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Panel Registers Second Request for Inspection of India Water and Sanitation Project

India Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program

The Inspection Panel on December 18, 2018, issued a Notice of Registration for a second Request for Inspection of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States (RWSSP) in India.

The Panel had registered a first Request for Inspection of the RWSSP on November 5, 2018 (Case No. 128). Since both Requests concern similar issues relating to the same project, the Panel intends to process them jointly.
RWSSP is a US$1 billion project, US$500 million equivalent of which is financed by the International Development Association and the rest by the government of India. The project’s development objective is, in part, “to improve piped water supply and sanitation services for selected rural communities in the target states through decentralized delivery systems.”

The second Request for Inspection was received on December 12, 2018, from 130 Santhali and Ho tribal community members from a village in the state of Jharkhand, India. They asked for confidentiality. 

The Requesters are concerned about the construction of an elevated storage reservoir (ESR) in their village as part of a water supply scheme financed under the RWSSP. They claim the ESR is being built on their community land, which has historical and cultural significance to Santhali and Ho tribal members. They allege they will be impoverished by having to pay for water that is currently available for free, and express concern over the environmental impact of the water-supply scheme and insufficient environmental and social assessment. The Requesters also claim lack of consultation and information disclosure in local languages, and raise concerns about retaliation. 

The Panel’s registration implies no judgment concerning the merits of the Request. Bank management has 21 business days, until January 25, 2019, to provide the Panel with a response to the issues raised in the Request.