News & Notes 918:Report of the FAMC over the month of March 2022

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918 icon.jpg   News & Notes 918
16 April 2022

Report of the FAMC over the month of March 2022

Members: Amy, Angelo, Jonas, Lisa, Marc, Palani, Ranjith, Stephan
Invitee: Under Secretary Mr. Srinivasamurthy
Secretaries: Svenja, Balaji; Madhan (Finance Secretary)

The FAMC would like to thank the residents for their feedback given on its previous report and on pending issues. This feedback is a great help to better do the work which the community has entrusted us.

This FAMC monthly report does not include regular liaison work with other working groups unless there is a final outcome, in which case the items may be reported in the reports of the respective working groups such as the Auroville Town Development Council (ATDC), Working Committee, Housing Board, Land Board, Auroville Council or the Budget Coordination Committee (BCC).

Please bear in mind that this is a report of decisions or events of a certain period and in the meantime changes, progress, or/ and collaboration might have occurred in any given subject.

Topics of special concern of the Office of the Secretary, Auroville Foundation (AVFO)

Cooperation with the AVFO

The FAMC has reiterated to the Secretary, AVFO, that while the FAMC values and appreciates the interaction with the Secretary, Under Secretary and Auroville Foundation office, the FAMC is the FAMC of the Residents’ Assembly (RA), each of its members selected by the RA and mandated with certain roles and responsibilities by the RA. This has been acknowledged on numerous occasions by the former Governing Boards of the Auroville Foundation and future meetings can happen if this position is respected. However if this position is not respected and agreed to by the Secretary, then the FAMC will have to respectfully decline to attend joint meetings as the conditions and parameters of its work would be drastically changed beyond what the members have been selected to do by the RA.

After this communication some meetings with the AVFO are taking place, while the issue of which authority of the Auroville Foundation appoints the FAMC, the Governing Board or the Residents’ Assembly, is still unresolved. The Secretary has informed the FAMC that it is understood that the members of the FAMC have been nominated by the Residents’ Assembly and has suggested that the FAMC be endorsed by the Governing Board. The FAMC considers the latter as not required and has communicated the same to the Secretary.

Housing information requested by AVFO

The AVFO has requested the Housing Board / Housing Service, which is a subgroup of the FAMC, for the following information for the last three financial years:

  1. Housing allocations done with copy of the relevant minutes;
  2. House exchanges done with copy of the relevant minutes;
  3. Source and application of funds for housing;
  4. Source and application of house maintenance expenditure

The AVFO explained that “Since there are plans to add a significant number of houses in the near future it is even more important that housing / building asset data management is complete and accurate.” The Housing Board and Service responded to this request.

Housing survey requested by AVFO

The AVFO requested the Housing Service to undertake a physical survey of all Auroville building assets (housing and others) with details of the buildings and their utilisation and in the case of houses, the full names of the residents of the houses along with details such as their work in Auroville. The survey is being launched by the Housing Service.

The motivation for this request is “to ensure that the building assets (housing and others) of Auroville are correctly reflected in the Balance Sheet of Auroville Foundation.” The Housing Board has replied to the AVFO that the Housing Service balance sheets which have been submitted to the AV Foundation office, contain an overview of all the housing assets and that a physical survey will be taken up in due course. The AVFO was informed that non-residential assets and the personal details of the occupants such as their place of work are not within the purview of the Housing Service.

Maintenance details requested by the AVFO

The AVFO has requested details relating to payments of Aurovilian Maintenance from the Financial Years 2017-18 to 2020-21 e.g. number of Aurovilians in the payment roll; amount due per person per month; payment made to the number of persons monthwise; list of Aurovilians to whom payments were made individually during March yearwise; and details of Aurovilians being given AV Maintenance with particulars of the work / service and the quantum. The FAMC has provided general maintenance information to the AVFO. Furthermore, as requested, the FAMC has made details available for the Aurovilians who receive(d) a maintenance provided from GOI grants.

Minutes 58th Governing Board meeting

The FAMC has requested the AVFO for copies of the meeting notes of the 34th meeting of the Finance Committee and for the ‘township development budget for FY 2022-23’, approved by the Finance Committee. Neither has been received by the date this report was sent to the News and Notes.

