News & Notes 885:Auroville Council report May, June and July 2021

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885 icon.jpg   News & Notes 885
28 August 2021


Auroville Council report May, June and July 2021



As we celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo let us surrender all our differences to Her and aspire for the collaborative and collective spirit.

Community at Large members for Housing Board

The Auroville Council with the FAMC made an announcement to the community for the community-at-large members for the Housing Board. In accordance with the revised Housing Mandate (https://auroville.org.in/article/ 84487), five community at-large members have to be selected. 17 Aurovilians wrote to the Council expressing their interest. The final selection was done by the FAMC.

Land Board Selection Committee & the selection of new Land Board members.

In mid May the Land Board Selection process (LBSC) was initiated by the Council together with the Working Committee. RAS live streamed via zoom the selection of the community-at-large nominees for LBSC. This selection committee is composed of one representative from each of the four working groups (AVC, FAMC, TDC & WCOM), four community at large members & one out-going member from the Land Board. An issue arose internally in the groups whereby after much consultation with all the concerned parties the Council recommended the replacement of the representatives from the FAMC and the ATDC, which was accepted.

Presently the feedback received is being reviewed by the committee & some candidates are being interviewed. Soon the results will be announced to the community.

Selection of new Matrimandir Executives

At the end of June, the Matrimandir executives reminded the Council that their term of office was ending on 1st of August and that there was urgency in selecting a full team of new executives. Three from the previous seven executives had already stepped down and one out of the remaining four expressed the wish to step down without delay although the new executive team had not been selected yet. It was agreed by the Council together with the Wcom that a selection process similar to 2017 would be used. But the process got delayed as the FAMC expressed its wish to partake in the selection process as the new executives are to be selected which for FAMC falls under its mandated work. There are discussions & correspondence exchanges regarding this and soon some conclusion will be reached to announce the call for nomination.

Auroville’s Growth

After requesting information on the follow up to this topic from ATDC the Council was informed by Housing Board that members form FAMC, ATDC, Entry and Housing met on the topic of growth on 21st July and the notes were shared. The Council together with the Entry and the sub-group will bring this topic to the community through a GM at a later stage in order to work on the way forward collectively.

Inquiry Task Force

The Inquiry task force that was appointed by Council and WCom jointly to look into the tampering of the ballot boxes at the last selection process 2021, has come up with a report of their findings. Please find it via this link (https://auroville.org.in/article/85852) The Council takes this opportunity to thank the team who have given their time to this sensitive topic and for having come up with an extensive report. The work of the ITF is complete and the team has dissolved.

Meeting with the New Secretary

On 14 July, the Council met with the new AVF Secretary, Mrs. Jayanti Ravi to welcome her. After the brief introduction a lot of the discussion was concerning the Auroville Organizations & it’s working, as well as a general exchange on conflict resolution. Her inclination to understand, her willingness to share her experiences & knowledge, and her friendliness were all much appreciated.

Reviewing & revisiting the processes

RA Decision making process

After the pause by RAS of all activities in relation to collective decision-making, the members from Wcom, AVC and RAS have prepared amendments for an interim RAD after incorporating the feedback received earlier from the community. The final version of the interim RAD document was published to the community for feedback on 3rd August (https://auroville.org.in/article/85727). Efforts have also started to collectively work on an entirely new way to make community-wide decisions.

Selection Process 2021

There is a general sense amongst the AVC and Wcom that the last process was a successful process in regard to the number of participants. To start with, the same model of the last selection process will be taken as a base of a review. AVC met with RAS in June who shared their observations and suggested amendments to the PWG 2020 documents. The Council is now looking into reviewing the Selection Process and soon a task force including members of the community will be formed.

Appeal Process

This process was set up in 2017 to “create a framework to meaningfully address occasionally occurring serious dissatisfactions of individuals with working group decisions.” So far, 20 appeals have been raised by individuals/groups. To review this process, the Auroville Council has reached out to the community for their feedback in July through massmail. Simultaneously the feedback from the facilitators & arbiters who have been directly involved in appeals was requested. The task force will be reviewing the document based on the feedback from the different sources.

Due Diligence

Regarding dismissing an Aurovilian from the workplace, a sub group constituted by members of FAMC, AVC and Koodam are working on a document that will help executives and managers to follow a just and fair process for all involved. The Sub-group is interacting & receiving feedback from the different concerned groups and various individuals with related experience. This work and the document will soon be presented to the community for feedback.

