New Delhi, June 11: Greenpeace India, an environmental group that has campaigned against nuclear power, coal mining and genetically-modified crops, today denied what it described as claims in an Intelligence Bureau report that its activities pose a threat to India’s economic security.
“We have a legitimate right to express our views in what is after all the world’s largest democracy — we’re only raising questions about the current model of growth,” Abhishek Pratap, a senior campaigner with Greenpeace India, said at a news conference here.
Greenpeace called the news conference in response to media reports that the Intelligence Bureau had submitted a report to the Prime Minister’s Office that the environmental group’s activities could hurt India’s economic development and growth.
Over the past decade, Greenpeace activists in India have, among other activities, conducted campaigns against GM crops, the proposed nuclear power reactors at Jaitapur, Maharashtra, and coal mining in what the group views as ecologically sensitive areas.
Three years ago, two European banks, after discussions with Greenpeace activists in India, pulled out of a consortium of banks intending to fund the nuclear power station in Jaitapur.
Greenpeace activists had lobbied for rigorous nuclear liability rules — specifying who can be held liable in the event of a nuclear accident — that have been criticised by foreign as well as domestic suppliers of nuclear power plant equipment as being too stringent and impractical.
Greenpeace has also opposed clearances by the Union environment ministry to a coal mining project in Mahan, Madhya Pradesh, proposed by a private enterprise claiming that the village council’s resolution — that formed the basis for clearances — had been “forged”.
In a news release issued in April this year, a Greenpeace activist claimed that some villagers whose signatures appear on the resolution document have been dead for years. Greenpeace has also claimed that it has written testimonies of people whose names were forged on the document.
“All we’ve done is point out the need for sustainable economic development,” Pratap said.
Greenpeace India, in a media release issued today, said most of its funding comes from individual supporters from within the country. During 2013-14, the environmental group said it raised around Rs 20 crore from over 300,000 individuals in India and foreign grants made up only 37 per cent of the donations — about Rs 7 crore.
“Greenpeace India has published annual reports for over five years and information about sources of funds we receive are in the public domain,” Pratap said. “We want India to expand renewable energy such as solar energy — this is something the government itself has said it wants to do.”