a topic has been addressed. If the Working Committee can write about content, it will do so. But we can only report, for example, that we raised concern about pending visa extension applications, as any outcome lies in the future.

Specific questions and answers:

1. Who will pay for the correction of the Roundabout? How much did the Roundabout cost and where did the money come from? If from the central pot then it is not justifiable.

For reasons of safety and security (under the Working Committee mandate), the Working Committee decided to close the roundabout. After this decision, the roundabout was narrowed (not closed) by the Road Service. The Working Committee then flagged the issue to the interim TDC with the request to find a permanent solution. The question of costs has to be replied to by the TDC.

2. “The decision of the Entry Service will be binding” Why? Why not the decision of the sub-group?

Neither the Working Committee nor the Council has been mandated to act as an appeal body to decisions of the Entry Group. Instead, a subgroup was formed that studied if the Entry Group had duly followed the process. The subgroup concluded that it had. The decision of the Entry Service is therefore binding.

3. Regarding the Trip to Delhi, l would be interested who has met whom with names and more details on the meetings, instead of generic information.

The Working Committee had decided not to share this information publicly, such as in the News and Notes, as its circulation is not restricted to Auroville only. The names of the members who make visits to Delhi can be published and we will do so hereafter.

4. In the new appeals process why can't the decisions of the WC and AvC be appealed?

The appeal process is a proposal only which needs to be approved by the Residents’ Assembly. Our report mentioned the drafting of the process, done in collaboration with the other groups concerned. It will take a few months before this proposal can be submitted to the Residents’ Assembly for comments and, afterwards, for approval.

5. In the Working Committee report published in News & Notes #644 (9 April 2016) is listed the pending issue: “Water Harvest / Water Service complaints”. This is no longer on the list of pending topics. Why not?

This was an oversight, thank you for pointing it out. The Water Harvest topic is still pending.

6. In the first topic, under HRD Ministries (the last line of 1st para) is referred to approval of land sales: Does this include the land of any long-settled communities 'outside' of 'the center’?

No. The sale of about 26 acres of outlying lands was approved by the community long before this Working Committee took office (see [...]). The sale could not be effected due to new GOI permission requirements. The permission of the HRD Ministry is still awaited.