Skip to main content

Amaravati: World Bank refusing to share public grievances on Land Pooling Scheme

A sign in Undavalli argues against the land pooling process
By Our Representative
A new report, prepared by the advocacy group Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), New Delhi, has taken strong exception to the World Bank refusing to share its independent assessment of the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), floated by the Andhra Pradesh government in order to build the new capital.
Conducted by Geoffrey Payne in early 2018, the World Bank documents “regarding this are not seen anywhere”, and the communities are sure that most of these assessments are “biased, arbitrary and deceptive”, the report, titled “Looking at the Environmental, Social and Human Rights Violations of Amaravati Capital City Project, India (2014-2019)”, complains.
Of the $750 million to be spent on Amaravati Capital Region, the World Bank loan is to the tune of $300 million, and LPS is meant to (i) provide quality infrastructure to ensure that global knowledge is built into technical designs of major infrastructure investments; (ii) supporting the setup of an institutional structure that can lead to the establishment of an empowered and effective local government; and, (iii) supporting an inclusive benefit sharing system for all residents of the region.
While LPS is likely to adversely affect 140,000 people, says the CFA report, the World Bank has “confirmed the completion of its appraisal vide its letter dated January 7, 2019 addressed to the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh without checking the authenticity of the assessment documents and information presented in those documents that support this loan, as well as without proper public consultation”.
Wonders CFA, “Project affected people have been constantly informed that the project is in the initial stages of preparation, but how the bank management could complete project appraisal without sharing final assessment reports?”
It underlines, “As the bank management has now given its appraisal for the project by jointly collaborating with Government of Andhra Pradesh (GoAP), it is necessary to ascertain the correctness of those documents and assessment reports.”
According to CFA, during its visit, the World Bank’s inspection panel interacted with indigenous peoples, including organizations such as the Capital Region Farmers Federation (CRFF) and People’s Watch of Andhra Pradesh (PWAP), which submitted a number of comments, suggestions, concerns with regard to environmental and social management framework of the project.
“But so far there are no responses have been received”, the report regrets, this is happening at a time when “the project-level Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM) totally failed to address the concerns that were raised in various forums. None of their concerns and suggestions was taken into account.”
For instance, says CFA, “During farmers’ last meeting with the World Bank personnel and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) on 23 October 23 in Vijayawada at Vasavya Mahila Mandal, which is GRM premises, they were quite reluctant to consider any of these concerns, and suggestions.”
Under the LPS, returnable plots have been allocated, but, says the CFA report, “Development around those is zero. No beneficiary till date has taken physical position of their returnable plots. There is no choice to 2nd party (farmer) as Government (1st party) always dictates the terms. The 2nd party is unable to approach court or for other legal assistance. Unfortunately, this is the reality of LPS in Amaravati.”

Click here for the report
It asks, “How could farmer surrender their rights for something that does not exist on ground, even after 4 years of the capital city project?”
While the World Bank documents talk of “community engagement and monitoring to address potential coercion and other implementation issues”, says CFA, “There are a number of gaps.” For instance, the Citizens Advisory Committee has been formed without including in it members of the project affected people.
In fact, says CFA, “APCRDA has filled this committee with members who are some way related with current ruling party (Telugu Desam Party) of Andhra Pradesh Government. What can a common man expects from this Citizens Advisory Committee?”
Then, the World Bank stresses on engaging “a local independent party to obtain additional information on any potential coercion/ engage independent local professionals to visit affected villages to monitor concerns and feedback”. Yet, the GRM, has “totally failed to engage vulnerable groups to restore livelihoods of those impacted by the project.”
In fact, says CFA, “Many incidents of coercion have been reported since January 2018. There are several 22 atrocities that were committed by the GoAP and its police force. One such gory incident on Nandigam Suresh could be seen in this video with his own explanation.”
As for the non-LPS sections, says the report, both APCRDA and the World Bank have “failed to assess” the livelihood restoration for landless agricultural labourers.
Thus, a pension of Rs 2,500 is being given to landless labourers, but this is being distributed once every 2 to 3 months. Also, the amount is not sufficient as the costs per family increased to INR 12,000 per month after the announcement of the Capital. There is no assurance that, it would continue after the State elections in 2019.
Then, says CFA, the employment guarantee scheme had to be applied to one person per family in the capital region, irrespective of LPS farmers, non-LPS farmers, landless labourers, or Dalits. But this has not been realized till date. The government assured daily employment and fixed wage through the establishment of nurseries, but these are not functioning anymore, except the one at Venkatapalem.
Then, there was the scheme of interest free loan of up to Rs 25 lakh to all the poor families for self-employment, which has not at all implemented as there is “no facility to access interest-free loans for setting up enterprises till date”.

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.