Geoff Law

  • 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.

    (Story continues below)

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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

     

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  • 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.

    (Story continues below)

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  • 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).

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  • 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.
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  • 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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  • New Adani mine project puts remote Indian villages at the coalface

    In November 2020, Adani won the bidding to develop a huge coal deposit near the quiet Indian village of Gondalpura. In June 2021, Adani officials met with affected villagers and were told, in no uncertain terms, that the people would not give up their land for Adani’s coal project. The stage was set for a very familiar conflict in the rural hinterland of India – between indigenous villagers fighting for land, livelihoods and a way of life, and the Adani conglomerate with its insatiable appetite for coal.

    The town of Gondalpura and its many surrounding villages occur in the state of Jharkhand, about 400 km north-west of Kolkata. Jharkhand is a relatively new Indian state, cleaved from Bihar in 2000. Of its population of 20 million, about 28% is tribal and a further 12% belong to ‘scheduled castes’, generally people from a poor socio-economic background. Most people live and work in the rural areas, where farming is the main source of income. Jharkhand has a very rich biodiversity, with many species of birds, reptiles and mammals inhabiting the sub-tropical forests.

    Jharkhand forest, farmland and villages in the path of Adani's next big coal mine

    In June 2020, the central Indian government of Narendra Modi launched an auction of 39 ‘coal blocks’ throughout India. These are undeveloped deposits of coal, generally occurring beneath forest and farmland. The Adani Group has been a keen bidder, winning the right to exploit at least five of the blocks. This agenda comes on top of the Group’s existing coal projects in India which include three operating coal mines and several under development.

    The coal block near Gondalpura, in Jharkhand, has been mis-named Gondulpara. In November 2020, it was reported that Adani Enterprises had placed the winning bid for Gondulpara (sic) and its reserve of 176 million tonnes of coal. The annual production capacity has been reported at four million tonnes. It is not the Adani Group’s first foray into Jharkhand, with a subsidiary of Adani Power developing the Godda power station, the intended destination for coal from Adani’s infamous Carmichael project in Australia.

    The proposed Gondulpara (sic) coal mine is in the Hazaribag District of Jharkhand, about 30 km north of the state capital. According to the government’s official description, the ‘project area’ is 520 ha and contains within it the villages of Phulang, Hahe, Gondulpara (sic) and Gali. In other words, these villages will be wiped off the map if the proposed mine proceeds. This document says that about 500 households will be directly affected by the massive excavation required to extract the coal, but another estimate puts the figure at 1950.

    Local people in the Gondalpura area, where villages, farmland and forests are earmarked for destruction by another Adani coal mine.

    Aerial images of the Gondalpura environs show a mixture of forest and lightly wooded farmlands dotted with dwellings and hamlets. On-the-ground photographs show crops of rice and sugarcane as well as mango and mahua trees. The land clearly produces a lot of food for its inhabitants and those in nearby towns and cities.

    A green and fertile land about to be obliterated for Adani's Gondulpara (sic) coal mine

    In this part of India, the steeper hills are generally covered with natural forests that are the home of local wildlife. Various documents state that one quarter of the area proposed for development is forested. About five kilometres from the proposed coal mine is the Isko cultural-heritage site with its caves, overhangs, outcrops and rock art. It’s not known what impact the mine, with its great influx of outsiders, will have on these sensitive features.

    An example of rock art at Isko. Courtesy Subhashis Das

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  • Indigenous tribal leader calls for support to stop Adani

    Statement from Adrian Burragubba, Wangan and Jagalingou tribal leader & Nagana Yarrbayn senior cultural custodian

    Friends, 

    Adani threatens our sacred Doongmabulla Springs with destruction. And as Adani drains and pollutes the underground water for its massive mining project, we have put the Environment Minister under fire.

    The Queensland Government is failing in its duty of care to guarantee the human rights of all Wangan & Jagalingou people. We need your support!

    Write to the minister now and urge her to meet with the Nagana Yarrbayn Cultural Custodians, to hear our concerns and take the actions we have requested.

    Doongmabulla Springs, a W&J sacred site threatened by Adani's Carmichael mine

    We are witnessing the rapid destruction of our land, water and culture by Adani.

