Surprised at Australia’s Decision: Former Indian Minister Jairam Ramesh on Adani
Former Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh expressed surprise over the Australian government's decision to approve the Adani coal mine in Queensland.
Considering the Adani Group’s track record over environmental issues, former Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh expressed surprise over the Australian government’s decision to approve the firm’s new coal mine project in Queensland.
The politician criticized Australia’s decision saying the mining, to be undertaken by the Gautam Adani-owned firm, will threaten the survival of the Great Barrier Reef. The Indian businessman’s record in environmental management in India “leaves a lot to be desired,” he told ABC, adding that the federal and Queensland governments did not thoroughly check the company’s environmental and financial conduct in India before sanctioning the project.
“And, if it leaves a lot to be desired domestically, there’s no reason for me to believe that Adani would be a responsible environmental player globally,” he said during the broadcaster’s Four Corners program. “I’m very, very surprised that the Australian government, for whatever reason, has seen it fit to all along handhold Mr Adani; he is not one of the shining stars of environmental stewardship.”
Ramesh also expressed surprise about the Australian government’s decision to give concessional loans and other financial breaks for Adani.
“You’re giving a tax break to a project that is actually going to have adverse environmental consequences, which will have multiplying effects on weather patterns in the region, across the world. I find it bizarre,” he said, adding that protecting the Great Barrier Reef is a must, as it is not only the property of Australia but a common heritage of mankind.
Australian Government Defends Adani
In response to the accusations, Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said that Adani’s mine will create thousands of jobs, AAP reported.
“State and federal governments have put in place more than 300 strict conditions on the Adani mine. The consideration of Adani’s environmental history was the most comprehensive ever undertaken under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,” said Frydenberg.
Adani Group also denied all the accusations made by Ramesh, saying that the company has been working within law for years.
“Adani Group adhere to the laws of the land in which we operate, be it India or any other of the 50 geographies we work in. We cannot be held to either ransom or blackmail by media organizations that indulge into sensationalism without any basis and contrary to facts,” it said in a statement.