Protesters wearing masks of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Adani chairman Gautam Adani make a point during a rally against the Adani mine, outside Parliament House in Canberra recently.
Protesters wearing masks of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Adani chairman Gautam Adani make a point during a rally against the Adani mine, outside Parliament House in Canberra recently. LUKAS COCH

India's cops block ABC's Adani reporting

JOURNALISTS investigating the company trying to build Australia's biggest coal mine have been met with a heavy handed response in India.

Four Corners reporter Stephen Long said he had been in Mundra, in Adani's home state of Gujarat, for less than a day when police turned up at the film crew's hotel.

He said the crew's main concern was safeguarding what interviews and footage they had already filmed across India.

"We were questioned on and off for about five hours, the senior policeman kept on going outside and talking to someone on his mobile, and whenever he'd return the questioning, the hostility, would ramp up,” Mr Long said ahead of last night's Four Corners episode.

"It was obvious they knew why we were there but everybody was avoiding the 'A' word: Adani.

"They'd told us that if we stayed there'd be officers from three Indian intelligence agencies coming to see us the next day, plus we'd have an entourage of crime squad detectives and local police wherever we went.”

The journalists left the country but returned to Australia with their story intact. It reveals concerns about whether Australia should be supporting Adani's controversial mine in Queensland.

In the program, former Indian environment minister Jairam Ramesh accuses the Federal and Queensland governments of not doing their due diligence in examining the Adani Group's environmental and financial record in India before approving the massive mine in the Galilee Basin.

"I'm very, very surprised that the Australian Government, for whatever reason, has seen it fit to all along hand-hold Mr Adani - he is not one of the shining stars of environmental stewardship,” he said.

That Australia would consider giving concessional loans and other financial breaks to Adani was almost beyond belief, given the consequences for climate change, he said.

"You're giving a tax break to a project that is actually going to have adverse environmental consequences, which will have multiplying effects on weather patterns in the region, across the world. I find it bizarre,” he said.

"The Great Barrier Reef happens to be in Australia but it's a common heritage of mankind, it belongs to the world.”

A former head of India's Ministry of Power, E.A.S Sarma, told the program Australian politicians had obviously not been properly briefed about the viability of Adani coal.

"My assessment is that by the time the Adani coal leaves the Australian coast, (it) will be about $90 a tonne,” he said.

"We cannot afford that, it is so expensive. My assessment is it will not be possible for the Indian market to absorb Adani coal.”



Spend money on veterans' health, not war memorials

Spend money on veterans' health, not war memorials

Former army chief calls for more mental health support for veterans

First for regional Australia: Fast, free wi-fi on the bus

First for regional Australia: Fast, free wi-fi on the bus

Make the most of your time getting to and from work

The weird, wonderful things you can buy at a clearance sale

The weird, wonderful things you can buy at a clearance sale

PHOTOS: The first sale of the year attracted hundreds of buyers

Local Partners