On May 25, 2017, the Panel received a Request for Inspection sent by landowners from the area proposed for the construction of the Amaravati capital city in Andhra Pradesh. They allege harm from a land pooling scheme (LPS) used to assemble the land required for the city, as well as from other project activities. The Requesters claim harm related to their livelihoods, environment and food security, and allege a lack of consultation as a result of the Bank’s non-compliance with its environmental and social policies in preparation of the proposed project.
The Panel registered the Request on June 12, 2017, and received the Management Response to the Request on July 21, 2017.
A Panel team visited India from September 12-15, 2017, and met with the Requesters and other potentially affected community members, farmers who support the LPS and their representatives, representatives of the World Bank Country Office, officials from the Ministry of Finance and from the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority, the agency responsible for developing the city, as well as civil society representatives.
On September 27, 2017, the Panel submitted its Report and Recommendation to the World Bank Board of Executive Directors that recommended “carrying out an investigation into the alleged issues of harm and related potential non-compliance with Bank policies, especially relating to involuntary resettlement.” On November 27, 2017, Bank Management submitted to the Panel an addendum that offered clarifications, an update on project preparation and additional actions to “complement and clarify” the actions presented in its July 21, 2017, response in order to fully address the Requesters’ concerns. Management indicated the addendum was based on recent field missions and discussions with the Panel.
After reviewing the addendum, the Panel submitted an updated Report and Recommendation to the Board. In the update, the Panel stated it was satisfied that the addendum and actions proposed by Management “provide an opportunity for the Bank to address the Requesters’ concerns as identified in the Panel’s Report and Recommendation, and to introduce measures to ensure that the project’s preparation is in compliance with Bank policies and procedures.” Based on the addendum and the proposed actions, the Panel deferred its recommendation for up to six months as to whether an investigation was warranted. The Board on December 12, 2017, approved the Panel decision to defer its recommendation and to report back to the Board in the next six months.
The Panel met Bank Management in April and June 2018 to receive updates on the progress of project preparation and on the implementation of the proposed actions. During this same period, the Panel received regular communications from the Requesters who raised several concerns, including issues of accessibility and responsiveness of the Grievance Redress Mechanism and the establishment of the Citizen Advisory Committee.
The Panel understood from the Management updates that several actions to address the Requesters’ concerns, including the independent assessments of the land assembly instruments that would serve as inputs to the project’s safeguards instruments, were still underway and required more time to be completed. The Panel noted that these assessment studies were a key element of the actions proposed by Management. The Panel further noted that, according to Management, the authorization to appraise the project can only be requested once all required safeguards instruments have been cleared and disclosed. The Panel was of the view that there was a need to await further progress on the assessment studies and other actions in order to be able to assess the implementation of Management’s commitments to address the allegations of harm and Bank non-compliance raised in the Request for Inspection.
Considering the above, the Panel on June 26, 2018, proposed a second deferral of its recommendation for nine months or when Management authorized the appraisal of the proposed project, whichever arose earlier. On July 13, 2018, the Board approved the Panel’s recommendation.
Following the second deferral, the Panel maintained frequent communication with the Requesters and received additional documentation reiterating their earlier concerns. The Panel also met several times with Bank Management to better understand the implementation of its proposed actions and the overall development and progress of the project. The Panel additionally conducted an initial review of project documents and assessment studies.
On March 29, 2019, the Panel submitted to the Board its Third Report and Recommendation on the Request for Inspection of the project and recommended carrying out an investigation into the alleged issues of harm and related potential non-compliance with the livelihood restoration requirements of the Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy.
In making that recommendation, the Panel acknowledged the many positive steps taken by Management in the previous 18 months to address issues of concern. Among those steps, according to the Panel, was the clarification by Management that all resettlement and land acquisition mechanisms applied to land within the Bank-financed project are subject to the Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy. The inclusion of all 21,374 landless laborer households in the capital city areas as people affected by the Bank project also stood out as highly significant, the Panel stated. The Panel also recognized that the project, with a land pooling scheme at a scale not previously experienced anywhere in the world, may establish a model for future similar initiatives elsewhere.
However, based on its analysis of available documentation and information, the Panel stated it had remaining concerns about the Bank’s due diligence and project design in relation to livelihood restoration requirements of the Bank’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy. It also took into account the considerable risks of a rural-to-urban transition at a large scale and noted that the alleged serious harms could only be fully ascertained in the context of an investigation.
The Board was scheduled to meet to discuss the Panel’s recommendation to investigate on July 23, 2019. However, on July 15, 2019, Bank management informed the Board that the Bank had been formally notified by the Government of India that it had withdrawn its request for financing of the project. Following this information, on July 16, 2019, the Panel updated its recommendation in the Third Report and Recommendation not to investigate because the project was no longer under consideration by the Bank. On July 23, 2019, the Board approved the Panel’s updated recommendation.
Translations of Inspection Panel 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 Telugu is inconsistent with the original text in English, the latter shall govern.
ఇన్స్పెక్షన్ ప్యానెల్ పత్రాలను అనువాదాలు అనధికారికంగా మరియు ఆసక్తిగల పార్టీలకు సేవగా అందిస్తున్నాయి. ఖచ్చితత్వాన్ని నిర్ధారించడానికి ప్రతి ప్రయత్నం జరిగింది. ఆంగ్లంలో అనువాదం యొక్క ఏదైనా భాగాన్ని ఆంగ్లంలో అసలు వచనంతో అసంబద్ధం కాకపోతే, రెండోది పాలించబడుతుంది.