Tag: Environment

Buxwaha Diamond project faces protests as Essel Mining replaces Rio Tino

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 27 June 2021: A chance seeing of a program by Dhruv Rathi on YouTube about this proposed diamond project in Buxwaha forest central India (Madhya Pradesh) led us to this story. The movement to protect the environment including forests and water is a global one and is often confronted with development plans that will destroy them with claims of generating employment. The stories from the mighty Amazon in Latin America have been hitting the headlines for years. A similar story now in Madhya Pradesh has resurfaced after dying out has emerged with a vengeance.

In 2011 Australia’s mining giant Rio Tinto stuck diamonds in the Buxwaha forest in Madhya Pradesh, at a place named ‘Bandar’, and the then Congress government-approved Rio Tinto’s plan for diamond mining in the area. The deeply wooded area with massive water and other natural resources including the Panna Tiger reserve came under the lens as environmental groups and local Tribals intensified agitation against the project. One Shehla Masood, according to the Dhruv Rathi program, who was actively protesting the diamond mining was allegedly killed in a mysterious car accident.

In August 2016, Rio Tinto gave up the project and left the place in February 2017, after the state government stumbled to protests and withdrew the approval of the project. In 2019 the Congress government allowed the project again and the Aditya Birla Group’s Essel Mining & Industries Limited (EMIL) won the project with a 50-year lease.

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A story in The Quint (17 June 2021) says, “Buxwaha forest lies in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, about 260 km northeast of the state capital of Bhopal. Amit Bhatnagar, a volunteer with ‘Buxwaha Jungle Bachao Andolan’, said, “The region is still considered backward. Around 7,000 villagers of the 17 tribal villages in the territory depend solely on forest products, like Mahua, Tendu leaves, Chironji, Aamla, etc, for their livelihood. The proposed mine would snatch away their income sources.

Protests against the project have been growing again. The 382.131-hectare patch of the protected Buxwaha forest now proposed to be allotted to the Bunder diamond block is estimated to cut down 2,15,875 trees (The Quora report) and will endanger a rich forest area and a tiger corridor between the Panna Tiger Reserve and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary. Rare flora and fauna destruction are also likely to be the consequence of the projects.

Diamond mining is heavily water-intensive and in this project, reports say, the water requirement of the project is estimated at about 5.9 million cubic meters per day.

When the project was first approved the Congress was in power and now the BJP is in power. Protests once against Rio Tinto have now shifted to against the EMIL. This is one more battle to save nature from ‘development’, does it matter who is in power?

Adani reaching coal seam at Carmichael Project draws flak from conservation groups

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Bravus Mining and Resources CEO, David Boshoff holding the first coal.Photo- Bravus Mining and Resources.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 24 June 2021: A media release from Bravus Mining Resources (Adani Australia), starts off with the heading ‘We have struck coal at Carmichael’. The finding of the first coal at the controversial Carmichael coal project in Queensland which has seen massive agitation against it from environmentalist groups and many legal challenges is no mean achievement. The announcement has received flak from Australian conservation groups who have vowed to continue the fight against the world’s biggest coal mine.

The fact that the project is going ahead despite the worldwide protest and the danger which environmental groups say it poses to the ‘Great Barrier Reef’, reflects the company’s determination in an adverse situation.

Mr. David Boshoff, Bravus Mining and Resources CEO says Bravus had already secured the market for the 10 million tonne per annum of coal produced at the Carmichael Mine.
“The coal will be sold at index pricing and we will not be engaging in transfer pricing practices, which means that all of our taxes and royalties will be paid here in Australia. India gets the energy they need and Australia gets the jobs and economic benefits in the process,” he said.

But environmental groups don’t see this as an occasion of celebration, instead see it as future generations of Australians battling the serious impacts of climate change. “They will look back on today as an abject failure of policy in the face of scientific evidence,” said Mackay Conservation Group campaigner, Sunny Hungerford.

In a press statement, Adani Australia says, Adani’s photo opportunity with 9 lumps of coal comes after billions of dollars spent on site and ten years after they started their project, but Adani has a long way to go before they have an operational coal mine. Adani still need:

To build an operational coal mine,

To build a 200km rail line connecting mine and port which has been subject to consistent flooding due to its location on a floodplain,

To build a major coal handling processing plant,

Approval and access to water after the Federal Court found an “error of law” with Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme approval process.”

Manjot Kaur, Stop Adani spokesperson and member of the new group, South Asians for Climate Justice said, “We urgently need to stop Adani’s coal mine before this coal is shipped to India. The people of India do not need dirty and expensive coal from Queensland. The people of Bangladesh do not need expensive and dirty energy from Adani’s Godda power plant. And the world can not afford for this coal to be burnt, fuelling worse climate impacts globally.”

Greenpeace Australia Pacific says, “This is coal that must remain in the ground if we are to put the world on a trajectory towards avoiding the worst of climate damage. It’s entirely perverse to imagine that this is a moment for celebration.”

