Geoff Law

  • NQXT exposed as focal point in Adani’s expanding coal agenda

    The campaign group Market Forces has published an exposé of Adani’s coal port in north Queensland. The website emphasises the role played by the NQXT port in facilitating the development of Adani’s infamous Carmichael mine and associated impacts on the Earth’s climate, the area’s indigenous peoples, and the Great Barrier Reef. Adani Ports have also been removed from the UN's 'Race to Zero' campaign.

    Adani’s North Queensland Export Terminal (NQXT) at Abbot Point used to be called Adani Abbot Point Terminal. In 2020, with Adani’s reputation on the slide, the name was changed with words such as ‘Adani’ and ‘coal’ completely dropped. A similar exercise was carried out for the Carmichael mine, with its corporate owner changing the name from Adani Mining to Bravus Mining and Resources.

    The Market Forces exposé of Adani's NQXT coal port. Courtesy Market Forces

    According to Market Forces, NQXT, in Queensland, Australia, is a deep-water coal terminal situated amongst ecologically significant wetlands and sacred sites of the Juru Traditional Owners.  The port and its operations impinge on the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage property. It is Australia’s northern-most coal port, with a capacity of 50 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).

    And in a blow to the Adani Group's attempts to greenwash its reputation, it has been removed from the UN's list of participating companies in its 'Race to Zero' campaign.

    Many Traditional Owners fear that the Carmichael coal project will put nearby sacred springs at risk. Export of Carmichael coal from NQXT will increase industrialisation in the already distressed Great Barrier Reef. Most significantly, the emissions to be generated by the mine’s coal have been estimated at 4.6 billion tonnes of CO2, equivalent to over eight years of Australia’s annual greenhouse emissions, fuelling more intense impacts of climate change.

    NQXT has been fined twice, in 2017 and 2019, for releasing contaminated water into the surrounding ocean and Caley Valley wetlands.

    The Queensland Government sold NQXT to the Adani Group in 2011 for A$1.8 billion (in the form of a 99-year lease). This purchase appears to have been entirely funded by debt. NQXT has had some difficulty refinancing this debt as financiers cut ties due to their reluctance to be associated with the Carmichael coal mine. A bond issue planned for early 2020 was cancelled and the company had to repay $270 million for two debt tranches due in 2020 using the Adani Group’s own funds.

    Financiers that have pledged to have no dealings with Adani’s Carmichael coal project and/or NQXT include Samsung Securities, Hanwha Investment and Securities, Korea Investment and Securities, the Industrial Bank of Korea, Mirae Asset Daewoo, Bank of New York Mellon, and bond arrangers Investec and CLSA.

    Adani's massive coal terminal (NQXT) at Abbot Point, Queensland, Australia. Image Google


  • Villagers fight land takeover for Adani’s Gondulpara coal mine

    ‘This is my land, my house and I will not let them do this survey!’ The inhabitants of threatened villages in northern India have successfully repelled surveyors and prevented an attempted takeover of land for a proposed new Adani coal mine.  Hundreds have attended protest meetings in Gondalpura and neighbouring villages, objecting to preparatory work. Villagers have threatened to detain and tie up surveyors and other officials who enter the area without permission.

    In November 2020, Adani won the right to develop a coal deposit that occurs under villages and forests at Gondalpura in the northern Indian state of Jharkhand.  (Adani has misspelled the name of the area as ‘Gondulpara’ so this is the name that attaches to its coal project.) The coal resources here are largely undeveloped and the inhabitants want to keep it that way.

    A rural scene near Balodar - threatened by Adani's proposed Gondulpara coal mine

    This news video demonstrates the vehemence of the local reaction against Adani:

    वनाधिकार समिति की ग्राम सभा में अडानी निजि कोल कंपनी का ग्रामीणों ने किया विरोध । - YouTube

    Late last year, inhabitants of one of the threatened villages were told by the District Commissioner that a village meeting was being convened for 31 December to facilitate the handover of communal lands to Adani Enterprises. The category of the land in question is known as Gair Majurwa land, has no defined title-holders, and has been used for generations by the region’s inhabitants for grazing and the collection of firewood.

    Outraged at the impending loss of this essential resource, the people demanded that the proposed meeting (a Gram Sabha) be cancelled.

    ‘All the people of our village depend on this land for their livelihoods,’ said a protest letter to the local government. ‘We, the people of Gali forest and the protection committee of Gali, including all the villagers, oppose this Gram Sabha being called for benefit of Adani. Therefore, I humbly request you to cancel the Gram Sabha scheduled on 31 December 2021.’

    Villagers from Gali, Gondalpura and Balodar meet to oppose Adani's Gondulpara (sic) coal mine

    The meeting did not proceed; the lands remain communal. Nevertheless, this ham-fisted attempt to obtain formal approval for the takeover shows how government forces are being deployed on behalf of Adani’s coal project.

    It was not the first time officialdom has been given a bloody nose by irate villagers. In December 2021, local media reported on a meeting of people from Gondalpura and the nearby villages of Gali and Balodar to protest against a door-to-door survey being conducted in preparation for work on Adani’s proposed Gondulpara coal mine.

    A local media report on the people's petition opposing takeover of communal lands for an Adani coal mine.

    Spokespeople said that the survey was being conducted by middlemen working for ‘NABARD’, which Google identifies as the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

    One villager at the meeting, Kamalesh Mahato, said ‘this is my land, my house, and I will not let these agents do this survey!’

    This attitude is widespread. On 18 October 2021, AdaniWatch published videos showing a rowdy confrontation between officials and local people vehemently opposed to the proposed coal mines. Tense encounters between villagers and those carrying out preparations for mining have continued.

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  • 'The adrenaline is just pumping' - how it feels to confront a giant Adani coal train

    Adani has started transporting coal from its infamous Carmichael mine. However, this has not stopped the resistance to the Adani Group’s climate-wrecking projects in Queensland. On the contrary, over the past week, protests have stepped up. News reports have brought images of these daring actions to the general public but often don’t communicate how it feels to be there on the ground. To look at the human side of one of these protests, AdaniWatch spoke to Georgie Toner, a 27-year-old post-graduate student from Brisbane who helped stop a huge Adani coal train on 30 November 2021.

    Georgie was woken at 4 am by loud clanging noises.

    ‘There’s a train! There’s a train!’

    She scrambled in the back of her van to gather the things she needed to ‘lock on’. She and her friends were about to confront a locomotive towing at least 30 carriages from Adani’s Carmichael mine to the coast. The cargo was coal and this was one of several test-runs for trains travelling on a brand new railway.

