ARCHIVES:DISMISSED ACCOUNTS CASE AGAINST AUROBINDO ASHRAM

Everything is for history to judge.In one’s lifetime we  cannot expect justice.Hence we  leave it in our archives for historians and  researchers to evaluate our times. We lost the case  after  first lawyer became judicial magistrate and withdrew, and three more lawyers either on our request  or on their own after they accepting  briefs from respondents  in different cases, with drew. We appealed for in media to any lawyer  to come forward, one came,  handled sometime and threw the towel. So our case was dismissed. Let historians  study the issues raised…. N.Nandhivarman

Ev

IN THE  COURT OF PRINCIPAL DISTRICT JUDGE

AT PONDICHERRY

O.P. NO. 22/97

 

Between:

1.      N. Nandhivarman,

General Secretary, Dravida Peravai,

69, Rangapillai Street,

Pondicherry – 605 001

2.      D.K. Ramnujam, Ex. M.L.A.,

17, Pillayar Koil Street,

Thengaithittu,

Pondicherry – 605 004                                                                                                                                                                      …. Petitioners

 

Vs.

 

1.      Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

represented by its Managing Trustee

Mr. Harikant C. Patel,

Sri Aurobindo Ashram  Main Building,

Marine Street,

Pondicherry – 605 002

2.      Mr. Manoj Das Gupta,

Trustee,

23, Saint Louis Street,

Pondicherry – 605 002

3.      Dr. Dilip Datta,

Trustee,

45, Lally Tollendal Street,

Pondicherry – 605 002

4.      Mr. Ved Prakash Johar,

Trustee, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Dining Hall,

8, Rangapillai Street,

Pondicherry – 605 002

5.      Mr. Albert A. Patel

Trustee,

15, Calve Subbaraya Chetty Street,

Pondicherry – 605 001                                    ….RESPONDENTS

 

PETITION UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE CHARITABLE AND RLIGIOUSTRUSTS ACT, 1920 (CENTRAL ACT NO. 14 OF 1920)

1)     The first petitioner is the son of Late R. Nagarathinam, Hindu, aged about    49 Years, residing at No.69, Rangapillai Street, Pondicherry – 605 001.

The second Petitioner is the son of Late Krishnaswamy, Hindu, aged about 76 years, residing at 17, Pillayar Koil Street, Thengaithittu,         Pondicherry- 605 004.

The  address for service of all process and summons of the petitioners is that of their counsel.

P. U. Chemmal, B.A., L.L. M.,

Advocate,

Ignacy Maistry Street,

Pondicherry – 605 001.

 

2)     The first respondent is a charitable trust created by Late Madame Mira Alfasa and managed by respondent 2 to 5 for the time being.

The second respondent is the son of father name not known to the Petitioner, aged 62 years and residing at 23, Saint Louis Street,  Pondicherry –605 002.

The third respondent is the son of father name not known to the Petitioner, aged 68 years residing at 45, Lally Thollendal street, Pondicherry-605 002.

The fourth respondent is the son of father name not knownto the Petitioner, aged 69 years, residing at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Dining Hall,                   8 Rangapillai street, Pondicherry – 605 002.

The fifth respondent is the son of, father name not known to the Petitioner, aged 73 years, residing at 15, calve subbaraya Chetty street,       Pondicherry – 605 001.

The address for service of all purposes and summons of the respondents is as given above.

 

3)     The petitioner submits that the first respondent trust is a charitable trust created for the benefit of the disciples, devotees  and  inmates of                   Sri Aurobindo Ashram and of the schools conducted by the said Ashram.  The trust was created by a Declaration of Trust made by Late Madame Mira Alfasa who was known as the Divine Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, by a deed of declaration of trust executed on 1.5.1955 and registered as document No.1823 of 1955 in Book-1. Vol. 402, pages 273 to 287  in the Office of the Sub-Registrar of Vanur.  The Trust deed was subsequently registered on 28.3.1964 in the Enrigistrement Bureau in Pondicherry.  Thereafter the declaration of trust was further transcribed in Bureau Des Hypotheque, Pondicherry on 25.5.1964 in R.V. 90 as No.22.

 

4)     The petitioners submit that as it could be seen from the said deed of declaration of trust, the trust is possessed of extensive lands and buildings and the sale proceeds and benefits arisen out of the books,  periodicals, manuscripts and writings of Sri Aurobindo have also been made over to the trust for the sole benefit and use of the disciples, devotees and inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram.  It is also manifest on the trust deed that the properties of the trust shall be in use for the residence of the inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and for various other purposes, industries and undertakings connected with the Ashram and for the extensive benefit and use of the disciples, devotees and inmates of the Ashram.  The properties are also to be put to use for the spiritual education and enlightenment of mankind generally on the ideal and philosophy of Sri Aurobindo.

 

5)     The petitioner submits that the first petitioner hails form a family of
Sri Aurobindo’s disciples and has immense interest in the study of the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Divine Mother.  The first petitioner therefore has lot of concern over the proper management and administration of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and in ensuring that the properties of the trust and its incomes are not exploited for personal ends.  The second petitioner is a freedom fighter and a social activist concerned about the charitable activities of a trust functionary in
Pondicherry soil and its proper use for benefiting local populace and all.

 

6)     The petitioner submits that the trustees for the time being of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust  have been vested with the absolute management and entire control of the trust properties for the purposes of the trust deed for execution of the trust.  The trustees shall be at liberty at any time to sell or let out any house, land, tenements, hereditaments and premises and any motors, pumps, fixtures or fittings, books and other movable properties subject to the trust with power to buy or resell the same. and all moneys that arise form such transactions shall be deemed to be part of the trust property.  The petitioner submits that the trust has also been registered as public charitable trust under section 80 G of the Indian Income Tax Act. 1961.

 

7)     The petitioner submits that while it was so the respondents 2 to 5 who are for the time being the trustees of the first respondent trust have been making misuse of the funds of the trust for their personal ends.  Therefore a demand was made from among the inmates for particulars about  the management of the trust and its accounts.  The respondents 2 to 5 have been functioning in an autocratic manner keeping away all the inmates and have refused to render accounts to them.  Consequently there was a move to form an association called Sri Aurobindo Ashram Inmates Association and the respondents 2 to 5 exercising their influence with official machinery took steps to thwart the association from being coming into existence.  A few of the promoters of the association have filed a civil suit praying for an injuuction to the  Registrar of the societies to register the Association . The said suit is disposed (O.S. No.12/97)  on 21.4.97 by the court of III ADM.  As a retaliation to the move adopted by a section of the inmates to form an association, the respondents 2 to 5 sought to expel a few identified persons who are inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram form the Ashram community, of flimsy grounds.  This triggered another round of litigation lodged by the four expelled inmates which were taken on file as original suits No.88/97, 89/97, 90/97, 91/97 on the file of the court of III ADM at Pondicherry.  The latter batch of suits has however ended in a compromise  under which the expelled members were unconditionally taken back to the fold of the Ashram.

 

8)     The petitioners respectfully submits that the respondents 2 to 5 have thus converted the whole trusts to own their benefits and do not render any account to anyone.  on the other hand there is a vast extent of movable and immovable properties for the trust and a number of industrial undertakings are being owned and conducted by Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.  The trust also received quite on amount of public contribution from the devotees and the disciples of Sri Aurobindo.  The respondents do not appear to have rendered proper accounts and any move made by the inmates to look into the management of the first respondent trust by the respondents 2 to 5  only results in victimisation of the worst degree, including physical manhandling.

