Dirty Coal shown red card by India’s Supreme Court

Ruling signals the end of cheap coal for India

Press release - 24 September, 2014
Amsterdam, 24 September 2014 – Greenpeace International and Greenpeace India today welcomed the Indian Supreme Court's landmark decision on the country's coal scam following the Court's cancellation of the licenses of 214 coal blocks. Significantly, this included Essar and Hindalco's Mahan coal block, where the Mahan Sangharsh Samiti and Greenpeace India have been engaged in a long campaign with the company over the proposed open cast coal mine.

The verdict is a victory for the environment and the people of India against rampant corruption and crony capitalism rife in the resource extraction industry. The ruling spells the end of cheap coal in India with serious ramifications on the new government's excessive reliance on coal power as the engine of economic growth.

Vinuta Gopal, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace India, said:

"This landmark decision is a wake-up call for the Modi government that came to power on an anti-corruption and economic growth agenda. Today's ruling calls the bluff on coal's dirty secret and should signal the end of complicity between the state and corporate players. It’s a strong message from the highest court in the country to the government and industry that the laws of the land cannot be circumvented and disregarded. The government has a clear choice – whether to develop a pro-people, pro-green economic model, or stick with corrupt, expensive, dirty energy."

Forest communities in Madhya Pradesh and Greenpeace are jubilant as the court ruled that the Mahan coal block be cancelled due to a lack of transparency when it was granted.

Sanjiv Gopal, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace International, said: 

"Today provides the Government of India with both a mandate and foundation to move faster and closer to an inclusive and equitable growth model. Prime Minister Modi's ambitious 'Make in India' project should be directed at fast-tracking India's leadership position in the renewable and green technology sector. This would be aligned with India's aspirations as an emerging global leader."

India has fallen short in demonstrating its leadership credentials so far at the United Nations Secretary-General's climate summit in New York. Today's decision offers a positive steer for the government to take a big step in that direction, by scaling up its ambition on renewable energy and energy efficiency, rather than continuing with a coal-addicted energy pathway. This would also open up opportunities to mobilise international finances to accelerate an Indian energy revolution.



Greenpeace International press desk, +31 (0)20 718 24 70,