    Georgie Toner, 27, and her friends confronted and stopped a giant coal train en route from Adani's Carmichael coal mine to the coast.

    The protest crew had been on alert for a train for some time but this one had somehow escaped the attention of their monitors. It was spotted almost by chance by one of the veterans of Camp Binbee. The loud noise that had awoken Georgie was the warning gong, used in situations of extreme urgency.

    Georgie drove as part of a group of vehicles attempting to intercept the train. There was some frantic back and forth in the dark until the train’s location was determined. Fortuitously, given the train’s intended journey of hundreds of kilometres, it was intercepted only about 10 minutes’ drive from the camp.

    ‘Divine intervention’, laughed Georgie.

    Two protesters attached themselves to the train tracks well ahead of the train. Meanwhile, the rail-transport company, Aurizon, had been alerted.

    Two climate campaigners attach themselves to the railway in the path of an Adani coal train only minutes away. Anna Brozek @anna.ontheground

    By the time Georgie arrived on the scene, the train had stopped, other protesters had attached themselves to the back carriage of the train, and police were in attendance. They stopped the car she was in and searched it for ‘dangerous attachment devices’ – the equipment used by protesters for locking on to coal-industry infrastructure. In Queensland, special legislation has deemed that the use of such tools is a criminal offence. No devices were found so Georgie’s car was turned away.

    She tried to find another way to access the train. It was not long after sunrise but the temperature was already pushing 30 degrees Celsius. The country through which she travelled was typical of central Queensland – flat and arid with scattered trees. Recent rain had added a thin greenery to the ground but the creek beds were dry. Eventually, Georgie parked near one of these creeks which she and her companion were able to follow back towards the still stationary train. The creek bed was deep enough for them to scurry below the eye-line of police and train workers.

    The Adani coal train. Image Megan Byrnes

    Eventually they had to make a mad dash in the open across fallen trees to the rail corridor. Police and an Aurizon employee were in view so the two campaigners took cover and waited until the coast was clear before sprinting across two vacant railway tracks to the train.

    ‘Obviously the adrenaline is just pumping,’ Georgie said. ‘Definitely a high-pressure situation and not pleasant on the nervous system.’

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  • ‘Make India’s Hasdeo forests a ‘no go’ zone for coal mines’, says prominent state minister

    A prominent member of the Chhattisgarh government has said he wants the biodiverse Hasdeo forests to be declared a ‘no go’ zone for coal mining, even as the government of which he is a part is pushing for more mines. The call came in response to the leaking of a report by an expert scientific institution in India recommending against expanded coal mining in the area. The report warned that coal mining would further fragment the Hasdeo forests, leading to human-elephant conflict that the state government would struggle to mitigate. Adani is a major developer of coal mines in the Hasdeo forests, which are also home to tribal people who oppose the mining.

    The Hasdeo forests (‘the Hasdeo Aranya’) occupy 180,000 ha in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh and are home to more than 80 species of tree and a diverse array of mammals, fish, reptiles and birds. Indigenous tribal people (Adivasi) have tended these forests, including sacred groves of trees, for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, the Hasdeo forests also grow on top of a billion tonnes of coal.

    Coal mines, new roads and new transmission lines will exacerbate already deadly human-elephant conflicts in Chhattisgarh, according to the Wildlife Institute of India. Image Wikimedia

    Coal mining in the Hasdeo Aranya has been contentious from the outset. In 2011, the central government’s environment ministry gave the go-ahead to the Parsa East Kente Basan (PEKB) coal mine, despite advice to the contrary by the government’s Forest Advisory Committee.

    An Adani Group subsidiary commenced mining, but an appeal was mounted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) – India’s equivalent of an environment protection authority. The NGT ordered that advice should be sought from various bodies, including the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

    In November 2021, parts of the WII report were leaked to the Gaon Connection, which reported on the report’s warnings about the impacts of extended coal mining in the Hasdeo forests.

    The WII impact assessment considered several Hasdeo ‘coal blocks’. It noted that out of four highly biodiverse blocks identified, only the PEKB block is a currently operational coal mine. The report recommended that, since the PEKB mine is already operational, mining in the Hasdeo forests should be restricted to that one operation. It recommended that the other parts of the Hasdeo forests and the surrounding landscape should be declared ‘no-go areas’ to mining due to their ‘irreplaceable rich biodiversity and socio-cultural values’.

    T.S. Singh Deo, Minister for Health in the Chhattisgarh government, agrees that the Hasdeo forests should be a 'no go' zone for coal mining. Image courtesy Business Standard

    A senior member of the Chhattisgarh state government, health minister T.S. Singh Deo, responded to the report’s findings on Twitter.

    ‘A report by Wildlife Institute of India substantiates the stance of No-Go which is the only way to save Hasdeo region’ he tweeted. ‘I wish that these suggestions are implemented as policy decisions as had been done by UPA and @Jairam_Ramesh ji.’

    Meanwhile, the Chhattisgarh state government, of which Mr T.S. Singh Deo is a part, was pushing for accelerated approval for phase 2 of the PEKB mine.

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  • Nasty legal tactics by Adani Group quell freedom of speech in India

    The Adani Group’s pursuit of journalists and media outlets has intensified, with lawsuits initiated in two courts in Gujarat, the home state of Gautam Adani. These actions follow other defamation cases by Adani against activists, journalists and media platforms in India. The journalists concerned have been legally obliged to travel vast distances to attend court sessions in remote parts of India, despite dangers posed by the pandemic. These tactics follow the use of arrest warrants, gag orders, household raids and surveillance by authorities or Adani entities against critics of the Group’s business activities. Meanwhile, Gautam Adani is reported to have become Asia’s richest man.

    On 3 August 2021, the company Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (‘Adani Ports’) filed a defamation case against ‘Economic Times’ editor Bodhisatva Ganguli as well as journalists Pavan Burugula and Nehal Chaliawala. The case was filed in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gautam Adani’s home state of Gujarat. The allegedly defamatory story, published in June, said that a government regulatory body had frozen the accounts of three offshore companies that together held nearly US $6 billion worth of shares in Adani Group companies.

    The details of this story were also reported by AdaniWatch. A report on the lawsuit described above first appeared on 5 August in newslaundry.

    Adani Ports has filed a defamation case against journalists and an editor in the capital city of Gujarat, Gautam Adani's home state.

    Then, on 20 September 2021, a criminal case was filed in an obscure Gujarat court by Adani Transmission Ltd against journalists Latha Venkatesh and Nimesh Shah as well as TV18 Broadcast Ltd. The effect of this filing was to compel the journalists concerned to travel to a remote location in Gautam Adani’s home state of Gujarat to defend themselves against the claim, which pertained to the same stories as the above case. In criminal matters, personal appearance is required before the court for each hearing.

