News & Notes 740:PTDC celebrates its 12 years... And now?

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740 icon.jpg   News & Notes 740
10 March 2018


PTDC celebrates its 12 years... And now?


PTDC becomes this month 12 years old. For 12 years we have accompanied, nourished, enlarged and enriched a collective experiment that offers a service to provide basic needs in the fields of food and household, aiming to help maintaining the life of the Residents of Auroville who decided to join. And we continue joyfully offering this service.

To make this happen, our working hours are much longer than the public ones: every day from 7:30 am to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday (and often on Sundays as well).

A service of this complexity involves not only a lot of work but brings with it, naturally, continuous complications and challenges. Beautiful interaction with our community members are interwoven in days of very hectic activities that seem to never stop or reduce its pace.

The growth of members and purchases has been steady and exponential:

In 2006: we started with 140 members.
In 2018: we are 1540 members.
In 2006: our monthly purchases were 2.40 lakhs of Rupees.
In 2018: our monthly purchases are now about 46 lakhs.
In 2006: we were checking out goods for 7,500 users per month (310 daily).
In 2018: we are now checking out goods about 16,500 users per month (690 daily).

In order to achieve this, we have used our humble means available together with some very dear help given to expand the space, equipment (cool room, fridges, oven…) and staff as much as we could.

However, since about 6 months we have come to a standstill that forced us to stop taking in new members into the PTDC family. This is a very embarrassing situation for us: There are dozens of applications of residents! And each day we are turning down new or repeated requests.

We are facing two main challenges:

Challenge 1: Space for storage and operations.

The building space and the containers that were donated to us have become now too small for the quantity of goods we have to purchase, handle, pack and distribute daily, which results in very uncomfortable working conditions for our staff, and an irregular flow of goods from the stocks into the stall for our members.

There is a long term solution in the pipeline. It includes building a first floor set up for the future use of Free Store and Nandini, so that PTDC can then utilize the entire ground floor. For that, we have requested for GoI grants and we have been told that the grants have been allocated already for this coming year. We await the response for next years so that we can go ahead planning.

But what shall we do until that happens?? We need to find an intermediary solution for 2 or 3 years at least. This could be a temporary structure or more containers behind PTDC. We also require some further equipment. And for that we will need financial help.

Challenge 2: Staff.

PTDC receives maintenance allocation for 11 Aurovilians to work full time here and we get as well regularly volunteers and newcomers whose help is precious but these dear helpers stay for some time and then move on in their life or process. In the end we do not have the stable team, big enough, to tackle the daily work.

We therefore find ourselves nowadays over-stressed and unable to cope with the load to manage daily.

So, we clearly need more people to manage the work, at least another 4 more maintenances or the permanent commitment of the same number of people who are ready/able to work without maintenance.

BCC has refused our request for increase of maintenances because according to their note, FAMC has instructed them not to increase the number of maintenances allocated to our services due to the financial constraints of Auroville City Services.

And in this context….

What now?????????

  • Shall we close for ever the possibility of growth and of accepting new members?
  • What is the future of the services of Auroville that are not given the means to grow and serve the growing community?
  • And those ready to work in services, will not be able to do so because there will be not funds to maintain them?

We put these questions forth to all residents of Auroville and invite proposals and effective solutions….


At Her service, with love
Your PTDC team