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Petition for action against Mundra Port and SEZ
Petition for action against OPG Power Project
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Friday, November 22, 2013
(Forum for Protection of Rights in Mundra)
Mundra Taluka, Kutch District, Gujarat
21st November 2013
Shri Harshad Patel
District Collector, Kutch District
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.
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.
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
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
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
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Top US, European groups oppose World Bank support to Tatas' power project at Mundra, call it "deadly"
|Fishing activity next to Tatas' power plant|
By Our Representative
As many as 68 groups from 28 countries across six continents have sent a letter to World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim condemning the World Bank Group’s continued support for “a deadly coal project in Gujarat, India”. A statement from Washington by Dan Byrnes of the Sierra Club, which has chapters throughout the United States and Canada that offer opportunities for local involvement, activism and outings, says, “This action comes on the heels of a letter from over 100 groups in India demanding that the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation withdraw funding from the project, Tata Power’s 4,000-MW Mundra coal-fired ultra mega power plant (UMPP).
The “open letter” to Dr Kim from civil society groups opposing World Bank, while disagreeing with the rejection of Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) findings on the Tata Coal Plant, says, “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 International Finance Corporation (IFC) response to the CAO report on the Tata Mundra coal power project.” Significantly, most of the NGOs which signed the letter are from the US and European countries.
The letter says, “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. What actions will you take to mitigate the adverse impacts and end your financing of the deadly coal project? Following a complaint from Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (MASS, Association for the Struggle for Fishworkers’ Rights), an organization of fishing families impacted by the IFC financed 4,000 megawatt Tata Mundra UMPP in Kutch, Gujarat, the CAO issued a report showing that the IFC committed serious violations of its mandatory safeguards.”
The letter points out, “The CAO found that ‘IFC weaknesses in reviewing the client’s risk assessment and mitigation did not support the formation of a robust view that the project met the IFC’s policy requirements, that IFC did not consider alternative project design to avoid or minimize impacts, and that IFC has not treated complainants’ concerns as compliance issues.’ However, the IFC rejected the expert findings and issued no remedial action, choosing instead to defend the project decision and client.”
The letter further says, “Even more troubling, despite your work in public health and calls for urgent action to address climate change, your office cleared the response after a month of silence. Your decision means thousands of fishing and fishworker families will continue suffering from air pollution, contaminated water, and destroyed marine resources that CAO found to be directly linked with the construction and operation of the Tata coal plant.”
It adds, “This decision contradicts your decades of public health advocacy and speeches on moving the Bank away from funding fossil fuels. Mr President, you must show that you are serious about your statements at previous WB/IMF annual meetings on climate, accountability and learning from past mistakes. The CAO found massive shortfalls at the IFC, showing that the mechanisms to uncover such issues are working.”
The letter insists, “However, while the Tata Mundra project provided an opportunity to prove your commitment to learning from these failures, your clearance of the IFC response continues the lack of public accountability within the IFC. 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 actions to 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.
Among the organizations which have signed the letter include several important NGOs in US such as Sierra Club, Accountability Counsel, Bank Information Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Earth Day Network, Feminist Task Force, Friends of the Earth US, Inclusive Development International, Institute for Policy Studies, Climate Policy Program, Oil Change International, Pacific Environment and World Team Now. Prominent multinational NGOs which signed the letter are Greenpeace International , Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Kyoto2, and NGO Forum on ADB, Asia-Pacific.
From Britain, the NGOs which signed the letter are Bretton Woods Project, Climate and Health Council, Forest Peoples Programme, Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks), the Corner House, and World Development Movement. Then, there were Jubilee and Market Forces from Australia, Carbon Market Watch and Centre national de coopération au développement from Belgium, Les Amis de la Terre from France; Urgewald from Germany, Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES) from Japan, BankTrack from the Netherlands, Quercus – Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza from Portugal, Earthlife Africa Jhb from South Africa, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union from Taiwan and Re:Common from Italy.
NGOs from several other countries also signed the letter in large numbers. The countries represented include Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tanzania, Kosovo, Ghana, Nepal, Colombia, Indonesia, Tanzania, Mongolia, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam, among others.
Press Statement |October 24, 2013
World Bank President Dr. Kim shies away from taking action despite investigations find social & environmental violations at Tata Mundra
The recourse mechanism of International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) in its report released yesterday found serious social and environmental policy non-compliance by IFC and Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL), the promoters of Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project in Kutch, Gujarat. Despite the significant findings, the World Bank Group President, Dr. Jim Kim shied from taking any actions to check or minimise the negative impacts on the people and environment.
Stopping short of calling for IFC’s withdrawal from financing Tata Mundra project, the CAO said in its report, “…IFC’s Environment & Social 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.”
MachimarAdhikarSangharshSangathan (MASS) welcomes the report and its findings. MASS is the local organisation of fishworkers affected by power projects including Tata Mundra, Adani, OPG power projects, Mundra port and Special Economic Zone.
“The findings reiterate and reconfirmthe concerns raised by the communities since long,” Bharat Patel, General Secretary of MASS said. “The findings, based on scientific studies, are indeed a shot in the arm for the people struggling to protect the livelihoods of thousands of fisherfolk in Kutch coast.”
