Greenpeace harming India's economic security: IB report

13 June 2014

Greenpeace and other lobby groups from industrialised countries are allegedly working against the economic progress of India by campaigning against power projects, mining activities and GM foods, according to a report purported to have been prepared by the Intelligence Bureau.

"A significant number of Indian NGOs funded by donors based in US, UK, Germany and Netherlands have been noticed to be using people-centric issues to create an environment, which lends itself to stalling development projects," according to the Intelligence Bureau report.

The most serious charge yet against foreign-funded organisations comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration seeks ways to restore economic growth that has fallen to below 5 per cent.

The new government is of the view that too many curbs, including environment laws, land use regulations and a blind opposition to new technology products like gene-modified foods are choking investment and jobs for millions of youth entering the workforce.

The stalled projects included coal-fired power projects, genetically modified organisms, mega industrial projects (including South Korean firm POSCO's steel plant and Vedanta's bauxite project) in Odisha, hyro-power projects in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Intelligence Bureau report said the foreign NGOs and their Indian arms were serving as tools to advance Western foreign policy interests.

"Greenpeace aims to fundamentally change the dynamics of India's energy mix by disrupting and weakening the relationship between key players," the report said.

Greenpeace alone was leading a "massive effort to take down India's coal-fired power plant and coal mining activity," according to the report.

For India, which is desperate for power, coal has been at the heart of its energy security for decades. Mining curbs have foced state-owned Coal India Ltd to abandon several mining projects, forcing power producers to import costly coal from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa to meet their requirements.

The ''leaked'' government report is intended to kick up a debate over whether the country should pursue the path of fast growth or follow a more balanced strategy of the previous government.

Greenpeace, however, sees the allegations as an attempt to silence dissent and said that it stood for sustainable growth. It has also asked the government to share with it the intelligence report so it could defend the allegations.

"We have a legitimate right to express our views in what is the world's largest democracy. We believe that this report is designed to muzzle and silence civil society who raise their voices against injustices to people and the environment by asking uncomfortable questions about the current model of growth," it said.

Greenpeace said India should ideally embrace renewable energy and improve energy efficiency instead of destroying forests to access the coal underneath.

For the Modi government that has come to power on the plank of economic development and has promised to clear hurdles in the implementation of projects, it is necessary to find a way out of local opposition, environmental hurdles and land acquisition difficulties to revive dozens of projects that have been stalled in the recent past.

 search domain-b