Report on IFC, ADB financed Tata Mundra Power Project finds Gross Violations
New Delhi, July 4 : It is a well known fact that World Bank has been pushing for the water privatisation in various countries by lending to water corporations and prescriptions and recommendations for water sector reforms to governments. The Bank has facilitated water grabbing too by having funded more than 500 dams in 92 countries and with its continued investment in thermal and hydro power plants continues to threaten the right to water of communities. International Finance Corporation, IFC, the private lending arm of the World Bank has been involved in direct and indirect funding of a number of the power plants in past few years. One such project is being developed by Tata Power in Mundra, on the coast of Kutch, Gujarat inside the Mundra Special Economic Zone (SEZ) developed by Adani. Machimaar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (MASS), a fish workers group, has been struggling to defend their livelihood sources and save the coasts from complete destruction by construction of nearly 22,000 MW capacity power plants in a 70 km stretch.
An independent fact finding headed by Retd. Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court, S N Bhargava investigated the claims made by MASS of gross social and environmental violations by the Tata Power. The team’s report titled as ‘the Real cost of Power‘ heavily criticised the role of the company and the financial insitutions backing the project. It said “the (Tata Mundra Ultra Mega) project has disproportionately high social, environmental, and economic costs. The company, the licensing agencies of the Government of Gujarat and India, and the national and international financial institutions have either ignored or willfully neglected the high social and environmental costs and did little to mitigate them”. The report further added, “The Social Impact Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment are misleading and erroneous, having excluded a large number of communities whose loss of livelihood was overlooked. Cumulative impact studies required to understand the overall impacts were not done. The governments and the IFIs are equally complicit in the violations by the company.”
The panel recommends that “International Financial Institutions should undertake an immediate review of the project to examine adherence of their safeguard polices; until such a review is done, their financial assistance to the project should be suspended.” Among the banks in question are the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Apart from the Justice Bhargava, other members of team included Dr. Varadarajan Sampath (former Ministry of Earth Sciences Advisor of the Government of India); distinguished journalist and author Praful Bidwai; Jarjum Ete (former Chairperson of Commission for Women in Arunachal Pradesh), and Soumya Dutta (National Convener of the Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha). The team visited Mundra in April and May 2012, met senior company staff including its CEO Mr. KK Sharma, held meetings with affected communities and perused voluminous documents to inform its findings.
It needs to be noted that MASS has already filed a complaint with the ombudsman, CAO of IFC, which is investigating the violations by the company since June 2011.
Tata Mundra Power plant is one amongst the many thermal and nuclear power plants to be set up along side mainland India’s 5700 kms coastline. Nearly 55,000 MW of coal and gas based thermal power plants and 15,800 MW of nuclear power plants are either built or are in different stages if development alongside India’s coast apart from numerous ports, chemical industries, SEZs, refineries, and urbanisation. All these power plants will utilise water from the sea and also the ground water. These plants will release hot water, radioactive material and other industrial pollutants with massive adverse implications for the marine ecology and the coastal eco-system which will in turn threaten the livelihood of millions of the fishworkers, salt pan workers, pastoral and farming communities.
The report in findings also mentioned, “the project has caused drastic reduction in fish catches, destroying the livelihoods of local fisher-folk. Available fish-catch data indicate considerable reduction in fish catch in the past three years since the adjacent Adani plant was commissioned, which has been exacerbated by the partial commissioning of Tata Mundra. Communities fear total loss of aquatic wealth when the project is fully operational, along with their livelihoods as fisher-folk—a clear violation of IFC policies.”
Urging the Government of India and Gujarat to put a moratorium on permission to any more industry/power plants in Mundra / Kutch urged the international financial institutions to undertake an immediate review of the project to examine adherence of their safeguard polices; suspend financial assistance until such a review is done; putting in place an independent monitoring mechanism to ensure strict compliance of their safeguard policies. It added, meanwhile, the national financial institutions should adopt social and environmental policies and implement them scrupulously in this project. The implementation should be monitored by independent agencies, which include the affected people’s representatives.
The report is a timely warning for unplanned growth on India’s coast and a complete disregard for comprehensive environmental and ecological assessment, since the impacts will not remain limited to the coasts itself and will impact life and environment in hinterland too. One can only hope that under the resistance and pressure from people’s movements and various other institutions the governments will pay attention. World Bank and other IFIs and national Banks and FIs, like State Bank of India, India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd., Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd., Oriental Bank of Commerce, Vijaya Bank, State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Indore and ors can’t continue to hide behidn the government laws and regulations. They have to take responsibility for the businesses they fund and support through the public money.
The report hopefully will feed in to the CAO process and MASS members will have respite from the destruction unleashed on their shores by the corporations like Adani, Tata and others.
New Delhi, April 19 : Khandwa, located in Western Madhya Pradesh, Central India, has been witness to many big rallies, demonstrations and protests by Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement) for more than a decade now against the construction of big dams like Maheshwar, Indira Sagar, Narmada Sagar, Mann and ors on the Narmada river. However, in past few months another movement against water privatisation is taking shape in Khandwa. India’s first such project ‘Khandwa Water Supply Augmentation Project’ has been awarded to Vishwa Infrastructure and Services Private Ltd., a Hyderabad based company under Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) on PPP basis for water supply augmentation to the town for 25 years under the concession.
