Arun III, Nepal’s Reluctant Narmada

The Indian Government's decision not to use World Bank money to build the Sardar Sarovar (Narmada) Project was a victory for Indian environmentalists and human righters. The Bank heaved a sigh of relief, as questions on the environment, equity and resettlement of "oustees" had made the project an albatross that promised endless public embarrassment. Better to bail out from this one and continue with projects elsewhere in the Bank's, realm.

It is business as usual for the Bank elsewhere in South Asia, though, particularly where there are no groups with the singlemindedness, media savvy and grassroots reach of the Narmada activists. Nepal's Arun III Project, for one, has no Medha Patkar. And Bradford Morse will not come out of retirement to do another evaluation (as he did for Narmada) on a project which all but a handful hope will slip through while no one is watching.

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Himal Southasian