Skip to main content

Hydro project: Nepal's indigenous people object to ADB, European bank funding

By Our Representative
Indigenous communities affected by the Tanahu Hydropower Project in Nepal have filed complaints with independent watchdogs of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) -- two co-financiers of the project -- requesting an independent mediation process. The communities have alleged failure to uphold free, prior and informed consent and inadequate compensation for loss of lands and livelihoods.
At least 32 affected families or landowners organized under the Directly Inundation Affected Peoples Collective Rights Protection Committee have called for ‘land for land’ and ‘house for house’ compensation, re-survey of land left out during the Detailed Measurement Survey of the project, and free, prior and informed consent in the project process, among their ten demands, they have submitted to the ADB and the EIB.
The Tanahu Hydropower Project is being developed by Tanahu Hydropower Limited, which is fully owned by the Nepal Electricity Authority. The project will construct a 140 meter high concrete dam with a reservoir about 25 kilometers long on the Seti river in Tanahu District in western Nepal. The Sino Hydro Corporation constructed affiliated facilities for the project. The ADB, the EIB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have provided funding to the project.
Sher Bahadur Thapa,​ a community member and one of the complainants, states: “As indigenous Magars, our lives depend on land and natural resources. The project has and will cause direct and material harm to our ancestral land, our livelihoods, and traditional practices. Our agricultural land, structures in the farms, cremation sites, bridges, roads and trails and our water resources will be directly affected by the project, and we will be displaced once the farming land is full of water.”
Despite policies in place at the ADB and the EIB to ensure meaningful consultation in projects, indigenous communities affected by the project claim that they were not given a seat at the table. Til Bahadur Thapa, one of the complainants, states: “We did not receive adequate information and opportunity for meaningful participation and proper consultation in the project. Key documents were not provided to us in our native tongue. The form and rates of compensation were determined without our participation and as a result, are unfair, inadequate, and discriminatory against our families and thus are being imposed on us.”
Indira Shreesh, a lawyer for the Indigenous Women’s Legal Awareness Group (INWOLAG), one of the advisors for complainants, states: “Communities have made many attempts to resolve their concerns with the company, relevant government agencies, and the operations department of the Asian Development Bank. To date, however, their demands remain unresolved. The indigenous communities seek redress through these complaint mechanisms."
Communities have alleged failure to uphold free, prior and informed consent and inadequate compensation for loss of lands and livelihoods
“The balance of power between the affected communities and the project supported by the State authorities remains highly uneven. So, the complainants have moved these complaint mechanisms seeking neutral dispute resolution as per the safeguards of the banks,” says Prabindra Shakya of the Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ).
Rayyan Hassan, executive director of the NGO Forum on the ADB commented, “The ADB Problem Solving function within the accountability mechanism has often been touted to be biased towards ADB management and project developers. In the case of Tanahu Hydropower Project and the plight of the Magar people, the ADB mechanism has an opportunity to do right and address the harm and resolve the Magar people’s concerns. We hope that this time the bank delivers on its problem solving mandate in actual practice.”
According to Tom Weerachat of International Accountability Project, “When multiple development finance institutions co-fund a project, they should uphold the best performance in preparation and implementation of the project. In reality, the community in Tanahu is struggling to have their rights respected and fulfilled. Complaints from the community affected by the Tanahu Hydropower Project is an opportunity for the financiers and their accountability mechanisms to facilitate a community-led process for problem solving.”

Comments

TRENDING

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.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

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.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara 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".

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen