Even As The Gandhi-Vadra Siblings Raise The 'Adani Bogey', Here Is A List Of The Group's Projects In Congress-Governed States
The Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi, has repeatedly accused the Modi government of crony capitalism.
Gandhi, even coined the phrase "hum do, hamare do" to suggest that the Modi government had close ties to Adani Group and Reliance Industries, two of India's largest corporations.
However, going by Congress's electoral defeats in centre as well as state elections, these accusations do not seem to gain traction among the masses. The anti-industry, anti-big business stand of the top Congress leadership in public has seen to be rejected by the people, time and again.
Still, that has not deterred the Gandhi family.
Recently, during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Congress’s UP in-charge, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, claimed that “Adani has bought the government, PSUs, and media but it has not been able to buy my brother (Rahul Gandhi)”.
In the list of things she counted, Priyanka however did not mention the Adani projects worth thousands of crores of rupees, which Congress-ruled states are hosting.
Here we mention some of the large-scale projects being welcomed, nurtured, and even shielded by the Congress leadership in the states governed by them.
The Congress administration in Chhattisgarh approved coal mining under the second phase of the Parsa East-Kete Basan (PEKB) coal block, despite environmental concerns and protests by the local tribal population.
The said coal block is owned by Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited and run by Adani Enterprises, which is the official Mine Developer and Operator (MDO) in this venture.
In fact, the project received a go-ahead during the UPA era. Despite initial concerns from the Forest Advisory Committee, the then Environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, granted approval for the mining to proceed, assuring that mining would be conducted in an area away from dense forests. The first phase of the project, which began in 2012, was limited to 762 hectares and a reserve of 137 million tonnes.
In March 2022, the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh government approved the expansion of the project into a second phase, despite the recommendation from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to declare forests in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Aranya Coal Field (HACF) a "no-go area".
An image of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot sharing the stage with Gautam Adani circulated widely, revealing the inconsistency of the Congress party's stance on Adani and his businesses.
The fact is that the Adani Group has secured several projects in the state, which the Congress government has spearheaded. The Group plans to invest Rs. 65,000 crore in Rajasthan over the next 5-7 years. These projects include the creation of a 10,000 MW solar power capacity, the expansion of a cement plant, and the upgrading of the Jaipur airport.
Not only that, as per an RTI, Adani Group and Reliance Industries together pledged the largest investment under the ‘Invest Rajasthan’ program. The companies together pledged over Rs 1.68 lakh crore between December 2021 and March 2022 through Letters of Intent and Memoranda of Understanding with the government.
During the tenure of the Maha Vikas Agadhi government, in which Congress was an alliance partner, the Adani Group was able to secure the Dighi port project in Maharashtra.
The company acquired a 100 per cent stake in Dighi Port Limited (DPL) for Rs. 705 crores with a plan to invest over Rs 10,000 crore to develop it as an alternative to Jawaharlal Nehru Port, one of the 12 major ports in India and the country's largest container port.
In 2015, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government in Kerala handed the project to develop a new port at Vizhinjam to Adani Ports. The Viability Gap Funding (VGF) was used to award the contract to Adani Ports which bid the lowest grant of Rs 1,635 crore in the auction.
The Adani Group and the Kerala government signed a Rs 7,525 crore deal, but the project hit several roadblocks.
Once completed, Vizhinjam port is expected to become a significant rival to the transhipment ports of Colombo, Singapore, and Dubai. It will be the only transhipment hub in the Indian subcontinent, situated strategically on the Indian coastline and close to international shipping routes. This strategic location makes it a central hub for shipping in the region.
Even in the UPA era, the Central government headed by Congress had awarded the Adani group 10 projects that amounted to Rs 21,000 crore.
Above are some of the instances, wherein Congress governments opened their state's door to investments by the Adani Group. If Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra are to be believed, it happened because the Congress governments 'sold out' to the industrialist.
The targeting of big businesses only because they are big business is lazy, and even dangerous politics. The largest opposition party should know better, especially if they want to re-position themselves as a natural party of government.
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