Please sign the online petitions below to express your solidarity and support for the actions proposed by the Environment Ministry in the show cause notices
Petition for action against Mundra Port and SEZ
Petition for action against OPG Power Project

* If you face any difficulty in signing the petitions, please mail us on mass.kutch@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tata Mundra: IFC’s Action Plan on CAO report is empty, is a non-starter


Tata Mundra: IFC’s Action Plan on CAO report is empty, is a non-starter

We reject this statement and action plan.

The 1.5 page statement and action plan on Tata Mundra issued by IFC CEO Jin-Yong Cai is a non-serious, non-committal one, and issued under duress from the growing criticism of IFC’s / World Bank President Kim’s inaction on CAO’s findings of serious social and environmental violations. It’s empty and a non-starter. By issuing this, IFC is trying to confuse the public, making a mockery of communities’ concerns and yet again, undermine CAO and its findings.

While some of the action plan stated are listing of actions taken pre-CAO time, some other are just suggestions, resulting in nothing particular. Eg: household level socio-economic survey, health survey and testing of ash residue for radioactivity and heavy metals. The action plan fails to say what happens after these surveys and testing. There are no timeline, no specific targets or indicators. Significantly, the statement says that it will bank on the expertise of the company, whose violations are in question.

Importantly, the statement is silent on IFC’s violations of its own policies, listed by the CAO. CAO, in its report issued last month 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 airshed & marine environment.

· IFC failed to examine the cumulative impact of projects around Tata Mundra

CAO concluded that “…the above weaknesses in IFC’s E&S review of CGPL did not support the formation of a robust view as to whether the project could be expected to meet the requirements of the Performance Standards over a reasonable period of time, the threshold question in terms of IFC’s decision to invest.”

The statement or the action plan fails to address any of these.

It is baffling that President Kim is still reluctant to take any action on the findings, and leave it to IFC, the violator, to be its own judge. He does not hold anyone accountable for the violations. Rather, he is putting precedence to his own staff and other clients, that violations will be tolerated and, maybe even, rewarded!

We reject this statement and action plan. This is only an attempt to obfuscate the liability and making mockery of communities’ concerns.

We, along with our allies and well-wishers in India and across the globe reiterate our demands:

· take appropriate actions to address the findings of CAO, starting with a remedial action plan to mitigate the impacts already shown on the ground and

· the withdrawal of IFC financing from the Tata Mundra coal project.

Bharat Patel
General Secretary
Machimar Adhikaar Sangharsh Sangathan
Blog: http://masskutch.blogspot.in/

Contact: +91-9426469803

 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Statement of Machimar Adhikar Sangarsh Sangathan on the CERC order on tariff revision of Tata Mundra project

Statement of Machimar Adhikar Sangarsh Sangathan on the CERC order on tariff revision of Tata Mundra project

Mundra: February 25, 2014

We are shocked at the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (CERC) compensation order of last week, for Tata Power’s 4000-megawatt Mundra ultra mega power project (UMPP) in Gujarat to make up for the increase in cost of imported coal.

As per the order, state power utilities will now be compensated with 52 paise per KwH tariff hike over the next 12 months. The Mundra UMPP, which is partly financed by International Finance Corporation (IFC), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Korean ExIm Bank and others, supplies power to five states – Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab.

In 2011, Tata Power, along with Adani Power, had requested CERC for a tariff hike after the Government in Indonesia – from where both companies import most of their coal requirements at Mundra – hiked the cost of coal to an international benchmark, making it costlier to import. Order on the Adani plant is not yet out.

Consumers paying for bad business decisions

By this order CERC is passing on the cost of bad business decisions made by the companies to the consumer. Procurement of coal, machinery or technology is entirely in the purview of the companies and the consumer cannot be held liable for any bad decisions made by them. The consumers cannot be made to pay for Indonesia hiking its coal prices, nor can she be held responsible if company’s forecast of profits backfired.

Bad precedence & invalidating PPAs

By revising the tariff, CERC has made a bad precedence. There is no way that CERC can now not review the Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) made between other companies and state utilities. By some estimates, the decision has paved the way for around 48,000 MW worth of generation capacities, which inked long-term deals through fixed tariff-based bidding, to seek a price revision.

