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

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.

Stop harassment, release Kashmir rights defender Khurram Parvez: Global NGO

By Our Representative  Ahead of his hearing on January 21, 2022, CIVICUS , a global civil society alliance with more than 10,000 members worldwide, has called upon the Government of India to “immediately and unconditionally” release human rights defender Khurram Parvez. “The judicial harassment he is facing highlights the repressive environment for activists and critics in Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir”, it said in a statement.