On September 21, 2018, the Inspection Panel received a Request for Inspection related to the India: Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States (RWSSP).
The Requesters supplemented their Request on October 9, 2018, explaining the alleged harm in further detail. They are concerned about the construction of a water treatment plant in their village as part of a scheme financed under the RWSSP. They claim 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 contend they may lose access to community resources and medicinal herbs. Additionally, they express concern over the environmental impacts of the proposed plant, the lack of analysis of alternatives and insufficient environmental and social assessment. They also claim lack of consultation and information disclosure 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 processing 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 Management 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 Policy on Cultural Physical Resources.
A Panel team visited India from December 13 to 19, 2018, and met in Delhi with representatives of the World Bank Country Office, as well as officials from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and the National Project Management Unit (PMU). The Panel team traveled to Ranchi, Jharkhand, and met with officials from the State PMU, the State Drinking Water and Sanitation Department and the State Department of Social Welfare. In Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, the team held meetings with officials from the District PMU, as well as officials from the District administration. The team also visited the project sites of both Requests and met with community members affected by the water schemes funded by the project.
On February 12, 2018, the Panel sent its Eligibility Report to the Board of Executive Directors, recommending an investigation of the project. In recommending an investigation, the Panel stated it was cognizant of the importance of the project as well as its complexity and innovative nature. It also recognized the acknowledgment by Bank management of several non-compliance issues as well as its intention to identify and implement measures to address project-related impacts. While it welcomed these actions and management’s intention to support consultations with the communities, the Panel stated it is not yet clear what specific remedial measures will be implemented to address the concerns of the communities. It was also not clear how management’s proposed actions will achieve compliance at this late stage of implementation of the two multi-village water schemes, the Panel stated.
The Board approved the Panel’s recommendation on March 1, 2019.
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।