Bids are won for these projects by quoting the lowest tariff and once secured the project, they move CERC and revise the tariff. Reliance Power owned Sasan project has already approached CERC to renegotiate tariff citing expensive foreign currency borrowings and the rupee’s fall. This order is an invitation for companies to swindle the people.

Real Costs not accounted yet
However, the real costs of coal projects, particularly the Mundra project of Adani and Tata, cannot be calculated unless the social and environmental costs are accounted. Livelihood of thousands of fisherpeople are getting affected by these projects; mangroves and mudflats are destroyed; fly ash and coal dust is impacting the dry fish, salt-pan, horticulture, animals grazing on coal infested grass and the health of elderly and children.

In a report which detailed IFC’s violation while financing the Tata Mundra project, the independent recourse mechanism of IFC, Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) observed:

“IFC’s review of its client’s (Environmental and Social) E&S assessments was not commensurate with the risk involved. IFC paid insufficient attention to the requirements of the Performance Standards. IFC should have required that its client commission additional E&S assessment in order to ensure compliance. IFC did not pay adequate attention to verifying whether pre-project consultation requirements were met. IFC failed to assure itself that directly affected fishing communities were engaged in effective consultation. IFC’s E&S review regarding marine impact did not meet the due diligence requirements set out in the Sustainability Policy. IFC has failed to ensure that its client has correctly applied the requirements of the Thermal Power Guidelines. IFC failed to meet the requirements of the Sustainability Policy despite sufficient indications of project-related displacement (both physical and economic) as to require objective assessment. IFC should have advised that CGPL’s consideration of cumulative impact needed to go beyond that contained in the SEIA. IFC is unable to demonstrate that its client’s monitoring is commensurate to risk.”

After IFC, the Board of Directors of ADB approved the recommendation of its accountability mechanism, the Compliance Review Panel (CRP) for full investigation, as published in its Eligibility Report.

In its report, CRP says, “The CRP finds prima facie evidence of noncompliance with ADB policies and procedures, and prima facie evidence that this noncompliance with ADB policies has led to harm or is likely to lead to future harm. Given the evidence of noncompliance… the CRP concludes that the noncompliance is serious enough to warrant a full compliance review.”

Unless these serious issues are taken into account, the real cost of the project can never be calculated. All that CERC is doing will only result in giving undue benefit to the companies, at the cost of consumers. By doing this, CERC is committing a dereliction of their duties to be a fair and impartial regulator.

Wrong planning
One cannot ignore the fact that this is happening because of misplaced priorities, wrong planning and poor integration. While the Integrated Energy Policy 2012 estimates that by 2032 power demand could reach nearly 7.8 lakh MW, where the share of coal is expected to be 47%, the Ministry of Environment and Forests have already cleared or are in the process of clearing coal projects with capacity of 7 lakh MW – almost 90% of the total demand. Such unplanned, unregulated expansion of projects can only lead into situations where companies fight for bigger share of profits and consumers are left to the mercy of these companies.

Contact:
Bharat Patel - +91-9426469803
Joe Athialy - +91-9871153775

http://masskutch.blogspot.in/

Thursday, January 23, 2014

After World Bank, Asian Development Bank to Investigate Tata Mundra

Press statement
Mundra, Gujarat: January 23, 2014

After World Bank, Asian Development Bank to Investigate Tata Mundra:
Finds Prima Facie Evidence of Noncompliance with ADB Policies.


Three months after Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) – the independent accountability mechanism of World Bank Group’s private sector arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) – published its scathing report on the serious violations of IFC policies in its investment in Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd (CGPL – Tata Mundra), another co-financier of the project, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) decided to investigate the policy violations while financing the 4000 MW coal plant in Mundra, Gujarat.

The Board of Directors of ADB approved the recommendation of its accountability mechanism, the Compliance Review Panel (CRP) for full investigation, as published in its Eligibility Report.

ADB has invested US $450 million in the project. Other investors include IFC, Korean ExIm Bank, PNB Paribas, State Bank of India, HUDCO and India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd.

In its report, CRP says, “The CRP finds prima facie evidence of noncompliance with ADB policies and procedures, and prima facie evidence that this noncompliance with ADB policies has led to harm or is likely to lead to future harm. Given the evidence of noncompliance… the CRP concludes that the noncompliance is serious enough to warrant a full compliance review.”

Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan
(MASS – Association for the Struggle for Fishworkers’ Rights) welcomes the investigation. MASS submitted a complaint to CRP in October last year.

