Greenpeace India today rubbished the allegations, which were leveled by an Intelligence Bureau report that was shared with the Indian Express. The said report submitted to the PMO alleges that foreign funded NGOs (mainly Greenpeace) are stalling development. Greenpeace India believes that a lot of the facts are misrepresented; the intent of the campaigns are deliberately misunderstood and that this is a conscious attempt to crush and stifle opposing voices in the civil society.
“Greenpeace India is an independent organisation, which campaigns for development which is sustainable and growth that is inclusive – that is our understanding of ‘sab ka saath sab ka vikas”. How can this be a threat to national economic security? We are clearly a threat to powerful corporate interests that seek to bulldoze clearances at the cost of millions of people and the environment,” asked Abhishek Pratap.
Addressing a press conference, Pratap added: “We have a legitimate right to express our views in what is after all the world’s largest democracy. We believe that this report is designed to muzzle and silence civil society who raise their voices against injustices to people and the environment by asking uncomfortable questions about the current model of growth.”
The foreign hand seems to be the favourite stick for Governments to silence voices of opposition time and again. Ironically, this most often comes up in the case of Genetically Engineered crops or the nuclear liability issues, where in both cases ‘foreign hand’ has tried to arm twist India to take on expensive, outdated and potentially risky technologies.
As far as the source of funding is concerned, Greenpeace India is funded by individual supporters in India. Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that does not accept any donation from corporate or government entities. In the year 2013-2014, Greenpeace India raised around Rs 20 crore from over 3 lakh Individual supporters in India. “More than 60 percent of our funds come from Indian supporters. Foreign grants form, 37 percent of our funds. You can do the math – that is approximately 7 crore. If India’s growth can be impacted by that – it’s laughable considering the massive outlay of corporations and foreign lobbies!” said Pratap.
Greenpeace India through its campaigns hopes that the new government, which has indicated that it will be more pragmatic and proactive in its addressing the climate challenge uses innovative thinking and bold measures to take India away from dependence on dirty coal and dangerous nukes to a future that not only meets the growth aspirations of the people of India, ensures equity in access to energy, but also keeps the carbon emission level under check. “Instead of destroying our forests to access the coal underneath, we believe that our country should embrace the ambitious uptake of Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency to meet the rapidly increasing energy needs of our growing country,” says Pratap.
Greenpeace India campaigns are aimed at ensuring rapid access of modern electricity through decentralised RE. There are 300 million people in this country who still live in darkness without electricity. “It is a pity that over 60 years of independence could not ensure electricity in every home. Is ensuring electricity of for all anti-development? Aren’t these 300 million people, a part of ‘developed India’? Opposing coal doesn’t amount to opposing the country’s economic growth. Government should ensure economic development of more than 1.2 billion Indians, and not of coal and nuclear energy lobbyists,” said Pratap.
Countering the allegation that we have foreign nationals and funding coming our way Pratap responded, “Greenpeace is a global organisation working on extremely challenging environmental and social justice issues that cannot be limited by national boundaries. Decisions around energy and agriculture technology choices are heavily influenced by huge foreign multinationals and their governments. To be impactful in getting the voice of the communities impacted by these decisions; of ordinary citizens and those without a voice, we engage with like minded voices across the globe. The fight for human and environmental justice unfortunately is not a fight in India alone.”
Greenpeace India has approached the Minister of Home Affairs for a copy of the said report and hopes that the government will ensure transparency on the issue. Greenpeace is ready to answer all questions and face any kind of challenge.