Following their initial press release after World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s rejection of reported Tata Mundra violations, Indian group Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (MASS) sent a letter this morning reiterating their concerns. The case has received growing media and community attention since Dr. Kim rejected CAO’s findings, which held that the IFC broke its own social and environmental rules in funding the Tata Mundra coal power plant. The full letter follows letters sent on behalf of hundreds of organizations against the IFC’s overturning of the CAO findings, and is produced below.
Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan
Mundra, Kutch, Gujarat, India
Dear Dr. Kim,
We, the affected communities of Tata Mundra, and members of the Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (MASS – Association for the Struggle for Fishworkers’ Rights) are writing to you almost three weeks after the CAO published its report.
As complainants to CAO we invested a lot in the process – when the company and IFC were refusing to divulge information about the project and its impacts (knowing about it is our right and a prerequisite for any construction of the project), we dug them up and brought it to the notice of CAO. As fishing communities, our access to information which were only in English and not in our local language, were curtailed and we had to seek the help of many different organisations and individuals to understand them. We do not have researchers doing it for us, but we got all basic data to back up our concerns about the project. Most importantly, we put complete faith in the process. We trusted the independence of CAO and hoped that the findings of CAO will help addressing our concerns.
To our utter disappointment, there wasn’t even a whimper from IFC, or from you as the head of the institution, on the CAO findings, than rejecting it outrightly. In hindsight, Dr. Kim, would you have counselled us not to put faith in the CAO? That the CAO process is not more than a farce?
CAO confirmed all our concerns. CAO confirmed that the 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 was paid to the requirement of biodiversity conservation; IFC failed in its review and supervision of the impacts on airshed and marine environment and IFC failed to examine the cumulative impact of Tata Mundra.
We have heard about a lot of organisations from around the globe, including India, writing to you, expressing their angst and shock at your rejecting the findings of CAO and siding with the IFC, and the company. Dr. Kim, by deciding to stand by IFC and company, you have chosen to be with the violators, both of human rights as well as that of environment norms and policies. Rejecting the findings based on scientific research and thorough investigation, and opting to support narrow political interests of IFC has betrayed all that we have heard from you so far – right from your climate concerns to accountability and shared prosperity. How could you, Dr. Kim, with your background and exposure, burry your own head and buy the falsehood and propaganda of IFC and the company?
What we demand from you is clear: 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.
You and your advisors might have thought that we will take this lying down, and this may vanish from the public memory soon and our supporters will move on with their priorities and our concerns may get a silent burial. Our supporters may move on and media may have something else to talk about than CAO findings and your apathy. But, President Kim, we do not have an option than to keep fighting this project. This project is hitting us hard where it hurts the most – our livelihood and our health, especially that of the children and elderly. We would not stop our efforts of seeking justice and making you and your IFC accountable. Your apathy and your betrayal of our trust have only firmed up our resolve to intensify our fight.
General Secretary, MASS