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First Carmichael coal up close.Photo- Bravus Mining and Resources.

Threats to democracy can be resisted with activism, educational programs & organization: Noam Chomsky at the JLF 2021

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Photo- JLF

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 21 February 2021: Prof. Noam Chomsky, 92, celebrated American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist while expressing concern at the decline of democracy and the global ‘drift into authoritarianism, feels this greatest threat to democracy can be addressed with activism, educational programs, and organization. He was in conversation with Sreenivasan Jain, NDTV on day 3 of the virtual Festival.

Talking about the US, he said, Trumpism is very much around and so is Trump. The session opened with Professor Chomsky speaking of the recent storming of the United States Capitol, and how it was a turning point for the country. He shared what it was like to wake up in America in the ‘aftermath’ of Donald Trump. The duo discussed whether Trump can still pose a tangible threat to American democracy, seeing as he is no longer in power – with Professor Chomsky speculating possibilities of continued propaganda for very real support for Trump by his ‘voter base and insisted that the democracy had ‘serious problems’ even before his presidency.

Speaking about the rise of authoritarianism, Professor Chomsky delved into the ‘neoliberal assault’ of the last few decades, explaining how inequality and authoritarianism appear to be inextricably linked. He mentioned an example from a study by the RAND Corporation, a well-respected quasi-governmental organization in the US, which estimates that the transfer of wealth from the lower 90% of the population to a fraction of the top 1% has been about 50 trillion dollars over the last 40 years.

The conversation also raised wider questions about the state of democracy, which appears to be in as much danger from radical majoritarianism in the United States, or in India, as it is from the European Union shifting the seat of several governance decisions away from state governments to Brussels, to an unelected bureaucracy. Responding to Jain’s question on what can be done to resist the threats to democracy, Professor Chomsky said, “There’s no magic key! “You fight it the way you’ve always fought it, with educational programs, with organization, with activism.”

Discussing solutions to push back against the radical majority, Professor Chomsky spoke about the need for the popular forces within an ideological party to press for progressive social action. He spoke about this in the context of the American political system and highlighted how the Biden government’s legislative program on climate change, possibly even better than Obama’s, reflects the direct impact of activism and popular forces within the party pushing the agenda.

Touching the US and India, the Prof. said, America was facing very serious problems and the dismantling of secular democracy in India was a concern. “One cannot give up thinking nothing will happen or decide to do whatever one can do,” he said.

“Over time any political or social movement can work,” he said, pointing to the Independence Movement in India. “It takes dedication and commitment. It doesn’t happen by itself, you have to fight for social programs and reform,” he added.

Reflecting on some of the critical progressive movements like the labor movement, the civil rights movement, and the women’s rights movement among others, he talked about the significance of coming together in solidarity and with constant, dedicated struggle. “There is no point being optimistic or pessimistic. The point is to face the challenges, take the opportunities, get to work, and overcome the problems. It can be done – and optimism says yes, let’s do it,” he said.

Prof. Noam Chomsky lives in Arizona, which he said, a wreckage of the Trump era had the severe onslaught of the pandemic because Trump did not do anything. He is in isolation. His daily life with interviews and answering hundreds of letters he gets daily makes it a very busy life, he told Sreenivasan Jain.

The Jaipur Literature Festival 2021 will take place till 28th February on an exclusive virtual platform.

Website- www.jaipurliteraturefestival.org

Adani’s project: Greed over planet (Video interview- Geoff Law, Editor, Adani Watch)

Tussle Between Those Who Want to Save the Planet and Greedy Corporates
Adani’s project: Greed over
The issue has become an international one, says Geoff Law, Editor, Adani Watch, a website that is part of an initiative of the Bob Brown Foundation, in an exclusive interview with Newsclick.

Source: Newsclick

No public funding for Adani’s Carmichael Coal mine: Turnbull

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Mr.Gautam Adani at the reception for PM Modi in Melbourne. Photo: SAT/NN (copyright SAT)

By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne, 4 May : Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has in an off-the-cuff remark said he will not waste taxpayer money on the Adani-owned Carmichael coal mine in Queensland. The PM was answering to a question from Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s Nemo in Brisbane. The proposed mine covers 28,000 hectares and has been under flak from environmental groups. Mr. Adani is a prominent Indian businessman and is considered close to PM Modi and accompanied him during his Australia visit.
In a media statement while welcoming Mr. Malcolm Turnbull’s commitment Greenpeace Pacific reef campaigner Shani Tager said: “While this off-the-cuff comment is welcome, the prime minister still needs to announce a credible environmental policy to protect the reef from the dangers of coal for future generations.”

“The Carmichael mine would mean more dredging in the Great Barrier Reef, more ships through its waters and more carbon emissions at a time when the reef is suffering from its worst ever bleaching.

The prime minister joins 14 international and Australian banks that have ruled out funding the project. Queensland’s treasury department has described the project as ‘unbankable’ and no other investors are prepared to get behind a project that needs $16.5bn.”

- SAT News Service