The Inspection Panel on April 20, 2022, issued a Notice of Non-Registration for a Request for Inspection of the Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project in India.
The Request was submitted on March 1, 2022, by 34 community members living in Chamoli District, Uttarakhand. The Requesters authorized three individuals to represent them and asked the Panel to keep their identities confidential. On April 17, 2022, the Panel received additional signatures supporting the Request, bringing the total number of Requesters to 115. The Requesters raise concerns about resettlement and rehabilitation of livelihoods, the loss of a sense of community, destruction of physical cultural heritage, loss of traditional cultural knowledge and religious identity, adverse impact on the ancient Lakshmi Narayan Temple from muck dumping, relevant environmental clearances, and intimidation and reprisals.
The Panel had received an earlier Request for Inspection of the project in July 2012. The Panel had then conducted an investigation of the project and submitted its Investigation Report to the Board of Executive Directors on July 1, 2014. On September 30, 2014, the Board approved the action plan included in the Management Report and Recommendation submitted in response to the Panel’s Investigation Report.
In accordance with its Operating Procedures, after receiving the current Request, the Panel issued a Notice of Receipt on its website on March 15, 2022. The Panel then reviewed the information contained in the Request as well as in the Panel’s 2014 Investigation Report and other documents related to the previous Request. The Panel spoke to the Requesters on March 30, 2022, to better understand their concerns, and to Bank management on April 7, 2022. On April 12, 2022, in response to the Panel’s queries, management provided additional written information.
After completing its due diligence, the Panel noted that the concerns raised in the current Request relate to issues already investigated in 2014 when the Panel received the previous Request. Therefore, they cannot be considered as new evidence not known at the time of the prior Request, as required under the Inspection Panel Resolution. On that basis, the Panel did not register the current Request.