    The government is responsible for this yet continues to ignore our calls for urgent action. We won’t be fobbed off. The Environment Minister, the Hon. Meaghan Scanlon, has the power to stop work on Adani's mine and order an independent investigation into the mounting threats to our sacred Doongmabulla Springs.

    We are asking the Minister to show us proper respect and meet with us to hear our story and learn what's happening on our country.

    Take action: let the Queensland government know you want them to work with W&J cultural custodians to protect the sacred Doongmabulla Springs and uphold W&J human rights.

    Our lawyers are preparing legal challenges while we stand our ground on Country. The government must enforce environmental protection laws. But if the Government won’t act, we will take enforcement action ourselves.

    Adani must stop work!

    People can hear about the Nagana Yarrbayn cultural custodians, and protecting the water, in the latest W&J video.

    We’re the real custodians – we’re the ones who stand up and fight for our country and the survival of our people, our law, our culture and our language. That’s why we’re here. This is our life – we lay our life down for the law of the land.

    This government hasn’t heard anything I’ve told them. They are acting at the behest of Adani. We asked them to stand with us and fight against this mining company – and all they did was gang up and fight against us.

    Our human rights are threatened, right here and now.

    We need your support to bring legal challenges to protect the water and defend our human rights

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  • published Will Adani benefit from big palm-oil push by Modi? in Blog 2021-09-02 09:39:41 +1000

    Will Adani benefit from big palm-oil push by Modi?

    In August, India’s government announced a scheme to increase dramatically the area of India producing palm oil, a product used in the manufacture of hundreds of consumer goods. It’s part of a $US 1.5-billion push for self-sufficiency in edible oils. It comes despite warnings from wildlife authorities about the impacts of large-scale conversion of forests and farms to plantations. Meanwhile, an Adani joint venture in palm oil has hit a road hump in its own push for expansion.

    In August 2021, India’s Modi government launched a US $1.5-billion push to make India self-sufficient in edible oils, with a focus on increasing oil-palm plantations in the north-eastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

    PM Modi said palm oil constitutes 55 per cent of India’s imports of edible oils and that there was a need to change that situation. He announced a ‘national edible oil mission-oil palm’ (NEOM-OP) to provide raw resources as well as the technology to extract oil.

    ‘Oil-palm cultivation can be promoted in north-eastern states and Andaman and Nicobar Islands,’ Mr Modi said.

    The move comes despite warnings about the impacts on biodiversity of converting large tracts of natural forests to plantations.

    Will forests like this in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands be destroyed for plantations of oil palm? Photo Pinterest

    The Indian Express reported on interactions between the courts, relevant governments and expert bodies on the issue. In 2019, the administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands approached India’s Supreme Court seeking an end to the court’s 2002 ban on plantations of exotic oil palm in the archipelago. The Supreme Court, in turn, asked an expert body for its opinion. That body was the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), an autonomous institute under the Environment Ministry.

    In January 2020, ICFRE submitted its report recommending that introduction of oil palm ‘should be avoided’ in biodiversity rich areas, including grasslands, without detailed studies on its ecological impact.

    However, it appears that subsequent machinations by officials from the departments of environment and agriculture are clearing the way for the plantations to proceed. An Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research (IIOPR) has taken up the cudgels on behalf of the industry.

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  • Four new coal blocks feed Adani’s ‘deadly addiction’ to coal

    The year 2021 has seen urgent calls by international authorities for an end to new coal developments. The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency have both warned that reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 means no new coal developments as of now. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, called for the world to end its ‘deadly addiction’ to coal. Yet in the face of these dire warnings, Adani is planning more and more new coal mines, opening new coal-power stations, and expanding its coal ports. This is an update to an earlier story about the Adani Group and coal, since which the Group has taken on the development of another four major deposits of coal in India.

    Adani’s Carmichael coal project in north Queensland has acquired international notoriety. Most profile pieces on the Adani Group’s multi-multi-billionaire founder, Gautam Adani, refer to it. However, few commentators go into detail about the juggernaut of coal exploitation the Adani Group is piloting in India or the trail of misery left in its wake.