MASS had lodged the complaint with CAO in June 2011.
· 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 bundershave been displaced by the project (both physically and economically).
· IFC failed to ensure that its client’s (Tata) E&S assessments adequately considered the risks and impacts of the project on these fisher people.
· IFC paid inadequate attention to the requirementof 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 notbeen 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 (of IFC).
· 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.
IFC’s response& conflict of interest
IFC put its credibility at risk, by rebutting all the findings of CAO and going out of the way to defend its client, CGPL and its parent company, Tata. IFC’s response to the CAO findings smacks of arrogance, refusal to learn lessons and disregard to people and their rights.
The fact that the company has commissioned Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) to undertake biodiversity mapping of the zone to be impacted by the thermal plume, that BNHS corroborated the findings of Marine Environment Impact Assessment (which was questioned by CAO) and engaged BNHS to carry out turtle monitoring program is used in IFC’s management response to discredit the CAO findings and to support the company. However, BNHS is a partner of Tata Power, the parent company of CGPL, according to their annual report 2009-2010. The current president of BNHSMr.HomiKhusrokhan is a former Managing Director of Tata companies. Despite having such an umbilical cord between the two, how can BNHS findings be independent and impartial is anybody’s guess. IFC hoodwinks the public on the conflict of interest.
President Kim shies away from walking the talk
Despite alarming findings by CAO, President Kim did not acknowledge even one of the findings and supported blindly the IFC management response, making himself and IFC complicit to the violations at Tata Mundra.
By clearing IFC response, the message President Kim is sending is that he supports his staff’s denial of science, of expert findings and endorses management’s avoidance of accountability. People in and out of the institution will see this move a form of hypocrisy. He endorses management’s response that the coal plant does not cause public health concerns (when it’s been high in the President’s past and present advocacy). It then contradicts the President’s energy directions paper and pronouncements on moving the institution from coal financing. His tall talk on climate change is proving to be a charade.
Undermining the mandate of CAO
After considering the CAO findings and IFC management response for 5 weeks, by not recognising even one finding of CAO, Dr. Kim sends a strong and damaging signal that Bank’s internal watchdogs like CAO and Inspection Panel are more for namesake and that despite their findings its business as usual for the Bank.
“We wonder why an institution like CAO exists if their findings are not given any value and no action is taken upon it,” said SoumyaDutta, coordinator of the Independent Fact Finding Team whose report Real Cost of Powerdocumented the violations of the company in June 2012. “If President Kim is serious about the accountability that he talks about, and about learning from the Bank’s mistakes to prevent them from occurring again, he should not hesitate to take bold decisions based on the findings.”
Communities demand the World Bank President stop pretending that he can take people for a ride and take bold actions based on the CAO findings. “Now that World Bank’s own investigations found such serious lapses, it is time for the Bank to sit up and take appropriate and immediate actions. We will not agree on anything short of IFC withdrawing financing from the project,” Bharat Patel said.
CAO Audit Report:http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/cases/document-links/documents/TermsofReference_CGPLAudit_October242012.pdf
IFC Response to CAO Audit report: http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/cases/document-links/documents/IFCresponsetoCAOAudit-CoastalGujaratPowerLimited.pdf
Thursday, November 7, 2013
BT Online Bureau New Delhi Last Updated: April 19, 2013 | 10:49 IST
Adani SEZ project violated green norms, says environment panel
An environment ministry panel has held that a port and special economic zone (SEZ) project of Adani group in Mundra, Gujarat, violated green clearance conditions and recommended creation of a fund of a minimum of Rs 200 crore from the project cost for ecological restoration.http://businesstoday.intoday.in/story/adani-sez-project-violated-green-norms-environment-panel/1/194236.html
Due to non-compliance of environmental clearance rules by the company, there has been widespread destruction of mangroves and deterioration and loss of creeks near the proposed North Port, said the report, which was presented to Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Thursday."There is incontrovertible evidence that Adani project has violated environmental norms," said the five-member committee headed by environmentalist Sunita Narain in its report."Seventy-five hectares of mangroves have been lost in Bocha Island, which was declared as a conservation zone. The company has not taken precautions to guard against blocking of creeks because of construction activities; satellite imagery shows signs of deterioration and loss of creeks near the proposed North Port," it said.The Adani waterfront and power plant project has been in the eye of the storm for its alleged adverse ecological impact. Based on the complaints received, the environment ministry had set up the committee to examine the allegations.Based on the findings, the committee has asked the government to create an environment restoration fund, which should be 1 per cent of the project cost (including the cost of the thermal power plant) or Rs 200 crore, whichever is higher."The fund should be used for remediation of environmental damage in Mundra and for strengthening the regulatory and monitoring systems," it said.The panel did not put the project on hold as it observed that it has moved very far but advised the ministry to cancel environmental clearance of the North Port. Natarajan assured the committee that the ecommendations would be looked into by the government.Reacting to the development, the Gujarat-based firm said since the north port has not been developed at all, it would not impact the current operations of the company.