Left hand, meet right hand

A crucial part of the case for the Adani coal project is the “pit to plug” strategy in which companies in the Adani Group would mine coal in the Galilee Basin, transport it by rail to Abbot Point, ship it from there to India, burn it in Adani Power’s coal-fired power stations and sell the generated electricity to Indian consumers. This claim is important to Adani for three reasons

* First, it is supposed to mean the big decline in the world price of coal since the project began is not a problem. The idea is that Adani Power will take the coal regardless of price
* Second, it undercuts arguments that exports from the Galilee Basin will compete with other Australian coal mines, leading to a loss of jobs
* Finally, it is central to the argument that the Adani project is necessary to end energy poverty in India.

All of these arguments have been rehearsed at length in the Australian media. But it seems that the memo hasn’t reached Adani Power in India. A month or so ago, they span off their Mundra Power station, loaded with a lot of debt, into a subsidiary, and offered a 51 per cent interest to the Gujarat government for a nominal price. Now, they have announced a strategy to get access to allocations of domestic coal and “do away the need for importing coal”.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to take a look at the Adani jobs portal, announced with some flourish a month or so ago. When it was set up, there were only a couple of dozen Adani jobs on offer. Now there are none at all, though there are a handful on SEEK. AFAICT, the only people employed at the Townsville Regional Headquaters are 80 or so people who have been moved there, presumably from Brisbane.

Given the lavish promises of hundreds or even thousands that have been made to the people of NQ, isn’t it time Adani put its money where its mouth is?

13 thoughts on “Left hand, meet right hand

  1. I’m in Canada so I don’t follow this other than your posts but my thought it ” isn’t it time Adani put the Australian Government’s money where its mouth is?”. Adani sounds a lot like a “corporate welfare bum” in Australia.

  2. Not sure I agree with the second star point. In a world market if Adani takes it’s coal used in India from the Carmichael Basin mine — which is not in production now — then it won’t be taking it from wherever else it might have sourced it otherwise. Surely that will lead to job losses — or some form of adverse impact — on the existing mines?

  3. It goes without saying that vertical integration cannot magically shelter a company from global economic forces, and that the environmental costs of this hopeless project (GHGs and other impacts) is being ignored by government and complicit media outlets.

  4. Spun off, not span.

    This error is a curiosity. If you ask people what the preterite of the verb “cleave” is, even people who know what “preterite” means, you will probably get more votes for “cleaved” than “cloven”. A very common activity in mediaeval England, chopping wood, has become so rare that the word for it has become a curiosity. We no longer have the regular exposure to the verb that keeps an irregular form going. “Spin” is still common, and the metaphorical media use has made it more so. There is no linguistic pressure for a reversion to the default regular form “spinned”. Cf. “googled”: neologisms are regular. So why “span”?

  5. Oops, Murphy’s law for pretend experts strikes again. “Cloven” is the old past participle of “cleave”, not the preterite, which would be “clove”, but that’s gone the way of the dodo. Please adjust my argument accordingly.

  6. @James Wimberley
    Thanks James. I was trying to figure that out. Mind, I had never heard of a preterite before but “cloven” seemed like a past participle.

    “Clove” is a word I have seen in print but I don’t know if I could actually use it in my speech or writing.

  7. My Austrian friend used the word “clove” just the other day:

    Me: Arnie, would you like some of these spices?

    Arnold Schwarzenegger: Your cloves, give them to me.

  8. James

    You clearly do not read enough cheap fantasy or romance, where mighty blows regularly clove, and women clove to the hero of their choice.

  9. Google suggests “span” is an archaism, as in “when Adam delved and Eve span”. It sounds right to me, though, and is consistent with “began” as the past tense of “begin”.

    Is there a general rule here, or is it just a matter of usage, in which case it appears that both forms are now OK, even if “spun” was dominant at some point in the past and “span” at an earlier point.

  10. Latest on the developing tax evasion scandal about Adani in India: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/20/indian-opposition-calls-for-investigation-into-adani-over-financial-allegations#img-1
    If this has legs – and the leaked documents are findings of an official customs investigation – this is bound to have repercussions on Adani’s political support. Indian bank loans for Carmichael were already a lost cause, but the Mundra bailout is ongoing. It’s far too early to write off the resourceful Gautam Adani, but he is in deep trouble.

  11. @John Quiggin
    The evolutionary pressure is clearly towards simplification and the removal of irregular forms. Begin/began/begun is a very common auxiliary verb so the forms are robust. Was there ever a “wan” form if “win”? To defend “span”, you need to find a quotation more recent than 1400.

  12. @John Quiggin
    Ploughing through my trusty microprinted OED, I can’t find a use of “span” more recent than 1562 – actually the source for older Adam and Eve epigram, relying on a rhyme. Here’s Shakespeare in Coriolanus, 1.3, 1607:

    VALERIA. – You would be another Penelope: yet, they say, all the yarn she spun in Ulysses’ absence did but fill Ithaca full of moths.

    It’s “spun” in the original according to the OED, and as it’s not verse, there was no stylistic pressure to choose one or the other vowel. Shakespeare was a careless speller, but Milton wasn’t, and he used “spun” in his sonnet 20, 1652 – with a rhyme. The more recent citations all seem to use the same form.

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