Washington Post Article Exposing (Godi Seth) Adani and Modi
Please refer to the Washington Post Article exposing Godi Seth-Modi nexus. The first question that will come to the mind of an Indian reader is: why did this article have to be written by a foreign media? The answer is simple: journalism in India is practically dead, thanks to the creation of Godi media by Modi’s policy, self-serving and spineless character of Indian media persons.
Salient Facts Brought Out by Article
1. All government agencies, PMO and Adani’s representatives refused to comment on the findings given in the article or refute them with any evidence. Same was the case with Bangladesh. Hence it is safe to assume that the findings are all correct.
2. The Godda thermal power plant of Adani is coming up despite the following:
a. Objections of local farmers, environmental impact review boards and state officials.
b. The fact that it will be of little use to any Indian.
c. All the electricity produced will be sold at a premium to Bangladesh, which does not need the power.
3. The project will benefit Godi Seth, who Modi has helped become the second richest person in the world, whose wealth was skyrocketing even at the time when the Indian GDP had hit minus 24. Wow! “Modi hai to mumkin hai!”
4. More than 60 percent of Godi Seth’s revenue is derived from coal-related businesses, according to his seven publicly traded companies’ quarterly reports and industry experts. Those businesses include four coal power plants, 18 coal mines and a coal-trading operation responsible for a quarter of imports into India, which relies on coal for 75 percent of its power generation. It will be safe to assume that Modi’s promise of reduction on coal dependence for power generation in the UN is all trash, like most of his promises are.
5. Godi Seth’s net worth has skyrocketed from $9 billion in 2020 to $127 billion till the report was filed.
6. Today, Godi Seth owns eight airports and 13 seaports. He has rapidly diversified into the media, defense and cement sectors and even become one of India’s leading renewable energy suppliers.
Godda Project: Bad Deal for Bangladesh
1. 7 million tons a year of coal will be transported from overseas. Industry analysts say the coal will probably come on Adani ships to an Adani-owned port in eastern India, then arrive at the plant on a stretch of Adani-built rail. The electricity generated will be sent to the border over an Adani-built high-voltage line. Under the contract, shipping and transmission costs will be passed on to Bangladesh.
2. Bangladesh would buy Adani’s electricity at more than five times the market price of bulk electricity in the country.
3. 60 percent of Bangladesh’s power plants sit idle on a typical day. Facing a looming power glut, Bangladesh in 2021 canceled 10 out of 18 planned coal power projects. Godda plant will further tie Bangladesh’s future to coal. It will kick out space for solar, which is cheaper. Poor communities in one of the hot spots in the global climate crisis will pay more for coal power they don’t need.
Godi Seth-Modi Collusion
“He succeeds in the space where no one succeeds — infrastructure,” said Subhash Chandra Garg, a former Indian finance secretary. “His big ambitions always coincided with where the government is focusing.”
Adani’s reach now extends far beyond coal. He is India’s largest seller of consumer-packaged goods and operates its largest urban natural gas provider. He has entered cutting-edge sectors, such as drone manufacturing, data centers and hydrogen fuel — a frontier technology in renewable energy — shortly after they were highlighted in government development plans. To many, he is seen almost as an arm of state policy.
“If he falls, oxygen masks will drop down to save him,” said Narayan Hariharan, a former president of corporate affairs at the Adani Group.
Godi Seth Must Benefit, To Hell with National Interests!
· Godda is in Jharkhand, India’s second-poorest state. For years, state law required that power plants built in Jharkhand sell 25 percent of their generated power back to the state at a discount. But Adani sought an exception for Godda, former officials said; he offered to funnel electricity from his plants in other parts of India to Jharkhand instead — albeit at a higher price.Jharkhand’s finance and energy officials balked.
· A 2016 analysis that was conducted by state energy officials and seen by The Post estimated that Jharkhand would lose as much as $240 million a year — and Adani would save more than $1.1 billion over the project’s lifetime — if it proceeded with Adani’s proposal. Scroll.in, an Indian news outlet, reported that state auditors also were concerned about the arrangement.
· As the project stalled, Rajesh Adani — Gautam’s younger brother and the Adani Group’s managing director — flew in for meetings with the Jharkhand chief minister, Raghubar Das, a member of Modi’s BJP.
· “This must move urgently,” Das instructed his aides, according to the former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. “Anything that needs to be done, just do it.”
· In October 2016, the Jharkhand government amended the 25 percent rule. Adani’s project steamed ahead.
· In one memo to the central government, state officials explained that they greenlighted the plant after Adani executives said the project originated from Modi’s state visit and had received “approval in principle” from the highest levels of government.
· While Jharkhand officials wrestled with the project, a parallel process was underway in New Delhi to obtain environmental clearance.
The first environmental review committee to assess Adani’s proposal felt uneasy about the idea of a coal plant that was serving Bangladesh emitting pollution inside India, said C.R. Babu, a Delhi University professor and committee member. For five months, the panel held intense back-and-forth discussions with the company but did not grant approval by the time its term expired and it was disbanded.
