Thursday, February 29, 2024
Thursday, February 29, 2024

HomeFact CheckViralIs Adani Group Linked To Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse? Here’s What We Found...

Is Adani Group Linked To Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse? Here’s What We Found About The Viral Claims

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

The multi-agency rescue operation that ended late on Tuesday saw the close of a 17-day ordeal for all 41 workers trapped inside the 4.5-km Silkyara tunnel in Uttarakhand since November 12. The incident has brought the spotlight on the Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Company Limited, the company behind the construction of the tunnel that is part of the Char Dham all-weather accessibility project. 

The tunnel apparently did not have an emergency exit, which posed a challenge to rescuers who struggled with busted machinery and unstable terrain, prompting questions about “unscientific” construction projects and drawing the increasing ire of environmentalists and experts who say that rampant development is making the fragile Himalayan ecosystem even more vulnerable to climate change. 

Amid the social media scrutiny through the course of the rescue operation, many users claimed that the Gautam Adani-led group owned Navayuga and insinuated that the Adanis should be held accountable for the collapse of the under-construction tunnel.

Adani Group Denies Links

The Adani Group on Monday rejected claims that linked the conglomerate to the collapse of the under-construction tunnel, stating that some elements were making “nefarious attempts” to link it to the collapse.

“It has come to our notice that some elements are making nefarious attempts to link us to the unfortunate collapse of a tunnel in Uttarakhand. We strongly condemn these attempts and those behind them,” the Adani spokesperson said in a statement. The Adani Group said none of its subsidiaries has any direct or indirect involvement of any kind in the tunnel’s construction, adding that it does not own or hold any shares in the company involved in the tunnel’s construction.

The Misconstrued Wire Report

Newschecker saw that several social media users alleging the Adani Group’s involvement in the construction of the tunnel based their claims on a report published in The Wire, dated November 18, 2023, headlined, “Who Was Building the Uttarakhand Tunnel That Collapsed?”.  We received the claim on our Whatsapp tipline (9999499044), too, requesting us to fact-check it.

When we looked up The Wire report, we did not find any mention that the Adani Group owned or held shares in Navayuga, or was responsible for the construction of the tunnel.

We, however, came across this paragraph on the Krishnapatnam Port Company, which read, “Incidentally, news reports have underlined that the Adani group had been eyeing the Krishnapatnam Port Company in Andhra Pradesh for several years. However, it had gone to a company of the Navayuga group during the TDP era. With Jagan Reddy then taking on the firm, Adani tried its luck once more, and successfully acquired it. In July 2020, the Competition Commission of India under the Union Ministry of Finance gave its consent to the Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones to buy out a 75% stake in that port from Navayuga. The remaining 25% was taken over in 2021,” indicating that The Wire report was misinterpreted. News reports from April 2021 on Adani Ports and SEZ’s acquisition of Krishnapatnam Port Co Ltd can be seen here, here and here.

Newschecker found an archived version, dated November 19, 2023, of The Wire’s report, where we can clearly see that it had not been revised or updated. We then reached out to the reporter and The Wire’s national affairs editor, Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, who confirmed that the copy was not revised and that the version on the website is the original one. “We never said Navayuga is owned by Adani,” Barooah Pisharoty said, which confirms that the Wire report was deliberately misconstrued.

Adani Group and Navayuga Previously Collaborated

However, we found that the Adani Group’s name had reportedly cropped up when it emerged that its flagship firm Adani Enterprises and Navayuga Engineering Company had incorporated a new company, namely ‘Vijayawada Bypass Project’ on May 15, 2020 in the ratio of 74:26.

“The company incorporated a new subsidiary to carry out the development, maintenance, and management of the project of six laning of Vijayawada Bypass from Gollapudi to Chinnakakani, including a major bridge across river Krishna in Vijayawada Gundugolanu section of NH-16 under Bharatmala Pariyojana on Hybrid Annuity Mode,” read a Business Today report, dated November 27, 2023.  We learnt that as several social media users lashed out at the Adani Group over its alleged role in the tunnel collapse and link to Navayuga, others pointed out that these were two separate entities who have previously collaborated.

We looked up the Navayuga Engineering Company’s website and its board of directors page, where we did not find any mention or connection with the Adani Group. “Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NEC), the flagship company of the Navayuga Group, is an engineering and core infrastructure company that has carved a formidable position for itself in the industry,” read the bio on the company’s website, stating that its chairman was CV Rao and its managing director C Sridhar.

We searched for further information on the company on online business information provider Company Check, where we found no discernible link with the Adani Group in terms of ownership and list of current directors and signatories.

We have reached out to the company for its statement regarding the viral claims and the reports on its collaboration with Adani Group and will update the copy once we get a response.

Also Read: AI-Generated Image Shared As Team That Rescued 41 Workers Trapped In Tunnel


If you would like us to fact-check a claim, give feedback or lodge a complaint, WhatsApp us at 9999499044 or email us at checkthis@newschecker.in. You can also visit the Contact Us page and fill out the form. Follow our WhatsApp channel for more updates.

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular