‘SBI No $1B Adani loan’ — a screaming sign interrupts India vs Australia first ODI at Sydney
- Two protestors barged into the ground holding ‘NO $1B
ADANI LOAN’ signs right after the sixth over of the match.
- The protestors were calling out the Indian bank – State Bank of India for its reported loan of ₹5,000 crore to the
AdaniEnterprises Ltd's Australian mining company.
- In 2014, SBI and Adani had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a $1 billion loan which had eventually not gone through as it became a political controversy.
The unusual pitch invasion was followed by the security officials taking the protestors out, who seemed to have broken the secure bio bubbles, under which the matches are being played amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Several protestors had also gathered outside the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The protestors were calling out India's largest lender, State Bank of India, for reportedly considering a loan of ₹5,000 crore ($0.67 billion) to the Adani Enterprises’ mining company in Queensland, Australia.
In 2014, SBI had approved a $1 billion loan for the Carmichael project after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Australia. However, it was revoked after protests escalated and the Indian government-owned bank found itself at the receiving end of a ‘crony capitalism’ charge. Critics believed that the loan was approved because Adani has been a long-time supporter of Modi.
The controversy around Adani’s mining plans in Australia
Adani acquired the coal mine in Galilee Basin in 2010 and was expected to produce, every year, 8-10 million tonnes of thermal coal — allegedly of low quality with high ash content— to generate electricity.
The coal basin is located in a pristine area, and this approval was opposed by green groups who believe that it can affect the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef, which is the world's largest coral reef system, has already been in danger with its coral depleting rapidly over the years. According to the website StopAdani.com, Adani’s project will only further threaten the existence of the coral reef as it will allow over 500 ships to pass through the Great Barrier Reef heritage area and also “get access to 270 billion litres of Queensland's precious groundwater for 60 years, for free”
The project to develop the mine also involves building a railway line which will connect the mine to Abbot Point port, aiding exports. This infrastructure is estimated to cost around $3.3 billion.
AdvertisementHowever, in 2019, Adani had received a go-ahead from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) and the company recently said that it would start production in 2021 and for that, the company is in talks with SBI for a loan, the reason for the protest at the Sydney cricket ground today.
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