    Latha Venkatesh of CNBC TV18 is one of the most respected business journalists in India. She was summoned to Ahmedabad to discuss the story. Venkatesh, who was 62 years old, sought exemption from travel, especially given the prevailing COVID pandemic and requested that questioning be done through video conferencing. Her request was denied twice and she was directed to physically appear before the Crime Branch official in Ahmedabad. Since there was a threat of arrest, she had no option but to travel to get her statement recorded. The Crime Branch officials also wanted Nimesh Shah, another senior journalist involved with the CNBC TV18 story, to appear before them. They reportedly expressed displeasure that he did not appear even after they were informed that Nimesh did not receive any notice from them.

    Criminal case filed against a respected senior journalist in a remote part of Gujarat, compelling the journalist to travel during the pandemic.

    The tactics employed make it clear that journalists and media houses that publish stories not to the Group’s liking are being harassed by those in authority.

    Lenka Venkatesh - sued by an Adani company. Request for video questioning denied. Forced to travel to remote court during pandemic. Image Twitter

    One critic, who wished to remain anonymous, said that ‘it is regrettable that the police, instead of castigating the Adani Group, is acting as their hand maiden... the police and the judicial process (are putting) pressure on the media (to) discourage them from doing future stories on the Group and effectively pushing journalists towards self-censorship.’

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  • ‘Severe controversy’ – certifying body dumps Adani Ports due to coal link

    The Adani Group’s flagship company, Adani Ports, has been dumped from several indices that measure a corporation’s sustainability. The world’s largest provider of such services has judged that Adani Ports is embroiled in ‘severe controversy’ due to its physical and corporate links with Adani’s notorious Carmichael coal project. Climate campaigners have called for the entire Adani Group to be struck off such indices due to its inextricable involvement with expansion of the coal industry in India and Australia.

    In a media release, the campaign organisation Market Forces announced the dumping of Adani Ports:

    Major US investment research firm MSCI has announced to its clients that Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (Adani Ports) will be kicked off four MSCI climate indexes, after its links to the Carmichael thermal coal project in Australia escalated its score to ‘severe controversy’.

    Flooding of the rail link between Adani's Carmichael mine and Abbot Point in February 2021. Adani Ports owns the rail link, deemed a 'severe controversy' by MSCI research.

    MSCI is the world’s largest provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) indices which are designed to help investors integrate ESG or climate considerations into their portfolios.

    MSCI informed Market Forces that Adani Ports’ setting up of Bowen Rail Company, which will haul the coal extracted from the Carmichael mine, has resulted in Adani Ports being judged part of the ‘controversy’ associated with the notorious Carmichael coal project.

    A second email from MSCI to Market Forces confirmed the dumping of Adani Ports, meaning that Adani Ports will be removed from all Climate Change indices in which it is involved. These indices exclude companies with scores indicating controversies deemed to be ‘severe’ or ‘very severe’.

    MSCI told clients the four indices are:

    • 726305 – EM (EMERGING MARKETS) CLIMATE CHANGE
    • 726314 – AC ASIA PACIFIC CLIMATE CHANGE
    • 726316 – ACWI CLIMATE CHANGE
    • 734327 – ACWI IMI CLIMATE CHANGE

    This is not the first time Adani Ports has been removed from an ESG index. Standard and Poor’s removed the company from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in April 2021 due to its business links with the brutal Myanmar military. In addition, State Street excluded Adani Ports and Adani Enterprises from some MSCI-produced ESG indices it uses.

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  • Call for government to take over Adani's Mundra port in wake of seizures of drugs, radioactive materials

    Following seizures of heroin and radioactive materials at the Adani Group’s Mundra port, a senior journalist has called for a government takeover of the port.

    According to an Adani Ports media release:

    ‘On 18 Nov 2021, a joint Customs and DRI team seized several containers at Mundra port from a foreign vessel on concerns that they contained undeclared hazardous cargo. While the cargo was listed as Non-Hazardous, the seized containers had Hazard Class 7 markings (which indicate radioactive substances). Although the containers were not destined for Mundra Port or any other port in India but were en route from Karachi in Pakistan to Shanghai in China, the government authorities had them offloaded at Mundra Port for further inspection.’

    This followed the seizure in September of 3000 kg of heroin, also at Mundra port. According to Adani Ports:

    ‘On 16 Sep 2021, a joint operation by the DRI and Customs unearthed a large cache of contraband heroin from two containers from Afghanistan that had arrived at the Mundra International Container Terminal (MICT), Mundra Port. We thank and congratulate the DRI & Customs teams for seizing the illegal drugs and apprehending the accused.’

    Following the drug haul, said to be worth $2.7 billion (yes, billion), Adani Ports said it would no longer accept shipments at Mundra from the countries of Iran, Afghanistan or Pakistan (reported last month by AdaniWatch).

    But the interception by officials of radioactive materials arriving in Mundra from Karachi in Pakistan (and bound for China) has prompted a call for the port to be taken over by the government.

    S. Balakrishnan, a senior Indian journalist, has called for Adani's Mundra port to be taken over by the government

    S. Balakrishnan is a Mumbai-based senior journalist who used to be employed with the ‘Times of India,’ the most widely circulated English daily newspaper in the country and reported regularly on crime. Following the November seizure of radioactive materials at Mundra, he made a passionate appeal to the government on video.

    ‘Gautam Adani owes an explanation to the nation,’ he said. ‘The Government also needs to get its act together.’

    ‘It’s high time we told (Gautam Adani) that he’s not operating Mundra port any more. In the larger national interest, Mundra port should be taken over by the government.’

     


  • Embattled museum fails to justify greenwashing Adani’s coal

    In October 2021, the London Science Museum announced a sponsorship deal with part of the Adani Group that met with immediate outrage from many in the scientific and environmental fields. Adani was to fund a ‘green energy gallery’ (to open in 2023), aimed at ‘educating the public about the huge opportunities and challenges we face as the era of fossil fuels comes to an end’.

    Dame Mary Archer, Chair of the Science Museum Group, said: ‘We’re hugely grateful to Adani Green Energy for the significant financial support they are providing for this gallery.’

    Reacting to what they termed ‘greenwashing’ of Adani’s coal operations, citizen groups mounted protests outside the museum’s entrance. Two trustees resigned. The museum went on the defensive, arguing that it was merely attempting to ‘engage, debate and challenge’ society to make the global economy less reliant on carbon. It claimed that sponsorship achieves public good.

