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'What I saw sent a shiver up my spine': Oz farmer on Adani's project in Gujarat

Catch Team | Updated on: 20 April 2017, 19:59 IST

Bruce Currie is a cattle farmer in Queensland, Australia, who is actively involved in campaigns related to the environment. Protection of groundwater is an issue he is particulalry concerned about. Concerned with the Adani Group's Carmichael coal mining project in Queensland, Currie went on a fact finding mission to Gujarat to examine the impact of Adani's projects on local communities in India. His findings were published in the North Queensland Register.

“I wanted to know what sort of company we’re dealing with, and whether the reports of Adani’s poor treatment of local communities and the environment in India stacked up,” he wrote.

“What I saw sent a shiver up my spine.”

 

Here are some of his findings:

 

  • I visited small villages in Mundra and Hazira and met with Indian farmers and fishermen. We found much in common. 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. We see it in Australia too.

  • 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.

First published: 20 April 2017, 19:46 IST
 
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