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Panel Issues Notice of Registration of India Vishnugad Pipalkoti Project

The Inspection Panel on August 19, 2022, issued a Notice of Registration for a Request for Inspection of the Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project (P096124) – Third Request. The Request for Inspection was submitted on July 12, 2022, by 83 community members (the “Requesters”) who live in the project area in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India. The Requesters have asked the Panel to keep their identities confidential and authorized three representatives from India to represent them in the Inspection Panel process.

The Requesters allege that they are suffering or may suffer harm from the World Bank-financed Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project in India due to non-compliance with the Bank’s safeguard policies on Physical Cultural Resources, Involuntary Resettlement, Environmental Assessment, and Safety of Dams. They allege that their village and Laxmi Narayan Temple, a 1,000-year old temple in their village, which has significant cultural and historical importance, is at risk of severe physical damage due to the project activities, including the dumping of muck. They also state that their cultural identity is at risk of being lost. Furthermore, the Requesters allege the resettlement compensation is inadequate. They claim that resettlement activities have caused loss of livelihood and income. They allege that 16 households were forcibly evicted. They further allege that the water supply at one of resettled locations is limited to 2 hours/day. Additionally, the Requesters allege that the Project design has not accounted for extreme weather events and disasters in the Project area, which they claim may cause economic and physical harm. They raise concerns relating to the safety of the Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric dam. They state that alternative sites for the muck dumping were not adequately analyzed.

The Panel’s registration implies no judgment whatsoever concerning the merits of the Request. Bank management must provide the Panel with a response to the issues raised in the Request for Inspection by September 21, 2022. After receiving the response and engaging with the relevant stakeholders, the Panel will make a recommendation to the Board of Executive Directors on whether the matter should be investigated.  More