Skip to main content

China-based multilateral bank keeps out people's groups from urban consultation ahead of Mumbai annual meet

Proposed smart city Dholera off Ahmedabad:
No space for urban poor
By Our Representative
Gujarat's civil society groups have strongly protested against their exclusion during consultations, currently being held in different parts of the country as part of preparations of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's (AIIB's) second Annual Governors' Meeting in Mumbai on June 25-26 in Mumbai. The consultations in Gujarat are to be held in a top Ahmedabad hotel on April 19-20.
Formed outside the Bretton Woods framework, which led to the formation of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, AIIB mainly seeks to fund infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region. China has 26% stakes in AIIB, followed by India, 7.5%. Headquartered in Beijing, in all, it has 64 members, while another 20 are its prospctive mmbers. The United States is not an AIIB member.
Talking with mediapersons in Ahmedabad, Krishankant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) said, the exclusion of urban poor groups and civil society in consultations "shows a trend of opacity, non-transparency and indifference to the concerns of various sections of society which inhabit a city."
"India, as host country, is holding a number seminars across the country, of which the seminar on urban development is being organised in Ahmedabad on April 19 and 20. The organisers of the conference have not extended invitations to civil society organisations or social movements who are actively working for equitable, inclusive and sustainable cities", he said.
The proposed bullet train
Pointing out that this type of approach is in line with the new Government of India thinking, of not involving people who might be affects because or major infrastructure projects, senior farmers' leader Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Samaj Gujarat said, "Farmers of Gujarat and Maharashtra to be affected by the proposed Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project are not being consulted for acquiring land."
To be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the bullet train project, said Ashok Shrimali of the mines, minerals & People (mm&P), is being implemented when the Maharashtra government has come up with a notification that no social impact assessment (SIA) is needed for acquiring land for project, the Gujarat government has declared no SIA is required for it.
Krishnakant informed media, "It was only after JICA said it's terms of funding require strict social and environmental impact assessment, a private consultant, Arcadis, was appointed for holding consultations, which were held in Vadodara, Nadiad and Bharuch, but without the participation of stakeholders. Even government officials were not present."
Regretting that AIIB does not even have this requirement, Krishnakant said, those holding its consultations in Ahmedabad should remember that "the issue of urban development is not about creating investment opportunities for corporates but about securing the rights and livelihoods of people who are living in those cities whose voices are not being considered in the planning of city development."
The proposed Andhra capital Amravati
"A large number of questions are being raised by various groups across the country regarding massive investments which at one hand will create huge public debt and on the other hand does not ease living for the masses living in those cities and to the contrary, displace, disposes and derecognise their genuine voices", he insisted.
Thus, Krishnakant said, "The support to Amravati state capital for Andhra Pradesh by AIIB without considering the effects of such massive development project on the environment and livelihoods of the people or addressing their problems is a case in the point. It could not put together a comprehensive complaints mechanism of its own and policies that will guide their investments and have started funding projects."
Against this backdrop, ahead of the AIIB's Annual Governors' Meeting in Mumbai on June 25-26 in Mumbai, he said, civil society groups across the country will "assemble in Mumbai on June 21-23 demanding accountability and reiterate their vision of an equitable society differing from the versions of international financial institutions which opens the planet and people for further destruction."
Rabari added, "Finance driven unequitable and unsustainable projects have posed in many problems to society and the government. Gujarat is no exception to this. Its people's groups have resisted undemocratic consultant-driven urban development, whether it was Mandal-Bhechraji Special Investment Region (SIR) or Dholera SIR, or city development in Surat, Navsari, Bardoli and Morbi. We propose to be part of the protest in Mumbai."

Comments

TRENDING

August 22 to be observed as Apostasy Day: International coalition of ex-Muslim groups

By Our Representative
In a unique move, an international coalition of ex-Muslim organisations has decided to observe August 22, 2020 as the Apostasy Day. To be observed for “the abandonment or renunciation of religion”, the coalition, calling upon people to join the call, said, the decision to observe the Apostasy Day has been taken because of apostasy is “punishable by death in Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, and Yemen.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

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.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.