    Adivasi people from India's Hasdeo forests overlook Adani's PEKB coal mine. Photo Vijay Ramamurthy

    When it comes to encouraging sponsorship from fossil-fuel companies, the London Science Museum has form. In October, a professor of climate science at a British university stood down from the museum’s advisory board in protest at the museum’s willingness to accept sponsorship from the oil and gas industry. Shell had sponsored an exhibition at the museum with the title 'Our Future Planet'.

    In response to the fracas over the collaboration with Adani, an advisor to the museum, Mr Bob Ward, accused critics of being ‘confused’ because Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) is a different company from Adani Mining Limited. He acknowledged that both companies are part of the same group and went on to list the manufacture of solar panels, the building of roads and railways, and the operation of sewage treatment plants as other endeavours in which the Adani Group is engaged.

    Indigenous farmers were displaced to make way for Adani's Godda coal-power station in India. Photo Geoff Law

    It's hard to imagine a more disingenuous argument. Ward made no mention of the Adani Group’s extensive and growing investments in the coal industry in India, which includes two existing coal mines and 12 proposed new ones; six existing coal power stations, proposed expansions to three of them, and three proposed new ones; and at least six ports and other infrastructure for the transport of coal, as well as several proposals for expansion.

    This is before you consider the Adani Group’s coal mine in Indonesia. Mr Ward did mention Adani’s Carmichael coal project in Queensland, but in a dismissive fashion, despite the widespread fears that the infrastructure associated with this mine will open up a vast, previously untapped deposit of coal in Queensland to other exploiters. The dissent of local indigenous representatives also went unmentioned.

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  • Freedom of speech about Adani stifled in Adani’s home state of Gujarat

    In October 2021, police in the Indian state of Gujarat interrogated journalists who had written stories about the status of certain shareholdings in the Adani Group. The officers were responding to a complaint from disgruntled ‘investors’. Earlier, courts in Gujarat slapped an arrest warrant and gag orders on journalists that had reported on Adani. And in 2017, Gujarat police effectively ran an ABC current-affairs crew out of Adani’s main port town in Gujarat.

    Police from Gautam Adani’s home state of Gujarat have interrogated journalists after a complaint by ‘investors’ who claimed that negative news reports on Adani led to losses on their investments. The ‘investors’ alleged a conspiracy behind the news reports.

    'Welcome to Ahmedabad' (capital of Gujarat) from Adani Airports.

    In October 2021, media outlets in India reported that the crime branch of the police of Ahmedabad (the capital city of Gujarat) had summoned four journalists, including an editor, for questioning about the reports.

    ‘Under the provisions of Section 160 of the CRPC, the investigation officer can issue summons and in that context, we summoned the anchor of a leading news channel as well as three journalists of a leading financial newspaper, including an editor, regarding the application filed by three Ahmedabad investors who claimed to have been inflicted with a huge loss due to the misleading news stories regarding Adani Group,’ Investigation Officer, Police Inspector Nikhil Brahmbhatt of Ahmedabad Crime Branch (ACB) reportedly told media.

    It's perhaps telling that the police inspector referred to the news stories as ‘misleading’, rather than ‘allegedly misleading’.

    Authorities in Gujarat have responded with zeal to various complaints about media reporting on the Adani Group. Image ABC Four Corners

    Certain investors from Ahmedabad, the capital city of Gautam Adani’s home state of Gujarat, filed an application before the Crime Branch alleging a nationwide conspiracy to cheat investors of the country by publishing a 'misleading' and 'unverified' story about suspicious shareholdings of FPIs (foreign portfolio investors) in the Adani Group.

    ‘The Crime Branch has recorded the statements of all the four journalists as well as stock exchange official regarding the application. We are looking into the application and investigating whether a conspiracy was hatched by the TV media outlets with clear intentions and other concerns related to it. If the ACB finds any merit to the claims made in the application, then we'll be filing a formal complaint against the media outlets,’ the police inspector added.

    The offending news reports pertained to the status of several ‘foreign portfolio investors’ of companies in the Adani Group.

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  • Indigenous leaders from India denounce Modi over coal hypocrisy

    Indigenous leaders from India have slammed Prime Minister Modi for hypocrisy at the COP26 climate summit, according to Survival International. While presenting a climate-friendly face in Glasgow, Modi has instigated a coal rush at home. New coal mines have been auctioned and approved in the biodiverse Hasdeo forests, home to many groups of Adivasi (indigenous) people. Adani is a major developer and operator of coal projects in the forests of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

    Representatives of India’s Adivasi (Indigenous) people have denounced PM Narendra Modi for proclaiming his green credentials at COP, whilst simultaneously planning a massive expansion of coal mining on their lands.

    The lands and livelihoods of tens of thousands of tribal people will be destroyed under Modi’s plan to open 55 new coal mines, expand 193 existing ones, and produce 1 billion tonnes of coal a year. Eighty per cent of the new mines will be on Adivasi land.

    Vast areas of tribal forests are being sold off without the people’s consent. Corporations including Adani, Jindal and Vedanta are snapping up coalfields which are being auctioned as part of Modi’s coal rush.

    The landscape of India's Hasdeo forests, home to the Adivasi Gond people and a wealth of biodiversity - threatened by Adani coal mines. Image Vijay Ramamurthy

    One of the areas targeted is the priceless Hasdeo Forest in Chhattisgarh, home to twenty thousand Adivasis. Two mines are already operational there, and a third, Parsa, has just been approved. The Parsa mine will be operated by mining giant Adani, whose subsidiary was recently announced as a sponsor of London’s Science Museum.

    Shakuntala, an Oraon leader from Hasdeo, said: 'If the mine comes to Hasdeo forest, the entire region, including the Adivasi villages will be destroyed. The forest gives us everything we need – if the mine is opened there will be nothing left. Everything will be uprooted. The Earth is our Mother. We are the sons and daughters of the Earth. So how can we watch anyone destroy our Mother? We are ready to give our lives for Mother Earth.

    Indian tribal women march against coal mining in the Hasdeo forests. Image Vijay Ramamurthy

    'Whenever the government wants, it gives our land away for industries and coal mining. So we Adivasis are not free. We do not accept this slavery. We will give everything we have to resist this slavery: our bodies, our souls, our lives, but we will never accept it. We will not give our forests and lands away. If we do, the Adivasi existence will be lost forever.'

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  • Adani to scrap its massive port development in Myanmar

    'The company’s risk management committee, after a review of the situation, has decided to work on a plan on exiting company’s investment in Myanmar, including exploring any divestment opportunities,' Adani Ports informed the stock exchanges on 27 October 2021.

