#StopAdani: the movement continues in Sydney

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The #StopAdani grassroots movement is made up of thousands of individuals and community groups across Australia taking action to stop Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s Carmichael coal mine project in the Galilee Basin of Queensland. Over the last 11 years, since the purchase of the mine by the Adani group in 2010, this movement has taken many creative actions to bring attention of the government and general public to the detrimental effects of this mine.

One of the actions that was reported widely in India and Australia in November last year was the storming of the cricket pitch during the Australia – India one day international at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Two protestors ran into the pitch with signs denouncing State Bank of India’s (SBI) proposed $1 billion loan to the Adani mine project.

To mark the anniversary of this event, 20 protestors visited the Sydney office of the State Bank of India with a gift of a cake decorated as a cricket pitch. It said “Don’t fund Adani, SBI. That’s not cricket”. SBI officials who were taken by surprise and politely refused the cake.

After being shunted out, though not before they left a letter for SBI’s Chairman in India about their displeasure with the project, the #StopAdani protestors played a noisy game of cricket in the building foyer to draw attention to the issue, until police arrived and forced them to continue the game on the pavements of George Street.

The message was simple – asking SBI to withdraw its standby line of credit.

Josh Winestock, one of the protestors who ran onto the pitch last year, said he was proud about his action.

“It resulted in unprecedented media coverage for #StopAdani, especially in India, which pushed SBI to put the $1 billion loan on the back burner. Now we need SBI to rule out this loan.”

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#stopadani protest sbi sydney
Josh Winestock (right). Source: supplied

Increasingly investors are backing out of projects such as coal mining which is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The recent IPCC report and COP26 meet at Glasgow highlighted the scary trajectory to human destruction if no action was taken to limit global warming to under 1.5 degrees. While Adani claims that high quality imported coal will provide cheap energy to millions of Indians, in reality the project will cause destruction of the environment at both ends – Australia and India.

Adani Mining, who recently changed their name to Bravus, has turned out to be the most contentious mining project of all time. After over a decade of seeking innumerable planning and regulatory approvals for the project, fighting legal challenges and facing protests, the mine struck coal for the first time only six months ago. It will be long before this reaches the shores of India with the proposed rail line from the mine to the port still to be completed.

The protest is one of over 200 ‘Stop the Money’ actions of Stop Adani, being taken the world over, resulting in major bankers backing off this project. Faced with targeted protests against them, financiers have pulled out one by one, making the project toxic to be associated with. SBI is just the latest in the receiving end of these actions.

Jyoti Shankar
Jyoti Shankar
Jyoti Shankar is a freelance writer and sustainability professional, who is passionate about nature

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