Against the backdrop of criticism of State Bank of India’s move to sanction a $1-billion loan to the Adani Group, the bank’s chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya on Thursday clarified it was a memorandum of understanding and not a sanction so far.
“It will go through a proper due diligence both on the credit side as well as on the viability side. The (SBI) board will take a call and only then loan will be given,” she told reporters after a meeting of public sector bank chiefs with finance minister Arun Jaitley.
However, rejecting concerns raised by environmentalists over the port, she said: “We also checked with Queensland’s government and they have clearly said there is no environmental issue. The threat to the Great Barrier Reef is much more from the star fish attack. It is not from the
Abbot Point port and today Abbot Point coal comes at $42 FOB (free on board), which is much better than international prices ruling today and the quality of coal is very good. It is non-polluting in nature.”
The bank had, on the sidelines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia, inked a pact sanctioning the $1-billion loan to the Adani Group’s coal project in that country for the Carmichael coal mine.
The Adani Group has, however, rubbished allegations of favouritism, saying “a couple of international banks have already funded our acquisition of mines in Australia” and that SBI would not be the only bank when it comes to final financial closure of this project. It is estimated that it would cost around $7.6 billion for the development of the coal mine at Queensland in Australia and needed infrastructure.