 

9)     The petitioners submit that in the Trust deed created by The Mother, the intention of the trust, the beneficiaries, the maintenance and utilisation of Trust funds and all other connected and incidental matters have been clearly delineated but the Deed of Trust does not contain any provision for removal of  Trustees in case of mismanagement, misconduct and misappropriations.  The Deed of Trust, the petitioners submit, does not contain any provision for the continuing trustees to oust any trustee even if one of them have committed misappropriation of trust funds or any other breach of  trust .  No trustee or majority of the trustees have any power to expel any other Trustee.  The Deed of Trust does not mention the period for which appointed trustees should hold office. The petitioners submit that if the trustees are to hold office throughout their life time, then there is danger of mismanagement due to their  old age incapacity of performing their duties towards the execution of the trust.  The petitioners state that the chances of the management  indirectly falling into the hands of undesirable and incompetent persons looms large.  The lack of accountability, transparency and democracy coupled with the ambiguous provision of the trust deed has resulted in Sri Aurobindo Ashram “falling from grace”.

 

10) The petitioners also submit that the Government of Pondicherry under the administration of the then Lt. Governor Cheddilal wrote three times to the trustees of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Sri Aurobindo Society and other units of Sri Aurobindo Ashram soliciting information regarding accounts. The petitioners state that there was a CBI raid on 13th September 1976 on  Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Sri Aurobindo Society and other units. These incidents, the petitioners submit is clear cut proof of the reluctance of   Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust to comply with the laws of the land.  It is to be noted that this defiance or refusal to show accounts at the time of emergency resulting in CBI raids will have to be taken note of by the Honourable Court in evaluating the proper functioning of the trust and  petitioners’ prayer for accountability.

 

11)The petitioners submits that the accounts of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and its subsidiary business trusts including Sri Aurobindo Udyog Trust are written in a centralised manner.  and of late there has been large  scale shifting of deposits/accounts from Nationalised Banks of repute like State Bank of India to other banks, for no rhyme or reason, other than creating cloud of suspicion over the pecuniary benefits accrued to the prime movers of this “deposit transfers” .

 

12) The petitioners submits  that the registered office of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and its  trustees, parties to this suit and witnesses reside within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court.  The Trust deed which was originally registered in Vanur, was subsequently registered on 28.3.1964 in the enregistrement Bureau in Pondicherry as well as transcribed in Bureau Des Hypotheque Pondicherry on 21.5.1964 in R.V. 90 as No.22. The Petitioners submit that it  is clear as whole of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and its properties, trustees, witnesses, office, registered office, commercial establishments etc are situated all within the areas of the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court.

 

13) The first Petitioner submits that the first petitioner is a native of Pondicherry and comes from a family that was close to Sri Aurobindo  and is an ardent admirer of his global vision and philosophy.  Both the petitioners understand that the respondents 2 to 5 are converting to their own benefit the properties of the first respondents trust  and income of the said trust.  There are also indications that respondents 2 to 5 are entering into shady deals involving sale of the properties of  the  first respondent trust in which lot of money is being passed under hand to be secreted and pocketed by the respondents 2 to 5 to their own persons.  It is therefore just and necessary that the respondents are directed to furnish to the petitioner with particulars as to  the properties and the income of the first respondents trust and application of those income in the matter of execution of the trust and also a direction be issued that the accounts of the trust shall be examined and audited for  a period of three years prior to the date of this petition.  Hence this petition.

 

14) The petitioner pays a court fee of Rs.10/- as per the provision of  schedule II under article 10 (2) of the Pondicherry Court Fees and suit Valuation Act, 1972.

 

15)The petitioner therefore prays that this Honourable Court may be pleased to pass an order and decree:

 

a)      directing the respondents 2 to 5 to furnish to the petitioner with particulars as to  the details of immovable, movable  properties of Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, the income of the trust form those properties and from contribution made to the trust by the public and devotees and disciples of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and application of those income in the matter of execution of the trust;

b)      directing that the accounts of the said trust shall be examined and audited by an independent auditor for  a period of three years prior to the  filing of this petition;

c)      awarding the costs of this petition;

d)      granting such further or other order or orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit in the facts and circumstances of the case and thus render justice.

 

Dated at Pondicherry this the 24th day of June, 1997.

 

              Sd/-                                                                       Sd/-

COUNSEL FOR PETITIONERS                         PETITIONERS                               

VERIFICATION

We, the petitioners herein do hereby declare that what is stated above are true to the best of our knowledge, belief and information.

Dated at Pondicherry this the 24th day of June, 1997.

                                                                                                            Sd/-                                                     PETITIONERS

List of Docutment filed

Photo copy of the extract of the book.  The Life of Sri Aurobindo(1872-1926) page 233 to Prove the first petitioners family  is Sri Aurobindo’s disciples.

Pondicherry                                                                    Sd/-                         

Date : 22.7.97                                                  COUNSEL FOR PETITIONERS

 

//TRUE COPY//

 

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CULTURAL SHOCKS OF AUROVILLE REGION

THE LONG DRAWN STRUGGLE AGAINST AUROVILLE

The Government of India and International donors must take note of the words of appreciation my blogs and statements are receiving from the followers of Aurobindo Ghosh. All the mails we got and comments we received had been a source of strength to us. Mr.Tushar N.Mohapatra, a dedicated follower of the Aurobindonian family had posted on june 24 th of 2008 the following comments : [Tuesday, June 24, 2008 N. Nandhivarman is doing a yeoman’s service for propagation of the Savitri Era Religion [DRAVIDA PERAVAI 23 Jun 08 SAVE AUROVILLE FROM FINANCIAL IRREGULARITIES] By nandhivarman ]

N. Nandhivarman is doing a yeoman’s service to the evolutionary revolution that was launched by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. By turning the searchlights upon Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Auroville, he is generating a lot of awareness as well as curiosity among the public. It is good for the hospitality industry in Puducherry and also for the propagation of Savitri Era Religion. If this nexus can work more openly and systematically, then we shall really be able to take the idea of Human Unity very far. All kinds of issues besetting a globalized world will look forward to a Puducherry rendezvous for their solution. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 10:40 AM 0 comments Links Tuesday, June 24, 2008

But I must place before the world his views much before I started the recent open debate on Auroville. Though I had spoken against Auroville in the Athiests Conference of 2006 and had written in Sinthanaiyalan Pongal issue of 2005, there had been voices within Aurobindonian family to show the door to the Ex-Maharaja of Kashmir Dr.Karan Singh, who like absentee landlord manages Auroville. Also other demands raised by Tushar N.Mohapatra are given in his words below including the date, year of those demands.

Sunday, July 22, 2007 A resident of Auroville should become the President of Auroville
The President of India, the Prime Minister, and the members of his Cabinet reside in India. The Chief Minister of Puducherry is a resident of the State. But most of the persons nominated to the Governing Board of The Auroville Foundation are not residents of Auroville. This is untenable; they must resign forthwith. A resident of Auroville should become the President of Auroville. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 9:44 AM 1 comments Links

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 They have no business to continue in such positions
[For first time, govt to choose IIM directors The Times of India 18 Jul 2007 MUMBAI: This could be the final blow to the long-held autonomy of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).]
Are the 5 nominated members of The International Advisory Council of the The Auroville Foundation well versed with the teachings of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo? If not, they have no business to continue in such positions. There are lot many others among the devotees with records of life long dedication to the cause of the Life Divine. The Government must not impose its bureaucratic whims over the organic growth of Auroville. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 6:39 PM 1 comments Links

Thursday, June 12, 2008 Savitri Era Party welcomes N. Nandhivarman’s 100 Questions
N. Nandhivarman, General Secretary, Dravida Peravai, in his article, “AUROVILLE’s MATRIMANDIR: AN EYE OPENER,” has promised that he will raise “100 Questions for generating awareness about the happenings in Auroville and to ensure Government of India intervenes to effect amendment to Act and initiate corrective measures.” [7:06 AM & 12:22 PM]
Savitri Era Party welcomes this. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at 6:26 PM 0 comments Links

