People Power: Roses for Ratan Tata

Press release - August 8, 2008
MUMBAI, India — Greenpeace today delivered thousands of roses to Mr Ratan Tata at his Bombay House office on behalf of thousands of concerned members of the public, expressing gratitude in anticipation of his decision to reconsider the upcoming TATA port at Dhamra, near the nesting ground of the endangered olive ridley sea turtles.

Greenpeace Activists deliver roses to Mr. Ratan Tata on behalf of thousands of people from across the country.

"Much has been said about Mr. Tata's love for animals and the environment, so we are sure that he will make the right choice, and put the turtles above increased profits for the TATA group. There is clear scientific evidence of the threat the port poses; environmental groups, fishing communities and scientists have expressed concern and around 90, 000 TATA customers so far have written to Mr. Tata directly asking him to shift the port and not the turtles. These roses are a reminder for Mr Tata to honor a commitment that he had made -- to re-examine the port project in the likelihood of any damage to the environment" said Areeba Hamid, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace.

The Greenpeace online campaign for saving the turtles, launched in April 2008, has met with an overwhelming response. Over the last week, 7577 people have clicked on the Greenpeace website asking the group to deliver a rose to Mr. Tata on their behalf, adding to the mounting public pressure on Mr. Tata to live up to his company's claims of respect for the environment.

Greenpeace has for several years been campaigning to save the habitat of the unique and endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles, whose nesting grounds at Gahirmatha are threatened by the massive deep water port proposed at Dhamra in Orissa, less than 15 km, away. The port is being built by Tata Steel in a 50:50 partnership with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and if constructed, will disturb the fragile ecological balance, thereby pushing this species one step closer to extinction.

While Tata Steel's corporate sustainability report boasts that, "there are no national parks/wild life sanctuaries/CRZ/other sensitive areas notified areas within 10 kms of any current or proposed sites..."1, yet the Dhamra port is less than 15 kms away from the nesting site in the Gahirmatha Sanctuary and barely 5kms away from Bhitarkanika National Park.

Under India's Wildlife Protection Act, Olive Ridley Turtles enjoy the same level of protection as the tiger. There is evidence that the port in its current location poses a significant threat not only to the turtles, but also to the other rare biodiversity that is found in the region.

Tata Steel is today the sixth largest steel producer in the world and the most global brand that India has produced, and the public now, along with Greenpeace is calling on the TATAs to live up to it's professed environmental ethics, , by reconsidering its port at Dhamra and exploring alternatives.

For further information, contact

Areeba Hamid, Oceans Campaigner- +919900569456,
Saumya Tripathy, Greenpeace Communications, 93438 62212,