MADURAI:The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on Friday informed the Madras High Court bench here that no clearance has been obtained from it for setting up the controversial Indian Neutrino Observatory lab at Theni.
The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice S K Kaul and Justice S Tamilvanan, which was hearing a petition filed by MDMK general secretary Vaiko challenging the project. The TNPCB said that its consent was mandatory for establishing any industry as per the Water (P&CP) Act, 1974 and the AIR (P&CP) Ac, 1981.
In the case of the neutrino project even applications for TNPCB clearance was not submitted. Sincere relevant documents are not available on the neutrino project with the State, the TNPCB is unable to furnish any remarks it told the court.
Meanwhile, Shekar Basu, Director of BARC filed a counter affidavit on behalf of the Centre stating that Vaiko has filed the petition without a basic understanding of the ambitious basic sciences project.
The Director added that the first atmospheric neutrino induced muon events were recorded at the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) underground laboratory nearly 50 years ago. The experiments spanned several decades involving a systematic study of cosmic ray muons and neutrons and other exotic particles and processes at great depths underground. The KGF mines were closed in early 90s leading to termination of the underground experiments. The present site at Pottipuram for the neutrino project was chosen only after careful studies of various alternatives. No environment damage and impact will be caused by the project.
He also denied that 1,000 tonnes of explosives would be used for excavating the tunnel and said only 450 tonnes would be used over a period of three years. With advanced techniques now available for excavation, very minimal impact would be there.
Further the allegation that eight lakh cubic metres of rock would be excavated was denied and the BARC Director submitted that only 2.30lakh cubic metres of rock would be excavated.
The case was adjourned to February 23, as Vaiko sought time to file his reply to BARC’s contentions.