The Project is classified as ADB environmental category A.
The potential adverse environmental impact of the project includes (i) noise and vibration impact on nearby residents, (ii) soil erosion from cut and fill activities, (iii) impact on surface water quality of adjacent waterways, and (iv) impact on public health and safety.
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) concluded that the adverse environmental impact can be successfully mitigated through best practices and appropriate technologies. The implementation of the environmental management, mitigation, and monitoring programs included in the EIA will ensure compliance with ADB and government environmental guidelines and procedures. The external M&E agency has been engaged and M&E reports will be submitted on semi-annual basis.
The project railway alignment will affect 29 townships and 84 villages as it passes through the seven districts and counties that compose the project area. An estimated 711 hectares of land will be permanently acquired; about 62.3% of this is now under cultivation and the rest (37.1%) is predominately forestland. Since the railway will require only a narrow corridor, the average loss of land per household is estimated to be 15%; this means that about 35,000 persons will be partially affected. The Project will temporarily occupy an estimated 674 hectares during construction. Also, 391,000 square meters of structures will be demolished; of these, 86% will be residential structures, and 5,314 persons will therefore have to be relocated.
MOR, in consultation with the provincial and local governments, has prepared a resettlement plan based on the feasibility study, surveys in 48 affected villages, 337 household surveys, local government statistics, and consultations with local officials, village leaders, and affected households. The impact is spread thinly over a long, narrow corridor. Local government land administration bureaus, in conjunction with railway construction support offices, will be responsible for implementing resettlement; many activities will be carried out by township officials and village committees. The estimated resettlement cost is $69.93 million, excluding contingencies. The Chongqing municipal government will fund the entire cost of land acquisition and resettlement, as an equity contribution to the Project. The resettlement budget will be adjusted to conform to the actual measurement of physical losses, market prices, and final compensation rates. Affected people have been consulted about the likely impact during the feasibility and preliminary design stages. Resettlement information booklets, in the local language, have been distributed to the affected villages. The resettlement plan has been endorsed by MOR and uploaded to the ADB website on 4 September 2007. MOR and municipal land acquisition and resettlement offices, in collaboration with the county resettlement offices, will be responsible for internal supervision and monitoring. An external monitoring agency has been engaged and M&E reports are submitted on time.
A Social Development Action Plan (SDAP) was prepared in consultation with local governments to enhance the project benefits; ensure that adverse impact is avoided or mitigated; and increase economic development benefits to the poor, women, Tujia people, and the vulnerable in an equitable and sustainable manner.
The SDAP will (i) enhance job opportunities for local people; (ii) provide training and vocational programs for the poor, women, ethnic minorities, and the vulnerable; (iii) support HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs; (iv) support income recovery programs for people affected by resettlement; (v) provide awareness and prevention programs for safety during construction and operation; and (vi) promote local economic development. The plan will be implemented with the participation of relevant government agencies at the local level including poverty alleviation offices, the All-China Women s Federation, and health, civil affairs, labor, and ethnic affairs bureaus. Leading groups have been formed to continue the process of consultation and coordination among various agencies during implementation.
|During Project Design
||Project preparation involved participatory processes. Extensive consultations were held with all the main stakeholders, including various affected people, potential beneficiaries, village leaders, women's groups, local ethnic minority bureaus, and local governments in the project area. Household surveys were carried out, and participatory workshops were organized in the project area to understand public opinion about the Project and provide inputs for the social and environmental assessments.