Indian energy div Adani has announced that he will start working on a controversial coal mining project in Australia. Earlier this year BBC Hindi Vineet Khare visited the area and details of what he testified there.
The path to the Carmichael mine has long been a lonely ride in the desert – the asphalt road turns into a wide dirt road before you finally reach the remote part of the country that has so divided Australia.
The California Carbon Project in the state of Queensland in the amount of $ 12.5 billion is almost 400 kilometers from the east coast. It is located in the Mackay region, where other mining projects are located.
The project has been postponed for six years due to a series of legal challenges and reports assessing the impact on the environment. It is owned by the Adana Group, whose president Gautam Adani thought close to Indian Prime Minister Narendri Modi.
- Heavy discussion of the cemetery
- Adana gives the green light & # 39; for the project
The controversy over the project saw Australian banks shut down funding earlier this month, the company said it had cut production and lowered its targets by three quarters. Thursday, CEO Lucas Dow said the company would finance the project itself.
But according to media reports, regulatory approvals are in progress, without which construction can not be started.
As we travel to the mine, everyone on the road – from taxi drivers to restaurant owners and pedestrians – seems to have an opinion on the project.
Those who oppose it, including climatologists, say that if mines are opened, the world is "grateful for the obligation of the Paris Accord to maintain the temperature rise to 2C."
But supporters say they are good for the economy and accuse protesters that "deep-seated left-wing activists are weaned at fodder".
We decided to first visit the "secret anti-Adana camp" which is one hour drive and a narrow route from the main route.
Wooden doors are electrically locked "to keep pro-Adan elements". Two sides clashed in the past.
We enter a large open space with trees. In the middle, there are several large cocoons – one of them has transparencies and posters that carry Anti-Adan messages. The other has food prepared for almost twenty "camper".
Two women's sports black t-shirts lined with the slogan "Adani – No No No" lined up in red and yellow, leaned over a large white platinum banner featuring the words "Stop Adani!"
The holiday accommodation is a few meters away. Chargers, sockets and documents are all dropping on a desk surrounded by men and women referring to laptops. WiFi connects them to the world.
"This camp is a frontline to stop Adana, it's a place to organize and plan a direct action," says one of the protesters, Scott Daynes.
"Science tells us that coal has to stay in the ground, so we're here," he adds.
There is some excitement that a reporter from India came to cover the story. "How many protests against Adana in Australia are covered by Indian media?" one man asks.
"We hear Mr. Adani very influential and close to Indian Prime Minister Narendri Modi. Is that true?" asks another.
Both Mr Adani and Mr Modi come from the Western Gujarat State and their relationship dates back to when Mr. Modi was a state minister.
The fact that Mr. Modi used a plane that the Adana Group had authorized to fly to Delhi after being elected prime minister was still cited as an example of their closeness.
- Adani: An Indian group that buys coal mines in Australia
In 2003, Adani broke up with his fellow industrialists to form a separate business lobby group. That was after criticizing Mr Fashion for the bad state of law and order in Gujarati after the earthquake in 2002 that killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims.
And when Mr. Modi was dismissed as the chief speaker of the Wharton Business School after protests by students and faculty, Adani Group withdrew its sponsorship.
The rise of company efforts since Mr. Modi became Prime Minister was subject to constant media and opposition control in India.
The fate of the Australian project was closely monitored in India, especially in the federal elections for only a few months and the possibility of another five-year term for Mr. Moda.
Then we decide to visit the proposed site of the mine.
As we approach, we see the vehicle that follows us, and the lights flash through the dust that our pickup was launched.
It waits for us to stop talking to some farmers who have dropped out of their country for almost 400 km of railroad tracks to be used for the transportation of coal after the mines are functioning.
Activists fear that once-built railroads will revive neighboring coal projects that are currently lacking due to lack of traffic opportunities.
But farmers refuse to talk to us by referring to a confidentiality agreement.
The car lasts for almost an hour.
Once we get to the site, the driver, a well-constructed man, films us while I walk around him. He goes away when he is asked to reveal his identity.
The site itself is an infertile country, but those opposed to mines say that activation could mean fate for the environment and destroy Australian beaches.
Critics warned that huge amounts of coal expected to be extracted from the mines would endanger the fragile Ecosystem of the Great Coral Reef, which is nearby.
Ecologist Lance Payne shows me boxes filled with "dirty awful" charcoal gravels that he said he found on the beaches.
Mr. Payne is afraid that the dredging that is needed to build the harbor will damage the ridge, which acts as a lagoon.
"What you throw into the ocean remains there," he says. "If charcoal drops coal, it stays there."