The Odisha government a friend in need of Adani, but in whose interest?

by Dr. Golak Bihari Nath and Deba Ranjan

Siju Hill bauxite site
Protest meeting at Siju Hill bauxite site

The Hindenburg report titled “Adani Group: How The World’s 3rd Richest Man Is Pulling The Largest Con In Corporate History” was published on January 24, 2023. According to the report, “Adani Enterprises, a conglomerate has been engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.

Well before this report was published, in 2017, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, the former editor of The Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), had already made it public that the Adani Conglomerate  had evaded taxes worth Rs 1,000 crore through its shell companies. This was hushed up by the Director of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).  He had also written that due to Adani’s proximity to the Prime Minister, the government has quietly tweaked the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Rules, 2016 and the amended rules specifically favoured the Adani Group to reap a bonanza of about Rs 500 crore.

Despite the publication of both the reports (Thakurta and Hindenburg reports), the Central government as well as various state governments have been regularly entering into agreements with Adani Group and extending eagerly a helping hand for the development of the conglomerate. In a democracy, when the elected government itself indulges in corruption and becomes an authoritarian ruler, it exceeds the limits of perpetuated misdeeds of monarchy.

Below we have brought some examples of the impact of the Odisha government’s benevolence and amity shown to the Adani Group at the cost of interest of general public of the state and people’s resistance to these pro-corporate actions of the state government.

Ballada hill bauxite mining projcet
Protest against Ballada hill bauxite mining projcet
  1. On February 27, 2023, the Government of Odisha issued its Letter of Intent (LoI) to Mundra Aluminium Limited (MAL) under Adani Enterprises for extraction of Kutrumali Bauxite Mine under Kashipur block of Rayagada district.  By dint of this, Shares of Adani Enterprises soared  by 12 per cent what the Business Standard writes. A day later, on March 1, 2023, the Odisha government again issued a Letter of Intent (LoI) for the Ballada Bauxite Block under Nandapur block of Koraput district to MAL of Adani Enterprises. According to CNBC news, this led to sudden increase of the value of Shares of Adani Enterprises by 16 percent. At a time when Adani Enterprises is being condemned all over the world for its illegal activities, the Odisha government has extended a helping hand to Adani Enterprises as a good benefactor. But, by this act of so-called benevolence has the Odisha government not sacrificed the interests of the people of the state?


  1. Kutrumali Bauxite Mine under Kashipur block has 128 million tonnes of bauxite reserves. Similarly, the Ballada Bauxite Block under Nandapur block has 11.5 million tonnes of bauxite reserves. Both Kashipur and Nandpur are the tribal dominated areas of the undivided Koraput district and fall under the fifth Scheduled Areas of the Constitution. Thus, it is unconstitutional on the part of the government to conduct auction and issue LoI for extraction of Bauxite Mines before taking the opinion of the local inhabitants of that area.
  2. A mammoth public meeting was held at Sarambai village in Kashipur block on Shaheed Laxman Nayak Diwas (March 29, 2023) in protest against the grant of Kutrumali BauxiteBlock to Adani Groups. According to local media reports Adivasi Dalit men and women from 30 villages opposed Odisha government’s actions of  putting their (Adivasis’) livelihoods in danger and befriending with companies accused of fraud and corruption allegations. They demanded that the auction for extraction of Kutrumali Bauxite Mine be cancelled altogether.


  1. Such a chum up of the Government of Odisha with the Adani Enterprises, is even more evident in the case of Ballada Bauxite mining. The Odisha government had declared Nageswari hills in Ballda region as a tourist destination in 2008. But that decision was cunningly altered in favour of the Adani Enterprises in 2022. A large public meeting was held at Ballda on March 21, 2023, to protest against the issuance of the Letter of Intent (LoI) for extraction of Ballada Bauxite mining to the Adani Enterprises. The villagers present in that meeting have also pledged not to allow such extraction of the Bauxite Mine under any circumstances.
  2. If Adani steps up bauxite mining here at Ballad bauxite area the villagers of five panchayats in Nandpur and Lamtaput blocks must have to be displaced and people in eight panchayats will be affected. According to data, the displaced people of the Machhkund project, built in the 1960s, are now living in the Ballda area. Now to appease the Adani Conglomerate, the Odisha government will displace them again for second time. The common man is so much entangled with the problems of his daily life that he has no other option but to rely on the government. But what a pity that this simple and honest reliance upon government turns into harbinger of more misery to him.


  1. The Central Government has not been able to accept the proposal of Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) inquiry made by the Opposition MPs as it has shown its unheeded compassion to the Adani Enterprises. According to the Hindenburg report, the central government amended its relevant law in 2019 to lease out the airports for 50 years to the Adani Enterprises which has no previous experience in this line. Further, Operation and Management clauses were not applied before handing over the airports to Adani Enterprises which is mandatory to gauge the operational abilities of the bidder. After this, the Adani group is now in charge of the operation and management of seven of the country’s largest eight airports, including Mumbai.


  1. Adani Enterprises, despite being an Indian multinational publicly listed holding company, is not monitored from time to time by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The SEBI, the capital market regulator also has the power to arrest any person who fails to comply with its directions and confiscate assets. For the past few decades, SEBI has been functioning like a department of the finance ministry of the central government instead of functioning as an independent and autonomous body as per the statutory powers accorded under SEBI Act 1992.
  2. In its report, Hindenburg had made allegation that under the leadership of Gautam Adani’s elder brother, Vinod Adani 38 offshore shell companies have been operated in tax haven such as Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates, various Caribbean islands and through them false import, export documentations were generated  to generate fake, illegitimate turnover and siphon money off the listed companies as well as evade the country’s tax revenue.


  1. Following the footsteps of the Central Government, the Odisha Government also has a long history of association with the Adani Group. In September 2014, affected people protested against a public hearing held at Chendipada in Angul district and successfully blocked Adani’s proposal for coal mines there. Now the Odisha government has auctioned two coal blocks of Chhendipada to the same Adani company despite opposition from the people.


  1. In the last few years, several projects such as limestone mine in Mathili area of Malkangiri district and the Ambuja cement factory of the Adani group, Dhamra port in Bhadrak district (2014), construction of a road for the industrial corridor “Bharatmala Project” in Odisha (of course, it is a central government scheme) etc. have been handed over to the Adani company in just a few years. In Odisha, even though there is no alumina plant, Kutrumali Bauxite Mines in Kashipur of Rayagada district and Ballda Bauxite Mines of Nandapur in Koraput district are being presented to the Adani conglomerate.

Why this limitless affinity and attachment of the government towards the Adani conglomerate?   Why is the Odisha government working against the interest of its people of the state? Why couldn’t the Odisha government sever all its ties with Adani Group soon after the Hindenburg report was published?  Many such questions should be asked by the people of the state to the state government.

The Ganatantrik Adhikar Surakshaa Sangathan, (GASS), Odisha has been demanding early cancellation of all the bids given away by the state government to Adani Group.  We call upon the progressive political parties, organisations and individuals of Odisha to come together to protest against the misdeeds of Adani Conglomerate and   take to the streets to press for a probe into allegations against it.

(Email: [email protected])

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