Today’s protests by the Bob Brown Foundation outside the Indian High Commission in Canberra and consulate in Sydney are highlighting Gautam Adani’s destruction of tribal land forests in Central India.
“This billionaire brute is smashing down wildlife-filled forest of the Gond people who are amongst the poorest in India. After assurances in 2009 that the forest would be protected forever, Adani is now set to bulldoze the Gond people’s forest to get atthe coal beneath,” Bob Brown said in Canberra today.
His next venture is an 841.5 hectares mine operation inside the Hasdeo Arand forest of the Gond people who say: “Forests are our culture and our livelihood. Hasdeo is our only home. If we give this forest, where will we go? We can never get it back.”
When the mine surveyors arrived: “We stood in the fields and said first shoot us, and then do your survey. They left.” But the mine is set to proceed.
There are 30 more coal tenements available in the Hasdeo Arand forest and, together, as with the Galilee Basin woodlands, coal mining spells annihilation.
Adani has also obtained a tax-free ‘special economic zone’ for his proposed coal-fired power station near the Bangladeshi border. This also requires the eviction of local people. It is speculated that coal from Queensland will fire this station.
“We are here today to draw attention to Gautam Adani’s cold-hearted official theft of the Gond people’s forest in central India which parallels his override of the Wangan and Jagalingou family council’s efforts to protect their sacred land in central Queensland. In both cases, a terrible wrong is being done to line the pockets of a billionaire who has never talked with the people.”
“The Hasdeo Arand forest harbours a range of wildlife including elephants, bears and leopards. The forest provides much of the income of the Gond people who gather its produce,” Bob Brown said.
“This is just the start of a raised international campaign to spotlight how Adani uses political patronage to smash indigenous rights as well as critically important wildlife habitats, in a world where he makes money out of stoking the climate emergency.” Brown said.