“Auroville governing board not overstepping role”

The WC said that without an updated Register of Residents,
the Governing Board has the full right to ask for the
Residents’ Assembly to halt all decisionmaking

The WC said that without an updated Register of Residents, the Governing Board has the full right to ask for the Residents’ Assembly to halt all decisionmaking | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

Rebutting charges from some quarters that the Auroville governing board was overstepping its role as defined in the Auroville Foundation Act, 1988, the Working Committee of the Residents’ Assembly, officially recognised by the Auroville Foundation, on Tuesday said the board was well within its rights to seek a pause on Residents’ Assembly processes until the register of residents was updated. In a press note, the WC said that without an updated Register of Residents — a basic record akin to a voters’ list that has not been updated since 2005 — the Governing Board has the full right to ask for the Residents’ Assembly to halt all decision-making until this task is completed. “All this in no way offends or affects the functioning of the Residents Assembly, nor is the Governing Board overstepping their role as defined in the Act, as is being alleged”, the press note said. Referring to the May 10 Residents’ Assembly meeting that had retained three members and removed and replaced four others in while electing a new WC, the statement said the “illegal Residents Assembly Decision process” convened by a small faction of residents, violates not only the directive of the Governing Board to update the Register of Residents first, but also all agreed-upon internal guidelines for selection of members and their term of office. It also said a recent press release “circulated by the unauthorised residents claiming to be the bonafide Working Committee” contained a number of false and misleading allegations with regard to the Residents Assembly (RA) which do not stand scrutiny. Contrary to the claims that there was harmonious collaboration among the Governing Board, the International Advisory Council and the Residents Assembly through the last 30 years to suggest that the current conflict was a new phenomenon, the press note pointed to the 43rd Governing Board minutes records of the Chairman calling for residents to “overcome their antipathy towards the Foundation and fully cooperate with the Governing Board,” and saying that “due to various reasons, residents of Auroville appeared to be moving off course and away from the ideals of Auroville.” “This antagonism persists in pockets of the community and has escalated in recent months”, the WC said. According to the press note, the police FIR was a consequence of several actions by which the “unauthorised residents forcibly kept the official Working Committee out of office”. The team was prevented from accessing files, passwords and their names were removed from the mailbox and passwords changed. The office locks were changed in the middle of the night, without informing the Town Hall management nor the Secretary’s office. They were also prevented from posting announcements and work updates through the internal media and messaging systems, and it was only after the Foundation notice to hand over the keys and to vacate the offices was refused twice that a police complaint was lodged, the statement said. The WC press note also denied that visas were being refused. Out of the 595 applications submitted to date, 554 have received the recommended five-year visa, 37 between to six months to one year visas and only four have been recommended 3 months, it said.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 4:35:46 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/auroville-governing-board-not-overstepping-role/article65457366.ece