On December 12, 2018, the Inspection Panel received a second Request for Inspection of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States (RWSSP) in India, and registered the Request on December 18, 2018. The Panel had registered a first Request for the same project on November 5, 2018 (Case No. 128). Since both Requests raise similar issues relating to the same project, the Panel is processing them jointly.
In the second Request, complainants expressed concern about the construction of an elevated storage reservoir (ESR) in their village as part of the Chhotagovindpur water supply scheme financed under the RWSSP. They claim the ESR is being built on their community land, which has historical and cultural significance to Santhali and Ho tribal members. They allege they will be impoverished by having to pay for water that is currently available for free, and express concern over the environmental impact of the water-supply scheme and insufficient environmental and social assessment. The Requesters also claim lack of consultation and information disclosure in local languages, and raise concerns about retaliation.
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, 2019, the Panel submitted 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।