Saturday, June 14, Saturday, June 14, 2008 Savitri Era Party demands free elections, accountability, and transparency in Auroville
[THANKS FOR BBC INITIATED DEBATE ON AUROVILLE – indiainteracts.com By Google Inc. THANKS FOR BBC INITIATED DEBATE ON AUROVILLE indiainteracts.com, India – The New Age commune revealed on TV is guiltier of child neglect than abuse, says Loic Rich. “I was not surprised by the allegations of child abuse at . …The New Age Living Blog – http://newagelivinblog.com THANKS FOR BBC INITIATED DEBATE ON AUROVILLE indiainteracts.com – Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India “I was not surprised by the allegations of child abuse at Auroville – a progressive European community in India- that BBC news team made this week. …See all stories on this topic]
The recent BBC (un)coverage on Auroville is admittedly low on propriety but compensatingly high on priority. Probably, years of good work get a bad name all of a sudden, but simultaneously, some sordid goings on also come under scrutiny, which otherwise would not have happened so easily.
The Congress has the satisfaction that it rules at least a tiny patch of Tamil Nadu through Dr. Karan Singh. But the 1988 Act, without territorial demarcation, deems to be infructuous as of today. As such, continuation of the present Governing Body is not only illegal but also illegitimate.
Matrimandir is the sacred shrine for the innumerable adherents of Savitri Era Religion. It is painful for the Savitri Erans to learn that certain high-ranking persons are colluding with nefarious activities and indulging in falsehood. Savitri Era Party wants change and demands free elections, accountability, and transparency. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra at
6:41 PM 0 comments Links

THE CULTURAL SHOCKS OF AUROVILLE

Let me quote from my article in Voice of Voiceless 2006 issue http://www.voiceofvoiceless.com/current/m2.asp

Jahaji Bhai” is a documentary film with an Urdu title, which means brothers of the ship. These are not sailors of the same boat as the English idiom indicates but literally are slaves taken away in the same ship. These are bonded labour taken 167 years ago in ships to erstwhile colonies of the Caribbean region. Suresh Kumar Pillai had tried to capture their miseries in this documentary on a totally forgotten peoples. Why did people from India go to Caribbean’s? The historical necessity arrives with the abolition of slavery in the nation ruled by white colored people. After the black race got reprieve from slavery, to work in the sugar plantations Indians from Chota Nagpur areas, mostly tribal people were lured into.The first ship left Calcutta in February 1838 and reached Guyana on May 5 th 1838. There were 420 hill coolies, as they were called, out of which 50 are women and 10 children. Many succumbed to diseases in mid way and those who reached there had either to perish under stress and strain within the 5-year contract period or to be killed for so called violations.

In fact many ships went missing and no one was there to shed a single drop of tear. If an Indian coolie absented for 7 days he was fined $24 dollars, which is equivalent to 6 months wages. These Indians lost their roots and culture. While liberated Negro slaves climbed in the social ladder, Indians filled that vacuum at the rock bottom of society. They were induced to become addicts to alcoholism. With few women around polyandry became the order of the day. Africans joined Europeans to suppress the brown race. Picturing their everyday lives and showing lot of documentary proof with regard to their plight from various sources, Suresh Kumar Pillai in this documentary records an unknown chapter on Indian migration. Ravi Dev, Leader of the Roar Guyana Movement speaks for his fellow brethren and a 103 old man tries hard to recollect his fellow passengers of the ship that carried them from India, all shown in the documentary.

While British India stopped labour supply due to awareness and campaigns, French India provided a fertile ground for hunting neo-slaves. Suresh Kumar Pillai had shot another documentary on these pathetic brethren. “ Songs of Malabaris” is a film on coolie migration from Pondicherry and its enclaves towards Caribbean sugar plantations. All South Indians are called as Malabaris or Madrasis it must be remembered. The French recruited the labourers mainly from Pondicherry, Karaikal, Chandranagore and Mahe and between 1854 and 1920 around 50,000 Indian labourers were taken to Guadeloupe and Martinique to work as coolies. It should be stressed that only Mahakavi Bharathiar immortalized the woes of the sugar plantation labourers in his poem”karumbu thottathile”. No one else bothered about our unfortunate kinsmen.

The Indian labourers in French colonies had to face stiff resistance from the Africans because the Indians had to work for paltry pittance, which freed Africans refused to comply. Thus Indians occupied the lowest of the low position in the French Caribbean society and called as “Cooli Malabarise”or “Chappa Coolies”. Indian coolies were never allowed to practice their religious faiths or to speak their native tongues on the plantations .The labourers had to be French in every sense. This was in sharp contrast to other Dutch colony of Suriname or British colony of Trinidad and Guyana where the Indians had some amount of freedom to retain their language and culture. The film looks at the history of migration of Indians to French West Indies and their struggle to retain their religion and culture against the French policy of assimilation.

THE QUESTION NOW HAUNTING US? WHY DOES WESTERNERS CHOOSE AUROVILLE. OUR PEOPLE WENT TO CARRIBEANS TO EARN A GOOD LIVING WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE A MIRAGE CHASE. THEY LOST THEIR CULTURE. HERE WESTERNERS HAVE COME TO MAKE A GOOD LIVING BETTER THAN WESTERN STANDARDS. THEY ALSO HAD ADMINISTERED CULTURAL SHOCKS ON OUR SOCIETY.

GAY SEX:

 

One person talks about his homosexual relationship in a letter with us. He says since 1977 he was having homosexual relationship. His Indian male partner had sent 120 love letters to this western male, as per his letter dated 6th October 1996. The westerner had given 19 lakhs to the homo-partner, and to earn this the German had worked in petrol bunks during his visits to his home country Germany. It appears that the innocent Indian polluted by this German also cheated Dieter Wilm of Germany. This German tells in his letter that his Indian contact gave him marijuana to sell in Germany and it was found by German police. This Germans letter speaks of a triangular homosexual relationship. It also mentions about many western names, of Aurovillians of those days. Later this German went to live in Puducherry. His name is Volker A.Annuss. Auroville had such people, it is history. It is their duty to weed out such crimes if it exists now instead of barking against citizens who voice concern for public good.

 

LESBIAN SEX:

 

We gave a CD which was sold in free markets titled Auroville Beauties, wherein a western man will be watching two poor young Tamil girls made to perform lesbian acts before the camera. Also in another clipping a western man will be making sex with a Tamil girl before the camera. This indicates shooting of such scenes for selling in abroad. Dravida Peravai gave those CD’s to the then Superintendent of Intelligence Bureau Mr.Ramdass for forwarding to Government to take stringent action .There ends the matter. What action government took it is only known to Government of India. Such CD’s were given to BBC, but due to ethical standards British press did not publish nor did BBC telecast such porn videos.

 

The Tamil boys who had made it regular hobby to chase white girls, and Tamil women falling prey into contracts to live with westerners in exchange of monetary gains only to be ditched sooner, and a story of one Tamil’s wife got married to a westerner without divorcing the husband, all such real happenings undermining our culture and society, the free media of our country must come forward to expose through investigative journalism.

