ADB Action Plan on Tata Mundra rejected: Communities Demand Robust Remedial Plan

Press Statement: 13.7.2015

ADB Action Plan on Tata Mundra rejected: Communities Demand Robust Remedial Plan

Kutch, Gujarat: Communities affected by the Tata Mundra (Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd) coal power plant in Kutch rejected the action plan developed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), calling it “non-serious, lacks genuineness, commitment or imagination.”

ADB developed the remedial action plan in response to its accountability mechanism, Compliance Review Panel (CRP) finding serious violations of ADB’s policies while approving the loan to Tata Mundra.

In its Report, published in April 2015, CRP found several areas of noncompliance with ADB operational policies and procedures. Some of them were:

  • failure to conduct adequate and comprehensive consultations with fisherfolk during initial project design phase and consider their views in assessing project impacts.
  • noncompliance with ADB operational policies and procedures for thermal and chemical pollution of wastewater discharged through its outfall channel leading to harm people fishing on foot.
  • noncompliance with air pollution standards, and unless continued violations of prescribed air standards were not checked or brought into compliance, further harm would result.
  • noncompliance with ADB operational procedures and resulting harm by not surveying and compensating people impacted by longer access routes to their traditional fishing grounds as plant premises now stood enclosed.

In a written response, Machimar Adhikaar Sangharsh Sangathan (MASS – Association for the Struggle for Fishworkers’ Rights), the local community organisation of fishworkers, and farmers who complained to CRP, questioned the process of developing the action plan. The ADB team which visited the project site for preparing the action plan never met or consulted the people. They termed the consultation process proposed in the action plan a “hogwash”.

Responding to the proposal that National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) would undertake studies to assess the impacts of thermal discharge, citing the observations of CRP on erroneous Rapid Marine Environment Impact Assessment which NIO did in 2007 and 2009, MASS said “To depend on NIO’s findings again to develop a mitigation plan would be a non-starter.” MASS further said that NIO   “…lacks credibility, acceptance and whose initial reports have misled ADB is wrongly assessing the impacts.”

Reacting strongly against Livelihood Improvement Plan in the action plan, restricted only for people who had practiced foot fishing General Secretary of MASS Dr. Bharat Patel asked “Why is ADB trying to discriminate the affected population, when CRP in its report has been eloquent on the loss of livelihood for the fisherfolk?

MASS expressed serious concern on the $1.2 mn (INR 7 crore) budget it has allocated for the Action Plan. They said 57% of the budget is set aside for studies and even when there is no plans for the Livelihood Improvement Plan, nor an idea about the number of people who require alternative livelihood, the action plan predetermined $3,00,000 for it. MASS said that by doing that “the management is making its insensitive attitude amply clear.”

Expressing extreme anguish at this action plan, Gajendrasinh Bhimaji, Sarpanch of Navinal Panchayat and one of the complainants said, “We were hopeful when CRP confirmed the concerns that we raised and expected the ADB to develop an action plan based on the findings of CRP. We are utterly disappointed. With the project fully commissioned, impacts on fisheries and horticulture becoming serious, we are staring at an unsure future.”

MASS in its statement said, “From a position of self-sufficient communities we are made to seek charity from the company and ADB now. Our dignity is ripped off. Whatever is prepared in the name of an Action Plan is insult to injury. We do not have any option but to reject this Action Plan. Unless we see an action plan which addresses the fundamental findings of CRP, where we are a part of the planning, implementation and monitoring, we will continue our struggle for justice.”

They urged the ADB to “to engage in a process, in consultation with the affected people, to develop an action plan based on the findings of CRP and with a genuine intend to mitigate the impacts resulted from their investment in Tata Mundra project.”

Contact: Bharat Patel – +91-9426469803

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