October 6, 1999
WASHINGTON, Oct 5 – The World Bank has sent a team of experts to China to evaluate criticisms of a vast dam and irrigation project it wants to support, a Bank official said here Tuesday.
The team is expected to visit the site of the project, located in western Qinghai province, on the week end and will spend 20 days carrying out studies and interviews, according to Antonia Macedo, assistant director of the World Bank’s inspection unit.
The controversy centers on plans to re-settle some 58,000 people, essentially Chinese farmers, to land inhabited by Tibetans.
Critics contend that the resettlement will make Tibetans in the region even more of a minority and will also have an adverse environmental impact.
The inspection team will prepare a report for World Bank officials by the end of the year. A decision by the Bank’s executive board on whether to go ahead with the project is not expected before early 2000, Macedo said.
The overall venture calls for loans of 160 million dollars, of which 40 million would be for the contested resettlement.
The Bank approved the project in June but financing has been held up pending an assessment of the criticisms.
(Courtesy of World Tibet Network News)
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