 

N.Nandhivarman, General Secretary, Dravida Peravai

 

 

 

robbing tsunami victims

CAG REPORT INDICTS RANGASAMY GOVERNMENT ON TSUNAMI FRAUD: SONIA TO DECIDE on 7th JULY 2008

 

[The Chief Minister, who had lost the support of his entire cabinet, and enjoys the support of only 2 legislators of the Congress Legislature party, who had been avoiding going to New Delhi for past one week on the pretext of stomach pain, finally had been sternly summoned by the Congress high command, and he is scheduled to meet Congress President Ms.Sonia Gandhi on 7th July 2008 10.A.M, who may send him to AIIMS hospital for curing his stomach pain. We submit the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on his handling of the Tsunami funds, over which, Dravida Peravai had been spearheading a campaign for CBI enquiry. Let media men be in slumber by not even exposing CAG Report indictments, but like tsunami that struck by surprise, the Chief Minister who stage manages a clean image by throwing lavish advertisements even to monthlies, weeklies with less than 100 copy circulation, will be washed away to the dustbin of history. Of course he is the richest and purchasing power of that money will be witnessed from the day he steps down till next electoral verdict is written by the people of Puducherry….. N.N]

 

CHAPTER III PERFORMANCE REVIEWS 25 PERFORMANCE REVIEWS

This chapter presents two performance reviews on Tsunami Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, Functioning of Government General Hospitals and one long paragraph on Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

 

REVENUE AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND FISHERIES DEPARTMENTS

 

3.1 Tsunami Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Highlights: The Tsunami of December 2004 damaged 33 villages in the Union Territory of Puducherry. The Government provided assistance in cash and kind to the affected families. There was no comprehensive action plan to utilize funds received from Government of India. There were deficiencies in identification of beneficiaries for immediate relief and rehabilitation of Tsunami affected people. Assistance for repair/replacement of fishing crafts was delayed by 4 to 17 months after the calamity. There was delay in providing assistance for rehabilitation. Considerable delay was also noticed in reconstruction activities. Consequently, Tsunami affected families were not resettled as of September 2006. Monitoring of the implementation was poor. – Disaster Management Authority was not functional when Tsunami struck. Government of India scheme for creation of coastal shelterbelt to reduce the impact of cyclone was not implemented during 2000-04.

(Paragraphs 3.1.6.1 and 3.1.6.2)

– Government of India sanctioned Rs 255.62 crore till March 2006 as against Rs 312.37 crore recommended by central team. The reported expenditure of Rs 175.44 crore included Rs 55.42 crore comprising amount kept unspent, inadmissible expenditure, diversion of funds and a case of excess expenditure. (Paragraph 3.1.7)

 

Audit Report for the year ended 31 March 2006 – Though 2,006 houses were identified as damaged in Tsunami, Revenue Department did not restrict the payment of compensation only to house owners, but compensation was given to 5,247 families who claimed to live there. Scale of assistance prescribed by GOI was not followed. (Paragraphs 3.1.8.1 and 3.1.8.2)

 

– Government did not take action to claim and pay insurance amount due to active fishermen who died in Tsunami under the National Scheme for Welfare of Fishermen. (Paragraph 3.1.8.3)

 

– Assistance to fishermen was given 4 to 17 months after the calamity. (Paragraph 3.1.8.6)

 

– No comprehensive programme was evolved for infrastructure development for utilizing plan assistance. Out of 7,567 numbers of houses planned to be constructed, only 595 houses were completed as of November 2006 and of this, 495 houses were not allotted to Tsunami victims. (Paragraph 3.1.9.1)

 

3.1.1 Introduction: Tsunami is a series of waves generated when a large body of water such as a lake or ocean is rapidly displaced on a massive scale due to earthquake or volcanic eruptions. The impact of earthquake that had its epicenter off the Coast of Sumatra Island in Indonesia triggered the occurrence of Tsunami in the south eastern coast of India on the morning of 26 December 2004. The Tsunami caused extensive loss of lives and damages to both public and private properties along the Coastal States of South India including Union Territory (UT) of Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar islands. In the UT of Puducherry, which consists of four coastal enclaves1, Tsunami caused damages in Puducherry and Karaikal regions and Government notified (January 2005) 33 villages in Puducherry (16) and Karaikal (17) regions for the purpose of relief and rehabilitation. The details of damages reported to Government of India (GOI) are given in Appendix XV. The majority of affected families derived their livelihood from fishing, agriculture and rearing livestock. Immediately after Tsunami, Government accommodated 30,000 affected people in 48 relief camps2 and distributed ex-gratia payment to families of 1 Three (Puducherry, Karaikal and Yanam) in the eastern coast and one (Mahe) in the western coast 2 Schools, marriage halls, temples, community halls, etc.

 

Chapter III – Performance Reviews 2 7 the deceased, cash for funeral and medical expenses. Relief packages consisting of rice, kerosene, saree and dhoties etc., bed sheets and supply of textbooks, uniforms to affected children were also made during December 2004 to February 2005. Cash dole were given for purchase of utensils, repair of damaged houses, sustenance and loss of crop and livestock. Government also restored the essential services like water supply and electricity. As mid-term relief, the Government provided assistance for repair and replacement of fishing crafts and reclamation of agricultural land. Besides repairing public property like roads, bridges etc., the Government has undertaken construction of houses, public utilities and preventive measures such as construction of coastal protection belt as one of the permanent relief measures.

 

3.1.2 Organizational set-up: Immediately after the disaster, Government appointed (31 December 2004) Development Commissioner and Secretary (Education and Power) as the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (RRC) to manage and co-ordinate the arrangements for distributing relief supplies received from GOI, UT Government and other sources. The Revenue Department was placed under his control for this purpose. The immediate relief measures undertaken by five departments3 were monitored by State Level Relief and Rehabilitation Committee constituted in January 2005 with Chief Minister as Chairman. Government also established (April 2005) a Project Implementation Agency (PIA), a registered society, headed by a Project Director and assisted by Joint Project Director and other staff. The society has to implement the mid-term and long term rehabilitation and reconstruction measures through Revenue Department (now renamed as Revenue and Disaster Management Department) and other 134 departments. Besides, 185 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) were involved in construction of houses to resettle the Tsunami affected families along with PIA.

 

3.1.3 Audit objectives: The objectives of Audit were to assess: whether proper institutional mechanism had been set up byGovernment for disaster management, adequacy of funding for relief activities and whether utilisation ofthe funds was proper,3 Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Education, Fisheries and Revenue4 Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Education, Electricity, Fisheries, Forest and Wildlife, Health, Local Administration, Public Works, Rural Development, Social Welfare, Tourism and Women and Child Development5 Over and above, Government of Maharashtra has also undertaken activities pertaining to construction of houses

 

Audit Report for the year ended 31 March 2006:28: the efficiency in providing immediate assistance and rehabilitation to affected families, the efficiency, economy and effectiveness of long term relief activities such as creation of assets and permanent infrastructure and resettlement of Tsunami victims, ?? The quality of monitoring and co-ordination mechanism to oversee rehabilitation activities.

 

3.1.4 Audit criteria

The criteria adopted in conducting the audit were: Rules in force on disaster management and policy adopted by the Government; conditions stipulated by GOI and UT Government while releasingfunds; the details of assistance received from various sources; norms prescribed by GOI for expenditure from National CalamityContingency Fund (NCCF);?? Target and schedule prescribed by Government for rehabilitation work and?? Monitoring mechanism adopted for extending relief and rehabilitation.

 

3.1.5 Audit coverage and methodology: Audit was conducted from November 2005 to March 2006 in Revenue and 13 other departments6, PIA and District Rural Development Agency (DRDA). Records relating to the period December 2004 to March 2006 on relief and rehabilitation activities maintained in the 14 departments covering all the 33 affected villages and status reports on the activities of NGOs in PIA were test checked in audit. An entry conference was held with the RRC in January 2006 and field visits were undertaken.

