Skip to main content

MASS writes to World Bank chief, may agitate if livelihood, environmental concerns are not addressed

Dr Kim
By Our Representative
In a letter to World Bank president Dr Jim YongW Kim, Dr Bharat Patel, general secretary of the Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (MASS), writing on behalf of the “affected communities” of the Tata’ Mundra ultra mega power plant (UMPP) in Kutch, Gujarat, has said, even “almost three weeks” after the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) published its report there is no action on the Tata plant from the Bank’s arm, International Finance Corporation, which is part-funding the project. The letter comes close on the heels of a protest to Dr Kim by several US and European NGOs expressing concern over his failure to act despite CAO raising serious environmental and livelihood issues (click HERE).
Dr Patel said, “As complainants to CAO we invested a lot in the process – when the company and the IFC were refusing to divulge information about the project and its impacts, we dug them up and brought it to the notice of CAO. As fishing communities, our access to information which was only in English and not in our local language, were curtailed and we had to seek the help of many different organizations and individuals to understand them. We do not have researchers, but we got all basic data to back up our concerns about the project. We put complete faith in the process. We trusted the independence of the CAO and hoped that the findings of the CAO will help addressing our concerns.”
MASS’ problem has gone complicated because the CAO, in its report, while taking objection to the IFC’s failure to take “cumulative impact” of the UMPP, the Adani Power’s 4,620 MW plant (being implemented not far away), and the Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone (MPSEZ), has said it is “reluctant to review IFC management decisions on project selection.” Instead of recommending any punitive steps, such as suspension of loan on environmental or livelihood grounds, the report rejects the view that the project is not feasible to “not finance new business activity that cannot be expected to meet the Performance Standards.”
The CAO submitted its audit report on August 22, which was made public on October 23. The refusal came despite the CAO report’s reference to how Tata Power has overlooked the need to take a detailed view of environmental destruction of the region and adverse impact on the marginalized communities, especially fisher people. It stated to how MPSEZ, which is “a major industrial development”, and its owners, the Adani Group, “have been the subject of multiple allegations of environmental wrongdoing in recent years, particularly in relation to the destruction of mangroves around MPSEZ”.
Dr Patel in his letter said, “To our utter disappointment, there wasn’t even a whimper from the IFC, or from you as head of the institution, on the CAO findings, than rejecting it outrightly”, wondering, “In hindsight, Dr Kim, would you have counseled us not to put faith in the CAO? That the CAO process is not more than a farce?” It added, “The CAO confirmed all our concerns. It confirmed that the environmental and social risks and impacts of the project were not considered and addressed; there is no social baseline data; IFC’s policies for land acquisition not applied, despite physical and economic displacement, Inadequate attention was paid to the requirement of biodiversity conservation; IFC failed in its review and supervision of the impacts on airshed and marine environment and IFC failed to examine the cumulative impact of Tata Mundra.”
The letter further said, “Dr Kim, by deciding to stand by IFC and company, you have chosen to be with the violators, both of human rights as well as that of environment norms and policies. Rejecting the findings based on scientific research and thorough investigation, and opting to support narrow political interests of IFC has betrayed all that we have heard from you so far – right from your climate concerns to accountability and shared prosperity. How could you, Dr Kim, with your background and exposure, burry your own head and buy the falsehood and propaganda of IFC and the company?”
Demanding “appropriate actions” to address the findings of the CAO, “starting with a remedial action plan to mitigate the impacts already shown on the ground and the withdrawal of IFC financing from the Tata Mundra coal project”, the letter said, “You and your advisors might have thought that we will take this lying down, and this may vanish from the public memory soon and our supporters will move on with their priorities and our concerns may get a silent burial.”
However, he threatened, MASS and its supporters will “move on”, adding, “We do not have an option than to keep fighting this project. This project is hitting us hard where it hurts the most – our livelihood and our health, especially that of the children and elderly. We would not stop our efforts of seeking justice and making you and your IFC accountable. Your apathy and your betrayal of our trust have only firmed up our resolve to intensify our fight.”

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.