    In June 2021, AdaniWatch outlined the components of Adani’s ‘burgeoning love affair with coal’. In July, Market Forces itemised Adani’s plans to massively expand its fossil-fuel businesses, most of which are in coal. The issue was taken up by Bloomberg Green. On 31 July, the Caravan described ‘the devastating cost of India’s push towards a coal-based economic recovery’. In August, the Global Energy Monitor warned that India risked creating US $40 billion worth of stranded assets if it proceeded with planned new coal projects. Adani’s response to these warnings was to deepen its commitment to coal even further, by winning the rights to open up four huge new ‘coal blocks’ in the rural hinterland of India.

    The Adani Group has ignored the call by UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres for the world to end its 'deadly addiction' to coal. Photo Britannica

    The four ‘coal blocks’ are Khargaon and Jhigador in Chhattisgarh, Dhirauli in Andhra Pradesh, and Gondkhairi in Maharashtra. They occur, of course, beneath land currently relied upon by traditional farmers or roamed by wildlife such as tigers and elephants. To India’s Modi Government, they are simply state possessions to be auctioned off to the highest bidder in a process that advertises the government’s commitment to the free market.

    Each of these four new Adani coal-mine developments is described in more detail below. In the meantime, it’s worth taking in the cumulative effect of Adani’s coal-exploitation agenda:

    • Adani plans to increase its extraction of coal by between 240% (if the proposed Carmichael mine operates at 10 million tonnes per aannum) and 520% (if Carmichael expands to 60 million tpa).
    • Adani plans to double its coal-fired power capacity from about 12 GW to 24 GW.
    • Adani is expanding its coal-handling capacity in at least five ports in both India and Australia.

    Quite apart from the catastrophic impacts of this agenda on the Earth’s climate, the consequences of this expansion will be disruptive, disempowering and downright deadly for huge numbers of India’s most vulnerable people. Poor farmers will be displaced with inadequate compensation. Neighbours of coal pits, coal dumps, coal washeries, coal trains and coal power stations will suffer debilitating respiratory illnesses. Crops, people and animals will suffer as roads, powerlines, industrial installations and gaping holes in the ground exacerbate conflicts between farmers and wild animals such as elephants. Laws protecting forests, wildlife and tribal people will be broken with government connivance, forcing people into costly and protracted court actions.

    The coal industry's mines, roads, power stations and transmission lines will exacerbate conflict between people and wild animals such as elephants. Image courtesy Wikipedia

    The greenhouse emissions attributable to the Adani Group’s program will push human society 7% of the way towards a rise in global temperatures of 1.5 degrees, the limit to warming set by the Paris Agreement. In tandem with the emissions of other global culprits, Adani will be pushing the Earth well beyond 1.5 degrees. According to the Global Energy Monitor’s Global Coal Plant Tracker (GCPT), the lifetime emissions from Adani Group’s coal power expansions would be 1.8 billion tonnes CO2. This is more than the total 2019 emissions of Japan and Indonesia combined.

    Like a heroin dealer ruthlessly pushing its product on to a sick victim, the Adani Group is profiteering from the world’s addiction to coal.

    The Adani Group’s colossal coal agenda is as follows.

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  • Protests occur in India as Adani solar-power installations encroach on farmland

    Adani’s heavy-handed development of new solar-power installations has provoked protests by farmers in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Villagers allege that farmland has been forcibly occupied by an Adani Green company preparing to install a large array of solar panels. The encounter highlights the need for better regulation of these developments to ensure that the rights and livelihoods of local people are respected, otherwise the solar-energy industry could be brought into disrepute.

    In August 2021, India’s Economic Times reported on a protest by traditional farmers against ‘a private solar power company’ in the north-western Indian state of Rajasthan. AdaniWatch has been informed that the company is a joint venture between Adani Green and JV Rajasthan Solar Park Company Limited, a corporation owned by the Rajasthan state government. The project concerned is the 1500-MW Fatehgarh Ultra Mega Solar Park.

    The villagers staged a protest outside a government office on Saturday 17 August, alleging that the company had encroached on ‘khatedari’ land. This is land not formally owned but to which certain farmers have legally-enshrined rights by virtue of long-term use. The report said that protesting farmers alleged that company works had damaged the land with industrial infrastructure, and that company workers had ‘misbehaved’ when women working the land had protested. Local members of the BJP (India’s dominant political party) supported the farmers and wrote to a senior local official demanding action against the company. They claimed that local police were in cahoots with the company and state government in attempting to forcibly possess the land.

