Now, Greenpeace has a question for Ratan Tata

Grandstanding on ethics and principles is a perilous path to take for Indian businessmen—even for a corporate biggie with the kind of image as the House of Tatas.

Ratan Tata sanctimonious fears of India becoming a “banana republic” if his privacy is invaded any further in the Niira Radia tapes, has drawn an expected response from Greenpeace.

The environmental organisation has taken out this half-page advertisement in The Indian Express, Delhi, whose editor, Shekhar Gupta, interviewed Tata for NDTV’s Walk the Talk programme.

The subject: The threat to the Olive Ridley turtles due to the construction of the Dhamra port in Orissa in a joint venture with Larsen & Toubro (L&T).

The text of the ad begins with a file noting, dated 22 April 2010, by minister for environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh, on the forest violations by the Dhamra Port. Greenpeace says it has obtained the noting under the right to information (RTI).

“Meanwhile I understand the Port itself is nearing completion. Had construction not commenced, we could have taken a decision unequivocally not to let the project proceed at the site whose “forest” station is disputed.”

The advertisement then throws some tough questions at Tata:

“Senior officers in the ministry of environment have confirmed a violation of the Forest Conservation Act 1980 by the TATA Steel-L&T Dhamra port project. Yet this violation has been condoned by the government.

“Why?

“Is there more to this ‘cover-up’ than meets the eye? Are big corporate houses exempt from environmental laws? Are we a banana republic, where’s India’s big business houses do not have to abide by the rule of law?

“Corporations and politicians are accountable to the people. Greenpeace will continue to expose wrongdoings and cover-ups.”

Advertisement: courtesy The Indian Express

Also read: Ratan Tata‘s open letter to Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Rajeev Chandrasekhar‘s open letter to Ratan Tata

Has Ratan Tata ruined the Tatas’ brand image?

‘Go to bed knowing you haven’t succumbed’

About these ads

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14 Responses to “Now, Greenpeace has a question for Ratan Tata”

  1. Kelu Janamejaya Says:

    Sir,

    This is an illegal, illogical and illconceived move to tarnish the image of privacy loving Sri Ratan Tata. How dare Greenpeace give out an open advertisement like this when they could have gone to Sri Ratan Tata privately to express their concern?

    Sri Ratan Tata would have most certainly introduced them to Smt Nira Radia, who would have given a private tution to these “green behind the ears” kiddos from Green peace on how to manage the powers that be. This valuable lesson then would have come in handy for these activists in other countries where they are waging similar battles.

    Sad, they dont understand the power of private dealings!!!

  2. twistleton Says:

    This keeps getting more and more interesting. GreenPeace were waiting for their chance for a while now and they’re striking when the iron’s hot. Good one! :)

  3. DailyBread Says:

    Uff, these Greenpeace fellows, what is this Olive Ridley turtle I say & how did these fellows raise money to pay for this ad ;)

    @Kelu,

    As I told you earlier, you should go easy on Mr. Tata. Whatever said and done that is the best business group we have.

    If more than hundred year old Tata Group had to do all this to do normal business in India, I can imagine how rotten we have become as a country. No wonder more and more of Tata Group’s revenue is coming from outside India.

  4. DailyBread Says:

    @Twistle,

    Layoff, why are you egging these fellows to wash their hands in behti Ganga

  5. Hosa Belaku Says:

    Greenpeace could have put out this ad anytime, if it wants to uphold what it believes in. It does not have to wait for an opportune time.

    Irony is that is carriecd in the same newspaper which carried Tata’s interview and more recently an interview with Deepak Parekh, full of leading questions. First aired on NDTV, Parekh’s objection to real estate getting into telecom, while the big boys were already there was especially perplexing. (Obviously, the Unitech issue is known and being dealt with.) But Parekh seemed to be on a different trip–that the traditional big business houses were seeking greener pastures abroad, while other players were getting into telecom.

    Now, if a Beeg boy like Tata can make salt, why should not real estate wannabes try diversification. The so-called leaders are welcome to globalising their footprint. In fact, they should span out, while new boys also have a chance in the great Indian bazaar.

    As for the turtles, Greenpeace could have done it earlier too. Better late than never. Hope it is a new trend and it takes on all erring agencies, corporates through such ads. Some media houses may not entertain such ads though, because the other ads will stop coming in. Listen to Niira Radia tapes to see how this works!

  6. Gjlraj Says:

    Greenpeace has been protesting against the dhamra port for four five years now. They had signature campaign to the president of india. Only now their concerns have been noticed, as will olive ridley turtles, they are endangered and the port will destroy their nesting sites. The port will just encourage more indian minerals to be exported to china for peanuts.

  7. twistleton Says:

    @ Daily

    Why not? :)

    This is not a new campaign. It got brushed aside like every other thing in this country. GP couldn’t have chosen a better time to launch a fresh offensive.

  8. Narayana Says:

    GOP of India capitulated to Worldbank in 1991 and made away with environmental clearances for Industrial projects in the guise of getting industrial growth.

    Given that, no company will seek environmental clearance and whatever Jairam Ramesh is doing now is a farce. Jairam needs to ask the his visionary forefathers of congress party how the environmental clearances were made optional.
    Instead of these file noting Jairam Ramesh should by rubber stamp that says “since environmental clearance is not required by law and since the project has already been commissioned let us pardon off every instance where common good such as environment is misappropriated by moneybags!!”

    Jai to crony capitalism of chachawadis

  9. twistleton Says:

    @Narayana

    Companies do seek EC however, the EIA process is a farce.

    Public hearings are usually conducted with a hired audience.
    So much for democratic decision-making.

    In the case of the port at Dhamra, it has become an matter of fait accompli, apparently the port had been granted clearance way back in 1999.

  10. Vinay Says:

    “The port will just encourage more indian minerals to be exported to china for peanuts.”

    Then, the focus should be on building heavy industry such as steel plants to add value to the raw minerals before export. Instead of fighting for such things, protesting against the port itself, is nonsensical, don’t you think?

  11. kaangeya Says:

    “The port will just encourage more indian minerals to be exported to china for peanuts.”

    Then, the focus should be on building heavy industry such as steel plants to add value to the raw minerals before export. Instead of fighting for such things, protesting against the port itself, is nonsensical, don’t you think?

    You can’t build a steel plant because that requires environmental clearances that ill never be granted if it is happening in a non-Congress ruled state. Even a simpleton can see that all summary suspensions of of projects on environmental grounds are being orchestrated in non-Congress ruled states. In the case of Lavasa it is a non-Congress supporter (HCC backs NCP’s Pawar) that is targeted. Jairam Ramesh is a crook.

  12. twistleton Says:

    @kaangeya

    Thus the politics of development. Surely an improvement from the politics of identity, don’t you agree?

  13. Anonymous Guy Says:

    In Karnataka, the Reddy brothers, BJP government etc. knows what to do with the mineral wealth. Loot it and sell it. Permit, environment, people of Karnataka all be damned. Market forces at their best.

  14. sameer Says:

    you have to understand Green Peace is also on an advertising spree… they too want to gain some thing by publicizing this issue else they would have approached Tata in private.

    Having said that, Radia tapes establishes that Tata is no more a saint whom we can believe blindly.

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