Indian Neutrino Observatory unit to come up in Tamil Nadu

Chennai: The Centre on Thursday reiterated that the Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) will be established in picturesque Theni in south Tamil Nadu though there has been opposition to the project by locals.

“The INO site is not in the eco-sensitive area as identified by the High Level Working Group chaired by Dr Kasturirangan and referred to in the Ministry of Environment and Forest Notification in November 2013,” Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Personnel and Public Grievances said in Parliament.

MDMK MP Vaiko raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha asking if INO was planned to be set up in Theni and if so the details thereof including any opposition to the project.

Responding in the affirmative, the minister said, “There has been opposition from some sections of the local populace. INO has been conducting outreach programmes in and around Madurai and Theni for students in schools and colleges, for faculty and journalists and media professionals.”

A large outreach programme took place during May-August 2018 covering other towns in Tamil Nadu and a few in Kerala. Many students, faculty and members of the public have visited the INO transit campus where an 85 tonne mini-ICAL Detector is operational detecting naturally occurring cosmic ray muons, he said.

“This is a much-smaller version of the detector that is planned in the cavern at the end of a 2km horizontal tunnel at the INO site. In June 2010, a public meet, though not mandated by Ministry of Environment and Forest, was called by the Theni Collector,” Singh said.

The minister added all the statutory norms and regulations are also followed in implementing the INO project.

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