Skip to main content

Tata Mundra financier ADB's compliance body finds "major lapses" while identifying adverse impact on environment

Area surrounding Tata Mundra plant
By Our Representative
The Compliance Review Panel of Asian Development Bank (ADB) has come down heavily upon top international banks ADB for committing "major violations" in financing the 4000 MW Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd (Tata Mundra), in Gujarat. This is the second major financial institution for making harsh criticism of its lending to Tata Mundra.
Earlier, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), had found serious violations resulting in harm to the people and environment.
The ADB's Compliance Review Panel has noticed that top bankers have failed to "adequately disclose" information about the project and the potential harm it may do to the local people. It has said that there was absence of "timely public consultation" with all stakeholders, "erroneous" Social and Environment Impact Assessment (SEIA) resulting in "failure to identify" potential impacts.
It added, there was "absence" of baseline data and monitoring systems, and "failure "in adhering to the ADB policies on "discharge of water to the sea at a higher temperature resulting in heavy loss to livelihood to fisherfolk. The Report was made public on April 7.
The compliance report further says that these policy violations are manifested on the ground, as there was a heavy drop in the fish catch due to discharge of water to the sea at a higher temperature, resulting in serious livelihood issues among the fishing community; inadequate compensation for the fisherfolk, since they were not counted in the SEIA; and increasing respiratory illnesses among the children and the old.
The non-existent communities affected by Tata Mundra
Reacting to the development, Bharat Patel, General Secretary of Machimar Adhikaar Sangharsh Sanghathan (MASS), which is in the forefront of the struggle against Tata Mundra, said the compliance report chose "not to look into the impacts of the inlet channel of the project, citing that it is shared with the adjacent Adani power project, nor did it look adequately the impacts of coal dust and fly ash pollution on dry fish put in the open, or acknowledge the impacts on horticulture, blaming on the multiplicity of factors”.
Yet, according to Patel, “This is a major victory for the people’s struggle against Tata Mundra and other destructive power projects in Kutch”. MASS is one the complainants to the ADB's compliance body. 
“Since two of the world's largest development banks have come under fire from their own accountability mechanisms for gross violations on the ground, it has only strenghtened our resolve to intensify our voices and struggle for justice and fight this dirty energy,” he added.
"In October 2013 CAO released its findings cited several of the violations for IFC policies", Patel said, adding, "These included violations of environmental and social risks and impacts of the project; lack of social baseline data; refusal to apply land acquisition rules despite physical and economic displacement; inadequate attention to the requirement of biodiversity conservation; failure to review and supervise the impacts on airshed and marine environment; and failure to examine the cumulative impact of projects around Tata Mundra." 
A year long monitoring by the CAO said in January 2014 that "no action was taken by the IFC or the company to address its findings."
Women sorting the catch
“The project is up and running and people, our crops and cattle are suffering from its impacts. ADB finding violations about non-compliance but has refusal to take any action will be a joke on the people. The violator should be taken to task and suspend all work till the issues are adequately settled”, Gajendrasinh Bhimaji, one of the complainants, said.
“No other project in the country has received such serious flak from its financiers as Tata Mundra in recent times. Not taking any meaningful action on the findings will erode people’s faith in institutions like World Bank and ADB further, and will be left with no choice but the challenge them at all fora”, Madhuresh Kumar, national convenor of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) said.
"This audit report by reconfirms the earlier CAO findings that both the ADB (and other financiers) and Tata Mundra had faltered on anticipating multiple impacts on communities and planning right measures to mitigate these. It is high time ADB, IFC and Tata Power sincerely engage in serious damage repair mechanism in consultation with the affected communities", said Soumya Dutta, an energy expert.
Souparna Lahiri of NGO Forum on ADB, a watchdog of ADB said, “We welcome the findings. We hope the findings will not remain on paper and the management will translate it into bold actions, sending a strong message to their clients”.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

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).