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Amaravati; WB panel to decide next month if probe required

According to a World Bank official, the Centre and Andhra Pradesh government have requested the Bank to finance select infrastructure works in Amaravati, the proposed new capital city of the state.

Updated: 20-06-2018 18:43 IST

An inspection panel of the World Bank, whose help was sought by Andhra Pradesh for select infrastructure to construct the capital,Amaravati,would make a recommendation by July whether a probe is warranted on charges of possible threat to livelihood and environment,among others.

According to a World Bank official, the Centre and Andhra Pradesh government have requested the Bank to finance select infrastructure works in Amaravati, the proposed new capital city of the state.

The World Bank is preparing a loan of USD 300 million for the project, to be co-financed by a USD 200 million loan from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Some residents in the vicinity of the proposed city had written to the panel on May 25 2017, alleging harm related to their livelihood, environment, food security, and resettlement "due to the World Bank's non-compliance with its environmental and social standards in preparation of the proposed project."

A World Bank spokesperson told PTI in an email reply that the panel was considering the request, but has deferred its recommendation to the Board of Executive Directors on whether an investigation was warranted.

This was done after the WB management proposed additional actions designed to review and address concerns raised in the request, he said, adding that the Panel was expected to return to the Board with a new recommendation by July 2018.

The proposed Amaravati Sustainable Capital City Development Project (ASCCDP) is expected to fund a 145-km priority road-grid and key flood mitigation works in the area.

The ASCCDP will support wider and equitable sharing of benefits from the development of the new city with a range of stakeholders, especially vulnerable groups and women.

It will also upgrade infrastructure in some of the 24 villages of the region to help integrate them into the capital area.

The proposed project will also finance a program of support aimed at helping set up robust urban governance institutions for the new capital city. The official said any two or more project affected people who believe they have been or may be harmed because the Bank had not complied with operational policies and procedures in preparation or implementation of a World Bank-financed project can request the panel to review their concern.

He said the Panel's mandate is to examine the Bank's compliance with its own policies, and not the activities of the borrowing government. There was no time limit for an investigation which can take several months.Project activities are however not halted by an investigation," he said.

The panel had visited Amaravati in September to look into complaints it received from some 'farmers', who also alleged they were forced to part with land and also claimed harm from a land pooling scheme being used to assemble land required for the city, as well as from other project activities.

On September 27, 2017, the Panel submitted its Report and Recommendation to the World Bank Board of Executive Directors that recommended carrying out a probe into alleged issues of harm and related potential non-compliance withBank policies, especially on involuntary resettlement.

But in December 2017, the Panel deferred its decision on whether a probe was warranted by six months after the bank management submitted an addendum with 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.

The Andhra Pradesh government has so far pooled over 33,000 acres from farmers for construction of the new capital under different categories of agreements.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)