    While Adani had foreshadowed in May 2021 that it might abandon its Myanmar port investment, the actual announcement came as a bombshell.

    Numerous news outlets reported on Adani's decision, which means the scrapping of a US $290-million new port development on the Yangon River in Myanmar's biggest city. The reports said the decision could result in the writing down of US $127 million.

    For over two years, human-rights advocates have slammed Adani's business arrangements with the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), a company owned by the Myanmar military. In 2019, the criticism focussed on the atrocities carried out by the military against the Rohingya people and subsequent damming reports by a UN fact-finding mission.

    Rohingya refugees flee the carnage and atrocities wrought by the Myanmar military in 2019.

    Matters came to a head in February 2021 after the military overthrew the Myanmar government and instigated a bloody crackdown on civilian protests. Human-rights groups are reported to have estimated the number of civilian casualties at over 1000.

    Links between Adani's flagship company, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone ('Adani Ports'), and the coup leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, became an international embarrassment to the Adani Group.

    Images of the general being feted by Adani Ports during his visit to Mundra in 2019 became a thing of notoriety. In March 2021, a report by two human-rights groups said that Adani Ports had paid $30 million in land-lease fees to the MEC.

    Myanmar's coup leader visits Adani facilities in India, 2019.

    The USA applied sanctions to Myanmar, the MEC and the general. In April 2021, the Adani Ports company was struck off the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In May, Adani Ports said it could quit its Myanmar development as a result of sanctions.

     

     

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  • published Locals resist coal mining at Gondulpara (sic) in Blog 2021-10-18 09:47:00 +1100

    Locals repel coal-mining officials at Gondulpara (sic) while armed police look on

    In November 2020, Adani won the right to develop a coal deposit that occurs under villages and forests at Gondalpura in the northern Indian state of Jharkhand.  As yet the coal resources here are largely undeveloped and the local inhabitants want to keep it that way. They have seen the devastation caused by coal mines elsewhere. The Adani coal block is contiguous with a block allocated to a different company. In September 2021, officials came to demark the boundary between the two and were repelled by a crowd of angry villagers. Formal meetings of village councils have barred mining officials from entering village precincts without their permission.

    Resistance is building to the exploitation of coal deposits in the Gondalpura area of Jharkhand. One coal block, misnamed ‘Gondulpara’, has been allocated to Adani and the other at Badam is allocated to NTPC.  When officials from NTPC arrived on 29 September to demarcate the coal blocks, they were repelled by a crowd of angry locals, as can be seen in these videos. Armed police attended the encounter.

    Shortly afterwards, on 2 October, a Gram Sabha at Badam resolved not to let officials of any mining company into the village without the permission of the village council.

    A village council meeting at Gondalpura on 9 September 2021 bars mining officials from village precincts without permission.

    Earlier, on 9 September, a village council attended by headman Shrikant Nirala, the ward member, affirmed that ownership of the area’s natural resources, including coal and forests, legally belonged to the Gram Sabha (village council) by virtue of the Panchayat Extension in Scheduled Areas (PESA) 1996. It resolved that no officials of the mining company (Adani) would be allowed into the village.

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  • Gautam Adani to greenwash coal at the Glasgow climate summit?

    Gautam Adani could be speaking in front of world leaders and investors at the Glasgow climate summit. If so, that would be the world’s most blatant act of greenwashing. The billionaire is founder of the Adani Group which is bulldozing ahead with more coal mines and coal-power stations. To preserve the credibility and objectives of the summit, the UK government should prevent him from attending.

    Sources have informed campaign group Market Forces that Gautam Adani, head of the corporate conglomerate driving the Carmichael coal project in Australia, could be speaking in front of world leaders and investors at the upcoming summits on climate and investment in the UK.

    If so, these summits would provide the perfect platform for greenwashing Adani’s deteriorating reputation. The Adani Group makes great efforts to publicise its investments in renewable energy while keeping quiet about its avalanche of new coal projects. Adani should not be given such a high-profile opportunity to present himself and the Group he heads as climate heroes.

    As the host of next week’s Global Investment Summit in London and the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, the UK Government is responsible for the speakers’ entry into Britain. These platforms should go only to people that are absolutely committed to solving the climate crisis, not to billionaire coal barons invested in what could become the biggest coal mine in Australia and a slew of coal mines and power stations across indigenous lands in India.

    Call on the UK Government to block Adani from its climate events

    Adani's Godda coal-power station under construction in India, February 2020. Photo Geoff Law

    AdaniWatch has previously exposed the role of the Adani Group in worsening the world’s deadly addiction to coal. It includes:

    • The notorious Carmichael coal project in Queensland.
    • Several proposed new coal mines in tribal areas in India, including the Hasdeo forests where indigenous forest dwellers and farmers have just completed a 300-km march in protest against Adani’s plans.
    • The proposed Godda and Pench coal-power stations in India which have displaced local farmers.
    • New or expanded port and rail facilities to transport the ever-increasing quantities of coal.

    An indigenous forest dweller of India's Hasdeo area overlooks the Adani-operated PEKB mine that obliterated forests and ancestral lands. Photo V. Ramamurthy

    Even the Adani Group’s renewable-energy initiatives come at an enormous cost to the environment and indigenous people, blanketing entire landscapes in solar panels, irrespective of endangered wildlife or traditional users.

    Send UK Prime Minister Johnson an email now asking him to refuse Adani a platform for greenwashing.


  • published Adani to move into the news-media business in Blog 2021-10-11 10:11:38 +1100

    Adani to move into the news-media business

    With the scope of its business activities expanding by the month, the Adani Group is attracting more and more scrutiny of its conduct. The rocket-like rise in the personal fortune of Gautam Adani has also not gone without comment. With an imminent move into the business of news reporting, some have speculated that the Adani Group is seeking to protect its reputation by asserting more control over reporting of its activities.

    In September 2021, it was reported by ‘The News Minute’ that the Adani Group was making a foray into the media after appointing veteran journalist Sanjay Pugalia as Chief Executive Officer and Editor in Chief.

    As a print journalist Pugalia worked with Business Standard and Navbharat Times. In a career spanning four decades, he was also a regular contributor to BBC Hindi Radio during the 1990s and worked at various media houses such as Zee Media, Star News and Aaj Tak, and was approached some time ago by Australia’s Channel 9 network to run an operation in India.

    Pugalia was also reported to have quit his position at Quint on 16 September. 

    ‘Sanjay joins us from Quint Digital Media Ltd, where he was President and Editorial Director. We look forward to leveraging Sanjay's wide-ranging experience in media, communications and branding across the Adani Group's diverse range of Businesses and in our Nation building initiatives,’ the Adani Group said in an internal circular, according to OpIndia.

