Protest over SBI Loan to Adani Coal Mine Disrupts Cricket Match
Recent media reports suggest that the State Bank of India is close to finalising the loan for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine have triggered protests around the world. In a surprising turn of events during a one day international cricket match between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday, two protesters ran into the field with t shirts saying Stop Adani and brought the match to a brief halt. They carried placards urging the State Bank of India to not give a USD 1 billion loan to the Adani group for Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland in Australia. Protestors said, “Millions of Indian taxpayers who are watching the first game of the Indian cricket tour have a right to know that the State Bank of India is considering handing their taxes to a billionaire’s climate wrecking coal mine. As India struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, this money should be spent on looking after vulnerable people, not supporting coal billionaires with close ties to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Indian opposition politicians slammed the loan, calling it crony capitalism that would hand Indian tax payers’ money to a billionaire for a coal project in Australia. The Opposition had pointed out that five leading global banks, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays, had declined to fund the project citing a decline in coal mining in Australia.
French Asset Management Company Amundi, which holds the SBI green bonds as part of its Amundi Planet Green Emerging Fund, also threatened to sell off SBI green bonds held by it unless it stops its scheduled loan to Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in Australia. Amundi Director of the Institutional Corporate Clients Division & ESG Mr Jean Jacques Barberis said "We consider SBI should not finance this project. Ultimately it's their decision but we've been extremely clear on the fact that if they decide to do it, we would immediately disinvest. Financing the mine would be in "total contradiction" to the SBI activities financed through its green bond. We have engaged SBI asking them not to participate in the loan and now we are waiting for their answer.”
As per media reports, India’s state owned State Bank of India is set to offer a INR 5,000 crore loan to Adani Enterprises Ltd's Australian mining company, now renamed Bravus Mining & Resources and a ratification is expected from the bank's executive committee soon. State Bank of India had earlier backed away from a proposed USD 1 billion loan to Adani for the Carmichael coal project in 2015. The decision to grant the loan was made during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Australia where he and Gautam Adani attended the G20 conference in Brisbane.