THE World Bank's (WB) "project completion report" for the controversial Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river has cast a shadow over the project's future. India's unimpressive track record in operations and maintenance, says the report, is responsible for the uncertainty.
India has borrowed US $151.5 million from the WB to build the dam. The Bank's plans to lend more money were cancelled in 1993, following the Indian government's failure to meet the new conditions for additional loans. These conditions are as basic as identifying the displaced and resettling them. The report's authors admit that the WB "did not follow its own environmental guidelines", such as environmental impact studies, while going ahead with the project. They point out that if there are extended delays in the construction of the dam, there could be a 25 per cent reduction in power and a 30 per cent reduction in irrigation benefits.