| NEW DELHI, June 12
NEW DELHI, June 12 India's domestic spy service
has accused Greenpeace and other lobby groups of hurting
economic progress by campaigning against power projects, mining
and genetically modified food, the most serious charge yet
against foreign-funded organisations.
The leak of the Intelligence Bureau's report comes as Prime
Minister Narendra Modi's new administration seeks way to restore
economic growth that has fallen to below 5 percent, choking off
investment and jobs for millions of youth entering the
Greenpeace denied it was trying to block economic expansion,
saying the allegations were an attempt to silence dissent and
that it stood for sustainable growth.
The government report is likely to intensify the debate over
whether Asia's third largest economy will pursue the path of
fast growth under the Modi administration or try a more balanced
strategy that the previous government sought.
It has also turned the spotlight on the role of foreign
funded organisations, some of whom said they feared a crackdown
by the new regime, seen as more friendly to business.
"A significant number of Indian NGOs funded by donors based
in US, UK, Germany and Netherlands have been noticed to be using
people-centric issues to create an environment, which lends
itself to stalling development projects," the Intelligence
These included coal-fired power projects, genetically
modified organisms, mega industrial projects including South
Korean firm POSCO's steel plant and Vedanta's
bauxite project both in Odisha, hyro-power projects in Arunachal
Pradesh, the strategic state on the border with China.
Together, the cancellation, disruption or delay to these
development projects had clipped gross domestic product growth
by 2 to 3 percent a year, according to an excerpt of the report
seen by Reuters.
MODI PROMISES DEVELOPMENT PROGRESS
Greenpeace alone was leading a "massive effort to take down
India's coal-fired power plant and coal mining activity," it
Dozens of projects have stalled in recent years because of
local opposition, environmental hurdles and land acquisition
difficulties. Modi, campaigning on a platform of development,
promised to cut red tape and implement projects that have been
India is desperate for power, and coal is expected to remain
at the heart of its energy security for decades.
Government-controlled Coal India Ltd has not been able
to mine fast enough, forcing power producers to import costly
coal from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa to bridge the
Seventy million households - 35-40 percent of the country's
1.2 billion people - still have no access to electricity. This
summer authorities in north India are battling power breakdowns
and public anger as the country swelters under the longest
heatwave on record.
The Intelligence Bureau said the foreign NGOs and their
Indian arms were serving as tools to advance Western foreign
"Greenpeace aims to fundamentally change the dynamics of
India's energy mix by disrupting and weakening the relationship
between key players," the IB report said.
Greenpeace said it had asked the government to share with it
the intelligence report so it could defend the allegations
against the organisation.
"We have a legitimate right to express our views in what is
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," it said.
Greenpeace believed that India should embrace renewable
energy and improve energy efficiency instead of destroying
forests to access the coal underneath.
(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)