    The escalating encroachment of large-scale solar installations on land traditionally worked by indigenous farmers has created rural unrest in India, as reported by AdaniWatch in December 2020.

    The issue of ‘khatedari land’ is a vexed one in Rajasthan, with government authorities frequently arguing that it is unoccupied ‘wasteland’, a position at odds with that of the people who depend on the land in question. The courts have issued various judgments in particular cases, but, generally, the rights of traditional users have been upheld.

    An array of solar panels at an Adani installation, Rajasthan. Courtesy Mercom India

    In the part of Rajasthan concerned, almost 1500 families, mostly landless and belonging to marginalised communities, depend on this land for their livelihoods. In the Jaisalmer area, the government has identified around 95,000 hectares of land for large solar projects. There are around 15 cases in various Rajasthan courts filed by communities against such projects that are pending. 

    Many of these projects threaten oases in arid lands, with potentially devastating impacts on the habitat of the severely endangered Great Indian Bustard.

    AdaniWatch will provide more stories on this conflict in coming weeks. In the meantime, an article in ‘Down to Earth’ provides excellent background.


  • published Calls for BlackRock, HSBC to blacklist Adani in Blog 2021-08-19 10:06:50 +1000

    Calls for BlackRock, HSBC to blacklist Adani

    With the release of the IPCC’s forecasts of alarming rises in global temperatures, calls have mounted for the world’s financiers to dump companies that are involved in the exploitation of fossil fuels. Many Adani Group companies are on the blacklist because of their unadulterated enthusiasm for coal. However, some influential investment companies, such as BlackRock and HSBC, have failed to withdraw funds from relevant Adani companies. The excuses they proffer are downright lame.

    The Australian climate-campaign group Tipping Point says that many finance companies have failed to withdraw their funds from companies involved in fossil fuels, despite the compelling reasons to do so. It gives the example of US-based financier BlackRock as one such recalcitrant, saying the company has an investment of US $650 million in Adani companies. Another example is HSBC.

    ‘We’re starting to see Adani’s investors try to make excuses for inaction,’ said Tipping Point spokesperson Isaac Astill.

    ‘BlackRock and HSBC have said that they can’t pull their money out of Adani because the money is managed passively – that is, automatically invested by software,’ Mr Astill said.

    ‘This is bulldust. There’s no such thing as truly passive investment. All investments involve humans actively making tweaks. There is definitely nothing stopping these investors from tweaking the software to pull money out of Adani.’

    He said BlackRock and HSBC have used the same excuse for inaction. They say they do not ‘actively’ manage this money, that software decides where the funds go. He says the companies have said the software automatically invests in lists of companies called ‘indices.’ The indices are usually a simple list, such as the biggest 200 companies in Australia (often called the ASX200), or the biggest 50 companies in India (often called the Nifty Fifty).

    However, Mr Astill said there is no reason why such investments can’t be actively tweaked to divest from Adani companies.

    ‘It's normal for a company like Blackrock to take these indices and then make in-house tweaks to exclude companies that BlackRock doesn't want to invest in,' he said. ‘This is called creating an exclusion list. BlackRock's software would then avoid investing in companies that are on the exclusion list.’

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  • Adani’s palm-oil IPO a potential threat to water, farmers, tribal lands and wildlife

    Adani Wilmar, India’s biggest importer and retailer of palm oil, is inviting the public to buy shares in the company. Media reports say that the ‘initial public offering’ (IPO) is aimed at expanding the company’s operations, repaying debts and acquiring other industry players. It comes during an aggressive push by the Indian government for more self-sufficiency in the production of food and edible oils. The global environmental impact of the palm-oil industry has already been devastating, with losses of orangutans, tigers, elephants and vast tracts of rainforest in South-East Asia. An expansion of oil-palm plantations in India could have similarly catastrophic consequences for nature.