Social Service Hub

The previous Council together with Koodam, representatives from Mattram, AVCP, AVSST, AVHS and Sante had developed the concept of a Social Hub. The Social Hub is intended to create a dedicated service that can hold challenging cases and ensure continuity – as Working Group members rotate every few years – and to allow Council and other Working Groups to focus more on their other mandated responsibilities.

This is a preliminary purpose and concept of the Social Hub.

The Social Service Hub wants to enable the growth of a compassionate community by connecting health care and social work practitioners as well as other relevant community resources with community members in need of support. The AV Social Services’ role is to support relevant practitioners, Working Groups, and other concerned community members, by coordinating challenging situations, including those where community members require psychological and emotional support, face challenging family situations and/or various types of violence, abuse, and addictions.

Council will convene soon a meeting of the concerned groups to move things forward.

Communication with Residents

During the 3 months Council has approached the community through N&N and Auronet with calls for communication and feedback.

  • Feedback and suggestions on the review of the RA Decision-making after RAS paused all RADs and asked for amendments on the actual process.
  • Call for 5 new members for Housing Board and for 5 new members for the Land Board.
  • Selection and announcement of the 5 Aurovilians for Design Evaluation Panel for Matrimandir.
  • Invitation for Resource persons for subgroups when being formed.
  • Call to study the organization of Auroville and a proposal for an open forum with the purpose of harmonizing our internal structure and see how we as a community would like to engage this.
  • Reminder for the community with proposals, requests and remarks to openly communicate with the Council.

The AVC noticed that there is little feedback coming from the community towards new organizations and developing better channels of communication is needed.

Appeal, arbitration & mediation

  • ACUR Appeal: This appeal is against FAMC’s decision in regard to the application for registering a unit for the canteen at Town Hall. The facilitated meeting between both the parties has taken place. The arbiters are appointed & the process is going on.
  • African Pavilion Appeal: This appeal is against a decision of the Council. The facilitated meeting has taken place and the appeal is ongoing. Usually it is the AVC that acts as process holder. But as this appeal is against a decision of the Council, the working committee is holding the process, which means that they choose and appoint the arbiters and make sure all the steps are being followed and fulfilled.
  • Re-Centre Appeal: This appeal is against a decision of ATDC. This appeal has been with the Council for a year. A facilitated meeting between the parties has taken place, after which Re-Centre re-examined their needs in terms of land requirements and came to the conclusion that they requested the continuation of the process. An appeal body has been formed. So far ATDC have not conceded to adhere to the continuation of the appeal process. Council is attempting to find the most sensible way forward for all concerned.
  • Appeal about apartment allocation: This is against a decision taken by FAMC regarding the allocation of the apartment in an apartment building of a community. The facilitated meeting happened but without resolving the issue. Arbiters are being approached to start with this appeal.
  • Arbitration regarding Sanjana: In July the Council met with both the parties involved in the housing project, the architect & Sanjana project management team (PMT), in order to move forward with this issue. Previously the PMT were reluctant to enter into arbitration. Recently they have agreed and the scope of the arbitration is being worked on to start with the actual process.
  • Buddha Garden and Siddhartha Farm access dispute: A long-standing dispute regarding the entrance access for these two Auroville farms was handed over to two mediators approved by both the farms. The Council has stepped back and let these mediators work independently. In order to de-escalate the tension and to help the process the Council had used most of its accumulated excess budget from BCC to lease the neighboring plot to give access to Buddha Garden.
  • Joy guest house conflict: Regarding a conflict between the guest house and an Aurovilian working there, the Council after several meetings with the individual parties have drafted an MOU asking the parties to refrain from interacting with each other. The issue was taken up further by Koodam, Wcom and FAMC.

Conflicts and other issues

In the past three months the Council has been involved in addressing many conflicts. We are grateful for the support extended by Koodam, Auroville Security & Auroville Child Protection team (AVCP) in holding these conflicts.

Together with Matram some issues involving long-time Aurovilians are being worked on.

A long-standing issue regarding the stewardship of an asset and a general misunderstanding between parties in New Creation has been extensively addressed. The next steps towards resolution have been handed back to FAMC and Housing Board. We await their suggestions in this joint effort to find a lasting solution. This has been delayed awaiting the formation of the new HB.


At Her Service,
For the Auroville Council
Balaji, Claudine, Ganesh K. Meenal, Sai Suresh, Suryan, Shivaya, and Shiva