    Best Media Info reported that Pugalia was chosen because he has a track record of building news products from scratch.

    Asked why Pugalia was chosen for the task, the company insider said that though his last organisation was not on the ‘right side’ of the political establishment, his individual equity is beyond party lines and he has excellent experience of running organisations in print, digital and TV.

    It was not known what kind of media vehicle the Adani Group has in mind, but it is speculated that the Group will embark on a TV and digital-media venture, possibly including an existing news channel. 

    According to an insider quoted by Best Media Info, ‘the media foray won't be just around business news but it will focus on the political economy as well. The group was planning it for a long time. But things started catching pace when a recent story against the group impacted its reputation and market (capitalisation) hard,’ referring to the tumble in the share prices of key companies in the Adani Group in June following news reports about the status of its offshore investors. The Adani Group's commitment to exploiting more coal in new mines and power stations has also received widespread attention.

    A new Adani coal-power station under construction in India - the Group's expansion of coal exploitation has harmed its reputation. Photo Geoff Law

    Many media companies in India are said to be distressed because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, creating opportunities of acquisition for Adani. 

    There was intense speculation in social media that the Adani Group would be buying into NDTV (New Delhi Television), a prominent media organisation with a popular website and television channels in English and Hindi, following which the share prices of the media group’s publicly-listed company went up. Thereafter, NDTV issued a statement to the stock exchanges formally denying that it was for sale. The statement clarified that the company’s ‘promoters are not in discussions now, nor have been, with any entity for a change in ownership or a divestment of their stake in NDTV.’

    In recent years, various law-enforcing agencies and regulatory authorities have been reported as having investigated allegations that the company’s financial dealings have not been above board and that NDTV’s promoters, the husband-wife team of Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, had been prevented from leaving India. The Roys have argued that they have nothing to hide and have been targetted for their independent coverage of news in the country.

    Subsequently, the Adani Group, too, issued a public statement describing the claims as factually incorrect.

    The media in India continue to speculate about whether Adani would set up a new media venture from scratch or buy into an existing entity. A senior editor told AdaniWatch on condition of anonymity: ‘There are quite a few media ventures in India that have been languishing in recent years and their financial condition has deteriorated especially after the pandemic.’

    One such media venture is Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited, based out of Hyderabad in southern India, that published daily newspapers in English and Telugu, including Deccan Chronicle and the Asian Age. This company had been referred to the National Company Law Tribunal; the Srei Group based in Kolkata had sought to bail it out. Later, Srei itself got into financial trouble.

    The editor quoted added: ‘Deccan Chronicle is waiting to be bailed out. It may be a relatively small company for Adani who is said to be the second-richest man in India and Asia. But it could be a good beginning for him to enter the media without having to go through the hassles of setting up a brand new venture.’

    Irrespective of what transpires in the coming days, one thing is clear from Pugalia’s appointment: Gautam Adani realises that it has become important for him and the corporate conglomerate he heads to make a concerted effort to counter some negative media coverage he has been receiving.

     


  • The long march to save Hasdeo - pictures and information

    On 4 October, the Adivasi (indigenous) people of India's Hasdeo forests kicked off 10 days of protest against the takeover of their ancestral lands for coal mining. Their Long March to Save Hasdeo will take them over 300 km from the threatened villages to the capital of the state of Chhattisgarh, in which the Hasdeo forests occur. Along the way, they will pass through a heavily industrialised area polluted by decades of coal extraction and burning. Their defiant demonstration will culminate in Raipur where meetings with the governor and chief minister are planned. The Adani Group is one of the corporate conglomerates driving new coal mines in the richly biodiverse Hasdeo forests.

    The main organising body of the march is HABSS (Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, or the Committee for the Struggle to Save the Hasdeo Forest).

    Participants in the 300-km march to save the Hasdeo forests in India. Photo HABSS

    The route of the 10-day Long March is as follows:

    Day

    Date

    March begins at:

    March passes through:

    Program and night stop:

     

    1.

     

     

     

    4 October

    Fatehpur village, Surjuga district, start at 11 am

    Tara village, Puta, Madanpur (Korba district), Meeting at Morga at 4pm

     

    Stop at Kendai village

    2.

    5 October

    Kendai village, Korba district,

    start at 8 am

    Nawapara Parla, Afternoon stop at Chotiya, Lamna, Banjari Dand, Madai, Gursiya

     

    Meeting and stop at Gursiya

    3.

    6 October

    Gursiya village, Korba district,

    start at 8 am

    Konkona village, Afternoon stop at Podi, Uproda, Tanakhar, Katghora

    Evening public meeting and night stop at Katghora town

     

    4.

    7 October

    Katghora town, Korba district,

    start at 8 am

    Sutarra, Kapubahara, Potpani, Pali

    Meeting and night stop at Pali, Korba district

     

    5.

    8 October

    Pali village,

    Korba district.

    start at 8 am

    Budbud, Podi Parsada, Bilaspur district

    Meeting and night stop at Ratanpur, Bilaspur district

     

    6.

    9 October

    Ratanpur town, Bilaspur district,

    start at 8 am

    Gatori, Bilaspur

    Public meeting and night stop at Bilaspur city

     

    7.

    10 October

    Bilaspur city

    start at 8 am

    Bodri, Bilha Mod, Nagpur village, Sargaon

    Night stop at Sargaon village, Mungeli district

     

    Read more

  • Indian tribal people rally and march to fight Adani coal mines

    On 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, hundreds of indigenous tribal people turned out to defend India’s Hasdeo forests from an onslaught of coal mines, despite the efforts of supporters of Adani and the coal industry to disrupt proceedings. Adani has already helped destroy part of the Hasdeo forest with one mine. More are scheduled in the wake of an auction of dozens of coal deposits across the country by the national government. On Monday 4 October, citizens resisting the demolition of their environment and way of life will commence a 300-km-long march from the threatened villages to the state capital, Raipur.

    The Hasdeo forests are at centre stage of India’s conflict between coal mining and the rights of indigenous (Adivasi) people. Eighteen coal blocks occur in a landscape that is home to a diverse array of mammals (including elephants), fish, reptiles and birds. The Adivasi have tended these forests, including sacred groves of trees, for hundreds of years.

    In a call to action the Committee for the Struggle to Save the Hasdeo Forest said ‘we are bound to resist and conduct a satyagrah to safeguard our water, forest, land, livelihoods and culture’. Satyagrah means ‘insistence of truth’, a term coined by Gandhi during India’s struggle for freedom.