6 Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Education, Electricity, Fisheries, Forest and Wildlife, Health, Local Administration, Public Works, Rural Development, Social Welfare, Tourism and Women and Child Development

 

Chapter III – Performance Reviews; 2 9: Audit findings

3.1.6 Disaster management

3.1.6.1 Institutional arrangement

Based on the GOI recommendations, the Government constituted a State Disaster Management Authority in September 2003 under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary to ensure co-coordinated steps towards mitigation and preparedness when disaster strikes. A District Disaster Management Committee was also formed (September 2003) for extending immediate relief to disaster affected people. However, no Disaster Management Policy has been framed. After occurrence of Tsunami, Government constituted (03 January 2005) a Committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister to monitor and review the relief operations. Government also appointed a Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner to manage and co-ordinate relief operations. Thus, the institutions set up to manage disaster were not functional at the time of occurrence of Tsunami. After notification of the Central Act in December 2005, the UT Government was to initiate action to frame Rules. But the Rules had not been framed as of October 2006. No framing of Disaster Management Policy in time resulted in the absence of set framework of actions to be undertaken upon occurrence of Tsunami. Government stated (November 2006) that GOI had been requested (October 2006) to bring the Central Act into force in the UT with effect from 2 October 2006 and the Rules as well as the state policy would be framed and finalized on receipt of GOI notification.

 

3.1.6.2 Construction of coastal shelterbelt: All the four regions of the UT are located in coastlines and prone for cyclone. In order to create a belt of trees in coastlines to reduce the impact of cyclone, GOI sanctioned (January 2001) Rs 90.32 lakh to cover 448 hectare of land under ‘Integrated Afforestation and Eco-Development Project Scheme’. The scheme was to be implemented during 2000-02. GOI released Rs 20.12 lakh during 2000-01 as first installment. The Forest Department spent Rs 3.40 lakh for creating coastal shelterbelt during 2000-01, but stopped the work due to objection raised by fishermen. As the first installment was not spent in full, the balance amount was not released by GOI. Only after Tsunami, the Department spent Rs 5.48 lakh during 2004-05. The balance amount of Rs 11.24 lakh remained unspent as of July 2006. Had the Department implemented the scheme in 2001-02 by obtaining the entire funds sanctioned by GOI, the impact of Tsunami on the lives and properties could have been contained and reduced.Government stated (November 2006) that the Central scheme was not successful due to non-cooperation of the local fishermen community. This contention is not tenable as the Government failed to convince the Rules under ‘Disaster Management Act’ and Government policy on Disaster Management were not framed fishermen community regarding the benefits of the scheme for more than two years.

 

The UT Government sought (January 2005) Rs 465.99 crore for providing short term and long term relief to the Tsunami affected people. The activity wise details are given in Appendix XVI. The central team visited (January 2005) the affected areas and recommended Rs 312.37 crore. GOI sanctioned (March 2005 to March 2006) Rs 255.62 crore for Tsunami relief and released Rs 203.21 crore during the period March 2005 to March 2006. Government spent Rs 175.44 crore as of March 2006. The activity-wise details are given in Appendix XVII. Though the amount already released was not spent in full, GOI provided (2006-07) an additional plan assistance of Rs 220 crore for creation of infrastructure in Tsunami affected areas. Government stated (November 2006) that the report prepared in first week of January 2005 was tentative and did not include long term rehabilitation GOI sanctioned more funds than sought for, but the amount released was not spent

 

Chapter III – Performance Reviews: 3 1 requirement. This contention is not tenable as Rs 465.99 crore sought for by the UT Government included Rs 358.01 crore for reconstruction activities.

 

3.1.7.2 Overstatement of expenditure

The expenditure of Rs 175.44 crore includes Rs 107.15 crore drawn as advance by eight departments during December 2004 to March 2006, of which Rs 29.517 crore remained unspent as of March 2006. Test check revealed that Revenue and Fisheries Departments kept Rs 7.84 crore, released from funds received under RGRP, in bank (Rs 7.01 crore) and with PIA (Rs 0.83 crore).The remaining six departments kept Rs 21.67 crore received under plan assistance in bank (Rs 16.34 crore), with PIA (Rs 4.25 crore) and with DRDA

(Rs 1.08 crore). Thus, actual expenditure was only Rs 145.93 crore. Government stated (November 2006) that many works could not be taken up due to enforcement of model code of conduct on account of election. The reply is not tenable as the amount was shown as expended without completion of works.

 

3.1.7.3 Diversion of funds and charging of excess expenditure

 

Against Rs 32.01 crore released by GOI for giving subsidy to fishermen for purchase of boats, the UT Government paid a subsidy of Rs 46.60 crore.The excess amount was met by diverting Rs 9.07 crore available as savings out of Rs 39.78 crore received under NCCF and Rs 5.52 crore out of Rs 30 crore received for reconstruction activities. Government attributed the diversion to payment of higher scale of compensation. Though cartage and storage charges are to be levied on deposit works only, the Electricity Department also charged Rs 13.33 lakh as cartage and storage charges on Tsunami works, which are Government works. This resulted in inflation of expenditure under ‘Tsunami Relief’.

 

3.1.7.4 Inadmissible expenditure

 

Out of the plan assistance of Rs 100 crore released by GOI during 2005-06 to create infrastructural facilities in Tsunami affected areas, Rs 52.59 crore was allocated to Public Works Department. Of this, the UT Government sanctioned Rs 11.19 crore for providing infrastructure in areas not affected by Tsunami as detailed below: 7 Agriculture (Rs 2.75 crore), Education (Rs 0.36 crore), Fisheries (Rs 2.01 crore), Forest and Wild Life (Rs 0.86 crore), Health and Family Welfare (Rs 2.21 crore), Local Administration (Rs 14.41 crore), Revenue (Rs 5.83 crore) and Rural Development (Rs 1.08 crore) Unspent amount was shown as expenditure Infrastructure was provided in areas not affected by Tsunami

 

3.25 Though Yanam was not declared as Tsunami affected,the works have been executed in Yanam.Construction of Women and Children Hospital, Puducherry7.94 The expenditure incurred during 2005-06 under the ongoing scheme ‘Construction of Women and Children Hospital’ in Puducherry, taken up before the occurrence of Tsunami was transferred to the scheme ‘creation of infrastructural facilities in Tsunami affected area’.

Total 11.19 the expenditure was beyond the scope of the programme. Government stated (November 2006) that flood control works in Yanam were taken up as nearby East Godavari District in Andra Pradesh was declared as Tsunami hit area and the Women and Children Hospital was situated within half a kilometer radium from the coast. These contentions are not tenable as Yanam was not declared as Tsunami affected area. Besides, the hospital work was sanctioned before the occurrence of Tsunami.

 

3.1.7.5 Unutilized assistance from other sources

 

In addition to GOI funds, the Government received assistance in kind (cloth, groceries, utensils, etc.) from public for providing immediate relief to the affected families. The materials not distributed were kept in stock for future use. Besides, Rs 2.59 crore was received from Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme remained unspent as of March 2006. GOI also allocated World Bank assistance of Rs 158.28 crore (May 2005) under ‘Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project’ for undertaking long term relief measures. Out of Rs 75 crore received and deposited with PIA, Rs 2.68 crore was spent as of March 2006. Though, the allocation was made by GOI in May 2005, no concrete proposals were sent even by March 2006 resulting in non-utilization of funds received. Government stated (November 2006) that proposals for Rs 135 crore for Fisheries, Agriculture and Forest sectors were sent to World Bank (May 2006) and of this, seven projects for Fisheries sector were approved for Rs 117 crore. However, no project was taken up even by November 2006.

