Skip to main content

Relief to Adani Group's Aussie coal-mining project: Top executive not to face action for environmental "damage"

By Our Representative
In an important relief to the Adani Group, which has taken up one of the world’s biggest coal-mining projects in the Queensland province of Australia, the top business house will not be facing any action for its Australian CEO’s alleged links to “polluting” a Zambian mine. The Adani Group is known to be closest to Prime Minister Narendra Modi compared to all other industrial houses.
US edition of “The Guardian” reports, the Australian federal government has decided “not to pursue action against owners of Carmichael mine over its failure to declare that Jeyakumar Janakaraj was in charge of a copper mine that leaked toxic water into a river.”
The daily reports, Australia’s Department of Environment has “completed its inquiries into the omission of a component of the environmental history of one of the executive officers of Adani Mining Pty Ltd,”, adding, “It was found that the omission did not result in environmental harm.”
The enquiry by the Department of Environment also “revealed” that Janakaraj’s “omission was likely due to a mistake”, the daily said, quoting the department’s spokesperson as saying, “In this instance and having due regard to the available responses within the Compliance and Enforcement Policy: Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the department elected to not take further compliance action on this matter.”
Top green NGO Environmental Justice Australia, strongly protesting against the federal government move, said, “Whether or not Adani’s omission to the department caused environmental harm completely misses the point”.
The daily quotes its lawyer Ariane Wilkinson, who said, “This was an important omission in checking Adani’s environmental history, something that must take place before approvals are given. Properly considering a company’s environmental history should inform whether or not you give an approval in the first place, and what kind of conditions you apply.”
“The department’s weak response is disappointing, but also unsurprising. It’s a good example of why the Australian community needs access to the law to hold decision-makers and corporations to account, and to protect our environment”, Wilkinson added.
Reports had appeared in the Australian media that, prior to approving Adani’s proposed $16bn Carmichael mine in Queensland, the federal environment department wrote to Adani’s Australian head, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, seeking information about any executive officer who had “been the subject of any civil or criminal penalties or compliance-related findings, for breaches of, or noncompliance with environmental laws ... [and] information about his or her roles both in Australia and in other countries”.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) had said, in its response, the company failed to mention that Janakaraj himself had been in charge of a copper mine in Zambia that had polluted a major river with dangerous contaminants in 2010.
“Under section 489 of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, providing false or misleading information could be an offence”, “The Guardian said, adding, “The Zambian mine was owned by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), for which Janakaraj was head of operations.”
The daily said, “KCM was convicted on four charges, including wilfully failing to report the pollution in the Kafue River, the ABC reported. Janakaraj himself was not charged over the contamination.”
“The federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, approved Adani’s Carmichael mine with the limited information”, the daily said, adding, “A month later ABC revealed KCM’s convictions. The federal environment department then approached Adani to ask why it had not provided this information. The department decided the omission was a mistake and did not warrant further action.”

Comments

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.