Project Monitoring [ADB]
MASALLI–ASTARA MOTORWAY CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
The Masalli–Astara Motorway Construction Project is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB) under the MFF Road Network Development Program 39176, formerly known as the Southern Road Corridor Improvement Project.
According to the Report and Recommendation of the President (RRP), the project will facilitate socio-economic development. It will also increase local communities’ access to markets, job opportunities, and social services.
There are households and persons that are likely to be affected by the construction of the new express highway across 11 settlements namely Khil, Sarchuvar, Boradigyah, Mollaoba, Turkoba, Yeddioymag II villages (Masally Rayon); Boladi, Girdani, Liman, Urga, Shirinsu villages (Lenkaran Rayon).
Before the construction of the road has yet to be started, there was NO information regarding the road design, maps, the latest version of the resettlement plan, and the Draft Design and Monitoring Framework in affected villages that were made publicly available.
And this is supposed to be in compliance with ADB’s Public Communication Policy (PCP). According to the head of executive authority in one of the village administration, 126 families would be affected by the construction of the expressway, affecting 21 hectares of agriculture land.
Most of the people have no information about the project and its related resettlement plan. The village executive head couldn’t provide any project-related documents except for a handmade map of the whole road from Alyat to Astara.
The Involuntary Resettlement (IR) Policy of 1995, para. 34 requires that safeguard principle is upheld in the preparation and implementation of projects funded by ADB; ensure that displaced people receive assistance, preferably under the project, so that they will be at least as well off as they would have been in the absence of the project. The IR Policy specified three types of assistance for IR:
compensation for lost assets and loss of livelihood and income
assistance for relocation, including the provision of relocation sites with appropriate facilities and services
assistance for rehabilitation to achieve at least the same level of well-being with the project as without it.
However, the situation in the project is otherwise. People don’t have any documents such as the resettlement plan as it is required by IR Policy and PCP. The only information they could provide last year were the passports and legal documents they submitted to executive authorities.
In mid-July 2009, the same affected people had signed some documents provided by the executive authority. Due to their illiteracy, people did not know the document they signed. Several landowners have refused to sign the document because they were not agreeing with the amount of compensation. It became clear that local executive authorities, without making any agreements and legalization of land acquisition, started to receive affected people’s consent to give land for the road construction.
There are people who have no legal entitlements for their land and property. Para 34 (7) of IR Policy (1995) requires that the absence of formal legal title to land by some affected groups should not be a bar to compensation.
Project-related problems were submitted to the ADB.