Protests against ADB
Protests reverberate from Kashmir to Kerala, Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh.

Hundreds of people, in over 140 locations spread over 21 states in India, protested against the policies and projects of Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the week of May 1-7, coinciding with their official celebrations of the 50th year in Japan.

Highlighting the negative impacts of ADB’s lending in hydropower projects, smart cities, industrial corridors, projects in the coastal areas, agriculture and infrastructure projects, people reiterated their determination to fight against such projects, many of them are co-financed with other international financial institutions (IFIs).

“The on-going protests are an outpouring sentiment against the projects and policies of ADB and other IFIs, which displace people in the name of development and steal the livelihood of the people, pushing people to disparity and destitution,” Medha Patkar, senior activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan said. “These protests are a reawakening of the masses who have been at the receiving end of ill-conceived policies and projects and will further strengthen the struggles demanding transparency and accountability from these IFIs,” she added.

The actions of resistance organised during the week ranged from human chains, demonstrations, public meetings to lectures, were organised by trade unions, national networks, civil society organisations and mass movements. Some of them include National Hawkers Federation, National Fishworkers Federation, National Alliance for People’s Movements, Narmada Bachao Andolan, Indian Social Action Forum, Mines, Minerals and People, All India Forum of Forest Movements, Jharkhand Mines and Area Coordination Committee, Nadi Ghati Morcha-Chattisgarh, Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan – Gujarat, North East Peoples’ Alliance and Teera Desa Mahila Vedi, Kerala among many others. (Full list of organisations is available at

Explaining the rationale behind many diverse protests across the country, Shaktiman Ghosh, General Secretary of National Hawkers Federation said, “We are against ADB and other IFIs because we have seen that their investments have caused job-loss and forced eviction of millions of people, particularly the ones in the urban areas, where investments in the name of urban development, infrastructure and urban beautification have caused massive negative impacts on urban poor.”

Meera Sanghamitra, National Organiser of National Alliance of People’s Movements said. “The lending of ADB, which at the outset looks like benevolent, is at the root of massive rural distress migration, alienation from natural resources and displacement. Take for example the Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor project, which ADB is funding. It will create havoc in the rural areas, displacing hundreds of thousands of fish workers and will result in irreversible damage to the environment. We are left with no choice than to protest against such projects.”

The organisations conducted these protest actions raised concerns about investments of not just ADB, but other IFIs like World Bank, International Finance Corporation, Japan Bank of International Corporation (JBIC), Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, New Development Bank, Exim Banks of Korea, United States, China among others. Many of them are co-financiers with ADB and increasingly these institutions are investing heavily in infrastructure and cross-border projects, causing irreversible damage to people and environment, while their policies to safeguard the harm caused by their investments are made opaque and watered down.
Priya Dharshini,
Ankit Agrawal

Vol. 49, No.50, Jun 18 - 24, 2017