Skip to main content

Reliance Power's Sasan plant: US taxpayers' $900 million "used to support dirty, dangerous coal project"

By Our Representative
In a move that would create flutter in India’s corporate sector, several influential independent organizations based in the US -- Sierra Club, 350.org, Carbon Market Watch, Pacific Environment, and Friends of the Earth US -- have released a new report detailing what they call “catastrophic human rights, labour, and environmental violations at Reliance Power’s Sasan coal-fired power plant and mine in Singrauli, India.” Available details suggest, the main reason behind releasing the report is that the US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) financed over $900 million for the project, “using" American taxpayer dollars to support the "dirty, dangerous coal project.”
Titled The U.S. Export-Import Bank’s Dirty Dollars, a statement issued by the Sierra Club on the report says that it “includes accounts from more than 25 local residents who were the victim of relocation, violence, and disappearances and have suffered negative health effects as a result of the coal plant’s construction”. The report particularly takes objection of the fact that “the US Export-Import Bank Office of the Inspector General (OIG) completed its first trip to Sasan last week, where they refused to meet with the affected people in their communities”.
Sierra Club is America’s influential grassroots environmental organization, with a claimed support of 2.4 million. 350.org is a global climate movement active online and in the field organizing mass public actions. Carbon Market Watch has a network of 800 members in 70 countries, and  carbon markets and advocates for fair and effective climate protection. Pacific Environment, headquartered in San Francisco, works to protect the living environment of the Pacific Rim. And Friends of the Earth US fights to create a focuses on clean energy and climate change.
The Reliance's Sasan Power project is one of the several ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) planned by the Government of India. The report states, "UMPPs are a series of power projects planned by
the Government of India, each with a capacity of 4,000-megawatts or higher. Of the six initial sites proposed, only two projects are currently functioning — Tata Mundra and Sasan — and both have raised serious human rights and environmental concerns." The Tata Mundra in Gujarat UMPP, funded by the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank arm, is under sharp attack for failing to take care environmental and livelihood concerns (click HERE to read).
"In late 2012, India’s Comptroller Auditor General’s office (CAG) released an audit report on the UMPPs, condemning the government for letting project developers dictate the terms of construction. Instead of providing oversight, the government has been simply tracking the projects’ progress, allowing large scale violations to continue unchecked. In addition to discrepancies in land use, the CAG’s report also found that a lack of transparency and fair play has dogged the projects from start to finish", the report points out.
“Indian civil society organizations and US-based groups have repeatedly alerted Ex-Im to the grave human rights violations taking place at Sasan, but the Bank has continually turned a deaf ear. The affected communities will not be silent. These are the stories Ex-Im and the OIG attempted to mute,” said Nicole Ghio, a campaign representative of the Sierra Club’s International Climate Programme and one of the report’s authors, immediately after the release of the report.
“This report exposes the dangers of coal and investments in it in India. Reliance's repeated transgressions and Ex-Im bank's blind eye to them is totally unacceptable. The impacted people of Sasan and their families are demanding justice," added Payal Parekh 350.org's Global Managing Director who partook in the fact finding mission to Sasan earlier this year.
“Despite the shocking evidence presented in the fact-finding report, the Sasan coal power project remains registered with the United Nation’s carbon offsetting mechanism designed to reduce emissions and contribute to sustainable development. The findings of this report need to be addressed in the upcoming climate change conference in Lima,” underlined Eva Filzmoser, director of Carbon Market Watch.
“Despite these allegations, the coal project is shrouded in secrecy. Ex-Im has repeatedly refused to provide monitoring documents for Sasan, disregarding its own due diligence procedures and federal legislation requiring that these documents be made available upon request”, the Sierra Club’s statement insisted.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Club has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to gain access to all records pertaining to Environmental and Social Management Plans for Sasan. “This includes the supplemental environmental reports -- encompassing both the remediation or mitigation plans and related monitoring reports -- Reliance Power is required to submit for each coal project. Ex-Im has 30 days to respond to the request”, the statement said.

Comments

Anonymous said…
US NGOs Report on Sasan UMPP - What's the hidden agenda ? read my blog http://profsatishrai.blogspot.com/2014/10/us-ngos-report-on-sasan-umpp-whats.html

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.

Narmada Valley's fossil evidence: Ground for 'nationalists' to argue primates' India roots?

By Saurav Sarkar*  In December 1982, a geologist digging in India’s Central Narmada Valley found something he did not expect. Arun Sonakia, who at the time worked for the Geological Survey of India, unearthed a hominid fossil skullcap from the Pleistocene era. The discovery sent shockwaves through the field of paleoanthropology and put South Asia on the map of human prehistory. Some experts concluded that the skull likely belonged to a member of a predecessor species of ours, Homo heidelbergensis , or perhaps was a hybrid of homo species, while Sonakia himself suggested “ an affinity… to Homo erectus .”