Stop Adani cricket protests call on State Bank of India to bowl out Adani’s $1 Billion loan on first day of cricket tour
On the opening day of the India Vs Australia 2020 cricket tour, hundreds joined cricket-themed #StopAdani protests at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, and the Indian Consulates in Canberra and Melbourne.
The protests called on the State Bank of India to rule out loaning Adani AUD$1 Billion for its Carmichael coal mine, as reported in Indian media last week. If approved, the loan would hand Indian tax payer funds to Adani to dig its Australian coal mine, which no bank in the world has so far been willing to fund.
In Sydney, a novelty-sized game of cricket was played with oversized 1m high cricket stumps bearing the words “Adani’s $1bn loan.” Spectators attending the game also participated, bowling a giant cricket ball to ‘bowl over Adani’s loan’. Banners and placards displayed the messages:
State Bank of India - Hit Adani’s $1bn loan for six
State Bank of India - Bowl over Adani’s $1bn loan
State Bank of India - Adani should be OUT by now
In Melbourne and Canberra, crowds of people played a game of cricket outside the Indian Consulate and delivered a letter for the Indian Government, asking it to intervene and ensure that India’s national bank does not bankroll Adani’s dangerous coal project.
Manjot Kaur, Stop Adani spokesperson, University Student and former School Striker from the central west coal region in NSW said, “The State Bank of India needs to bowl out Adani’s loan and swing the bat for a safe future for Indians.
“Cricket is India's most loved game, and as millions of Indian taxpayers watch the match today, we are letting them know that the State Bank of India is at risk of handing their money to a billionaire to dig a polluting coal mine in Australia.
“If you’ve ever been to an Indian cricket game, you will know that people of India are proud of their country and their sport. We want to make sure that Indians can be proud of their State Bank too.”
“My family in Punjab, India, comes from generations of farmers. My grandfather has seen the weather change and struggled against drought. Climate change is hurting Indian families right now. If the State Bank of India loans Adani public money for its Queensland coal mine, it will be helping fund climate disasters, and striking another blow to Indian farmers. Indian farming communities fighting for their existence deserve support from the State Bank of India, not billionaires’ private coal mines.”
Varsha Yajman, Stop Adani spokesperson said “We know India can come together to support their team in cricket. We need to come together and stand in solidarity with Indian communities battling climate change and coronavirus, to pressure the State Bank of India to rule out funding Adani. India’s climate cannot afford destructive and polluting new coal projects.”
“As a first generation South-Asian Australian and school striker, I know what is at stake if the State Bank of India funds Adani’s climate-wrecking coal mine. It’s not just my future at risk: there are already millions of people impacted by climate disasters across India and Bangladesh.
“I worry about the impact of water crises and extreme heat on my family in Bengaluru where rainfall has declined by 60% in 10 years. As India battles the coronavirus pandemic, it is outrageous that public money should be given to a billionaire for a dangerous coal project. The State Bank of India needs to confirm that it is not involved in this loan.”
Following intense controversy, the State Bank of India walked away from a proposed $1billion 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. 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 Adani Group has been forced to self finance the Carmichael coal project after failing to secure finance from private companies. Over 89 companies have now committed to not supporting the controversial project. The State Bank of India is now at risk of using public funds to finance a project the private sector has shunned, with Indian taxpayers footing the bill.