On August 31, 2016, the Panel received a Request for Inspection about the Trade and Transport Studies RETF Project in Bangladesh, funded under the Partnership for South Asia Regional Integration Programmatic Trust Fund. The project funded several studies, including a feasibility study of route options to connect Thegamukh and Chittagong Port, to be followed by detailed designs of the selected option. The project also included environmental and social safeguards studies related to the studies to connect Thegamukh and Chittagong Port. The Request alleged the absence of meaningful engagement with indigenous peoples and raised concern over land issues, forests, the environment and cultural sites.
The Request also referred to impacts on traders and demographic changes.
The Panel conducted extensive due diligence and learned that the Bank did not accept the feasibility study because it was not satisfied with the standard of consultations and the quality of the draft study. Management assured the Panel that the Bank would not proceed with any activities to connect Thegamukh and Chittagong Port. Since the relevant project component did not cause a material adverse effect and there was no longer a potential for harm to materialize as a result of the Bank’s engagement given the Bank's decision not to move forward with any activities with regard to connecting Thegamukh and Chittagong Port, the Panel did not to register the Request.