CAO Cases

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

South Asia

India / Vizhinjam-03/Mulloor

Complainant
Local Residents of Mulloor Village
Date Filed
April 12, 2013
Concerns
Access to water and impact on farmlands
Case Status
Open - Compliance
 

Synopsis

Complaint

 

Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL), a special purpose government company fully owned by the State Government of Kerala (GoK), is developing a multi-purpose seaport at Vizhinjam, 16 kilometers south of the state capital, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). IFC has been hired as the Transaction Advisor to assist VISL in structuring and implementing the project and in seeking private sector partner(s) to implement the plan in collaboration with the State Government Ports Department. IFC is managing roughly $1.6 million in trust funds for the project.

 

In April 2013, a complaint was lodged with CAO by local residents of Mulloor Village, one of the eleven villages along the coast of the Vizhinjam Port location. The complainants raise concerns about the newly-built port construction access road that runs through Mulloor village to the Vizhinjam port area, as they believe it to be impeding aquifer recharge in the area. Furthermore, they contend that dumped construction waste on their land has aggravated the water retention issues and impacted their farmlands.

 

 

CAO Action

CAO found the complaint eligible for further assessment in April 2013. In initial conversations between CAO and the complainants, the complainants expressed a willingness to engage in a collaborative process convened by CAO to address their concerns. VISL declined an initial interview with the CAO assessment team, and subsequently told CAO it did not wish to meet with the CAO team or to engage in a facilitated dialogue. The complaint therefore proceeded to CAO Compliance for appraisal.

 

In June 2015, CAO completed a compliance appraisal with regard to the Vizhinjam 01, 02 and 03 complaints. On the basis of this compliance appraisal, CAO opened a compliance investigation into IFC's Advisory Services project with Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd. The CAO investigation assesses whether IFC prepared and implemented the project in accordance with its policies and procedures.

 

CAO completed its joint compliance investigation for the Vizhinjam 01, 02 and 03 complaints in January 2018. The compliance investigation report makes two broad non-compliance findings in relation to IFC’s involvement in the project:


1. IFC took on the role of lead transaction advisor in relation to the Kerala Port project without a reasonable assurance of the client’s commitment to develop the project in accordance with the Performance Standards; and


2. The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) as delivered by IFC was not fully consistent with the Performance Standards, particularly in relation to land acquisition and project impacts on livelihoods.

 

CAO’s compliance investigation report further makes a number of specific findings regarding IFC Advisory Services.

 

CAO finds that IFC staff were aware that the client intended to proceed with land acquisition in a way that was inconsistent with the requirements of Performance Standard (PS) 5 on land resettlement, yet IFC did not advise the client to suspend its ongoing land acquisition activities until the ESIA and other required plans had been completed.

 

CAO finds that IFC agreed to a narrowing of its environmental and social (E&S) mandate over the period of the project, such that IFC finally oversaw only one component of the project ESIA—an assessment of marine-side port facilities that excluded land-based infrastructure such as road, rail and back-up facilities. This change of scope meant that IFC did not have assurance that impacts on land or cumulative impacts arising from the project were being addressed in accordance with IFC’s E&S requirements.

 

CAO finds that the marine-side ESIA delivered by IFC to its client lacked certain essential components of an ESIA for a major infrastructure project at the relevant stage of development. In particular, CAO finds that the IFC ESIA lacked adequate socio-economic baseline information on tourism based livelihoods, an assessment of project impacts on tourism based livelihoods and livelihood restoration plans for project impacts on tourism and fisheries as required by PS1 (risk management) and PS5 (land resettlement). CAO also finds that the IFC ESIA did not go through a process of consultation and participation, or disclosure as required by PS1.

 

CAO sees instances of non-compliance in this case arising primarily from: (a) a lack of structured assessment of the client’s commitment to the Performance Standards as a framework for the development of the port; and (b) an underestimation by IFC of the complexity of producing an ESIA for the project compliant with the Performance Standards.

 

All documents relating to this case are available under "View Documents" below.

 

 

Status

 

In accordance with CAO's Operational Guidelines, this case will remain open as CAO monitors IFC's response to the findings.

 

 

Status as of March 06, 2018

Project information

Institution
IFC
Project Name & Number
Kerala Port, Vizhinjam 28991
Company
Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL)
Sector
Port and Harbor Operations
Region
South Asia
Country
India
Environmental Category
N/A
Commitment
N/A

Case Tracker

Ombudsman

  • Eligible: Completed
  • Assessment Period: Transferred

Compliance

  • Under Appraisal: Completed
  • Under Audit: Completed
  • Monitoring: In Process

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