Way back in 2013, a committee set up by the environment ministry to inspect the contentious port and special economic zone (SEZ) project in Mundra, Gujarat, found clear evidence that developer Adani Enterprises violated environmental norms.
Using remote sensing technology, the committee found that over the last decade, 75 hectares of mangroves were destroyed in Bocha Island, a conservation zone. Satellite imagery indicated deterioration and loss of creeks near the North Port due to construction activities.
The company neglected to inventory its utilisation and disposal of fly ash, and did not ensure that storage tanks, seawater inlets, and discharge outlets were lined to prevent increase in salinity and contamination of water.
The fishermen community, which depends on the coasts for their livelihood, is the worst hit by the changes brought on by land acquisition and construction for the project.
Now, Bruce Currie, a cattle farmer and environment activist in Queensland, Australia, came on a fact finding mission to Gujarat to examine the impact of Adani’s projects on local communities in India.
These are some of his findings published in the North Queensland Register:
I was lucky to have my son look after my beef farm in Central Queensland so I could travel to Gautam Adani’s home-state of Gujarat in India on a fact-finding mission.
I wanted to know what sort of company we’re dealing with.
What I saw sent a shiver up my spine.
- I visited small villages in Mundra and Hazira and met with Indian farmers and fishermen. They told me familiar stories of a big company that gets its foot in the door by promising local jobs and a boost to the local economy, but at the end of the day doesn’t really give a damn about their community.
- I heard from locals about how Adani has allegedly polluted groundwater, seized land illegally and bulldozed mangrove forests.
- The fishermen we met in Hazira say their fishing catch has been reduced by a whopping 90 per cent since Adani built their port. They complain their catch now smells and even tastes bad.
- In Mundra I met a date farmer called Valji Gadhvi who lost his entire 10 acres of crop due to coal dust from the nearby Adani power plant. His cotton and castor oil crops have also being damaged.
- What worried me most of all were the reports by farmers and pastoralists of their groundwater being polluted and watercourses blocked.
- It was clear that local people who live cheek by jowl with Adani’s coal projects have had their lives made worse, not better.
- Many have had their livelihoods destroyed. And, like me, some have been forced to use what little resources they have to fight this big mining company in the courts to get some kind of justice. Some have even been forced to move away.
- When I was in India it became very clear to me how dangerously powerful Adani is there and how the company uses its influence to its own advantage.
The Adani Group has Queensland Labor, our local mayors and the Feds bending over backwards to get their mine over the line.
Their biggest backer is Matt Canavan of course, who is desperate to loan Adani (who’s a billionaire himself) $1 billion of taxpayers’ money to allow the project to go ahead.