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03 Dec / 2019Program by:
Featured: AurovilleLanguage: English

General Meeting – Pour Tous

00:00 Introduction
07:30 Meeting

Agenda:

1. GB Enquiry Committee report.

2. Government Grants mismanagement especially for construction projects.

3. Approve a Collective letter to Dr.Karan Singh, Chairman of the Auroville Foundation.

Background information:
• A person named Vikram Ram, who was a Friend of Auroville, and connected to many Aurovilians, has over the last two years been circulating some severe allegations about Auroville and specific Aurovilians. He has also written to the Prime Minister of India, President, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and other authorities, as well as the Chairman of the Auroville Foundation, Dr. Karan Singh. In view of the severity and breadth of the accusations, the Chairman nominated an Enquiry Committee under section 16 of the Auroville Foundation Act on April 29th, 2019. Three Governing Board (GB) members were thus appointed, along with the then Secretary Mr. Mohan Chunkath and the former Secretary Mr. Bala Baskar. Having gone extensively through the allegations, and after a lengthy personal meeting with the complainant, the three GB members (Mr. Madan Gopal, Chair, Prof. Sacchidananda Mohanty and Dr. Nirima Oza) on June 28th signed personally each of the 28 pages of the report, as by the law, with the following recommendation: “In the light of the enormity and complexity of the complaint, the Enquiry Committee unanimously and strongly recommends that the complaint be investigated by appropriate Central Agency to be decided by Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India as early as possible.”

They also listed out 10 sections of the Indian Penal Code which have been allegedly violated in Auroville.

The Governing Board held a special meeting at Delhi on 26th August, 2019 and endorsed the report and recommendation of the Enquiry Committee.

Subsequently, on September 3rd, Dr. G. Seetharaman, Interim Secretary of the Auroville Foundation, forwarded the Enquiry Report along with the additional 670 pages documentation to the HRD ministry. On October 22nd, the complainant received the same from the HRD ministry, in response to the RTI Appeal (Right To Information) he had filed on October 10th.

This report is attached here: https://aac511e0-6200-4748-ae1a-ca1402b55bf0.filesusr.com/ugd/f5b0b3_9b1bbda4acec4ab488ed13c7fe98b8cf.pdf

The whole issue has also been reported in the Pondicherry edition of the national newspaper, The Hindu, with a full-length article, which is attached here: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/auroville-seeks-probe-into-complaints-of-violation-of-laws/article30080660.ece

This is a time we need to come together as Auroville as a whole. It requires all of us to take our responsibilities and take action. We need to find solutions to this grave situation together. We can no longer turn our eyes away or put our heads under the sand. Nor can we each do our own thing in our corners. We have to come together. We have to respond seriously to these allegations, expose what is unjustified and incorrect, and take responsibility where the accusations are true. We have to discuss what to do. Could we set up a Taskforce to do that and report to the community within one month?
• An Aurovilian engineer, along with a Newcomer who had been working for decades as an accounts officer in the Finance Department of the Auroville Foundation, have been trying to raise the issue of incorrect utilisation of the Government Grants to Auroville, such as at the Tamil Heritage Centre, mismanagement, losses, incorrect practices and corruption. They have also shown in the case of the Bharat Nivas, that it is possible to save money by following correct practices. They say that they have not been heard properly by the GOI (Government of India) Grants Group, the FAMC (Funds and Assets Management Committee), TDC (Town Development Council), Oversight Committee, etc. Invited and requested to collaborate in the investigations, they presented their findings to the Governing Board. The Aurovilian also met the Chairman of the GB in Delhi. Seeing no action on the ground after repeatedly submitting their findings and asking for appropriate follow-up, this Aurovilian actually wrote to Dr. Karan Singh, on 24.11.19, asking him to resign. He asked for the appointment of a “devotee” as the Chairman. Several individuals have countered that and the Working Committee also wrote to Dr. Karan Singh, on 25.11.19 requesting him not to resign.

This is a very serious situation, where again, our response as a community is needed.

How do we respond? What can we do?

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