    ‘On 4 October, we will bow to Gandhiji and start our march from Fattehpur village to Raipur, the capital of the state of Chhattisgarh.’

    ‘We appeal to all citizens who love the Constitution and Democracy, all who are committed to safeguard the waters, forests, land and environment to join us in this gathering and the march.’

    The group accused the state and national governments of ‘joining hands with mining companies’ such as Adani.

    Adivasi people rally against Adani coal mines in the Hasdeo forests. Image Vijay Ramamurthy

    One of the Adani Group’s main enterprises in India is the business of developing and operating coal mines. Adani’s objective is to reach a production level of 200 million tonnes of coal per annum across its mines in India, Indonesia and Australia. In the Hasdeo area, the company has established itself as the operator of choice by the mine owners.

    One such mine – the Parsa East and Kanta Basin (PEKB) mine – has been operated by Adani Enterprises Ltd since 2019. The project has had a sorry history. Originally, approval to clear the forest for the mine was refused by the relevant government authority, a decision then overruled by the minister. The forest was then stripped. Mining is well advanced.

    The massive excavation has left a sacred grove pathetically isolated by trenches and pits. Mining operations have also agitated elephants, leading to an increase in dangerous encounters – some fatal – between the large, wild animals and the Adivasi people. Villagers complain that parts of their environment have been contaminated by coal dust.

    Nevertheless, the Government has approved a new mine, the Parsa mine, in the Hasdeo forests. The coal project is being developed by the Adani Group, which says the mine will eventually produce five million metric tonnes of coal per annum.

    Read more

  • On Gandhi’s birthday, Indian tribal forest dwellers commence rally and long march against coal mines

    For generations, tribal people have dwelled amongst the Hasdeo forests of north-central India. Their way of life is now jeopardised as new coal mines obliterate forests, farms and villages. Local advocates argue that the mining is illegal under various laws designed to protect tribal people (Adivasi). But that has not stopped governments from allocating huge coal deposits to the Adani Group to develop. Disgusted by the supine attitude of their elected representatives, the Adivasi people have planned a long march from the affected villages to the state capital. Today, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, their protest begins with a rally of local representatives.

    This is an edited call to action by the Adivasi (indigenous) people of the Hasdeo forests:

    To save the Hasdeo river, the forest and the environment, to save our livelihoods, culture and very existence, a grand gathering will occur on 2 October (the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi) from 11 am onwards, a ‘gathering of gram sabhas’ at Fattepur village.

    On 4 October a 10-day long march from Fattepur to the state capital, Raipur, will commence.

    Comrades Johar!

    The federal and the state governments, instead of protecting the rights of tribal and other traditional forest dwellers, have joined hands with mining companies and have been working towards devastating our forest and land. The threat of climate change has, in one way or another, threatened the existence of every creature on this planet; even then governments along with mining companies are eager to destroy the beautiful and huge Hasdeo forest.

    As we all know, the Hasdeo forest is a vast stretch of contiguous forest which is rich in biodiversity. It is also the catchment area of the Hasdeo River and water supplies which quench the thirst of the people and fields. This is a habitat and corridor for important animals such as elephants.

    In 2010, the federal Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change announced that the entire Hasdeo forest was a ‘No-Go Area’ for mining. However, under corporate pressure, the same ministry went against the decision of the Forest Advisory Committee of not allowing any mining in the Hasdeo forest and approved the Parsa East Kente Basen (PEKB) coal mine.

    The PEKB coal mine, developed and operated by Adani, in the Hasdeo forests of India.

    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) cancelled this approval in 2014. Now, coal mining in the 750 hectares of forest land continues on the basis of a stay order of the Supreme Court and, at present, we believe that this mine does not have any legal approvals for clearing the forest. In 2015, 20 gram sabhas (local representatives) of the Hasdeo Aranya region passed motions to the federal government which stated that no coal blocks within this region should be allocated or put up for auction. They said that if these allocations or auctions took place we would strongly oppose them and under no circumstances would we let our forest and land be destroyed.

    We have constitutional rights to protect our water, forest, land, livelihoods and culture. These rights are granted to us through the Panchayat Extension in Scheduled Areas (PESA) 1996 and under Article 5 of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA) 2006.

    Despite this, the corporate prostrating Modi government has allotted seven coal mines in our region for development by state-owned companies. The state governments have in turn appointed Adani to develop and mine some of these blocks as Mine Developer and Operator (MDO).

    Read more

  • Chief Minister gets Tamil seafood feast instead of Adani megaport

    Just north of the huge Indian city of Chennai is series of wetlands, estuaries and fishing villages that the Adani Group plans to transform into a massive port complex. A spirited campaign by fishing communities and other locals gained so much traction that the DMK’s candidate for Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was elected to power on a platform of cancelling the project. In the first session of the state assembly, the new Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin, reassured people on the floor of the assembly that his pre-election pledge would be fulfilled.

    This was great news for the people of Ennore, Kattupalli and Pulicat. Nevertheless, they have not given up their efforts to protect their local environment and livelihoods. On 16 October 2021, UN food day, the women of one of the districts that would be affected by the Adani megaport project will hold a traditional Tamil seafood feast to highlight the importance of the local ecosystem.

    Here is their invitation to Chief Minister Stalin:

    Respected Chief Minister,

    We are women from Pazhaverkadu, Thiruvallur district. On behalf of our people, we invite you and your family to a seafood feast in our village on 16 October 2021 – the UN World Food Day. Fish is among the healthiest of foods, and Pazhaverkadu is famous for its tasty, wholesome and healthy seafood. We hope you will take us up on our invitation and sample the traditional recipes prepared using the fish of the season.

    As women, we do a lot more than just cook fish – from catching fish, to curing it, auctioning and marketing it and adding value to the fish catch in myriad ways, women are the backbone of the fisheries economy of the region. That said, food is important. In food, there is tradition and the hand-me-down wisdom of our women ancestors.

    Tamil women organise a seafood feast for Chief Minister after pledge to save coast from Adani's port development.

    Our invitation to you is our way of wishing you good health and a long life and thanking you for reassuring us in the beginning of this assembly session that you will fulfil your election promises. We are sure you recall the threat to our lives, living spaces and livelihoods posed by the megaport proposed by Adani. Your promise means a lot to us.

