In January, an indigenous community in north east India affected by an International Finance Corporation (IFC the World Bank’s private sector arm) funded cement factory filed a complaint with the Compliance Advisor Obudsman (CAO), the IFC’s accountability mechanism. The Lafarge Surma Cement (LSC) Project, run by French multinational Lafarge received a loan of $45 million from the IFC in 2003.
The project is based in northern Bangladesh but sources its raw materials from Meghalaya state in India. Land owners from the Khasi indigenous group, based in Meghalaya, complained that Lafarge have illegally infringed upon their land without consent, whilst also causing environmental destruction (see Update 70). They wrote in the complaint that they “have been denied justice” and invited the “CAO to investigate and take actions most appropriate and suitable for the worst affected of all by this project.” The CAO found the complaint eligible for assessment, and has initiated the investigation process.