Panel Finds Serious Singrauli Problems

15 January 1998

The Inspection Panel investigation into the Singrauli power project in India has found major problems with the Bank’s approach to the project. In April 1997 a group of villagers affected by the power station project filed a complaint with the Bank’s Panel which is empowered to investigate alleged violations of Bank policies and procedures.

When the Bank lent a further $400 million to the National Thermal Power Corporation in 1993 it promised that environmental and social matters would improve. The Panel has found however, that:

  • “violations [of policies] were even worse than initially thought and were primarily attributable to intense pressure from the bank’s own senior regional management to accelerate the loan approval process”. “Most of the displaced population does not appear to be receiving benefits from the project (for example, electricity) despite this being the express objective of the bank’s resettlement policy.”
  • “the bank did not properly consider alternatives to dispose of ash, which has contaminated crops and farms. ”

NGOs are demanding that the Panel be allowed to go to India to conduct a more detailed on-site investigation and to monitor implementation of the Bank’s Action Plan which it has formulated in response to the Panel claim. In India the National Human Rights Commission, and a new Monitoring Panel are examining the Projects.

Inspection Panel Report available from the Bank. Information about the Panel claim and Singrauli issues from Dana Clark, Center for International Environmental Law, 1367 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036, USA, Fax: 202.785.8701,