House occupation by non-Aurovilians in Equality community

The Secretary has still not taken any action, as earlier requested by the FAMC, to use her authority as Estate Officer to remove the family from the house.

Standardized accounts and dates of accounts submission

The FAMC has invited the executives and accountants of all units and Trusts to attend a workshop on April 2nd at the Unity Pavilion to further clarify the standard balance sheet and standard chart of accounts and the new balance sheet submissions dates:

  1. the accounts of units and Trusts should be finished by 20th of April;
  2. the audited balance sheet of the Trusts must be submitted to AVFO by 31st May.

The reason is that the consolidated balance sheet of the AVF must have been audited by the CAG and submitted to Delhi by September 22.

Upcoming selection process

The FAMC has informed the Residents Assembly Service (RAS) that three members will need to be replaced as Kalya resigned in May 2021, Marc’s term is over and he will not continue, and Palani wishes to resign.

Land matters

Delay in authorisation letters

The Land Board observed that there is a delay at the office of the Auroville Foundation in the signing of authorisation letters for registration of new land purchases, after the Land Board has followed its due diligence process and approval has been given by the Working Committee and FAMC as per the current process. A new process has since been worked out for approval by the AVFO where the Working Committee will give the Land Board the authorization, instead of the AVFO. The new Due Diligence Procedure has been sent to AVFO and its approval is awaited.

Arulvazhi school issue

The FAMC approves the position taken by the Land Board to not give compensation to the individual occupying a piece of poramboke land adjacent to the school.

Road planning and the potential demolishing of buildings

The FAMC has asked the ATDC for details on the nature of buildings that would need to be demolished to make place for planned roads, in order to analyze the impact this will have on the residents of Auroville who are day-to-day caretakers, stewards, and managers of all these assets. The ATDC has replied that the designations of the structures are as mentioned on the maps provided to Housing Service. As most of these structures were built long time ago, and, to the understanding of the ATDC, started out as capsules in the hope of protecting land and being temporary, but turned permanent over time and have been provided stewardship certificates, the ATDC is unable to ascertain the proper date of construction through facts. Similarly the sizes might not match with reality.

The FAMC will create a list of the people who will be affected with the information contained on the maps.

General issues

Friend of Auroville Stewardship agreement

A revised Friend of Auroville Stewardship Agreement was approved and sent to the Housing Board and Housing Service.

Special audits

The FAMC has contracted a firm of chartered accountants from Chennai to do special audits of three Auroville units and a collective housing project. The executives, project managers and the Housing Service have been informed.

House in Aurodam

The FAMC has investigated why and how a house in Aurodam, for which the ATDC had given a No Objection Certificate (NOC) as a ‘residential’ construction, is being designated as a staff quarter of an Auroville unit.

Asset register

A consulted external Chartered Accountant confirmed to the FAMC that the Asset Register is compulsory under the Indian law. The FAMC is considering how Auroville units can best provide Asset registers.

Restructuring of Trusts and units

An FAMC subgroup is studying the possibilities of restructuring the current Trusts and units organization, especially in terms of number of units under each Trust; and they are also exploring the possibility of combining Trusts by sector, or other criteria.

Knowledge seminar

The FAMC would like to organize a knowledge seminar, focusing on increasing awareness, strengthening and nurturing a knowledge economy. This proposal was mentioned in the FAMC’s presentation to the Governing Board on 18 January. An Auroville unit and a few individuals have been asked to take up the organization of this seminar.

Discipline Farm

To ensure the proper future management of Discipline Farm, the FAMC has decided to ask each of the two groups to recommend two nominees to become the farm’s manager. The FAMC will then decide on the new management.

PTDC building extension

The FAMC has decided to take the lead in organizing a Work Allocation Team to do the tendering of the first floor of the PTDC building for which funds have been received.

Maarganam Apprenticeship Program for AV Youth

The FAMC welcomes the initiative to have AV youth interning in units and working groups, but regretfully it is not the right time for the FAMC to invite an intern.

