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World Bank accepts Inspection Panel Recommendation on Jamuna Bridge Project


​CONTACT: Eduardo Abbott

Telephone: (202) 458-5006

Independent Panel says investigation unwarranted

WASHINGTON, April 8, 1997 The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors on April 3 accepted the Inspection Panel's recommendation that an investigation into the Bangladesh Jamuna Bridge Project was not warranted at this time.

A local NGO, the Jamuna Char Integrated Development Project, requested an investigation of the harmful effects of the project on the livelihood and islands where its members, char dwellers, live.

In reviewing the claims of the char dwellers, the Inspection Panel found that the 1993 Revised Resettlement Action Plan did not specifically identify and incorporate char people in the Jamuna River. The Panel believes the 1996 Erosion and Flood Policy-finally issued on September 7, 1996 after the request was filed-could constitute an adequate and enforceable basis for IDA to meet the char dwellers' concerns and to comply with its policies and procedures. Full and informed participation of the char dwellers would be needed to ensure its success.

In view of this the Panel concluded that an investigation of the matters alleged in the Request is not warranted at this time. The Board-after a full discussion of the Panel's recommendation and Management's updated report presented at the meeting-decided to accept the Panel's recommendation. Management was asked to submit a progress report in April 1998 on execution of the measures to compensate the char dwellers and the Panel will be invited to give its comments.

Under IDA policies adopted in the late 1980s, a project must include measures to mitigate adverse effects on people involuntarily displaced or whose livelihood and environment is affected. Such measures were included in the Jamuna Bridge Project's Revised Resettlement Action Plan adopted in October 1993 which included detailed measures for then already identified affected persons and a general provision for people who may be affected but were not yet identified, including those who could be identified only after the area where the bridge was to be located was finally determined in 1995.

To mitigate adverse environmental effects, an Environmental Action Plan was prepared in January 1995. Both plans were later supplemented by an Erosion and Flood Policy adopted by the Government in September 1996.

About the Jamuna Bridge project

The Jamuna Bridge Project is the largest infrastructure project in Bangladesh. Construction of the bridge over the Jamuna River will provide the first key link between the eastern and western parts of the country. Cross-river transport of passengers, freight, and transmission of power will facilitate economic growth. A US$200 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank's concessionary lending affiliate, to the Government of Bangladesh for the project was approved in 1994. The Asian Development Bank and Japan's OECF are also providing US$200 million each for the project.

The project is highly complex, and exemplifies efforts to overcome administrative, financial, engineering, technical, humanitarian, and ecological problems through cooperation between the Government of Bangladesh and experienced international cofinanciers and technical experts. The project is further complicated by erosion and flooding caused by shifting movements of the Jamuna River; and some 75 mid-channel islands known as chars with more than 70,000 inhabitants in the possible technical area of project impact.

About the Inspection Panel

The independent Inspection Panel was established by the Executive Directors in September 1993 to help ensure that Bank operations adhere to the

institution's policies and procedures. Its establishment now enables any group of individuals-who consider they may or might be harmed by

Bank-supported projects-to ask the Panel to investigate their complaints that the Bank has failed to abide by its policies and procedures.

Detailed guidance for filing requests is provided in the Panel's Operating Procedures. These are available from the Panel's office in Washington, DC, the

Bank's Bookstore, and the Public Information Center in Washington, DC, the Bank's offices in London, Paris, and Tokyo, field offices, and on Internet (

Copies of the Inspection Panel Report are available from the World Bank's Public Information Centers.

In Washington contact:

World Bank Public Information Center

1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20433; tel.: (202) 458-5454; fax: (202) 522-1500

In Dhaka contact:

World Bank Public Information Center

G.P.O. 97, Dhaka 1000, Banglades; tel: (880-2) 861056-68; fax: (880-2) 863220