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ADB floats $865,000 Action Plan to improve livelihood, environment for rural areas Mundra, new industrial hub in Gujarat

Counterview Desk
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has come up with a $865,000 dollars "action plan" to improve livelihood and environment in the villages situated along Kutch coast especially in Mundra, which has turned into a major hot spot for industrial development in India. Mundra has one of the biggest private ports of India, owned by Adanis, a special economic zone, also developed by Adanis, and two power plants owned by Tata Group and Adani Group.
The ADB's three year action plan, to be implemented in phases till October 2018, includes:
  • $100,000 cost for carrying out required studies to identify affected foot fisherfolk and consult fisherfolk through NGOs to improve livelihood and environment of the region, 
  • $40,000 engagement by ADB for appointing specialist marine consultant and assess the results an earlier study undertaken by the National Institute of Oceanography on impact on the sea,
  • $300,000 required for livelihood improvement plan for foot fisherfolk,
  • $25,000 for engaging an independent expert to assess the implementation of the livelihood improvement plan,
  • $150,000 for design and implementation of sludge treatment and disposal measures; 
  • $200,000 as third party monitoring of ambient air quality; 
  • $300,000 for engaging technical support; and 
  • $50,000 as contingency funds. 
The ADB, which is one of important financiers of the Tatas' power plant in Mundra,  prepared the action plan after making a spot study of rural areas of Mundra following after learning concern expressed by local organizations that their traditional means of livelihood have been affected because of industrial activities in the region.
The action plan is in response to a report by its accountability mechanism, Compliance Review Panel (CRP), to find out changes in livelihood patters in the region and impact on environment. It will be implemented in coordination with the Tata Group's power plant at Mundra, say sources.
The ADB’s CRP had recommended that more livelihood options should be provided to the local people, even as suggesting some environment-improvement measures. It said this should be done on the basis of “adequate and comprehensive” consultations with fisherfolk and expert opinion.
Reacting to the action plan, a local organization, Macchimar Adhikar Sangharsh Samiti (MASS), which claims to represent local fishermen, has said it should not be “restricted only for people who had practiced foot fishing."  In a statement, it has added, there should be a proper assessment of the number of people affected because of the impact of industrialization livelihood before implementing it.
Circulating a statement by Gajendrasinh Bhimaji, Sarpanch of Navinal Panchayat,  MASS said, the action plan, which is in its draft stage, should confirm with the concerns expressed by the local people, accordance with the CPR. The fishermen, MASS said, faced an "unsure future”, because fisherfolk till now were "self-sufficient communities". 

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