Magsaysay Awardee NDTV India’s Editor Ravish Kumar has done it again. Resorted to spreading lies and misinformation in middle of protests. In his show Prime Time aired on the Hindi offering of NDTV on 7th December, Ravish Kumar claimed that just before the new farm laws were passed by the Central government, Indian conglomerate Adani Group built grain silos in Punjab and Bihar.
Casting aspersions on Adani Group, Ravish Kumar claimed that the farmers are questioning the setting up of grain silos in Punjab by Ahmedabad-based corporate. For this, Ravish cites a 2016 article which claiming to be that of 2019.
In the video, however, he does mention that the above report is from 2016.
He then further questions that if Adani is storing the gains in silos owned by FCI (Food Corporation of India), is procuring grains from farmers, won’t they suffer loss if they are not getting MSP (Minimum Selling Price). Here Ravish Kumar is already assuming that the Adani Group will exploit farmers by not giving them a fair price for their produce.
Ravish Kumar then questions whether these new laws were made for the benefit of these corporates.
However, Ravish Kumar seems to have picked up the the narrative from WhatsApp forwards and fake news being tweeted on Twitter.
Adani has set up a garin silo in punjab Moga withing days of passing of firm bills. But that time Parliament is just not approved this bill yet. So how he too much sure the bill is going to be passed? Think 💭 who involved- Ohh yahh 💴- Modi, Captain, Adani and Ambani— Satinder Kaur (@Punjab_daughter) December 4, 2020
One Satinder Kaur claimed that Adani set up grain silo in Punjab’s Moga within days of passing the bill.
Similar claims were made by other Twitter accounts.
In fact, Aam Aadmi Party leaders also led the protests against Adani’s grain silos in Punjab.
#Punjab farm unions allowed only goods trains till 5 Nov, but today #Adani Agro’s train raced at full speed towards Adani Silo in #Moga‘s #Dagru village; #farmers as vigilant as always, raced towards the Silo, & ensured that Adani’s train is stalled.— Ramandeep Singh Mann (@ramanmann1974) October 23, 2020
Message=Don’t mess with us pic.twitter.com/9JO8pnHw9o
Call it good or bad, action has started , lead by @AamAadmiParty MLAs Meet Hayer and Manjit Bilaspur , people gheraoed Adani Silo at Daroli vill and ” Go Back Adani ” was raised , the Adani board was removed by people , their walls painted with ” Go Back Adani ” by farmers . pic.twitter.com/ruZQeCBhlD— Kishlay किसलय કિસલય কিশলয় கிஸ்லய் ਕਿਸਲਯ (@Kishlaysharma) September 28, 2020
Against the black farming laws by crony capitalists ,,— Team Barsat #TeamAAP (@TeamBarsat) September 28, 2020
AAP MLA Meet Hayer & workers of Aam Aadmi Party blackened and demolished the sign board of Adani group erected outside Adani’s new silo which is coming up in Moga.
Also, raised Slogans of #Ambani_Adani_go_back @PulkitS_ pic.twitter.com/AHFDuzMDHs
However, that is not true. In 2005, Adani got into a BOO (Build, Own, Operate) agreement with FCI to set up grain silos in Moga and Kaithal. A 2008 report said that the silos were operational and 3 lakh tonnes of wheat produce was procured for FCI in the previous season.
Interestingly, the grain silos operated by Adani and owned by FCI in Punjab, actually procure food grains at MSP.
#FakeNewsAlert— Adani Group (@AdaniOnline) December 8, 2020
Our statement in response to the misleading video posted by the Loktantra TV YouTube channel that is leveraging the ongoing farmer crisis in order to malign our reputation and misguide public opinion. #FakeNews pic.twitter.com/k4eeEGTpHa
In a statement released by Adani Group on 8th December, the company clarified that they have no role in deciding either the volume of storage of grains or the price at which they are procured. Adani clarified that it only provides infrastructure facility to the FCI. It is the FCI which controls the procurement and movement of grains for Public Distribution System.
The company also mentioned how they are in fact helping the farmers, who are primary beneficiaries, by providing such infrastructure support. The FCI is the nodal central agency which works with other state agencies to procure wheat and paddy from farmers under the price support system.
What is even worse is that the misinformation that Ravish Kumar peddles on 7th December, 2020, was already debunked by various media outlets as early as October 2020 when the bills were passed.
To quote the NDTV India Editor, why Ravish Kumar chose to deliberately mislead his viewers and general public at large, only he can tell.