 

3.1.8 Immediate relief and rehabilitation measures Immediately after Tsunami, the Government paid immediate relief assistance of Rs 15.66 crore to families affected by Tsunami as ex-gratia payment to family of deceased (Rs 5 crore), cremation expenses (Rs 0.25 crore), medical expenses to injured (Rs 0.44 crore), housing subsidy to damaged houses (Rs 9.28 crore), compensation for crop damage/ha (Rs 0.28 crore) and compensation for loss of cattle/poultry Chapter III – Performance Reviews 3 3 (Rs 0.41 crore). In addition, rice, kerosene, cloth, cash dole for utensils (Rs 2000) and sustenance (Rs 3000) were given to the affected families by Revenue and Fisheries Departments. The deficiencies noticed in the disbursement of immediate relief to the families affected in Tsunami are discussed below:

 

3.1.8.1 Identification of beneficiaries for payment of compensation -Housing Though only 2,006 houses were damaged in Tsunami in Puducherry, the Revenue Department had not restricted the payment of compensation to owners of the houses but paid compensation to 5,247 families who claimed to live in these 2,006 houses. Government stated (November 2006) that the families residing in the damaged houses suffered the loss. This contention is not tenable as the assistance was meant for repairing of the damaged houses which could be carried out only by the owners.

 

3.1.8.2 Non-adherence to scale for immediate relief assistance

Government of India released funds for ‘Relief and responses’ from NCCF.Though the UT Government sanctioned expenditure for relief on account of injury, loss of crops, livestock, etc., as per the norms prescribed in NCCF, Rs 6.21 crore were spent by Revenue Department during January 2005 to May 2005 in excess of prescribed monetary limit for providing gratuitous relief for death and assistance for repair and restoration of damaged houses as detailed below:

 

3.1.8.3 Non-obtaining of insurance benefits Under National Scheme for Welfare of Fishermen, GOI insured 24,500 active fishermen of the UT against accidents resulting in death or injury. Under the scheme, the Fisheries Department had to prefer the claims in case of accidents. Though 318 fishermen died in Tsunami in UT, the Department had not taken action to claim and pay Rs 50,000 per active fishermen who died. After audit had pointed this out, Government stated (November 2006) that action has now been initiated.

 

3.1.8.4 Deficiencies in identification of beneficiaries – Fishing Government have not enacted the Marine Fishing Regulation Act to issue license for fishing crafts under various categories owned by fishermen in UT. Consequently, the Fisheries Department could not identify the number of fishing crafts damaged or lost in Tsunami. This resulted in payment of assistance based on the affidavits given by fishermen. The Department paid assistance for repair/replacement of 7,878 fishing crafts in Puducherry and Karaikal regions till May 2006. While 17,208 men were required to operate 7,878 fishing crafts, only 13,867 active fishermen were available in Puducherry and Karaikal regions as per census (2000) conducted by the Department. Government contended (November 2006) that all crafts would not be operated at a given time for fishing and one fisherman would be engaged in more than one craft. The fact, however, remained that failure to enact the Marine Fishing Regulation Act resulted in non-identification of crafts damaged/lost and Government had to release assistance based on the affidavits. In Karaikal region, 2,067 fishermen were to be paid assistance for repair/replacement of fishing crafts as per survey conducted by a special team. Of this, 582 fishermen were given fishing crafts by NGOs. Against the remaining 1,485 fishermen requiring assistance, the Fisheries Department Paid assistance to 1,898 fishermen (Rs 15.49 crore) as of May 2006.Resultantly, assistance amounting to Rs 3.37 crore was also extended to 413 fishermen over and above the number of fishermen identified during survey by special team. Government contended (November 2006) that the NGOs would have extended assistance to fishermen who were already benefited from Government. This was indicative of poor monitoring.

 

UT Government for this purpose with other funds and kept them in savings bank account. This resulted in non-crediting of interest earned on the amount in Tsunami Fund for utilization in Tsunami Relief. Government attributed (November 2006) the delay to non-cooperation of village panchayatars and contended that the interest earned by the society would be spent only for the welfare of fishermen. These contentions are not tenable as the non-cooperation was due to improper assessment of beneficiaries and the interest earned on Tsunami Fund would be utilized for other schemes implemented by the society.

 

GOI approved (October 2005) the ‘Prime Minister’s Child Assistance Scheme’ which provided for deposit of Rs 51,000 in the name of the child who have lost one parent in Tsunami and were less than 18 years of age on the day of Tsunami. The monthly interest on the deposit should be paid to the surviving parent till the child attains the age of 18 years and the amount would be released thereafter to the child. The scheme was to be implemented from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).Though, the Director, Women and Child Development Department identified (December 2005), 172 children under the scheme and funds were received (September 2006), the deposits were not made as of October 2006.Government stated (November 2006) that the Department has been requested to release money. Assistance for repair/replacement of fishing crafts were given 4 to 17 months after the calamity Benefits under the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund was not extended to people affected in Tsunami

 

Similarly, under Universal Health Insurance Scheme, approved by GOI(October 2005) for assistance from PMNRF, the persons in the Tsunami affected family were to be insured for death (Rs 2 lakh) and disability(Rs 1 lakh) due to accident. As a comprehensive insurance policy was not evolved, the scheme was not implemented (October 2006).Government stated (November 2006) that the list of fishermen to been rolled was sent to Insurance company and further action would be taken by the Insurance company. This indicates the poor co-ordination by Government with Insurance Company.

 

3.1.9 Infrastructure development and reconstruction

3.1.9.1 Delay in construction of houses

 

The UT Government decided (March 2005) to construct houses outside the Coastal Regulation Zone by purchasing land and allot them to families living in Tsunami affected areas. Out of 7,567 houses proposed to be constructed, 4,984 were to be constructed by NGOs and the Government of Maharashtra and 125 by PIA. The remaining 2,458 houses would be constructed by the beneficiaries with Government assistance. Besides, PIA had to provide infrastructure such as internal roads, drains, water supply etc., in all areas where houses were proposed to be constructed. As of November 2006, 595 houses were completed by NGOs, of which 100 houses were handed over to the beneficiaries and construction of 4,389 houses was under progress. While construction of 57 houses was taken up by beneficiaries using Government assistance in the land where the damaged houses were located, the remaining 2,527 houses were not taken up as of November 2006. As such only 100 out of 7,567 beneficiaries were resettled even by November 2006. Besides, construction of houses in the locations affected by Tsunami would defeat the objective of relocation.

 

3.1.9.2 Improper utilization of funds under plan assistance: Rupees 100 core received as plan assistance during 2005-06 from GOI were allocated to 12 line departments for development of infrastructure in Tsunami affected areas. Of this, Rs 84.09 crore were allocated to Agriculture (Rs 5.50 crore), Fisheries (Rs 6 crore), Local Administration(Rs 20 crore) and Public Works (Rs 52.59 crore) departments. Out of Rs 100 crore, Rs 97.91 crore shown as spent by the line departments. There was no comprehensive programme approved by PIA for utilising the plan assistance of Rs 100 crore. Consequently, the line departments treated the expenditure incurred under various ongoing works also under plan assistance for Tsunami. Test check revealed that the Public Works Department booked (March 2006) Rs 11.36 crore incurred on 13 ongoing Tsunami affected people were not resettled due to noncreation ofinfrastructure.There was no comprehensive programme to utilize the plan assistance given by GOI

 

Chapter III – Performance Reviews works8 which were sanctioned and work commenced even before the occurrence of Tsunami. Further, Rs 5.25 crore was spent on construction of court building which could not be termed as Tsunami related work. Government contended (November 2006) that the works were executed only in coastal areas, which are prone to natural calamity and many ongoing works were damaged in Tsunami. These contentions were not tenable as the GOI assistance was meant for creating assets in Tsunami affected areas.

