A November field study by Indian NGO the Research Collective has found that an International Finance Corporation (IFC, the Bank’s private sector arm) supported coal-power plant run by GMR Kamalanga Energy Limited (GKEL), financed through a financial intermediary, has caused water pollution in the Odisha region. The study reported allegations by villagers that water for the project “is extensively drawn through bore-wells” despite commitments to source water exclusively from a local river, impacting “ground water aquifers in the area.” It also found that the project, instead of meeting its promise to compensate local people who have lost land with jobs, has led to increased unemployment, lost livelihoods and reduced grazing land whilst the status of women has been undermined by a lack of alternative income opportunities. GKEL is also under investigation by the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman, the IFC’s accountability mechanism, logged in 2011 (see Update 76). After the dispute resolution process failed, the case was transferred to the CAO’s compliance function in April.
World Bank & IMF in the news
EarthRights International examines how the Jam v. IFC case has helped to shift the landscape of accountability for international financial institutions by successfully challenging their claim to “absolute” immunity in US courts, potentially opening IFC up to further legal challenges in future.