NTPC had entered into a $ 400 million loan (Loan 3632-IN) as part of time slice loan with the World Bank in 1993. The objective relating to R&R was to strengthen NTPC’s capacity to address environmental and Resettlement and Rehabilitation issues associated with the NTPC projects. Apart from formulation of Remedial Action Plans (ReAPs) for old projects implemented prior to 1993, Rehabilitation Action Plans (RAPs) were formulated for Rihand II and Vindhyachal II projects (primarily the ash dyke areas for the proposed expansions), posed for proposed funding, as per the provisions of the NTPC R&R policy of 1993 which was also developed as part of the loan agreement. Though Rihand II was subsequently dropped and replaced by Kayamkulam project for the funding, RAPs were nonetheless prepared and monitored through World Bank Supervisory Missions. Kayamkulam RAP was also prepared and monitored in addition to the RAPs mentioned earlier.
R&R issues of NTPC projects in Singrauli region had been under detailed review and monitoring by external stakeholders during the period of implementation of the R&R activities as per approved RAPs. Subsequent to complaints by some NGOs and activists, the NTPC project was submitted to an Inspection Panel (IP) in 1997. As part of various actions subsequent to the inspection panel’s report, an Independent Monitoring Panel (IMP) was established in consultation and agreement with the stakeholders. Apart from other objectives and tasks as per Terms of Reference (TOR), IMP was to systematically and regularly review and advise on implementation of the R&R programme.
IMP paid several visits to the site and held a number of meetings with PAPs, State Government, World Bank & the Ministry of Power. Thereafter the IMP submitted its report to the World Bank in Dec 1998, primarily dealing with the rehabilitation process of PAPs of Stage II-those who were relocated / affected post 1993. On reconciliation of various issues, certain action points were identified for implementation by NTPC. The agreed action points were later used for framing the Rehabilitation Action Plan.
Implementation of the Revised action plans as per IMP Recommendations
The R&R action plans were revised into five documents in February 1999 as under:
2 nos Revised RAPs for Rihand II and Vindhyachal II and 3 nos Revised ReAPs for Rihand I, Vindhyachal I and Singrauli. The World Bank continued to supervise and monitor the implementation of the Revised Action Plans as above, the final supervisory mission being in May 2003. The IMP was also associated during the implementation of the revised plans. It was acknowledged by the World Bank that the delivery of entitlements as per the plans was almost complete (more than 98% achievement). The balance 2% primarily constituted the untraceable PAPs who could not be located despite repeated attempts and several public notices. It also constituted a miniscule section of PAPs who despite several counseling did not accept the package agreed with the IMP.
Corporate Policy Initiatives for Effective management of Social Impacts beyond completion and monitoring of WB (Post 2003) at these projects:
A decade of association with the World Bank provided NTPC with key learning especially in the social arena. As also brought out in the Aide Memoire, need was felt to continue general community development activities at the projects even beyond completion of the R&R activities. NTPC thus formulated a Corporate Social Responsibility- Community Development (CSR-CD) policy in 2004, which enabled NTPC to provide budgets and take up community development activities in not only NTPC stations in the Singrauli region but in all NTPC stations. The policy has been further revised in 2010 and made more comprehensive. The NTPC stations in Singrauli region continue getting annual budgets as per need and requirement as part of the overall budget sanction as per policy. It is pertinent to mention that these policies target not only the PAPs but the neighbouring communities as well.
In addition based on the learning’s, NTPC also documented its good practices adopted in Singrauli region and revised its R&R policy making it very comprehensive in 2005. The policy was further revised in 2010 and introduced new concepts / initiatives and enhanced entitlements. Current land acquisitions for Greenfield / expansion projects are reaping the benefits due to these improved provisions. NTPC continues to be open and flexible in its approach towards addressing R&R issues and remains in the learning mode, adopting new practices as per requirements etc.
Furthermore, NTPC is now further envisaging facilitating electrification and provision of electricity within a 5 km radius of its power plants as per the GOI scheme. This will be a major contribution by NTPC as part of its benefit sharing mechanisms with the stakeholders. CSR and R&R policies in NTPC continue to be a top management agenda and a deep commitment. It is therefore envisaged that there will always be positive developments in these areas as far as NTPC is concerned.
WORLD BANK Findings
A World Bank mission to supervise resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) have visited Singrauli region during May 26-29, 2003. The mission concluded:
"That the delivery of entitlement is almost complete and evidence from visits and records maintained by NTPC indicate that a large majority of project affected people have resorted or improved their livelihoods and adequate mechanisms are in place to resolve future difference or disputes. NTPC agreed to conduct an impact evaluation of the R&R program in both Rihand and Vindhyachal project areas. Such an evaluation will help assess the degree of restoration of livelihood, individually as well as for the affected community through social indicators. The evaluation will also assess the adequacy of the R&R policy frame work and documents lesions learnt for future projects. It was agreed that this evaluation would be completed in consultation with the Bank, by end December 2003."
The Aide Memoire also acknowledged that PAPs in general had improved their livelihood as well as other living conditions including housing and other infrastructure. Further, as desired by the World Bank in the Aide Memoire, a Social Impact Evaluation was also conducted albeit internally by NTPC and findings shared with the World Bank in May 2004. This also documented the key findings pertaining to livelihood restoration.