South-Asia groups unite to protest ADB's policy draft on development

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New Delhi, Jan 15 (UNI) Calling to boycott the Asian Development Bank's consultation meet tomorrow, various social groups in South-Asia today joined hands to protest its ''goofy, bad and ugly'' policy draft on environment, resettlement and indigenous safeguards in the region.

Here to protest forced displacement, land alienation and environmental destruction that was being caused by the ADB's pro-privatisation policies, protestors said their call to boycott tomorrow's consultation was to prevent it from according legitimacy to a bad consultancy draft.

Addressing the press, group representatives from Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and several parts of India elaborated on how ADB funded projects in their countries were being implemented ignoring people's concerns and over-riding government policy framework.

''The ADB sponsored projects play with the native policies and people's genuine concerns were not being taken into account,'' said 'Collective Initiative for Research and Action' representative of Nepal.

Representative of 'Peoples Forum Against ADB', the umbrella group under which activists from South-Asia gathered, said even judicial and administrative reforms were being twisted to make environment suitable for the investment of multi-national companies.

''No public consultation or impact assessment of project is being done so as to get the fallout effect on the common citizenry. This was a major breach of public concern.'' Commenting on how projects had been mortified by the ADB system in his country, the Sri Lanka representative said no resettlement, safeguard policy or environment plan or wildlife conservation policy was given a place in its 'developmental plans' which was a cause for concern.

''On one hand ADB talks of quality and on the other its Southern Transport Development road project construction in Sri Lanka resulted in the death of seven people last year alone.'' Criticisng the ADB for its 'anti-people and pro-capitalist' approach, protestors said its policies seem to work more on the lines of privatisation than offering help to underdeveloped countries.

''The boycott of tomorrow's consultation meet was a move to boycott the aristocracy that was being imposed in the name of development,'' they said adding ''we do want dialogue, but only which is genuine, serious and transparent.'' UNI AN MIR HS1839

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