World Bank arm assesses new complaint against Vizhinjam port
New Delhi: The World Bank Group's independent arm CAO is assessing a new complaint that alleges the proposed multi-purpose sea port at Vizhinjam in Kerala would adversely impact farm lands.
The International Finance Corp, part of the World Bank Group, has been hired as the transaction advisor to assist Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL). IFC is also managing about USD 1.6 million in trust funds for the project.
VISL, a special purpose company fully owned by the Kerala government, is developing the sea port near Trivandrum. IFC's role is to help in structuring and implementing the project.
According to the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), it has accepted a new complaint from local communities regarding the Vizhinjam port development in Kerala.
"This is the third complaint being handled by CAO with regard to this IFC Advisory Services project. CAO has commenced an assessment of the issues with the relevant parties," the ombudsman said on its website.
The latest complaint was filed 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 farm lands," CAO said.
The complaint was filed by the Kerala Swathantra Malsya Thozhilali Federation (Kerala Independent Fish Workers Federation).
In August last year, another complaint had raised concerns about detrimental impact of the project on tourism and 11 fishing communities situated along coast of the area.
Local fishing communities, tourism workers/businesses and other local residents had filed that complaint last year. They were supported by the Kerala branch of Exnora International, the Kerala Hotels and Restaurants Association, and the People's Resistance Committee in Vizhinjam.
The three-phased Vizhinjam International Seaport project is estimated to cost Rs 7,800 crore.
CAO reviews complaints from communities in which World Bank's two private sector lending arms, IFC and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) are involved.