The project has been under execution since October 2009. The private concessionaire would supply water to the town @ Rs 11.95 per KL. The raw water for this would be pumped from a reservoir 51 Kms away from the town. The project’s construction phase is expected to complete by September 2012, delayed by almost 1 year. The project has been show cased in various circles including at the Planning Commission level as being a successful model of executing PPPs in water sector and will pave the way for such projects in other cities.
The construction has been going on since 2009 but now only the details and conditionalities of the projects have started coming out. Since then in last six months local Bar Association, Pensioner’s Association, Traders Associations, Media groups, Citizen Forums, Political Representatives, local organisations and other community groups have started coming together and discussing the issues. Narmada Jal Vitran Sangharsh Samiti (Narmada Water Distribution Struggle Committee) has been formed which is strongly campaigning against the project and the severe impacts it would have on the lives of the local residents. As reported by the Times of India on April 18thResidents of Khandwa apart from holding protests and demonstrations are also holding an opinion poll against the project. Devendra Singh Yadav of Narmada Jal Vitran Sangharsh Samiti, carrying out the survey says, “We will complete the referendum in a month and hand it over to the chief minister and the Supreme Court to let them know people’s opinion.”
They have been regularly petitioning the local municipal corporation officials and the state government agencies for clarifications on various issues related to the project like privatisation, no investment by the private company, private ownership of new water supply system, neglecting existing water sources, mortgaging water rights of the people for 25 years, raising of water tariffs, non-use of local water resources like handpumps, dug-wells, etc. Apart from this the group has also petitioned the government agencies and the municipal corporation to cancel the project and the municipal corporation to take the responsibility of water supply in its own hands.
Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, which has been studying the project since last 3-4 years has brought out startling conditionalities based on which the Khandwa Municipal Corporation (KMC) signed the concession agreement with Vishwa Utilities Pvt. Ltd. The studies Manthan has done in this regard has been public domain for quite sometime and are available on its website –http://www.manthan-india.org/spip.php?rubrique41. These studies provide the details about the water supply issues in the town as well as what is wrong with the PPP contract and has aided the struggle against the privatisation.
It remains to be seen how the resistance against the water privatisation will pan out since this will be a test case for future projects in other cities. There is active opposition to water privatisation in Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi and other cities of the country. PPP has been termed as the loot of natural resources and only benefits the private corporations on the public money, like in this case 80% of the project cot will be borne by Centre, 10% by State government and it is the rest 10% for which the agreement between the KMC and Vishwa has been signed by which Vishwa will corner all the profit and establish its monopoly over the distribution and make public taps a history in Khandwa.
गीतों के बोल राजनीति की परिपाटी पर पूरी बात भले ही ना कहें, लेकिन वे वह काम कर जाते हैं जो बड़े बड़े भाषण या बातें नहीं कर पाते | ये गीत गिर्दा, जो हमारे बीच नहीं रहे लेकिन उनके कुछ गाये गीतों ने उत्तराखंड आंदोलन के दौरान किया | प्रेम ने दुबारा उन्हें हमारे बेचा लाने का काम किया | धन्यवाद प्रेम ! ये गीत आज भी हमारे संघर्षों में गाये जाते हैं और हमें प्रेरणा देते हैं…जिंदाबाद !
Ok, so I am really kicked about the fact that I can blog and create things. Just started http://www.jansansad.tumblr.com for keeping uptodate with the day to day organising of Jan Sansad from now on to March. What a fabulous team we made today and hope everything falls in place. Cheers !
People’s Parliament or Jan Sansad is the new idea with which NAPM has been experimenting with for sometime. I have been involved with it since July 25, 2009 when Medha Patkar talked about it and we had oru first meeting at Indian Social Institute, New Delhi. It was also the day when Dr. Binayak Sen was visitng Delhi first time after his release from prison in Chattisgarh and we had all organised a welcome gathering for him. I think it was the right occaions to talk about it since there we were welcoming a man who was incarcerated for no reason in the jail. We worked hard and so much of our movements energy went in to campaigning for him to be released. He was released, rearrested and then finally released again. It did teach us a lot of things – innovating new ideas for campaign, which found reflection in Save Sharmila campaign and other campaigns. Anyway, coming back to Jan Sansad, we kept talking about it and then finally at a meeting in Allahabad attened by nearly 200 people from different organisations this idea found some takers and we all started with the process of Jan Sansad.
But to like the name Jan Sansad and then to understand the spirit is two different things. Jan Sansad name was liked so it was hapahazardly organised at Almora, Bhadrawati was little improvement over it and then came Mumbai, which was to some extent much much better than earlier two ones. We have had two more Jan Sansads after that in Nellore and Multai but they were more like public meetings or day long conventions. Very good meetings but nothing near to Jan Sansad. We have taken the challenge now and hopefully this time we will do much much better and ake it truly a Jan Sansad. Janta ka Janta ke Liye. Follow more details and update from everyday at http://www.jansansad.tumblr.com