Skip to main content

Gujarat fishermen "sue" World Bank Group in US Federal Court for loss of livelihood, adverse impact on health

By Our Representative
Gujarat's fishing communities and farmers of Mundra, "represented" through Earth Rights International (ERI), have filed a suit against the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-lending arm of the World Bank Group, in federal court in Washington, DC, alleging that the IFC has caused the "loss" of their livelihoods, "destroyed" their lands and water, and "created threats" to their health.
The lawsuit seeks compensation for harm to property and economic livelihoods, and asks the court order the IFC to enforce the provisions of the loan agreement which were intended to protect local communities and the environment to minimize future harm. IFC is known to have funded one of the mega power plants, run by Tatas, at Mundra, which is said to be the reason behind the litigation.
According to the court complaint, there has been a "dramatic" impact on :the lives of the people who live in in Mundra says a statement issued by the ERI, claiming, "The thermal pollution discharged from the plant’s cooling system has led to a dramatic decline in the fish populations that local fishing communities depend on."
The statement quotes plaintiff Budha Ismail Jam as saying, “The fish catch has been declining since 2011.” Jam is a local fisherman who lives in a seasonal fishing village known as a bunder most of the year, the statement says. “I don’t know what other profession I could do to support my family,” Jan added.
ERI says, "The substantial coal dust and fly ash coming from the plant and its coal conveyor belt is also harming local farms, the quality of fish and salt from the region, and the health of local people", quoting another plaintiff, Sidik Kasam Jam, as explaining: “When the conveyor belt runs, the coal dust blows towards the bunder. People have respiratory problems now. The elderly are the worst affected. You can see the dust on the fish we lay out to dry.”
“The IFC failed on all counts,” says Rick Herz, ERI’s litigation coordinator. “While the IFC purports to support poverty reduction and development, its impacts fall hardest on the poorest and most vulnerable communities.”
"From the outset, the IFC recognized the significant risks to local communities and their environment" because of industrial activities in Mundra, says ERI statement, adding, despite this, ERI claims, "The IFC failed to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to nearby communities and failed to ensure the required environmental and social conditions" are taken care of.
"Even the IFC’s own accountability mechanism – the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) - agreed. In 2013, the CAO said that IFC had failed to secure Environmental and Social Standards", the statement says.
“While the IFC is likely to argue that it is immune from suit, no institution should be above the law in a case where the risks were so obvious from the start, and the failure to act so damaging,” says Herz.

Comments

TRENDING

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.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.

Modi wants Pak govt be held responsible for JeM terror strike: World doesn't agree

By Sandeep Pandey*
I went to participate in a candle light homage paying event at Dr BR Ambedkar's statue organised by about 200 Dalit students on Hazratganj main crossing in Lucknow on February 16, 2019 evening, two days after the dastardly terrorist act in Pulwana, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), in which 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed.

Women, business, law: India scores worst among all BRICS, several African nations

By Rajiv Shah
A new World Bank report ranks India 125th in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index among 187 economies it seeks to analyse across the globe. The report's main aim claims to be to "gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination. On a scale of 100, India's score is 71.25, worse than the global average of 74.71.