    On 2 August 2021, Indian media reported that Adani Enterprises and its Singapore-based partner, Wilmar, were seeking to raise over US $600 million through a fresh issue of equity shares. Adani Wilmar was established in 1999 as a 50:50 joint venture between the Adani and Wilmar groups. By 2015, the company had 17 palm-oil refineries in India and had established its Fortune brand as the highest-selling brand of cooking oil in the country. According to Forbes, Adani Wilmar posted a net profit of over US $800 million in the year 2020-21, up 67% from the year earlier.

    According to its website, Adani Wilmar 'was created with a vision of ‘Nation Building’ by developing assets of national economic significance. Wilmar’s business activities include oil palm cultivation, oilseed crushing, edible oil refining, sugar milling and refining, specialty fat, oleo chemical, biodiesel and fertilizer manufacturing and grain processing. It has over 850 manufacturing plants and an extensive distribution network covering China, India, Indonesia and 30 other countries.' Adani Wilmar owns the 'Fortune' brand of foods, with some of India's 'most chosen brands', many of which rely on palm oil.

    Most of the world’s palm oil comes from plantations that have replaced rainforests across Malaysia and Indonesia. Companies involved in the production and trade of this versatile but notorious commodity have come under international scrutiny for their impacts on tropical rainforests and associated habitat and indigenous peoples. Compliance by big players such as Wilmar with self-imposed environmental and social standards has been patchy at best.

    The Sumatran orangutan - pushed closer to extinction by the global trade in palm oil. Photo Geoff Law

    In February 2020, AdaniWatch published a story about the Adani and Wilmar groups’ involvement in an industry that has wreaked havoc across rainforests, habitat and ancestral lands across south-east Asia. It described the forwards-and-back progress of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a forum in which growers, manufacturers, conservationists and non-government organizations have attempted to establish criteria for certifying sources of palm oil as ‘sustainable’. While positive progress has been made on some fronts, rainforests have continued to be destroyed.

    Species put at risk of extinction by the rampant operations of certain players in the palm-oil industry include the Sumatran orangutan and the Sumatran tiger in Indonesia. In neighbouring Malaysia, oil-palm development makes up 47% of the deforestation that has occurred in that country over the past 40 years.

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  • The Adani Group’s shadowy offshore investors – calls grow for a full investigation

    Pressure has been building in India for a full investigation of at least six shadowy offshore investors in Adani Group companies. In June, reports about a freeze on some of these investors prompted a short-lived crash in the share price of some Adani companies. This forced Group founder Gautam Adani to make public statements defending the shareholdings. In response to the calls by an opposition MP for a probe, India’s Finance Minister announced that one of the regulators was doing just that – followed by a denial from Adani. Meanwhile, the issue has been picked up by international media.

    Here, AdaniWatch encapsulates the story so far.

    Prominent media reports have quoted an Indian opposition MP’s call for an investigation into offshore investors in Adani Group companies. According to Al Jazeera, ‘Mahua Moitra, an opposition lawmaker and former investment banker, questioned the ultimate ownership of the funds in parliament last week, saying that the information should be public given the Adani Group holds stakes in strategic Indian infrastructure like ports, airports and power plants.’

    ‘We want to know whose money is it,’ Moitra was quoted as saying in a text message to Bloomberg News. ‘If it is Adani’s money, then minority shareholders are being screwed. If it is not, then which foreign actors have so much say in our strategic assets?’

    On 21 June 2021, Ms Moitra wrote to India’s Central Board of Direct Taxation arguing that there was an ‘urgent and important’ case for an investigation of certain Adani investors under legislation dealing with money laundering, black money, tax and foreign exchange. She referred to six foreign companies with significant investments in the Adani Group that allegedly shared a common address, directors and secretary. She said the companies concerned owned over US $5.6 billion worth of stock in Adani companies but did not have websites or independent addresses.

    ‘This is extremely suspicious’, she said.

    She said that two of the companies, Cresta and Albula, had been mentioned in the ‘Paradise Papers’, a trove of leaked documents pertaining to companies registered in ‘secrecy jurisdictions’ uploaded by the International Consortium of Investigate Journalists.

    ‘Further, it should be known that Mr Vinod Adani (brother of Gautam Adani) had tried to change his name and use trusts, intermediaries, lawyers, accountants and affiliates to hold assets overseas,’ the letter went on. ‘It would be important not just to trace the funds of the [foreign companies] but in fact get down to the ultimate beneficial owners of every constituent entity of these [foreign companies] to see whether in fact, these are nominees, representatives and other benami owners of the Adanis.’

