WB panel seeks 6 months to decide if probe is required in AP

A World Bank inspection panel, which had recommended a probe into the charges of forcible land pooling and others, against the Andhra Pradesh government for the construction of capital in Amaravati, has now sought six months time to decide if a probe is required or not.

The AP government is expecting USD 300 million loan from the World Bank for Amaravati Sustainable Capital City Development Project.

In September this year, the panel had visited Amaravati to look into the complaints it received from some farmers, who alleged that they were forced to part their land, and also claimed harm from a land pooling scheme (LPS) being implemented to assemble the land required for the city, as well as from other project activities.

The "requesters" (farmers and other stake holders) claim harm related to their livelihoods, environment and food security.

On September 27, 2017, the panel submitted its report and recommendation to the World Bank Board of Executive Directors. It recommended "an investigation into the alleged issues of harm and related potential non-compliance with bank policies, especially relating to involuntary resettlement".

On November 27 this year, the bank management submitted to the panel an addendum offering 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 management indicated the addendum was based on the recent field missions and discussions with the panel.

"Based on the addendum and the proposed actions, the panel deferred its recommendation for up to six months as to whether an investigation is warranted. The board on December 12, approved the panel decision to defer its recommendation and to report back to the board in the next six months," the World Bank said yesterday in its project update.

Officials of Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA), the implementing agency of the capital, were not immediately available for comments.

The total financing for the project is USD 715 million, of which the World Bank lending is proposed to be USD 300 million through an IBRD (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development )investment project financing loan.

The AP government is providing USD 215 million for the project, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is considering co-financing the project by providing USD 200 million.

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

The Bank's financing is planned to be used within the 217 sq km area designated for the development of Amaravati Capital City in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh. The Bank will help finance infrastructure spread across 26 revenue villages.

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

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