On the opening day of India vs Australia 2020 cricket tour, hundreds joined #StopAdani protests at the Sydney Cricket Ground, and the Indian Consulates in Canberra and Melbourne. Bypassing the security, two of the protesters also made their way into the field during the first ODI between India and Australia. They raised "No $1bn Adani loan" placards and were later escorted out of the pitch.
The protesters called on the State Bank of India to take back its decision to provide loans worth AUD$1 Billion to Adani Enterprises for its Carmichael coal mine project in Australia. They alleged the loan would hand Indian taxpayer funds to Adani to dig its Australian coal mine, which no bank in the world has so far been willing to fund.
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."
Kaur said her family in Punjab 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," she said.
Hey @TheOfficialSBI we have a message for you from Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.Fight For Our Reef (@FightForOurReef) November 19, 2020
Adanis coal is bad news for our Reef, already under threat from climate change. Say no to a $1 billion loan #StopAdani https://t.co/PliHrItdMX pic.twitter.com/Fh48QPBW83
Varsha Yajman, Stop Adani spokesperson said, "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 per the 'Stop Adani', 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 support the controversial project, it said.
Both SBI and Adani had signed an MoU regarding a $1-billion loan in 2014. Following intense controversy over the Carmichael coal mine project, the State Bank of India had earlier walked away from a proposed $1 billion loan to Adani in 2015. But now, reports say the SBI has agreed to offer Rs 5,000-crore loan to Adani's Bravus Mining after concerns related to the project were addressed.
Meanwhile, India is playing the first match of the four-match series against Australia in Sydney Cricket Ground today. Fans have returned to the ground for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced games before empty stadiums across the world.
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