Refuting former environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s charges that it was surviving on the Narendra Modi government’s largesse, the Adani Group credited on Monday the liberalisation policies of the previous Congress governments for its prosperity.
In a statement, the group --- headed by Gautam Adani --- also accused Ramesh of “undermining the contribution of the Congress” in liberalisation.
After the Congress leader’s attack, the Adani Group said in an e-mail response: “The Adani Group is proud about their contribution to Nation Building. This was made possible because of the opportunities provided due to the opening-up of the Indian economy. Shri Jairam Ramesh is undermining the contribution of Congress which ushered in the era of liberalisation. Our late Prime Minister Hon’ble Shri Rajiv Gandhi had conceived liberalisation and it was further strengthened by Congress Govt. in 1991. Most leading Corporates of today’s India, including Adani Group, owe their success to this.”
Earlier in the day, Ramesh countered industrialist Gautam Adani’s claims that he, as a Union minister, had given permission for mining forest land area in Chhattisgarh.
Standing by his decision of permitting the allocation of a coal mine to the Rajasthan government, Ramesh said: “What Shri Adani has conveniently forgotten is that the issue now is not that he is the mine operator selected by the Rajasthan government. Shri Adani has deliberately side-stepped the real issue: That the Chhattisgarh government has cancelled the rights that have to be settled under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 before the mine can be developed.”
In its response, the Adani Group said: “The mine is owned by the Rajasthan Government. The clearance was issued by Chhattisgarh Govt. to Rajasthan Govt. Hence, we are surprised and fail to understand, why Shri Ramesh is seeking an explanation from us on getting any benefit/ favour in the said case?”
In the e-mail response, the it added: “Adani Group does not own any mine in Chhattisgarh. The mine which has been referred to by Shri Jairam Ramesh was allocated to Govt. of Rajasthan during the UPA regime. Forest clearance was granted by Shri Ramesh himself during his tenure as the Minister of Environment and Forests. Incidentally during that period, State Govt. of Rajasthan was also ruled by Congress.”
In an interview to an economic daily on Monday, Adani said the Rajasthan government owned the said mine and that the Adani group was just a contractor.
The Chhattisgarh government in January passed an order cancelling the community land rights of local tribals over the forest land, guaranteed under the Forest Rights Act. The Act mandates that all claims and rights of the tribals and forest dwellers be settled before the government moves on a land. However, with the government failing to do so, the allocation has been caught in a legal bind.
The Congress leader said that he had provided detailed evidence to show how the present secretary in the Union ministry of tribal affairs was “supporting” the Chhattisgarh government’s “brazenly unilateral move to benefit Shri Adani by circumventing a rule” that he had laid out as the environment minister in August 2009, and that was passed by Parliament in December 2006.
“Shri Adani should have had the intellectual honesty to acknowledge the issue in dispute. That he is the beneficiary of Shri Narendra Modi’s largesse both as CM of Gujarat and PM of India is beyond any doubt,” said Ramesh.