A TALE OF A TINY FINCH BIRD AND A MIGHTY BUSINESS
Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, complained of ‘too much democracy’ in India, while speaking at an event ‘The Road to Atmanirbhar Bharat’. Too much democracy, in the form of farm protests has upset the corporate apple cart on the road to farm market deregulation, and ‘too much environment’ is blocking the way of coal magnates to Galilee coal basin( 2,47,000 square km thermal coal basin, five times larger than size of Punjab (Indian) in Queensland, Australia.
The most controversial project is Carmichael mines, now a property of Adani/Bravus mines, Australia. The day first truck leaves with thermal coal mined from Galilee, more dogs will come after hare and more men will come after dogs. Everyone knows that this project is a clear threat to great barrier reef. The Great barrier reef is the largest coral reef system of world. Hundreds of coal carrying ships shall pass through it once, Carmichael mines starts shipping coal to India through Adani owned Abbot Point port.
Today this port has been renamed as North Queensland Export Terminal, because Adani name had become so unpopular. Now, on November 5, 2020 Adani Mining in Australia changed its name to BRAVUS Mining and Resources. Names change but Adani firmly stays like a circular loop in the entire coal and power operations.
There is Adani Coalmine in Galilee, there is Adani Controlled Bowen Rail Company to bring coal to Adani owned port. From Adani port in Australia, it will reach Adani ports in India. Adani ports and SEZ have 24% share in port capacity of India. From these ports, it will feed Adani power thermal plants like Mundra(Gujarat), Tiroda( Maharashtra ), Udupi( Karnataka),Kawai( Rajasthan) and Bitta( Gujarat). Adani is the largest private thermal power producer in India with an installed capacity of 12,450 MW, as claimed by Adani Power website.
The power shall reach state power consumers via Adani transmissions. At the same time, it will reach Punjab farm tubewells in 2021, for irrigating paddy farms. Yes, according to a Financial Express report dated November 24,2020, Adani power has won short term contract for supply of 6100 MW of electricity between June 15,2021 and August 30,2021 to meet its paddy season demand.
Punjab farmers will happily run their tubewells on Adani power while fighting against the entry of big corporate in farm sector. In their historic struggle against farm bills, farmers have proved their opposition to corporate but their commitment to environment is largely absent in present discourse.
But this is not the case with people of Queensland. They too are protesting against Adani Mines in Queensland. They are fighting for saving the endangered species of a tiny bird. This is black throat finch, a house sparrow like bird, which was voted as Australian bird of year in 2019. Its only habitat falls in the area where Adani is planning to dig coal.
Cutting of trees, clearing of grasses and shortage of water will pose a greater threat to the last surviving habitat of such tiny bird. Queensland government commissioned a panel of experts on endangered species and finch biology.
Adani was forced to give conservation management plan for the bird. Adani, in his plan promised 33,000 hectares of land to provide ‘an alternative housing’ for black throated finch. Art speaks louder than slogans and 1,600 art works on the bird were sent to politicians for saving its habitat. It was first time that bird art became a tool of protest.
Queensland premier Anastacia Palaszczuk thought that these tiny birds were standing in the way of jobs, Adani mines promised to create in Queensland. She said, “We are fed up”. She gave a deadline to the authorities and environmental approval was granted to Adani plan for black finch conservation on in May 2019. She was acting like Parkash Javadekar after he took over from Jairam Ramesh as environment minister of India. Too much of environmentalism is not good for corporate, too much of democracy is not good for corporate. This seems to be a new sentiment with the policy makers.