World Bank arm CAO assessing complaint against Vizhinjam port
New Delhi: The World Bank Group's independent arm CAO is assessing complaint that the proposed multi-purpose sea port at Vizhinjam in Kerala could adversely impact environment as well as many livelihoods.
The International Finance Corp (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, has been hired as the transaction advisor to assist Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd (VISL) in structuring and implementing the project. 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.
According to the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO), it has started an "assessment" of the issues raised in the complaint.
"The complainants raise concerns about detrimental impact of the port project on tourism and 11 fishing communities situated along the coast of the area. The impacts cited in the complaint include, but are not limited to, water scarcity, loss of livelihood, loss of land and inadequate compensation," as per CAO website.
Further, they have questioned IFC's due diligence work related to the project and contended that it "failed to undertake a thorough review of documentation on the project's environmental, social and economic impact assessments".
The complaint was filed in August by local fishing communities, tourism workers/businesses and other local residents. 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.