CHENNAI: With the Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO) project proposed to come up in Theni district of Tamil Nadu lying in limbo, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday expressed optimism about the project’s future.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the go ahead to setting up of the observatory at a cost of over Rs 1500 crore, in January last year.
However, the project has been facing protests from activists and political leaders of Tamil Nadu and Kerala over its possible adverse impact on the environment.
“I will personally look into the nitty gritty of the issue. Our Ministry will work towards a positive outcome,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said through video conferencing, addressing media persons. He was addressing the regional media across the country to elaborate on the achievements of his ministry and the departments.
The Minister was particularly generous in his praise for the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which he said is a globally benchmarked organisation. “CSIR is ranked at 84th position among the 4851 institutions across the world and is the only Indian organisation among the top 100 global institutions,” the minister said citing the Scimago Institutions ranking world report.
In the health sector, CSIR scientists have designed a clot buster protein which is currently in phase 2 of clinical trials. The anti-diabetic herbal drug BGR-34 which is priced at Rs.5 per pill and the indigenously developed Rotavirus vaccine to fight diarrhoea have been cleared for market license, the minister said.
On the future projects under his ministry, Harsh Vardhan said plans are underway to set up a chain of Marine Biotech labs to explore the ocean from the Andamans to Lakshadweep as well as major initiatives in farmer-centric agriculture.
CSIR is ranked at 84th position among the 4851 institutions across the world and is the only Indian organisation among the top 100 global institutions
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences