Climate groups to Modi: Cancel Adani Godda Power Project
Communities and citizens ’ groups from different parts of Asia and the world join public opposition against the Adani Godda power station in Jharkhand, India. Through an Open Letter to Prime Minister Nahendra Modi, 119 organizations from 17 countries urged the Prime Minister to cancel the power project.
September 16, 2020
“Climate and environmental movements inside and outside of India are supporting the local communities in India in opposing this project. It is highly polluting and, if allowed to proceed, will lock India and Bangladesh in coal power for many years and escalate the existing climate emergency,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian People ’s Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), a group calling for urgent actions to combat climate change and its impacts.
Under the Paris Agreement, governments have committed to limit global temperature rise to less than 1.5C and to curb their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Nacpil said this requires a complete coal phase out as soon as possible
The Godda project is a nearly $2-billion, 1600-megawatt coal-fired power plant project in Jharkhand state that intends to produce electricity by burning coal that is mined from Adani ’s Carmichael coal project in Australia and then sell the power to Bangladesh. Adani Power Ltd. is the largest among private power producers in India. It plans to build five coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 8760 MW, including the Godda power station.
“We hope Prime Minister Modi will listen to the voice of the people whose lands were taken under “public purpose” even though they would not benefit anything from this project. People are being displaced and their livelihoods destroyed. Adani has been evicting members of the indigenous Santhal community from their homes, fencing off their lands and uprooting trees and crops that villagers depend on for survival,” said Sreedhar Ramamurthi, managing trustee of the Delhi-based non-profit EnvironicsTrust.
Ramamurthi said Indian law allows the government to acquire land for a private company if the project is categorised as having public purpose. Public purpose is determined through social impact assessment and obtaining the consent of 80% of the landowners.
“According to residents of the villages affected by the project, they were forcibly kept out of the social impact assessment hearings. They also said that their land was fenced off by Adani without their consent. These have been reported in Indian and International media.” said Susan Tagle, coordinator of the Asian Energy Network (AEN).
"We find these violations of the rights of the people and communities at the project site unacceptable. The project has not even started construction yet, but people are already being negatively affected,” added Tagle.
Most recently, in Sundergarh district of northern Odisha, over 700 Adivasi families are facing displacement due to construction of a railway line that will facilitate the transport of coal from Dhamra port for use in the Godda power station. “We find no public purpose for this project. But we find many special privileges given to Adani despite the project ’s lack of clear benefits for the people of India. The government has allowed the project to become the first private coal project to fully export electricity with the status and benefits of a Special Economic Zone, saving Adani billions of rupees in taxes and clean energy cess. Two state-owned lenders, the Power Finance Company and the Rural Electrification Corporation have also extended loans for the project,” said Vidya Dinker, president of the Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF).
Hasan Mehedi, chief executive of the Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) in Bangladesh, said the project does not qualify as a public purpose for the people of Bangladesh as well because it will lock Bangladesh into expensive electricity with high emissions.
According to a report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the Godda power plant would be financially unviable and a poor strategic fit for Bangladesh, where cheaper and cleaner renewable energy options are available.
“It would worsen poverty in Bangladesh, a country already made vulnerable by the devastating impacts of climate change. Bangladesh is locked in a 25-year purchasing power agreement and Adani could impose a tariff as high as Tk 8.71 per kilowatt hour of imported electricity, which will certainly be passed on to consumers,” said Mehedi.
The group is also opposing Adani ’s plan to draw 36 billion liters of water from the lower Ganges every year. The water will be piped to the Godda power plant where it will be used to wash coal, manage industrial wastes and generate steam to power the turbines. The pipeline project was given environmental clearance despite warnings that it will drain the river and threaten crucial fish stocks, as well as Gangetic dolphins.