CAO Cases

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

South Asia

India / Tata Tea-02/Assam

Date Filed
February 02, 2013
Labor and working conditions
Case Status
Open - Compliance


IFC’s project with Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL) is to enable the setting up of a company which would acquire and manage the 24 tea plantations located in Assam and West Bengal currently owned by Tata Tea Limited (TTL) and implement a sustainable “worker-shareholder” model, in which the management and employees would have a significant shareholding.  The total project cost including capital expenditure and working capital is estimated at $87 million; the IFC investment comprises an equity investment of $7.8 million.


In February 2013, three local NGOs filed a complaint on behalf of tea workers working and living in the company’s tea plantation areas.  The complaint raises concerns about labor and working conditions at three different plantations, specifically citing long working hours, undue compensation, poor hygiene and health conditions, and a lack of freedom to association among plantation workers.  Furthermore, the complainants question the worker share-buying program, contending workers have been pressured into buying shares, often without proper information about the risks of such an investment.  The complainants have requested confidentiality.


CAO Action
CAO found the complaint eligible for assessment in February 2013 and an assessment of the issues raised in the complaint was initiated. Given that CAO was not able to find agreement among the stakeholders on a dispute resolution process, the case was transferred to CAO compliance in November 2013. On February 6, 2014 CAO completed a compliance appraisal in relation to this complaint. The compliance appraisal determined that CAO would conduct a compliance investigation of IFC’s E&S performance in relation to its investment in APPL, considering both the issues raised by the current complaint and those discussed in its January 2013 compliance appraisal (see link below).



CAO's appraisal report and terms of reference for a compliance investigation are available at the link below. CAO has another case open under its Compliance function related to IFC's involvement in APPL. Details of that case (India/Tata Tea/CAO Vice President Request) can be found through the link at the bottom of this page. The terms of reference posted under this cover both cases.

The Compliance Investigation is ongoing. 

Status as of August 12, 2014


Note: A CAO assessment does not entail a judgment on the merits of the complaint.  Rather, the aim is to listen to people's concerns, understand the different perspectives, and gauge whether it is possible to address the concerns in a collaborative process.

Project information

Project Name & Number
Tata Tea 25074
Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL)
South Asia
Environmental Category
$7.87m Equity

Case Tracker


  • Eligible: Completed
  • Assessment Period: Completed


  • Under Appraisal: Completed
  • Under Audit: In Process

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