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31 Mar 2016

Claire Provost & Matt Kennard, Guardian (UK)

World Bank lending arm sees off lawsuit by Indian fishermen

A Washington DC judge has ruled that the World Bank cannot be sued in a case brought by Indian fishermen and farmers who said that an investment by the Bank’s private sector arm in a giant coal-fired power plant had “destroyed their livelihoods”.In 2008 the International Financial Corporation (IFC) branch of the Bank announced a $450m loan for a subsidiary of the Tata Group conglomerate [Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (part of Tata Power)] to build the power plant in Gujarat...Their lawsuit marked the first time a local community had sued the IFC in the US courts... US district judge John Bates...accept[ed] the IFC’s argument that it is immune from the suit...The decision is likely to inflame critics of the World Bank, who say it is almost impossible to hold the organisation to account.