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World Bank Panel Expose Continued Violation at Tata Mundra

In a scathing report, the compliance mechanism of World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) has said that IFC has failed to address the findings of CAO in the case of Tata Mundra (Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd).

CAO released its monitoring report yesterday (January 21) after one year of their audit report. The report says, “While acknowledging the actions reported by IFC, CAO does not find them sufficient to address the findings of the audit at this stage. In particular, CAO notes that a number of its findings suggest the need for a rapid, participatory and expressly remedial approach to assessing and addressing project impacts raised by the complainants. Such measures are not well developed in IFC’s reporting which focuses on the commissioning of technical studies as well as corporate social responsibility measures implemented by the client.”

IFC’s response to the monitoring report once again fails to address the key points raised by the report and make it clear that they are not serious about addressing the concerns which include threat to their livelihood and health risks.

It may be noted that in October 2013, CAO published its audit report on Tata Mundra listing a number of serious violation of IFC’s policies while financing the 4000 MW, $4 bn project in Kutch, Gujarat. CAO found that: Environmental and Social risks and impacts of the project were not considered and addressed; There is no social baseline data; IFC’s policies for land acquisition not applied, despite physical and economic displacement; Inadequate attention paid to the requirement of biodiversity conservation; IFC failed in its review and supervision of the impacts on air-shed & marine environment; and IFC failed to examine the cumulative impact of projects around Tata Mundra.

Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (MASS, the Association for the Struggle for Fishworkers’ Rights), the complainants to the CAO had rejected IFC’s action plan released in November 2013. MASS called it “non-serious, non-committal one”, “empty and a non-starter” and said that “We reject this statement and action plan. This is only an attempt to obfuscate the liability and making mockery of communities’ concerns.”

The progress of compliance being unsatisfactory, CAO decided to keep this project open for monitoring.

“The report vindicate our position that what IFC has come up as an action plan is just a set of activities under the CSR, without addressing the findings of CAO. IFC’s continued dismissal of CAO findings is trivialising a body like CAO, which was made to address affected people’s concerns. We demand nothing less than IFC withdrawal from the project,” MASS General Secretary Bharat Patel said.

He added, “We wonder what stops President Jim Kim from taking action on a report by a body under him”.

MASS demands that the World Bank President Jim Kim, who has so far not taken any action on the CAO findings of serious violations of IFC’s policies, should act upon CAO’s monitoring report, which exposes that nothing has changed for the people who are affected by the IFC’s financed Tata Mundra.

MASS demands that the President should withdraw IFC financing from the project and set a precedent that violators should pay. His continued silence on this matter will only be a tactical support to the violations.

Background:


In July 2013, MASS lodged a complaint at the Compliance Review Panel (CRP) of Asian Development Bank, a co-financier of Tata Mundra project. The final report is expected soon.



Contact: Bharat Patel - +91-9601071983

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