Responding to the significant victory of people’s struggle, MASS’ General Secretary Dr. Bharat Patel said, “We welcome the full investigation by CRP. After having received a confirmation of our concerns by CAO, we hope an independent and indepth investigation by CRP will further reconfirm our concerns and actions will be taken on the findings.”


In October last year, CAO published its finding after a year-long process of investigation. CAO found that environmental and social risks and impacts of the project were not considered and addressed; there was no social baseline data; IFC’s policies for land acquisition were not applied despite physical and economic displacement; inadequate attention was paid to the requirement of biodiversity conservation; IFC failed in its review and supervision of the impacts on airshed & marine environment and IFC failed to examine the cumulative impact of projects around Tata Mundra.

Despite such scathing findings, and
growing global criticism for IFC’s continued support to Tata Mundra, World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim refuses to take any appropriate action.

In its Eligibility Report, CRP found the following evidence of noncompliance: ADB held insufficient public consultations; the project-affected area is defined erroneously; CGPL discharges water at a higher temperature than is allowed by ADB standards; ADB’s air emission standards are not met; insufficient cumulative impact assessments; flawed social and environmental impact assessments; harmful effects of the cooling system on the environment and the fish harvest; inaccessibility of fishing grounds and effects of coal-dust emissions.

ADB management in its response tried to discredit the complainants, questioned their locus standi and defended its investment and actions of its client.

“This is certainly a move in the right direction,” said Madhuresh Kumar, national organisor of National Alliance of People’s Movements. “At a time when corporations, in collusion with corrupt politicians and supported by financiers both national and international, plunder national resources and are not accountable to anyone, ADB reviewing its policy compliance in Tata Mundra gives hope that people’s concerns will be looked into. We hope appropriate and timely actions will be taken on the findings,” he added.

“We hope the World Bank President will take note of the CRP report. It’s not just his own CAO who have reconfirmed our concerns, but now even CRP has done it. How long can he pretend not to see this growing evidence of noncompliance by Tata Mundra? He should take bold actions in Tata Mundra and walk his talk on climate change,” Dr. Patel said.

Contacts:

Bharat Patel (Gujarat): +91-9426469803
Joe Athialy (New Delhi): +91-9871153775
Rayyan Hassan (Manila):
+63-9175117002

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Civil Society Calls the Bluff of World Bank Accountability

For Immediate Release
New Delhi: December 17, 2013

Civil Society Calls the Bluff of World Bank Accountability

“Response of World Bank President Jim Kim is evasive and does not even recognize the finding of the report on Tata Mundra,” noted social activist Medha Patkar said. She was speaking at a discussion yesterday on the World Bank and its accountability in the context of the recent reports on Tata Mundra project. “The current stalemate is that of the president versus the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), as he has not given any heed to the findings of CAO,” she said.

Member of Parliament Mani Shankar Aiyer said “Development without consideration for environment and people is pointless.” He decried government policies which give big corporations tax concessions, which is glorified in the name of stimulus, while the same done to the farmers and marginalised is called subsidies.

The meeting was held in the context of the recent report by World Bank’s accountability mechanism, which reported Bank’s own policy violations by its private sector arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC) which financing the Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd (CGPL – Tata Mundra) project.

CAO in its report said 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 airshed & marine environment; and IFC failed to examine the cumulative impact of projects around Tata Mundra.

Earlier speaking about the inequity which is promoted by the World Bank, noted economist Prof Arun Kumar said “World Bank does not have one line of operation but have one underlying principle, i.e., marketization of natural resources.” He further said, “the notion that private efficient and hence market needs preference puts the question of equity secondary. The questions of efficiency and equity are opposing. Rationality is dominated by profits and greed is justified.”

Energy expert Soumya Dutta, local community leaders Ayub Haji and Bharat Patel also spoke at the meeting.

MASS Responds to Dr. Kim’s statement
Responding to the statement issued by Dr. Kim MASS said, “By not standing firm behind your accountability mechanisms and their findings, you are undermining their legitimacy and playing into the hands of the ones inside the Bank and outside who find these mechanisms to be a distraction for their smooth running of business.” Drawing parallels between the Morse Committee Report on Narmada dam (Sardar Sarovar) and of CAO on Tata Mundra, the statement from MASS said that the president is “following the same strategy which the then President Lewis Preston, who constituted Morse Committee followed – pretending that you have not seen the findings.”