After a second committee was formed, in late 2016, then-Environment Minister Anil Dave appeared at its initial gathering to remind the panel of the Modi government’s motto, “Ease of doing business,” recalled a member of the new committee, Sharachchandra Lele, an environmental researcher.
The new committee was inundated by letters from villagers in Godda worrying about pollution and arguing against the project. But Environment Ministry officials pushed back, saying the plant also had local supporters, Lele said.
The panel approved the Godda plant after one sitting.
By early 2018, Adani had received the necessary permits, but there was one more hurdle: potential tax bills on coal worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
That February, the company applied for the creation of an SEZ at the Godda site. The request was striking because the Commerce Ministry in 2016 had specifically prohibited tax-free zones around a single power plant. Citing its regulation, the ministry denied the request.
Months later, the ministry changed its mind. Meeting minutes show officials proposed amending their SEZ regulations and revisited the matter in February 2019 at the direction of then-Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, a Modi ally. Officials argued that tax-free zones like the one proposed by Adani would promote energy exports. A month later, Adani got his SEZ.
Calculations by The Post show Adani would save $35 million a year just on his coal imports for Godda. Coal imports are usually taxed at 400 rupees, or about $5, per ton.
Poor Anil Swarup! (Important to Note for UPSC Aspirants)
Anil Swarup, Modi’s former coal secretary, said that in 2015, “privileged businessmen” who owned power plants asked the government for discounted coal produced by Coal India, the state mining giant. When he refused, citing ethical concerns, Swarup was summoned by Modi’s secretary and repeatedly asked to give coal away. He still refused, Swarup recounted in an interview, and was soon transferred to the Education Ministry.
Vishwa Guru Bharat Pledges Reduction in Coal Usage!
Shortly thereafter, Modi’s cabinet revised regulations to allow Coal India to give discounted coal to private buyers. Adani gained the largest share, receiving 10 million tons, or one-third of the stocks, government data showed. After the coal was distributed, the government said in a statement that it was a “win-win” policy that gave private power producers “long term supply security of coal … while consumers will benefit” from lower electricity prices.
Indian officials, meanwhile, have doubled down on fossil fuel, saying they plan to add 25 percent more coal-fired power capacity in the coming years.
You Can’t Write Against Godi Seth!
Godi Seth has filed at least seven defamation suits against journalists. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Abir Dasgupta, two journalists who published investigations into Adani’s use of SEZs to reduce his taxes, are under gag orders from a Gujarat court. In July, police arrived at the Delhi home of another reporter, Ravi Nair, and served him with an arrest warrant for alleged defamation.
Nair was not detained, but he called the arrest warrant an attempt at intimidation. Nair, who has published articles about Adani’s coal mines and offshore investors, said company executives have invited him to meet and told him that Adani was “a powerful man.”
“First, they asked me what I wanted,” Nair said. “Then came the threat.”
False Promises of Godi Seth to Public-Similar to Modi
When Adani representatives came to Godda in 2015, they opened with friendly offers, villagers said.
To move the project forward, the company needed to obtain 1,000 acres of land and local residents’ support. It offered compensation to farmers who owned land and jobs to farm laborers who didn’t. It promised residents new shoes, clothes, schools and latrines.
In an impoverished region where 60 percent of women are illiterate and most residents live in basic homes with thatched roofs, the project seemed promising at first.
Many landowners supported it. But hundreds of other residents, mostly lower-caste laborers who worked the land for subsistence farming, were skeptical. Chintamani Sahu, a retired local school teacher, began holding meetings that attracted hundreds of attendees. Meanwhile, PradeepYadav, a fiery local legislator, began to speak out against Adani, and local opinion started to turn.
Environmentalists told the crowds the plant would burn 18,000 tons of coal a day and draw 36 million cubic liters of water a year. They spoke of how the 900-foot-tall smokestack would belch pollution as far as eight miles and how that might affect crops and, ultimately, the climate, said Sahu, who can still rattle off the statistics.
When local officials held a hearing in December 2016 on whether the project should move forward, police let in only those carrying yellow invitation letters, residents said. It was unclear who had handed them out, but Sahu and Yadav believe the company was responsible.
Jailed on False Grounds
· Outside the hall, chaos erupted as angry protesters tried to gain entry. Inside, the district administrator asked for a show of hands and determined that 80 percent of the audience supported Adani.
· At a second hearing, in March 2017, hundreds of police officers blocked Yadav and his supporters from speaking onstage, leading to a scuffle. Police charged protesters with batons, and fired tear gas and gunshots in the air, according to witnesses and news reports.
“The local officials and police were instruments used by the government,” Yadav said. “If you could build consensus for a project, why would you need to ram it through?”
· In April 2017, Yadav and Sahu tried one final tactic: a hunger strike. By day, they marched through Godda chanting, “Adani, go home!” By night, Yadav led a huge crowd in chants hailing the land as a sacred goddess.
Before dawn broke on the seventh day, police swooped in and seized Yadav. He served six months in jail for public disorder, and his movement lost all momentum. Sad for those supporting India’s interests and cheers to Modi-Godi Seth bhakts!
–BY COl M M NEHRU