 

Departments had to identify the works required, which resulted in diversion of funds and undertaking works not related to Tsunami. The failure to enact the Marine Fishing Regulation Act resulted in non-identification of beneficiaries for rehabilitation, payment of assistance on the basis of affidavits and extent to which the benefit was availed by victims of Tsunami being not ascertainable. Failure to claim insurance resulted in deprival of benefits to fishermen. There were delays in release of assistance to fishermen. Reconstruction works were delayed considerably and the funds received remained unutilized. Schemes to benefit orphans and families affected in Tsunami were not implemented. Monitoring of the various activities by RRC and PIA was also inadequate.

Recommendations

 

 Government should frame necessary rules to carry out the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 enacted by GOI.  Government should evolve concrete programmes for utilizing the unspent amount including Rs 220 crore sanctioned as plan assistance for 2006-07.  Construction of houses to resettle the Tsunami affected families should be completed early and allotment of houses already constructed should be expedited by speedy completion of required infrastructure. Government stated (November 2006) that the recommendations made were taken note of and would be followed in future.

 

UNESCO SHOULD NOT SUPPORT AURO VILLAGE

APPEAL TO UNESCO AND INDIAN GOVERNMENT TO RECONSIDER FUNDING AURO-VILLAGE

 

The Other side, journal for Socialist Action and Thought Volume 17, Number 9 of October 1997 edited by Comrade George Fernandes published my interview titled Aurobindo Ashram Takeover by Central Government Demanded and a sub title Dravida Peravai General Secretary Speaks, wherein the editor gave his introduction as follows: “There has been a persistent demand for the take over of the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry by various individuals and institutions. In the forefront of this campaign is the General Secretary of the Dravida Peravai N.Nandhivarman.

 

Nandhivarman has over years been exposing for public view the unsavory goings on in the Ashram, which have brought this once hallowed place into disrepute. We are publishing here below a question answer report which is an interview with Nandhivarman. We hope the authorities will take note of this report and take action in the matter before it is too late to stem the rot.”

 

Aurobindo Ashram is a religious institution. The demand of various political parties for take over of the Trust by the Government amounts to interference in religious matters. What is your comment?

 

In the Shirur Mutt Case [AIR 1954 SC 282] the convention is laid down. “The Court noticed that while cl[b] of Article 26 guaranteed religious denomination to manage its own affairs in matters of religion, other clauses of the Article dealt with the right of a religious denomination to acquire and own property in accordance with law. The administration of its property by a religious denomination having thus been placed on different footing from the right to manage its own affairs in matters of religion [page 290 of AIR] .The latter is a fundamental right which no legislature can take away, whereas the former can be regulated by laws with legislature can validly impose.

 

Mr.F.S.Nariman argues that Aurobindo Society was registered under Societies Registration Act 1960, and purely a religious society could not have been registered under Societies Registration Act. Section 20 of Societies Registration Act provides what kind of societies can be registered under the Act. It does not talk of religious institutions. Of course it includes a society with charitable purposes. The Memorandum of Association does not talk of any religion.

 

The Society professed to be a scientific research organization to the donors and got income tax exemption on the footing that it was not a religious institution. The Society has claimed exemption from income tax under section 80 for the donors and under section 35 for itself on that ground. Aurobindo Ashram was different from Auroville. The Ashram Trust had applied for Income Tax exemption and got on that very ground. The teachings of Aurobindo only represented his philosophy and not a religion.

 

It is evident from the excerpts of the Supreme Court judgment in the S.P.Mittal vs. Union of India [AIR 1983], that the teachings of Aurobindo are not religion. Hence we cannot be accused of attacking religion. Tax exemptions were obtained for specific purposes and we are within our limits in demanding the Government to oversee whether the exemptions availed is put into proper use. And if found contrary, cancellation of exemptions and take over of the trust is demanded.

 

Further Aurobindo in his writings categorically states: “An ashram means the house or houses of a teacher or master of spiritual philosophy. All depends on the Teacher and ends with his life time, unless there is another Teacher who can take his place. The Ashram is not a religious association [16th February 1934]

 

After Aurobindo and the Mother there is no Ashram. The Ashram ceases. The question before us is concern about mismanaged trust and its tax evasion. The responsibility of the Government to monitor conditions is a political affair and parties are within their rightful limits in raking up issues pertaining to Ashram…… so Nandhivarman continues the interview in The Other side. Like commercial break in TV serials, let us take a break here to know tampering of Aurobindo’s lines quoted above by two Americans.

 

Let me quote from OUTLOOK dated 15th March 1999 titled Editing Aurobindo: The Trustees of the Aurobindo Ashram are accused of tampering with his original works.

 

“SAAT was formed in 1956, six years after Aurobindo’s death and the copyright was obtained much after the death of the author, and hence SAAT has no authority to tamper with the original versions. The main grouse though is in the deletion of a sentence that actually calls for the ashrams winding up. Pranab Bhattacharya, the ashram’s physical education director, points out in his book I Remember “The editor must have thought, himself to be very clever in avoiding one line and bringing changes perhaps thinking that it could change the Ashram’s fate. The line in question is in The Teachings of Sri Aurobindo and Sri Aurobindo Ashram” first published in 1934. In that Aurobindo explains his concept of an ashram. “An Ashram means the house or houses of a Teacher or Master of spiritual philosophy in which he receives and lodges those who come to him for the teaching and practice. An ashram is not an association or a religious body or a monastery, it is only what has been indicated above and nothing more. Everything in the Ashram belongs to the Teacher. The sadhaks [disciples] have no claim, right or voice in any matter. They remain and go according to his Will. Whatever money he receives is his property and not a trust or fund, for there is no public institution. Such ashrams have existed in India for centuries before Christ and still exist in large numbers. It all depends on the Teacher and ends with his lifetime, unless there is another Teacher who can take his place. By deleting the last line, which actually means the ashram’s rationale for existence ended with the passing of the mother, the trustees, say opponents are sustaining an institution against the teachings of Aurobindo. They point out that till the 1972 birth centenary celebrations; there has been no tampering with Aurobindo’s works. [Courtesy: outlook]

 

So far we have dealt on our party and other 10 political parties joint demand for takeover of the Ashram Trust, please note not the Ashram but Ashram Trust. We are not going into the debate whether ashram exists or not, as debated in OUTLOOK and later in Courts of this land up to Supreme Court. As public we know there is a samathi, which attracts his followers. It has been the practice in Tamilnadu over the burial places of Siddhars; idols of Gods will be installed and made into temples. In famous Palani Murugan Temple, the samathi of Bhogar, one of the 18 siddhars of Tamilnadu remains. Over that samathi the idol of Lord Muruga, made out of a combination of 9 poisons, known as navapashanam, was installed by that Siddhar. The idol contained medicinal properties, the blessed water cured diseases, people say. Nearer to Aurobindo Ashram in the famous Manakula Vinayagar Temple beneath has the samathi of Thollaikathu swamigal .So we are questioning the existence of samathis, temples and its worship.

 

We are attacking the mismanaged Trusts. Let us go back to continue from the break of the earlier part of my interview in The Other side.

 

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Trust Board is trending the wrong path, inmates lament, and any comments?

 

Nandhivarman: Lawrence Marshal Pinto son of Lawrence Belarmino Pinto is 90 years old. On 18th December 1967, he was instrumental in floating Sri Aurobindo Ashram Harpagon Workshop Trust, which now is known as Sri Aurobindo Udyog Trust. All business units of erstwhile Aurobindo Ashram come under this umbrella organization. Still at 90 he wants to cling to the managing trusteeship of Udyog Trust. Apart from this he is also a Trustee in Honesty Engineers and Contractors Trust. [The word Trust will become lackluster in its usage. At the Ashram every activity needs only the suffix trusts] List of positions headed by the dreaded 90 year old L.M.Pinto alias Udhar Pinto is endless.