IFC & World Bank President Evading Responsibility
Not once but twice now, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has shown leniency in coming to terms with Compliance Advisor Ombudsman’s (CAO) audit report on TATA Mundra. After the CAO pointed that IFC has violated its social and environmental guidelines in its financing the project, the private arm of the World Bank rejected the audit report findings. The rejection was subsequently endorsed by the World Bank Group President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who did not prescribe any remedial action for IFC to take.

When the pressure started to mount with International and National Organizations coming together to question this inaction on Dr. Kim’s part, the President instructed his senior staff to have a forward looking statement from the IFC on the issue. This statement turned out to be a damp squib, a non-starter, non-committal, and non-serious. Written in an evasive language, it only breeds confusion, keeping the community’s concerns at bay and undermining CAO’s findings. What is striking in the statement is the noticeable absence of IFC’s roles and responsibilities, with the major chunk of these delegated to Costal Gujarat Power Limited, the TATA subsidiary running the project.

Silence of the President of the WBG goes on to prove that he is either helping IFC absolve itself from responsibilities, or is unable to do anything more than undermine the credibility of internal mechanisms like the CAO. Either ways, the legitimacy of his tall claims of renewable energy could be jeopardized if he continues to remain silent on a thermal project that is not only environmentally fragile, but financially in woes.

Contact: Bharat Patel  - +91-9426469803

Background:

e.      Indian organisations’ letter to World Bank President: http://www.bicusa.org/over-100-organizations-demand-world-bank-withdrawal-from-tata-mundra/
f.        International organisations’ letter to World Bank President: http://www.bicusa.org/groups-worldwide-join-indian-people-demanding-kim-pull-ifc-out-of-tata-coal-plant/
j.        MASS’ reply to Dr. Jim Kim: http://masskutch.blogspot.in/2013_12_01_archive.html#2984461388647718201

Monday, December 16, 2013

MASS Replies to World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim's Statement

December 14, 2013

Dear Dr. Kim,

It was with great interest that we received
your statement issued early this week, in response to the “concerns expressed by the CSOs about several projects supported by World Bank Group”. We hope one of those projects is the Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd (CGPL – Tata Mundra).

We make this assumption because we know that many prominent citizens from different parts of the world wrote to you, expressing concerns at your inaction on the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) report on Tata Mundra. Those include people representing 102 organisations from India, another 68 organisations from 28 countries, and host of emails and regular mail.

Since this was the first statement from you on a report made public by CAO six weeks back, we were expecting a much clearer statement, acknowledging the findings of CAO, laying out a road map for mitigation for the damages already caused and some bold measures, sending a clear message to the staff as well as clients, that you are serious about safeguard policies and there is zero tolerance for its violations. You disappointed us, again, Dr. Kim. Disappointment because you missed the point, chose to act weak and made a mockery of all that communities have been saying about impacts.

We will keep the discussion on how private corporations can contribute to “transformative projects” for another day. We have a very different experience and view from what you have on that. It may suffice to state that you can no longer fool anyone with hollow and empty rhetoric – “aligning our operations with our goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030”, “ boosting shared prosperity”, “help the poor lift themselves out of poverty”, “end extreme poverty” and “build shared prosperity”.

In your statement you have elucidated about Bank’s past experiences, claiming it to have benefitted the poor. Our experience in India is different. Particularly two projects, Narmada dam and Singrauli power project which the Bank financed some three decades back are worth mentioning. Bank’s financing undermined the national policies and statutory requirements (Bank approved funding for Narmada dam two years before the Ministry of Environment and Forests gave its clearance); displaced hundreds of thousands of people, a large majority of them are still awaiting rehabilitation; and in both cases, Bank rescued itself from any responsibility some years later, leaving the people high and dry. While the magnitude of damage of both environment and people were too high in these projects, the experience in other projects was not any different.

The first accountability mechanism of the Bank, the Inspection Panel was an outcome of a relentless struggle by the people of Narmada valley, along with their allies from different parts of the globe. You may know that in 1991 the Independent Review Committee (Morse Committee) was the first independent committee constituted by the Bank to review a project it financed. The findings of the committee were revealing. It said:

“The Bank and India both failed to carry out adequate assessments of human impacts of the Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) Project.

