Skip to main content

Amaravati project: Now China-led investment bank 'withdraws' under public pressure

By Our Representative
In yet another setback to powers-that-be, the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has pulled out of Amaravati Capital City Project of the Andhra Pradesh government. The decision, communicated by its spokesperson Laurel Ostfield, follows the World Bank -- a co-financier of the project -- last week pulling out of the project.
AIIB was considering to finance $200 million out of the total $715 million project, while the World Bank was considering to $300 million. Never before has the four-year-old AIIB dropped out of a project which it had considered to finance.
Ostfield said, “AIIB is no longer considering the Amaravati Sustainable Infrastructure and Institutional Development Project for funding.”
AIIB was considering this project only as a co-financier and was to adhere to the World Bank’s safeguard policies in this project. After the Bank’s decision to exit from the project, AIIB’s decision on this was being keenly watched.
The civil rights group Working Group on International Financial Institutions (WGonIFIs), which had been campaigning against the project, said, there were "monumental violations" in land transactions of the project, affecting agricultural, coastal, and pastoral labourers, tenants, landless families, and Dalits.
It added, these sections underwent "severe pressure and fear due to the land acquisition and displacement process, financial non-viability of the project, massive land-grabbing of the fertile land in the name of voluntary land-pooling." These issues "were raised time and again with the government and both AIIB and World Bank by the affected communities, people’s movements and civil society organisations."
WGonIFIs called AIIB's withdrawal "a victory of the people who despite intimidation and coercion from the administration, and indifference from financial institutions, stood their ground."
Commenting on the development, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar recalled, World Bank funding of projects often brings in other bi-lateral and muti-lateral financing agencies, too. "They refuse to independently do due-diligence, as we saw in the case of the Narmada dam project."
She added, of late, this nexus between financial institutions and mechanisms are getting strengthened, and only people united and scientific facts can make them bow down, as we have seen in the case of the Amaravati project.
The World Bank statement the other day on the Amaravati project saying that it was the Government of India which withdrew the request for lending, , said WGonIFIs, reminded one how the government behaved in the same way as in the case of the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) in Gujarat in 1992, about 27 years back.
"After a scathing report on the Sardar Sarovar project by the Morse Committee, the World Bank insisted that the Indian government must meet tough conditions – mostly on resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) and environmental safeguards.
The World Bank planned to send a team to India to check that the government had fulfilled necessary conditions before paying the remaining $170 million of the loan. One the day before the deadline -- March 31, 1992 -- the Bank announced that India had ‘decided to complete construction work on its own’.
In this case, too, said WGonIFIs, ahead of the World Bank's Inspection Panel was to deliver its decision on the investigation into the Amaravati project, the Government of India "withdrew".
“AIIB pulling out of the project after World Bank is a great victory for the people. The technicality of Government of India withdrawing is only hogwash. A probable investigation by the Inspection Panel would have revealed several violations and methods of coercion and unjust use/deployment of force on the farmers by the former Chandrababu Naidu’s government,” said Prof C Ramachandraiah of the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad.
It is a victory of the people who despite intimidation and coercion from the administration, and indifference from financial institutions, stood their ground
"This exit of two big financial giants from this environmentally and socially disastrous project is a victory of the people, civil society organisations, activists who have been relentlessly challenging this project at various fora for the past four years", said Anuradha Munshi, Centre for Financial Accountability.
She added, "It is time for these financial institutions to realise that people will raise a collective voice against them, and will win if these institutions continue to follow undemocratic and unjust ways to finance disastrous projects.”
Meanwhile, WGonIFIs demanded, the state government should scrap the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) Land Pooling Act, APCRDA itself and notifications passed subsequently, which are "inconsistent" with the the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, 2013. Also, the government should return the plots that were taken involuntarily from the people.
It also demanded initiation of judicial enquiry into socio-economic damage, land transactions and psychological trauma of agricultural, coastal, and pastoral labourers, tenants, landless families, and Dalits, who have "undergone severe pressure and fear, due to the land acquisition and displacement process".
At the same time, WGonIFIs said, the government should "announce a special compensation package for Dalits and other assigned landholders, as their social life has been damaged to a great extent in the past five years", even as "prosecuting brokers, real estate agents and other persons who purchased or facilitated the purchase of assigned lands after the announcement of the Capital Region."
WGonIFIs insisted, the government should simultaneously "stop attempts to de-list Dalit farmers from records through dubious documentary manipulation, and consider all Dalit cultivators in possession of the land as the original owners of the land for purposes of compensation and R&R under the 2013 Act."

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.

A golden goose, GoI bent on selling LIC 'for pittance' without consulting stakeholders

By Thomas Franco*  In spite of strong opposition from all sections of the society, the Finance Minister (FM) recently asked her Ministries to speed up Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) Initial Public Offer (IPO). Does she realise that this can lead to collapse of the economy over a period of time because LIC is a golden goose which is giving golden eggs regularly to the economy, development projects and providing social security to the majority of the marginalised people of this country.

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

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.

Biodiversity bill 'undermines' tribal rights, ayurveda, India's federal structure

Counterview Desk  Demanding immediate and complete withdrawal of proposed Biodiversity Act Amendment Bill, 2021, a statement issued by the Coalition for Environmental Justice in India, consisting of tens of civil society organisations, activists and experts, has said that it is a “well calibrated and clear attempt to progressively undermine and destroy the sovereign rights and control that the people of India have over their biodiversity, bioresources and associated traditional knowledge.” Floated by the Bangaluru-based Environment Support Group, it adds, the proposed Act would undermine “a right that is particularly crucial for adivasis, Dalits, farmers, fishers, vaids, hakims, nomadic and de-notified tribes, and such other natural resource dependent peoples whose lives, livelihoods and socio-economic wellbeing are intricately linked to nature.” Text : The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has proposed comprehensive amendments to the Biological D

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.

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.

Blunting Constitution? 'Secular' parties using communalism to compete with BJP

By Prem Singh*  Most spheres of Indian politics have been tainted by communalism. Looking at the current political scene of the country, it seems that just as there is a consensus on neoliberalism among the political and intellectual elite of India, similarly a consensus has been made on communal politics or political communalism.