    Between the sea and the Pazhaverkadu lagoon, we are blessed with year-round fishing, and fish-consumers with year-round availability of fish. The nearshore area that Adani wishes to convert into land by dumping earth into the sea is also one of the most productive areas in the sea. Fish are not found everywhere at sea. The best places to find them are in places where the ocean floor has Paar (rocks/reefs) or Seru (mud). These are the best fishing grounds. The portion of the sea where Adani’s port is proposed has six seru paguthi (where ocean floor is muddy). These seru are so important to our livelihoods that we have given each one its own name – Alamaram seru, lock seru, kalanji seru, kalanji koda seru, koda seru. These are the grounds where the kanankeluthi, mulima, panna, kala, kadal kezhangan, udupathi, navarai, sankara, semakkera, vellra and kadal nandu graze.

    The fish, and the seas and the lagoon that they come from may be the same, but our recipes are as rich and diverse as tamil society. Hindu, muslim, christian – each of us that calls Pazhaverkadu our home has our own specialities and signature recipes. We believe our multicultural food and our peaceful seaside location will please your palate and relax your mind.

    We do not wish to use our invitation to a feast as a time to speak about the dangers of the proposed port. Rather we wish you to come to our village to taste the food to understand the correctness of your promise to cancel the port.

    We promise that amongst us, you will experience a slice of Tamil Nadu that you will forever cherish.

    With love and respect,

    1. Rajalakshmi
    2. Gnanasundari
    3. Sinthuja
    4. Rajasri
    5. Vijaya
    6. Jayakodi

    (Women of Pazhaverkadu)

    The last sTamil women organise a seafood feast for Chief Minister after pledge to save coast from Adani's port development.


  • How to stop Adani’s coal mine from guzzling precious Queensland water

    Adani’s Carmichael mine wants to guzzle 12.5 billion litres of water each year, despite the major impacts this will have on farms and the environment. The public has until Monday 27 October 2021 to make a submission to the federal government urging it to carry out a full assessment of the impacts of this consumption.

    Earlier this year, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) challenged Adani’s water plan in the Federal Court and won. In May 2021, the court determined that Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme (NGWS) must undergo a full independent environment assessment. After the Federal Court ruling, Adani claimed it didn’t need the water from the NGWS to operate the mine. But now, Adani’s water scheme is back on the table. It’s a reminder that Adani doesn’t have all the approvals and all the water it needs to operate. 

    A surge of submissions calling for a full independent assessment will maximise pressure on the federal government to ensure that all impacts are considered.

    The StopAdani campaign has put together a handy guide with all the information required to make a persuasive submission: 

    Click here to get started.

    Adani is not above the law. The full independent environment assessment, arising from what’s known as the water trigger, is a core feature of our national environment laws. It is designed to protect Australia’s precious aquifers and rivers from the impacts of large developments, such as Adani’s proposed Carmichael mine.

    Doongmabulla Springs, sensitive ecology and a sacred site whose waters are threatened by the Adani coal project.

    Unless we make our voices heard, the Federal government could try to find a way around it for Adani’s benefit. This is a chance for citizens to make sure the full weight of the law is applied to scrutinise Adani’s plan to exploit Queensland's water.

    Key reasons why Adani’s water plan should not be approved include:

    • Significant impacts on water resources. Australia’s sensitive, dry inland environments, and the farmers that rely on them, are dependent on water available during periods of high rainfall to replenish reserves. Adani’s application states the NGWS will not have a significant impact on water resources, despite enabling the company to take up to 12.5 billion litres of water per year. However, Adani has been shown to consistently underestimate the environmental impacts of its mining operations and its statements should not be accepted at face-value. The Environment Minister must require Adani to complete a full environmental impact assessment that considers the impact of its water pipeline on Queensland’s river systems and wetlands, including the Scartwater Lagoon.
    Read more

  • Adani a beneficiary of Indian Govt crackdown on NGOs

    In July 2021, government authorities in India placed restrictions on international funding to 10 non-government organisations with operations in India. The NGOs are active in campaigns on climate change and human rights, including efforts to tackle child slavery. The move is part of a broader crackdown by the Modi government on independent criticism of its policies and performance. As one of the prime developers of the coal industry in India, the Adani Group will be a major beneficiary of the government’s impairment of the climate campaign.

    In September 2021, The Hindu reported that the Reserve Bank of India had informed banks that 10 NGOs now required government approval for the receipt of funds from abroad. The organisations are based in Australia, the USA and Europe, and deal with the impacts of climate change, environmental destruction and child exploitation. According to the report, the organisations include the European Climate Foundation, Omidyar Network, Humanity United, the Stardust Foundation, the Walk Free Foundation, the Minderoo Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the Freedom Fund, the Laudes Foundation and the Legatum Fund.

    Under the provisions of the ‘stringent’ Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010, the flow of international funds to these groups will now require the approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The technical term is that they have been placed on the ‘PRC list’ (Prior Reference Category). They join another 80 international organisations on the list which have had their Indian activities severely curtailed by the government, including Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

    The Adani Group is one of India’s foremost developers of coal mines and new coal-power stations. Adani also plans to import coal from its notorious Carmichael mine in Australia to burn at the Godda power plant in Jharkhand. The Group’s plans to more than double coal-power generation and coal extraction have been detailed by AdaniWatch, as have the impacts of this hugely harmful agenda on human health, indigenous farmers and the environment. Representatives of local communities that challenge the corporate conglomerate’s plans find themselves outgunned, both by Adani’s wealth and by government authorities complicit with the Group’s ambitions. Any diminution of outside help to these brave battlers is yet another boon to Adani.

    Adani's Godda power station is degrading the lives of dispossessed and adjacent indigenous farmers. Photo Geoff Law

    The Adani Group itself has instigated attacks on the ability of its critics to speak out. These include:

    • A defamation lawsuit against veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, leading to an arrest warrant (suspended after widespread outcry) and onerous court orders.
    • Another lawsuit which has led to a gag order against Paranjoy and another journalist, Abir Dasgupta. The order prevents them from reporting on the Adani Group.
    • A lawsuit against Australian climate campaigner Ben Pennings, who was the public face of Galilee Blockade, a community group aiming to protect the Earth’s climate by keeping coal in the ground. In preparing its case, Adani arranged secret surveillance of Pennings and his young family, a move described as ‘creepy and abhorrent’.
    • A reported court action against a YouTuber who had criticised the Adani Group’s agenda in agricultural businesses at the height of the ongoing farmers’ protests.

    The squeeze on reporting of the Adani Group’s activities does immense harm to the public interest in India. Adani’s businesses touch on almost every aspect of life, including real estate, power generation, power transmission, finance, data management, freight, food, cooking oils and defence industries.

    The Adani Group is ubiquitous in India. Photo Geoff Law

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Wilderness conservationist, author and bushwalker, partner of Amanda Sully, father of Elliott. 2010 Churchill Fellow.