The project is a category B project following ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement (2009) and will involve the construction of a new photovoltaic plant and its supporting facilities, which include an access road and a transmission line.
The initial environmental examination (IEE) for the construction of the new plant and its supporting facilities was carried out to assess impacts, and the environmental management plan (EMP) was prepared to provide guidance for minimizing any adverse impacts. Public consultations were carried out on 31 May 2013 in Samarkand city. The IEE report was disclosed on the ADB website on 16 September 2013. The project will not cause any significant environmental impacts. Minor and transient environmental disturbances may occur during the construction and operation phases. Appropriate mitigation measures have been developed in the EMP, which is subject to updating after the completion of the conceptual system design to include all technical aspects and to incorporate recommendations from the Samarkand Province Nature Protection Committee. The updated IEE and its EMP will need to be submitted to ADB.
The PMU on behalf of the executing agency has overall responsibility for implementing the EMP throughout project implementation and completion. The contractor will implement the EMP to mitigate all impacts related with construction activities. The PMU and the implementation consultant teams will each have an environmental specialist to supervise the contractor implementing the EMP. A grievance redress mechanism will be established within the PMU under Uzbekenergo to resolve complaints, if any. The Uzbekenergo Environment, Health and Safety Unit will oversee the implementation of the EMP.
The project will require land acquisition for three types of components: (i) construction of the photovoltaic power plant, (ii) construction of the 220-kV transmission line to the national power grid, and (iii) widening of the 4-km access road from the power plant up to the existing paved road. The project is categorized as a B project for involuntary resettlement in accordance with ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement.
The resettlement plan, presented as the Land Acquisition and Resettlement Plan (LARP), was prepared in close consultation with affected people. The total land to be acquired is 410.56 hectares (ha), of which total permanent land acquisition is 407.8 ha and temporary acquisition 2.76 ha. The permanent acquisition will be used for the power plant (405 ha), access road (1.96 ha), and transmission line (0.84 ha). The temporary land acquisition (2.76 ha) will be required only during construction of the transmission line. This land acquisition will affect 17 households with a total of 109 persons. The land acquisition for the power plant will have three households; these households belong to farmers and will be impacted severely because they will lose 29.1% to 41.5% of their productive land. The expansion of the access road and the transmission line will not cause any severe impact. None of the three project facilities (power plant, access road, and transmission line) will result in any physical displacement of residential assets or cause unemployment in affected farms. However, a 675-square-meter structure used for keeping livestock and hay will need to be demolished to construct the power plant. During consultation, two of the 17 households expressed willingness to give up land for compensation. They requested appropriate changes in their lease agreements to reduce their tax payments.
The LARP for this project was prepared in line with national laws and regulations and ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement. The LARP study was carried out from May to July 2013. Six consultations were carried out in May, and three in July. The consultations were with affected people, local government agencies, and local communities. The estimated compensation costs for land acquisition is around $240,000. Uzbekenergo has adequate experience in implementing a LARP and will be assisted by the PMU. The PMU will include a social safeguards and gender specialist to coordinate with local agencies to implement the LARP and submit reports to ADB. The established grievance redress mechanism will address both environmental and social complaints, if any. The LARP was disclosed through the ADB website on 16 September 2013.
||The survey for poverty and social assessment found that there is no community or group in the project area that maintains any particular culture, language, or properties distinct from the general population. There are four ethnic groups within the local community namely Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Russians, and Tajiks. None meet the ADB definition of vulnerable indigenous peoples, and therefore the project is categorized as a C project for indigenous people or ethnic minority requirements in accordance with the Safeguard Policy Statement. No further study is needed.
|During Project Design
Public consultations were carried out for the Initial Environmental Examination and the Poverty and Social Assessment.
Project preparation employed a participatory approach to share information about the project and seek feedback particularly from women, poorer segments of the population, and civil society. Fifty-four participants attended the public consultations, amongst them representatives of (i) Makhalla (village) Committees of Samarkand and Postargom Districts, (ii) Hokimiyats district, (iii) the Nature Protection Committee of Samarkand, (iv) Uzbekenergo, and (vi) Zarafshan and Dustlik Local Power Distribution Networks.