A look at the global sacrifice zone

A report foretells doom for Orissa if the World Bank proceeds with its projects in the state

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

current and future us and World Bank (wb) investments in Orissa are facilitating a battery of environmental, public health-related and social crises, according to a recent report by the Washington d c-based Institute for Policy Studies (ips). The wb loans will help transform the eastern Indian state of Orissa into one of the world's most polluted regions, warned ips. The wb is directly financing the least controversial aspects of these loans -- power restructuring and distribution.

l The ips report -- The World Bank's Juggernaut: The Coal-Fired Industrial Colonization of India's State of Orissa -- states that one of the wb-financed power plants tested positive for a crippling disease, fluorosis, caused by industrial pollutants.

l The expansion of coal-fired power from 2,400 mw to over 19,000 mw over the next 10 years will constitute at least four per cent of the world's share in global warming increase from Orissa alone.

l The largest coal mine-related displacement will happen in India in this state.

l Industrial effluents have already rendered the Brahmani river water unfit for human consumption.

"The World Bank and transnational corporations are ganging up on one of the poorest regions of India, turning the state into a global sacrifice zone, then turning around and calling it a model for the rest of India to emulate," said Daphne Wysham, director, Sustainable Energy and Economy Network at the ips. "The loss of natural resources, loss of occupation for thousands of fisherpeople and farmers, and the miseries due to health hazards and displacement far outweigh the development that coal-fired power in Orissa is ushering in," said Sisir Tripathy, coordinator, District Action Group (dag), a group of 21 ngos fighting for justice in the heavily industrialised Talcher-Angul region.

The first wb loan is for a us $350 million power transmission, distribution and management programme. The second loan of us $43.5 million is slated for "social and environmental mitigation" prior to the expansion of 25 coal mines in India, including five in Orissa. This essentially subsidises the resettlement of people living around mining sites.

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