In a significant move, which will have repercussions at multiple levels, yesterday the World Bank has decided to pull out of the $300 million lending to the Amaravati Capital City project in Andhra Pradesh.
Working Group on International Financial Institutions (WGonIFIs) and the affected communities of the Amaravati Capital City Project welcome the decision. The Bank arrived at this decision after a series of representations it received from many people’s movements and civil society organisations over the past years, and a complaint to its accountability mechanism, Inspection Panel, by the affected communities.
“We are happy that World Bank took cognisance of the gross violations involved in the Amaravati Capital City project, threatening the livelihood of people and fragile environment. After Narmada and Tata Mundra, this is the third major victory against the World Bank Group” said Medha Patkar, prominent acitivist of Narmada Bachao Andolan and National Alliance of People’s Movements
“We are happy that the Inspection Panel which was created due to the struggle of Narmada Bachao Andolan played its critical role here. While we celebrate this victory of people, who stood up to the intimidation and terror of the state, we warn the government and financial institutions not to push their agenda without the consent of the people” she added.
Ever since the Amaravati Capital City Project was conceptualised in 2014, environmental experts, civil society organisations and grassroots movements have expressed their anguish over the grave violations of the social and environmental laws, financial unavailability, massive land-grabbing of the fertile land in the garb of voluntary land-pooling, open threats to the complainants by none other than the then Chief Minister, along with concerns of losing fertile farmlands and livelihoods.
Another co-financier of the project Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), projected themselves as the Post-Paris Bank, signalling the commitment to tackle climate emergency, is in focus now. While the project is still listed under consideration in their official documents, having entered in this project only as a co-financier and AIIB used World Bank’s policies to adhere to in this project, as a co-financier, the status of the AIIB now is unclear, with World Bank pulling out.