“There was virtually no basis, in 1985, on which to determine what the impacts were, that would have to be ameliorated.

“This inadequate understanding was compounded by a failure to consult the people potentially to be affected.

“…the Bank failed to take adequate account of the fact that a large proportion of those at risk from the development of the Sardar Sarovar Projects are tribal people.

“In these and other ways, the Bank failed to follow the principles and policies it set out…

“The Bank failed to consider the effects of the Projects on people living downstream of the dam.

“There has been no comprehensive environmental assessment of the canal and water delivery system in the command area.

“We think the Sardar Sarovar Projects as they stand are flawed, that resettlement and rehabilitation of all those displaced by the Projects is not possible under prevailing circumstances, and that environmental impacts of the Projects have not been properly considered or adequately addressed.

“Moreover we believe that the Bank shares responsibility with the borrower for the situation that has developed... it seems clear that engineering and economic imperatives have driven the Projects to the exclusion of human and environmental concerns... India and the states involved... have spent a great deal of money. No one wants to see this money wasted.

“But we caution that it may be more wasteful to proceed without full knowledge of the human and environmental costs. We have decided that it would be irresponsible for us to patch together a series of recommendations on implementation when the flaws in the Projects are as obvious as they seem to us.

“As a result, we think that the wisest course would be for the Bank to step back from the Projects and consider them afresh. The failure of the bank's incremental strategy should be acknowledged."

Dr. Kim, doesn’t it ring a bell when you read this? Didn’t CAO say something very similar, sans, recommendations, which it is not mandated to make? CAO after its audit on Tata Mundra said:

“The Complainants, who are from a religious minority and occupy a socially marginal position given their migrant traditions, were not adequately considered as the (Environmental and Social) E&S risks and impacts of the project were considered and addressed.

“There is no social baseline data in relation to the fisher people who reside seasonally in the fishing villages. In the absence of a baseline data IFC was not in a position to ensure the proper application of IFC’s policies related to land acquisition, despite indications that households living on the bunders have been displaced by the project (both physically and economically).

“IFC failed to ensure that its client’s E&S assessments adequately considered the risks and impacts of the project on these fisher people.

“IFC paid inadequate attention to the requirement of biodiversity conservation.

“Serious lapses in IFC’s review and supervision of the impacts of the project on the airshed and marine environment.

“ IFC has not ensured that its client correctly applied the World Bank’s Thermal Power: Guidelines (1998) in that the project airshed has not been defined as a degraded airshed—a classification that brings with it a requirement that there will be no net increase in the total emissions of particulates or sulphur dioxide within the airshed.

“IFC’s process of E&S review was not appropriate to the nature and scale of the project or commensurate to risk as required by the Sustainability Policy.

“IFC has not assured itself that the plant’s seawater cooling system will comply with applicable IFC Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Guidelines.

“IFC’s E&S review paid inadequate attention to ensuring that the project’s risks and impacts were “analyzed in the context of [its] area of influence,” as required by Performance Standard 1 (of IFC), including “areas potentially impacted by cumulative impacts…from project-related developments that are realistically defined at the time the E&S assessment is undertaken.”

“IFC should have advised its client that third-party E&S risk emerging from the project’s proximity and relationship with Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone needed to be better assessed, with mitigation measures developed.”

Dr.Kim do you need more reasons from anybody on why you should take bold steps on Tata Mundra? If findings of your own mechanism are not convincing enough, what else on earth can convince you?

The statement and the so called action plan issued by IFC CEO Jin-Yong Cai shows only how non-serious IFC is about the findings of CAO. After rebutting all that CAO has reported, they issued this, which is nothing but to confuse the public, making a mockery of communities’ concerns and yet again, undermine CAO and its findings.

As we mentioned in a statement earlier, “While some of the action plan stated are listing of actions taken pre-CAO time, some other are just suggestions, resulting in nothing particular. There are no timeline, no specific targets or indicators. Significantly, the statement says that it will bank on the expertise of the company, whose violations are in question. The statement is silent on IFC’s violations of its own policies, listed by the CAO”.

By you not taking any action on the findings of CAO, you are sending out a message to your clients and staff that you are non-serious about safeguard policies. That any violation of the policies will not alter the course of IFC’s current financing, or future investments. If the purpose of it is only ornamental, why are you investing time and resources in reviewing the safeguard policies? If not to be acted upon, if there is no political will to implement them steadfastly, the policies and its review, both are a sham.