    ‘I humbly request you to investigate this matter with the seriousness it deserves’, she concluded.

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  • Adani Ports and its inextricable links to coal, environmental destruction and the murderous Myanmar military regime

    The flagship of the sprawling Adani Group is its ports company. The enterprise is a major player in the Indian transport industry and has operations in Myanmar and Australia. It enjoys the support of major finance companies such as BlackRock, reported as having an investment of US $108 million in the company, and has recently raised $70 million in bonds on the international market.

    However, Adani’s ports have also been implicated in human-rights controversies, the destruction of coastal ecosystems, and a huge expansion of the coal industry in Australia and India. In April 2021, the company was removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability Index because its business arrangements in Myanmar are enriching the regime that carried out the illegal coup of February 2021 and which has subsequently killed hundreds of protesting citizens. The operations of Adani Ports have caused protests by indigenous groups, fishing communities, human-rights campaigners and other citizens across two continents. Adani's ports are an instrumental part of the Group's intention to double its coal power-generating capacity and to open huge new coal mines, including the infamous Carmichael mine project.

    Fishing communities protest on the water against Adani's Vizhinjam port expansion

    According to its website the Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone company (APSEZ or ‘Adani Ports’) is India’s largest private port operator with operations at 12 locations in India, including the country’s largest special economic zone. Its annual report outlines its ownership of companies in Australia and Myanmar. It describes itself as ‘one of the greenest port operators in the world’, with policies to protect the coastal environment and assist local communities. Yet Adani Ports has been criticised by environmentalists, human-rights organisations, scientists and health experts for its impacts on coastal communities and the ecology they depend upon.

    This article describes the contentious operations and legacy of Adani Ports. It is divided into three sections:

    • the company’s port operations in India;
    • the company’s association with the illegal and murderous military regime in Myanmar;
    • and the company’s servicing of what is arguably the world’s most controversial coal project – the Carmichael coal mine.
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  • Tribute to a courageous campaigner against Adani’s Godda coal-power station

    On 4 May 2021, Ramjeevan Paswan, a dedicated defender of the rights of Indian indigenous farmers, passed away after contracting the COVID-19 virus. Ramjeevan had campaigned against the proposed Godda coal-power plant, the intended destination for coal from Adani’s Carmichael mine. A retired schoolteacher, he was about 66 years old.

    Ramjeevan, whose farm was compulsorily taken over by state authorities for Adani’s power plant, had challenged the controversial acquisition in the courts. He had also lodged an official complaint against his treatment by local police during the land-acquisition process. During the course of the controversy, he gave numerous interviews to media outlets, including AdaniWatch. The death of Ramjeevan came less than two and a half years after his wife, Sumitra Devi, also passed away. The trauma of losing the family’s farm, the sole source of long-term livelihood, was a contributing factor to her death.

    In February 2019, Ramjeevan and 15 other petitioners filed a case in the High Court of the Indian state of Jharkhand, asking for a stay on the Adani Group’s construction works at Godda and for the court to quash the acquisition of their lands for the power plant. The case has languished for more than two years. With the deaths of Ramjeevan and Sumitra, it is a poignant case of ‘justice delayed is justice denied’.

    In February 2019, Sumitra broke down during an emotional interview with IndiaSpend about the loss of the family land. She passed away days later.

    In February 2020, AdaniWatch visited some of the affected villages. Freelance journalist Abir Dasgupta and AdaniWatch reporter Geoff Law were met in Godda by Ramjeevan, who escorted us throughout the day. Noise and clouds of dust were emitted by Adani’s machinery just over a fence from the villagers’ crops. The hulking skeleton of the Godda power station was taking shape 500 metres away, on land that three years earlier had been cultivated for corn, cauliflower, lentils and mangoes.

    Adani's Godda power plant devours fertile farm land. Geoff Law / AdaniWatch

    Despite the unfolding calamity over the fence, Ramjeevan and his fellow villagers conducted themselves with stoic dignity.

    ‘The land-acquisition processes have been marked by forgery, lies and intimidation,’ Ramjeevan told IndiaSpend in 2019. ‘There has to be some accountability for this.’

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