 

In Pre-cast Concrete work Trust also he holds a position. The complete control of the major businesses by an old man who refuses to retire proves the power craziness of the Ashram ruling clique. Oriya writer Manoj Das for undisclosed reasons resigned from the post of Aurobindo Ashram Trust. But he remains Trustee of Udyog Trust. Mr.Manoj Das Guptaji is against one-man one-post principle. He is the scheming Trustee who has his eyes on the coveted Managing Trustee’s post. He is also the Registrar of the Aurobindo International Center for Education. He is Chairman of Agricultural Coordination Committee in charge of all farm lands and agricultural activities of the Trust. He is in charge of Shantiniketan at Bengal.Manoj Das Gupta is also a Trustee in Auro Travels Trust. He is the Chairman of the Technical coordination Committee, even the president of USA has only 2 terms. Lifelong positions for Ashram Trustees only. Auroform Trust, Aurofurn Trust, Fragrance and Perfume Trust and numerous Trusts are there. In all a handful and their coterie will rule the roost.Manoj Das Gupta controls all farm lands.

 

[Break]

 

This is in 1997.Currently he is the Managing Trustee of Aurobindo Ashram Trust, wherein the President post occupied by French woman Mirra Alfasa is kept vacant. So a decade ago we campaigned against power mongers grabbing positions and multiplicity of sub trusts within Aurobindo Ashram Trust first initiated by Lawrence Marshal Pinto, a Goan. Now we see similarity in Auroville Foundation too. The information provided to us under Right to Information Act is given below, so that you can arrive at your own conclusions.

 

1. Artisana Trust: Mr.Michael Hutin and Ms.Mariam Isaac

2. Ankur Trust: Ms.Abha Tewari, Ms.Suzane Sabatier

3. Filaure Trust: Ms.Valerie Anne Tait, Mr.Michael Tait

4. Free Flow Trust: Mr.Frederic Laurent Codonnier, Ms.Martina Anna Maria Lj, Mr.Oliver Hetzel

5. Toujours Mieux Trust: Mr. Robert Leo Trunz, Mr. Jan V.D.Dikkenberg

6. Auromics Trust: Ms.Roberta Keeping, Mr. André Deplechin

7. Auroville Export Trust: Mr.Jan Imhoff, Mr.Hemant Lamba

8. Health and Healing Trust: Ms.Hilde D’Hiedt, Mr. Albert Zwaan, Mr. Jacques Verre

9. Auroville Service Trust: Mr.M.Ponnusamy, Mr. Ulrich Wolfgong Bretschneider

10. Arvinda Trust: Mr. Paul Pinthon, Ms.Laura Reddy

11. Kalki Trust: Mr.Paul Pinthon, Ms.Laura Reddy, Ms.Adelina Intanno, Mr. André Hababou

12. Altecs Trust: Mr.Clement Gruttman, Mrs.Christa Gruttman, Mr.Bernard Grenier

13. Guest House Trust: Ms.Simonette Smits, Ms.Srimoyi Rosseger, Ms.Afsaneh Bader

14. ABC Trust: Mr.Carsten Michelsen, Mr.Marco Feira

15. Kattida Kalai Trust: Mr.Moreno Jean Marc, Mr.Herrea Carlos, Mr.M.Palani

16. Discovery Trust: Mr.P.Karuna, Mrs K.Uma, Mr.Jean Francois Bertaux

17. Mereville Trust: Mr.Ragnetti Gianfranco, Mr.Pratap Chatterjee

18. Auromitra Trust: Mr.Peter Clarence Smith, Mr.E.Rathinam, Mr.Joss Brooks, Ms.Dee Decew

19. Inside Trust: Mr.Klaus Onken, Ms.Shama Dalvi

20. Auroville Village Action Trust: Ms.Dee Decew, Mr.M.S.Subhashchand, Mr.Alain Bernard, Mr.D.Selvaraj, Mr.L.Dhanapal

21. ADPS Trust: Ms.Van Der Vlugt, Mr.Franz Fassbender, Mr.Bobby Patel

22. Aurore Trust: Mr.Hemant Lamba, Mr.Theo Hekena Baetens, Mr.Gilles Alex Andre Guigan, Mrs.Suhasini Ayer Guigan

23. CSR Trust: Mr.Gilles Alxe Andre Guigan, Mr.Theo Helena Beatens, Mr.Hemant Lamba, Mrs.Suhasini Ayer Guigan

24. Aurosarjan Trust: Mr.Wolf Pfeifer, Mr.Stephen Himmer

25. Auromode Trust: Ms.Adelena Intannio, Mr. André Hababou

26. New Engineering Trust: Mr.Pierre Elouard. Ms.Joy Choudry

27. For all Pour Tous Trust: Ms.Francoise Gabelle, Mr. Oliver Hetzel

28. Swagatham Trust: Ms.Judith Robinson, Mr.Jean Francoise Bertaux

29. Sangamam Trust: Ms.R.Meenakshi, Mr.Joseba Martinez Burdaspar, Mr.Sanjeev Agarwal, Mr.M.Ponnusamy

30. Animal Care Trust: Ms.Shivaya Ruth, Mr.Kalyan Nag, Ms.Bhavana Dee Decew

31. Palayam School Trust: Mr.V.Gunaseelan, Mr.Jurgen Putz, Mr.Anto Keulaars.

 

APPEAL TO UNESCO and INDIA’s HRD MINISTRY TO INTROSPECT:

 

These are the sub trusts under Auroville Foundation and its Trustees. We have nothing personal against any one of them with clean records and service record to people. While I was discussing this with a BJP leader, he wondered, how come all Trusts have Christians as Trustees, and to him I told it surprises me why your Murli Manohar Joshi backed up these Christians  and gave approval for the Master Plan , which will make Tamils or Indians second class citizens in Auro-village of 1619 citizens. If for 1619 people there are 31 Trusts, what for, what purpose it serves for, why a Government of India organization under Human Resources Ministry should keep under its umbrella so many trusts, and do they have any relevance to the Integral Yoga of Aurobindo or any of his teachings ?. It is crystal clear, that as in Aurobindo Ashram Trust where in 1967 a Goan Christian, if that will be a word nice to the ears of next ruling aspirant party in Union Government, here also creation of sub trusts are for tax exemption and nothing else. These are commercial enterprises, said bold officials of Income Tax department and waged legal battles against Ashram sub trusts in various courts, before decades Courts gave favorable verdicts in favor of the Income Tax department. 

 

Dravida Peravai demands abolition of so many trusts under Auroville Foundation. There is no need to have so many sub trusts; they can be managed by Auroville Foundation as ONE DEPARTMENT under Human Resources Development Ministry. UNESCO and other donors, who get carried away by the beautiful language of Aurobindo and his teachings, should not encourage the set up of an international city in Indian soil. If an international city is to be set up, for just 1619 people it is criminal waste of public money which no way benefits local people. Let UNESCO spend money on the poorest of poor in Zimbabwe or African nations. Let donors around the world fund projects that will convert all coastal fishermen villages as modern mini towns with all infrastructures. Let world bodies fund Government of India to make all colonies of dalits better places to live with hygiene. If this mushroom growth of Trusts under the umbrella of Auroville Foundation is encouraged further, someone will come forward to create more and more sub trusts with high sounding words and phrases, which has no relevance to the teachings of Aurobindo or for betterment of the Tamil villagers under the clutches of poverty.

 

It is high time Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh takes note of this Social Injustice, and order for a high level probe into the working of these sub trusts, in order to abolish them and merge them under Auroville Foundation, which will have government control and accountability to Indian public, and I am exercising my birthright as Indian to appeal to Indian Government, and no foreigner can snatch that right from indigenous people in any country of our civilized world

 

N.Nandhivarman General Secretary Dravida Peravai