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« Tony N on the New Year | Main | Leaning on North »
Friday
Jan012010

Is it actually Tata?

A happy new year to all my readers.

I awaken this morning to a mystery - who is it that's threatening Richard North and Christopher Booker? The obvious candidate is Rajendra Pachauri, who has been on the receiving end of many pointed critiques from the two men, mainly as a result of his multiple conflicts of interest.

But perhaps not. North links to this document, a photoessay about big business misbehaving in the mining industry in India. (The download is large - I've extracted the two relevant pages here). This doesn't mention Pachauri or TERI at all. The pages North refers to mention a Tata group steelworks, where the local population was moved from their homes, without compensation, to make way for the new plant, and a list of "People’s struggles against mining projects in the eastern states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand & Orissa". The latter again refers to several Tata projects.

Reading between the lines then, there appears to be a real possibility that it is Tata doing the threatening and not Pachauri.

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Reader Comments (11)

I am beginning to wonder the same. But so far Dr North has not published much about the mining activities of Tata. So is that an excuse to get Tata Sons Ltd to pay for Dr Pachauri's attempt to harvest some more money from the British libel laws?

Jan 1, 2010 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterYokel

Mischon de Reya have form. They threatened Quentin Letts over his comments about Alan Sugar becoming a Lord and as far as I'm aware didn't actually take it any further....freedom of speech and all that. The Daily Mail continued to print QLs comments on the case after he received their letter.

Also taking on the Barclay Brothers who own the Telegraph may not be a good thing unless you have very deep pockets. It would be interesting to see how much Tata are prepared to spend if behind this smokescreen this is really about Pauchari.

The Barclay Brothers had the MP Nadine Dorries' blog taken down at one point last year when she commented on them and the newspapers expose of MPs expenses and threatened legal action. So clearly they are happy to defend their paper if required.

Jan 1, 2010 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterRossa

On climategate (and Pachauri) I was with you but NOT on seeing Tata as "bad": Tata is probably the most responsible and ethical big company in whole India. Google "Jamshedpur" as an early example of their social behavior.

I understand that the UK is hurting from the downsizing of some of Tata recent big purchases there, but can you blame them after the financial crisis? Please compare to what happened to the US steel and car industry: they would have vanished without state support. The UK was lucky with Tata as a buyer and Tata was unlucky with the timing of their acquisitions.

About mining projects in India: there are various less social companies around, the government of India also does not care much about the locals (tribals frequently) BUT there are also Maoists active in a very destructive mode.
About legal threatening: it is your "own" UK libel laws that make this nonsense possible, so be easy on Tata please.

Jan 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterAntony

It is true that the Tata Group is seen as a good corporate entity in India. However, businesses are not set up for social service, especially not in India. The government always looks the other way while getting its cut. The law enforcement gets its share. The local leaders collude with company representatives to suppress the truth. Top management concentrates on the big picture. Victims stop protesting after a few years.

That is the story with all corporates, especially the ones which carefully cultivate a respectable image. Included in this list are all the big names. That is why they are extremely sensitive to criticism. They move quickly to stamp it out before it morphs into a scrutiny of their activities. Fortunately for them, the media in India is also for sale. So they are never exposed. I know this because I have been observing it for the past 20 years.

Jan 1, 2010 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterPrashant

It was always expected that there would be some sort of response. My impression is that it is TATA who are throwing the punches, not Pachauri whose comment that Richard was one of the hackers clearly indicates he has not been advised by a lawyer and thinks he can brush off criticism without addressing it thoughtfully. It is expected that TATA will have passed the first article to their legal department with instructions to try and stop the story spreading, sending frightening letters is very easy to do and is often a cheap way to shut down debate in the media. It has a downside that it attracts attention to a story that otherwise may not be noticed.

I think the work Richard has done is important because it is the third (previously missing) element in the exposure of AGW hysteria which is causing us to waste billions of taxpayer money and undermines our industrial economies.

Element 1. is the mindset of the "climate scientists" who have been exposed by their own emails. This website has been really important in getting this side properly documented and put on the record.

Element 2 is the tampering with the data which has been under attack for year but finally exposed by the content of the files released from CRU. Climate Audit and WUWT and yourselves have really excelled in exposing this element and putting it on the record.

Element 3 is the political side, the part being played by big business, political and bureaucratic corruption and money. This is where EUreferendum have come into their own and put on the record what has been going on behind the scenes.

We need to hold together on a broad front and not let any one element be undermined. As someone on the sidelines I would like to congratulate you on the important role this blog has played so far and thank you for the time and effort you have put into this important exposure. I also think you are right to highlight what is going on in the political arena; the involvement of Pachauri with TERI and TATA needs to go viral and to be exposed on a wider front, they must not be allowed to squash the story before it is properly born. Element 3 is an important contribution to getting elements 1 and 2 into the public arena.

Jan 1, 2010 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJulian Williams

Anthony,

Your comment about Tata and Jamshedpur, seems to indicate that you have not yet seen the EUReferendum link to pages 55 & 70 in this report. http://www.panossouthasia.org/pdf/Mining-Final.pdf

It's worth a look, as is this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santhals

Tata Steel did not do too well in this analysis. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/6798052/What-links-the-Copenhagen-conference-with-the-steelworks-closing-in-Redcar.html

Were we in school, then the Tata end of term report for" respectability" would probably read "5/10, must try harder next year."

Jan 1, 2010 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterPerry

I suspect that TATA has very dirty hands with regard to the AGW front, and that Pachauri is simply a tool of TATA. However, there is far, far more to this issue than just the largest company in India, We have Al Gore and Georg Soros deeply involved as well, Just look at those present at COP15 and ask "What's in it for them?" That is the question that really needs to be answered.

Still, at present, the best thing is to continue attacking where the AGW is weakest and Pachauri is by far the most vulnerable. Push him over and the whole house of cards the AGW crowd built will topple too.

This is not to say that I disagree with Julian Williams' comments above, but I come from the George Patton School of Management. "Attack the bastards where they are weakest!"

Jan 1, 2010 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

I note that the letter doesn't seem to know whether the client is singular or plural:

"Please do not mistake our client's resolve to take whatever action is necessary to protect their reputations"

Even Mishcon de Reya can't get the staff, it seems...

Jan 1, 2010 at 5:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Is it even meaningful to make the distinction between Tata Group and Pachauri? It would appear that Pachauri is more or less a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Jan 1, 2010 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Martin

Sorry folks, my for me you are barking up the wrong tree here in going after Tata.

@Prasanth: I do not see all big corporates as the same: there were and are big differences between a Tata and a Birla, RIL, Reliance (Anil) etc. in behavior. Tata has a reputation for not bribing or mingling with politicians since the on set for example. This has definitely slowed down their growth, but they accepted that.
@Perry: that report has 2 lines on what happened with people who are NOT employed at Tata plus dozens of photos around non Tata projects. Not a pretty sight for sure, but what do you expect around a steel mill or coal mine in central India (or China, Russia etc).?
About the Corus steelworks in Redcar, North Yorkshire being closed: 90% of all steel plants in Europe have been closed, non of them owned by Tata. This carbon trading scheme was not invented by Tata, they just make use of it now, like so many others.
Tata's one mistake may have been to hook up with Pachauri, yes.

Anyway, I will stop defending Tata now, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are on the wrong trial.

Jan 2, 2010 at 3:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAntony

Surely given the interlocking nature of the relationships between the two......Tata Group = Pachauri and vice versa?

Jan 2, 2010 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohnRS

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