Ten of thousands of lives are at stake in Mundra, India. Tata Mundra coal plant, financed by the World Bank, is destroying these people's only source of livelihood -- fishing.
Their traditional route between the shore and the market has been blocked, fish catch has been deeply compromised, and coal dust is making their food toxic -- and it is also dramatically affecting their health.
Based on complaints from the fisher community, the World Bank's ombudsman department (CAO) did a scientific investigation of the project and confirmed what the people in Mundra already knew:
"CAO also finds that the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the private sector arm of World Bank Group) failed to ensure that its client’s (TATA Power) Environment & Safety assessments adequately considered the risks and impacts of the project on these fisher people. Inadequate consideration of the impact of the project on these in terms of the approach that was taken to consultation and disclosure (which was neither effective or timely)”.
That's right: the World Bank's own ombudsman concluded that the project were not in sync with its own sustainability policy, right from the time of planning and at every stage of its execution. It completely ignored the environmental and social risks of the community.
It has been more than 6 months since CAO came up with their report but despite these findings, neither the World Bank nor TATA Power had made any concrete efforts to undo the wrong done in past.
Let's not delay justice any longer to the fisherfolk in Mundra. The World Bank must now:
- Recognize IFC policy violations and the serious impacts of its financing after CAO audit reconfirmed community’s complaint;
- Develop remedial action plan that has clear timeline, specific targets and monitorable indicators that address restoration and reparation needs; and
- Withdraw IFC funding immediately from the TATA coal plant and do not consider funding for project expansion.
We urge Dr Kim and The World Bank to stop ignoring the facts. It's time for them to respond to the urgent demand raised by the people.
Background photo courtesy of Joe Athialy, Bank Information Center