By not standing firm behind your accountability mechanisms and their findings, you are undermining their legitimacy and playing into the hands of the ones inside the Bank and outside who find these mechanisms to be a distraction for their smooth running of business. By ignoring the findings of CAO, Dr.Kim, how can “the CAO and the Inspection Panel enhance our impact and help us further improve our effectiveness?”

You seem to be following the same strategy which the then President Lewis Preston, who constituted Morse Committee followed – pretending that you have not seen the findings. However we are hopeful, since Preston withdrew financing after a year of the report, having faced the wrath of people around the globe.

In hope,

Bharat Patel,
General Secretary,
Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mundra Hit Rakshak Manch[1]
(Forum for Protection of Rights in Mundra)      
Mundra Taluka, Kutch District, Gujarat


21st November 2013

Shri Harshad Patel
District Collector, Kutch District
Bhuj, Gujarat

Subject:District Level Implementation of the critical clauses of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2011 notification.

Dear Shri Patel,

Greetings on World Fisheries day from the members of the Mundra Hit Rakshak Manch. We are a forum of affected people and mass based organisations who have been raising concerns related to large scale industrial expansion in the Mundra region of Kutch district of Gujarat. While we have been raising concerns at an individual level in our villages we have now come together as part of the Mundra Hitrakshak Manch.

As you are aware, the Kutch coast is not just a unique ecological hotspot but its vast inter-tidal zone and inland areas have support a variety of livelihoods. These include artisanal fishing, salt production, agriculture, animal husbandry (including pastoralists) and horticulture. We believe that it is only with our collective efforts and through active implementation of our existing laws and policies we will be able to ensure sustainable development along the Kutch coast. It is for this we look forward to your immediate and continued cooperation.

As you are aware, the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011 in its Clause 6 (c ) has the specific provision for setting up District Level Coastal Committees (DLCC) to assist the Coastal Zone Management Authority (CZMA) of the state in enforcement and monitoring of the CRZ notification. The order of 14th October 2013 by the CZMA lists out the possible composition of the DLCC and a wide range of functions for the same.

As Chairman of this DLCC, we do hope you would take the lead in setting up a vibrant and active DLCC for livelihood protection and conservation of the Kutch coast. The Manch and its members will be extremely happy to work on and with the DLCC in all its activities and we would like to extend our full support to the district administration for the same.

We would request you to call for a meeting of the DLCC as soon as possible and expand the scope of local participation in the same. While the CRZ notification, 2011 mandates that a minimum of three representatives from the fishing community should be part of the DLCC, we hope given the vastness and diversity of the Kutch coast, there would be a possibility to expand the scope of participation. We hope that the Kutch DLCC will be able to find representation of different occupations of the coastal people residing in CRZ areas as well as many more fishing community representatives, especially
those practicing artisanal fisheries.

We also hope that through your initiative, the DLCC will also be able to a play a significant and path-breaking role ensuring a leadership role for the DLCC in the preparation of the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Kutch. This will be crucial input into the state level CZMP being prepared by the Gujarat CZMA. We, the members of the Mundra Hit RakshakManch would be keen to participate actively in the preparation of the CZMP, which can become a vision document for the Kutch coast.

We would also like to share with you that we have recently been part of a day long training program and discussion on the CRZ notification, 2011 organised by UjjasMahilaSangathan in Mundra. Representatives from Namati-Centre for Policy Research Environment Justice Program who have put together simple and pictorial material on the CRZ notification were also part of this discussion. We take this opportunity to share copies of the Gujarati and English material with you, which we have found useful. We hope that as District Collector you can consider directing similar programs along the Kutch coast where we, and our network members knowledgeable about this law can actively participate.

We look forward to your response, cooperation and working together for the protection of local livelihoods and sustainable development of the Kutch coast.