Units and Trusts issues

  1. Maternity Clinic Morning Star. The Working Committee has shared a legal opinion on the topic of the Maternity Clinic. The FAMC has asked the project holders for an updated estimate of the building costs and the funds available.
  2. Vérité Integral Learning Center, a unit under Hospitality Trust an activity graduating into a unit, executives: Mr. Dhanya Pater & Ms. Chetna Punia. Approved.
  3. Auromode Apartments, a unit under Hospitality Trust. Expanding scope of work. Approved.
  4. Imagination, a unit under Auromics Trust. Auromics Trust has decided to close the Imagination unit. The assets and liabilities will come directly under the Auromics Trust.
  5. Afsanah Guest House. Aniko has resigned as interim executive and has been replaced by Susan who will work together with Ranjith till the FAMC has reviewed the outcome of the special audit.
  6. City Service unit. The FAMC obtained advice from an external Chartered Accountant that City Service unit should not be registered under a Trust but be registered directly under the parent entity, ‘Auroville Foundation’. The unit has been moved back to the parent entity ‘Auroville Foundation’ from Auroville Service Trust.
  7. Work Tree, an unit under Kattida Kalai Trust (KKT). Change of Trust from KKT to Ankur Trust. Approved.
  8. Papui or Somethingelse, a unit under GNP Trust. Unit closure. Approved.
  9. Aurganic, a unit under Swagatam Trust. Unit closure. Approved.

Appointment, reappointment or resignation of trustees, unit executives and activity managers

Note: changes concerning trustees are approved in collaboration with the Working Committee.

  1. Matrimandir executives appointment. The selection committee’s work is now finished with the executive appointment of Ms. Divya Karuna, Mr. Antoine C., Ms. Judith Robinson, Mr. John Harper, and Mr. Sundar K. for a 4 year period, with an annual review. The executives will participate in facilitated workshop(s) to develop detailed actions, timelines, and budget for their proposed four-year work plan, especially where the works’ fundings is concerned.
  2. AVE/EVA – Audio Visual Events, an activity under the unit Auroville Art Service (AVArts). Managers: Mr. Ray De Wolf & Mrs. Sofie Albrecht. Approved.
  3. Masuwa, an activity under Auroville Activities (AVA). Proposed Manager: Ms. Sunmi Kim. Application pending awaiting ok from Luminosity residents to the proposed restaurant activity.
  4. Anveshan, a unit under Team Trust. Executive resignation of Ms.Tejaswini Mistri Kapoor. Approved.
  5. Integral Works, a unit under Auromode Trust. Executive reappointment of Ms. Sindhuja Jagadesan and executive resignation of Mr. Louis Cohen. Approved.
  6. Avision, a unit under Auromics Trust. Executive reappointment of Dr. Jung Woo Nam and new executive appointment of Ms. Auronevi Pingel. Approved.
  7. Auroville Energy Products, a unit under Team Trust. Executive reappointment of Mr. John Johannes Zandbergen. Approved.
  8. Kattida Kalai Trust. Renewal of trusteeship of Mr. M. Palani, Mr. Juan Carlos Herrera, Mr. Jean Marc Moreno, Ms. Margarita Maria Correa Jamarillo, and Mr. Debrabrata Sahoo for a period of five years, as per the usual trustee term. Approved.

New units and activities

  1. J Mayab, a unit under Aurosarjan Trust. Executives: Ms. Jitta Skoles and Ms. Ana Daniela. Approved.
  2. Farewell, a unit under Health & Healing Trust. Executives: Mr. Michael Helmut Knieps and Ms. Suzanne Wilson Odell. Approved.
  3. Green Leaf, an activity under Auroville Food Activities (AFA). Manager: Ms. Sarah Kundig. Approved.
  4. Satori, an activity under AVA. Manager: Mr. Sergei Tretiako. Approved.
  5. Horizon Workshop, an activity under AVA. Managers: Mr. Petar Sekuloski and Ms. Sashka Trajcheska Sekuloska. Approved.
  6. Sustenance Agricultural Training Center, a proposed unit under Auromitra Trust. Proposed Executives – Mr. Ramalingam Ramachandra & Mrs. Shakila Ramalingam. Pending further review upon receipt of a detailed business plan.