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 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.
“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