On September 21, 2018, the World Bank’s Inspection Panel received a Request for Inspection from one hundred four Santhal tribal community from the village of Gidhi Jhopri, India, related to the India: Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States (RWSSP)(P132173), which the Requesters supplemented with further details on October 9, 2018. The Requesters stated they are concerned about the construction in their village of a water treatment plant financed under the RWSSP. They claimed the plant is being built on their community land, which has historical and cultural significance to the Santhal tribe due to the presence of an ancestral sacred grove, as well as burial and cremation grounds. They also alleged they will lose access to community resources and medicinal herbs as a result of the construction. Furthermore, they feared the environmental impacts of the proposed plant and complained about inadequate analysis of alternatives, and insufficient environmental and social assessments. They also alleged lack of consultation, the absence of Project information in local languages, and express concern about retaliation. The Panel registered the Request on November 5, 2018.
A second Request for Inspection of the project was registered on December 18, 2018. Since both Requests raise similar issues relating to the same project, the Panel is processed them jointly. Details on the second Request can be found on the page for Case No. 129.
The Panel received the Management Response to the first Request on December 11, 2018, and the Response to the second Request on January 28, 2019. In both Responses Management acknowledged shortcomings in compliance with Bank safeguard policy requirements, including weaknesses in project design and supervision, the conduct and documentation of consultations, disclosure of key scheme-specific documents, a non-objection to the initiation of works ahead of an approved Environmental Management Plan, and failure to apply the Bank’s Policy on Cultural Physical Resources.
The Panel determined eligibility after reviewing the Requests and Management Responses and visiting the Project area in December 2018. On February 12, 2019, the Panel recommended investigation to the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. The Board approved this recommendation on March 1, 2019, and the Panel published its Investigation Plan on April 18, 2019, and commenced its investigation. A Panel team visited India from June 29 to July 11, 2019, and met with the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, the National Project Management Unit, and with World Bank Country Office staff. The team also conferred with independent tribal experts. In Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand State, the team met with the Drinking Water Supply Department (DWSD) of Jharkhand, the Tribal Affairs Department, and the SPMU, as well as hydrology and land experts. The team met with the Requesters and community members in Gidhi Jhopri and Purani Basti in Jharkhand, India.
The Panel’s investigation focused on harm arising from noncompliance with Bank policies, particularly Environmental Assessment (OP/BP 4.01), Indigenous Peoples (OP/BP 4.10), Physical Cultural Resources (OP/BP 4.11), and Investment Project Financing. The Panel submitted its Investigation Report to the Board on January 15, 2020.
In response to the Panel’s finding, Bank Management prepared and submitted an action plan to the Board on December 21, 2022. The Board discussed the Panel’s Investigation Report and approved Management’s action plan on March 2, 2022. Bank Management will submit annual Progress Reports on the implementation of its action plan, which will be published here.
Note: Translations of Inspection Panel and Management documents are unofficial and are provided as a service to interested parties. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy. If any part of the translation in Hindi is inconsistent with the original text in English, the latter shall govern.
निरीक्षण पैनल और प्रबंधन दस्तावेजों के अनुवाद अनौपचारिक हैं और इच्छुक पार्टियों को सेवा के रूप में प्रदान किए जाते हैं। सटीकता सुनिश्चित करने के लिए हर संभव प्रयास किया गया है। यदि हिंदी अनुवाद का कोई भी हिस्सा अंग्रेजी मूल पाठ के साथ असंगत है, तो अंग्रेजी प्रबल होगी।