Tamil Nadu Delegation Asks Union Govt To Drop India-Based Neutrino Observatory Project
A delegation from Tamil Nadu led by former Union Minister TR Balu met Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi on Monday and demanded the Union government to drop the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project proposed in the fragile tiger corridor of the Western Ghats in Theni district.
The demand was raised to the Union Commerce and Industry Minister ahead of the high-level meeting of PRAGATI (Pro-active Governance and Timely Implementation) chaired by the Prime Minister to be held at New Delhi on Wednesday. As per sources, one of the agendas could be the Neutrino Observatory project.
The Tamil Nadu side led by TR Balu had in its meeting with the Union Minister, conveyed that the Centre "cannot threaten the state into submission on the project. The project cannot move forward without the clearance of the Tamil Nadu pollution control board and the National Board for Wildlife".
Presently, the project is pending before the State Board for Wildlife, chaired by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The INO project has been in cold storage for the past two decades due to several court cases and ecological issues creating a barrier for the project.
Neutrino Project director Gobinda Majumder told New Indian Express, “Many scientists like me have sacrificed their career for the project. It will be the nation’s loss if we fail in our endeavour.”
The Tamil Nadu government is opposing the project mainly on the ecological grounds as the sizeable part of the project would pass through the Project Tiger and the fragile Western Ghats.
Officials in the know of things told IANS that the project which has an underground component would create an imbalance in the fragile eco-system of Mathikettan Shola through which the project passes and would undermine the Tiger population in the area that has a common tiger corridor with Kerala forest land.
Gobinda Majumder further said in a statement that the project comprises 26.825 hectares of revenue land above ground and 4.62 hectares of land underground comprising the tunnels and lab caverns.
“The facilities on the surface are restricted to the 26.825 hectares of revenue land and lie completely outside the reserve forest. This would not be of any disturbance to the forest or the tiger corridor,” he said.
With IANS Inputs
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