Madurai | MDMK leader Vaiko today moved the Madras High Court seeking to prohibit the government from setting up the Rs 1,500 crore India Based Neutrino Observatory Project in Theni District of Tamil Nadu, claiming that it would harm the lives of thousands of people and agricultural produce besides endangering dams in the region.
The INO Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 m for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in the country.
In his Public Interest Litigation before the Madurai Bench of the court, Vaiko said that due to the project, planned at Pottipuram village, there was a possibility of the INO causing radioactive contamination also. In many places, INOs were located in used mines and ocean beds.
He said it would cause ground water depletion. There was no need to locate it in an area full of water bodies on which five million people of six districts in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and were dependent. Besides, the site had been decided without going into alternatives for establishing such a project.
As it involved removal of eight lakh tonnes of rocks, using explosives, the dams in the surrounding areas, including the Idukki Dam, could get affected, he submitted claiming Kerala government’s approval had not been obtained so far.
He also contended that INO would be part of US Fermilab project and its benefit would not come to India in full. The Environment Impact Assessment report says that the project is in the seismic zone, he said.
The government had given clearance to the project in 2011 and sanctioned Rs.1,500 crore for it, he said adding if the respondents were allowed to proeceed further, the environment in the vicinity of the INO project would be greatly affected.
The PIL is likely to be taken up for hearing by the end of this week or next week.
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