Wake Up Kim!
Let me cut to the chase. This is another story of a coal fired power plant in India, one amongst hundreds that are being proposed and built regularly in the country. But the story of the TATA Mundra power plant stands out from the rest for the following reasons
a. TATA Mundra is India's first Ultra Mega Power Project (4000 MW behemoths that is part of India's larger plan to increase its energy capacity with a proposal to build around 16 such plants)
b. It is being built by India's foremost business conglomerates. The name TATA resonates with most Indians in the country.
c. The project received a whopping 450 million $ from the World Bank's private financing arm, the IFC. The very bank which recently committed to moving away from coal investments.
d. The Compliance Advisory Ombudsman (CAO) which is a department within the bank released a scathing report last month that damns the bank's investment into Mundra, ignoring the vast ecological and human impacts of the project. The lapses, it said, were serious and needs an immediate look into the recourse process for the impacted communities.
The website for the plant proudly states that the project provides 2% of India's electricity and uses super critical efficienct technology but the more important reality is that the company is bleeding money every day. With losses mounting to 260 million $ every year, the project has turned into an albatross around the company's neck or in business parlance, a non perfoming asset.
So here's the problem. The CAO's report is being callously ignored by Jim Kim, the World Bank President and the IFC (the financier). They continue to justify the investment made thereby becoming complicit in the project's negative impact on the lives of fisherfolk in the region.
We need to hold the Bank accountable to its own agencies and its public statements. The reasons why this plant stands out amongst the rest are also the reasons why we need to move the bank to pull out its financing. A stranded ultra mega power project from one of India's most trusted companies is what it might take to show just how undependable coal is. If the most reliable name in Indian business can't pull it off, then you'll begin to ask the real questions about coal and the dangerous proposition of dealing with it.
Friends involved with this issue have started this facebook community called WAKE UP KIM. Please like the page and stay abreast with the news and the different calls to action to move Kim and the World Bank to pull their money out of Mundra. You can write to Jim Kim at email@example.com.