CHENNAI: With its back against the wall, the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is facing a fresh Kerala challenge. After the National Green Tribunal (NGT) kept the environmental clearance granted earlier in abeyance and declared it as Category A project, its promotors are desperately looking to put India’s most ambitious basic science project back on the track.
D Indumathi, physicist at Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) and one of the spokespersons for the neutrino project, told Express that the Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala will be approached shortly seeking its no objection for clearance from the National Board for Wildlife.
This is the first time INO will be looking for obtaining statutory clearances from a neighbouring State. The NGT had reasoned that it was necessary since the project was just 4.5 km away from Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district in Kerala and the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border was just 1 km away. Indumathi said as of now there was no other alternative site in mind.
G Sundar Rajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal told Express that clearance from the National Board of Wildlife alone will not be enough. Before applying for fresh clearance, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study should be done by an accredited agency, which has to be translated into Tamil and put in public domain. Public hearing should also be carried out. “They can’t skip this process and apply for EC. If they do, we will again petition NGT,” he said.