The government, through the executing agencies, will ensure that the design, construction and operation of all project facilities comply with the environmental laws and regulations of Bangladesh and ADB's environmental policies and regulations, specifically ADB's Environment Policy (2002) and environmental mitigating measures and the environmental management plans described in the IEEs and in the summary IEE conducted for the project.
The EAs have prepared initial environmental examination (IEEs) for all components of the Project. The IEEs will be updated and approved to be in line with the summary IEE (SIEE) that was initially prepared for the Project. The Project does not require a full environmental impact assessment (EIA); however before the commencement of construction, the IEEs with the environmental management plans (EMPs) for each component will be detailed in the project-specific context and included in construction contracts. GTCL submitted an IEE for its component (Part A2) in 2011, which needs to be updated. BGFCL has recently drafted an IEE including the EMPs for its component (Part B). It is recommended that SGCL and GTCL will prepare/update the IEEs with EMPs for their components (Part A and C) before the commencement of civil works and associated activities.
For Part B, BGFCL has submitted an IEE report to ADB. BGFCL has planned to carry out drilling of 4 wells in Titas gas field and installation of two gas process plants. The major anticipated environmental impacts of the works includes emission of greenhouse gases from combustion of fossil fuel, contamination of surface water, erosion and sedimentation during trenching, noise pollution during construction and drilling of gas wells, impacts on local biodiversity and wildlife due to noise and vibration, damages of crops due to drilling and earthwork, etc. There are also possibilities of health hazards during handling of equipment and fuel. As a part of IEE, EMP is also proposed and adequate mitigation measures will be in place to address the major environmental impacts of the project components. For safety of the workers and community, adequate occupational health and safety measures will be in place.
Under part A, a full resettlement plan (RP) was prepared to mitigate the resettlement impact for the construction and installation of the 61 km of gas transmission pipeline from Ashuganj to Bakhrabad. This component required permanent acquisition of 50.65 hectares (ha) of land affecting 1,992 households and the temporary acquisition of 105.76 ha of land affecting 10,956 people. This part is being financed by the Government and GTCL ensures that civil works are completed during the dry season to avoid disrupting crops on the temporarily acquired land and the Government is committed to undertake efforts to minimize adverse impacts.
No issue of IR has been reported yet.
Under part B, initially two sites were identified at well no. 17 and 18 for drilling of four appraisal-cum-development wells in Titas gas field and RP was prepared for acquisition of 7.086 ha of agricultural land, affecting 178 households. These sites were found less feasible based on the 3-D seismic survey, and two new sites were selected at (i) Chhatian, Jangilsar, Malihata & Suhilpur mauzas under Sadar upazila (well no. 25, 26), and (ii) Sarail mauza under Sarail Upazila (Well no 23, 24). Both sites are under Brahmanbaria district. The Socio- Economic Survey (SES) of the project affected peoples (PAPs) for the new sites has already been conducted by a local consulting firm (Enviro Consultants Ltd), who is preparing the new RP for this component. The SES identified requirement of 15 acres of agricultural land, affecting 66 households with 322 persons only. The draft RP submitted by the consultant covers all mitigative measures related to Involuntary Resettlement (IR) safeguards, to compensate losses of (i) agricultural land, (ii) access by tenants/sharecroppers to agricultural land for crops production, (iii) income and livelihood, (iv) standing crops, (v) crop or access to agricultural land due to gas seepage, (vi) vulnerable groups, and (vii) unforeseen impact.
Under part C, the Project sites were selected and the components were designed to minimize impacts by avoiding involuntary land acquisition and displacement and by confining the Project to land already available to the government or the GTCL. The short RP prepared for part C, in consultation with affected people and communities, identified only nine households (five in Khulna and four in Jessore) comprising 52 people (mainly squatters), with temporary effect of income loss for maximum 1 week. SGCL is not aware of the RP, whereas a new requirement of acquiring 4.958 acres of land evolved for construction of 12 metering stations (DRS) and 5 office buildings. Although the PIU has started the land acquisition (LA) procedures through the office of the Deputy Commissioners, these LA items associated with the displaced persons from those lands must be incorporated in the revised RP. There is no DPP provision for IR, which requires to be incorporated in the revised DPP, for smooth implementation of the RP.
All revised RPs require to be posted in the ADB website and the summary to be disclosed in local language among the PAPs, for ensuring transparency of the social safeguards measures. The Mission advised EAs to comply with the requirements at the earliest.