Sincerely,



Harun Sale Kara                                                        Gajendrasinh Jadeja
Bhadreshwar  Village                                                 Navinal Village

Haji Ayub Osman Majalia                                         Haresh Shamji Mahraj
Bhadreshwar  Village                                                 Bhujpar Village

Ibrahim Manjaliya                                                     Sanjay Bapat
Bhadreshwar                                                              Mundra Village

Usmangani                                                                  Vimal Kalavadiya
Setu                                                                             Namati
                                               
Bharat Patel                                                               Abhu Kasu Manjaliya
MASS, Kutch                                                              Bhadreshwar Village

Encl:Legal Awareness material related to CRZ Notification, 2013

CC: 1. Hardik Shah, Member Secretary, Gujarat CZMA
        2. V. Rajagopalan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests
        2. E. Thirunavukkarasu, Additional Director, Ministry of Environment and Forests




[1]Mundra Hit Rakshak Manch(Forum for Protection of Rights in Mundra) is an informal collective of villagers impacted by large scale land use change due to large scale industrial expansion in the Mundra region. These persons and organisations have been regularly raising concerns against the social and environmental impacts of these projects through memorandums and street action as well as through courts. The forum was organically formed in June 2012 during the discussions of the community-led ground truthing of violations by projects in Kutch.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Global NGOs unhappy over WB support to Tata's Mundra UMPP

Seek withdrawal of IFC funding from the Tata Power's 4,000 Mw power project in Gujarat
After Indian NGO, as many as 68 civil society groups from 28 countries have condemned the  Group’s continued support for 's 4000 Mw ultra mega power plant (UMPP) in Mundra, Kutch, despite the Ombudsman for International Finance Corporation () finding serious lapses by IFC in supervision of the coal-base power project, impacting environment and livelihood of local fishing community there.

The global groups in an open letter to World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim, Friday last, have further demand that IFC be held accountable for the lapses by taking appropriate actions to address the findings of the Ombudsman, starting with development of a remedial action plan and the withdrawal of IFC financing from the Tata Power's power project in Mundra.

The action by civil rights groups from across the world comes on the heels of a letter from over 100 civil society groups in India demanding that the World Bank Group’s IFC withdraw funding from the Tata Power's project in Gujarat.

In its audit report for the power project, released last month, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) for the IFC and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank Group, had also held that IFC's review of project's environment and social assessments was not commensurate with project risk as required under its Sustainability Policy.

IFC had refuted the charges levied by CAO and justified its actions and funding to the power project operational under banner of Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL), a fully owned company of Tata Power.

Commenting on open letter by global civil society groups spokesperson for Tata Group said, "CAO report reflects the observations on the internal processes of IFC & thus it will only be appropriate for IFC to respond. We are yet to read through the report & would discuss with IFC if there were any issues related to CGPL. As per initial information available with CGPL, MASS (the Association for Fish workers' Rights) has certain generic issues concerning the coastline of Gujarat.  is just about 1% of Kutch coastline & we are more than responsive in our association with the community around our project & we remain committed to working with the community at all times."

"Mundra plant is fully compliant on all environmental and social norms and the same has been endorsed by MOEF and other statutory bodies and is committed to being a 'neighbour of choice'," the spokesperson further added.

In the open letter sent to Kim the global civil society groups have asked, "As concerned World Bank stakeholders and contributing taxpayers to our respective government’s official aid through the Bank, we are disturbed by your clearance of IFC response to the CAO report on the Tata Mundra coal power project. In solidarity with the Indian fishing communities, we demand an explanation why you rejected the CAO findings on IFC’s policy violations in funding the Tata Mundra coal power plant."

"Unless the findings from the World Bank Group’s internal watchdogs, like the CAO and the Inspection Panel, are taken seriously and acted upon, their role is in name only. This decision undermines the mandate of CAO while allowing staff and management to avoid culpability. Civil society around the world demand you hold the IFC accountable by taking hard but appropriate actionsto address the CAO findings, starting with the development of a remedial action plan and the withdrawal of IFC financing from the Tata Mundra coal project," the groups demanded.

In its audit of Tata UMPP, the CAO had found "weaknesses in IFC’s environment and social (E&S) review of CGPL did not support the formation of a robust view as to whether the project could be expected to meet the requirements of the Performance Standards over a reasonable period of time, the threshold question in terms of IFC’s decision to invest."

"Weaknesses in IFC’s E&S review process also meant that required opportunities to consider alternative project designs to avoid or minimize E&S impact were missed," the CAO stated in its findings.

IFC has invested $450 million of its own capital in this project, which it has classified as a category A project, signifying that it believes there are potentially significant adverse social and environmental impacts that may be diverse or irreversible. IFC was also considering investing up to $50 million in equity as part of its exposure to the project and syndicating up to about $300 million in loans