Chennai-based NGO accuses Neutrino Observatory of submitting false information to committee

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) recently recommended grant of environment clearance to the INO.

Published: 18th March 2018 04:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th March 2018 03:27 PM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only.

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: City-based environmental organisation Poovulagin Nanbargal has accused India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) collaboration of submitting false information before the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), which recently recommended grant of environment clearance.

G Sundarrajan, coordinator of the outfit, alleged that the committee in its 27th meeting held on January 25 this year had deferred the grant of environmental clearance seeking some additional information, which included detailed Geo Technical Investigation Report on the study carried out for locating underground laboratory of the INO at Pottipuram, detailed status of court cases pending/disposed against the project and details of a public hearing on July 8, 2010, held by the Collector with 1,200 local villagers from Pottipuram Panchayat in a tabular form along with the action plan.

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), which is leading the INO collaboration, has submitted details of INO outreach meeting, instead of public hearing.

“As per the rules, a public hearing has legal binding and there is a set of rules that has to be followed to conduct a public hearing. The INO collaboration has conducted nearly 100 outreach meeting in various districts and these cannot qualify as public hearings. They should give wide publicity and advertise about the hearing in vernacular newspapers. It was not done. I have filed an RTI application with Theni district administration on the minutes of public hearing conducted,” he said.

Sundarrajan, who also filed petition in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against neutrino project, said if Union Environment Ministry grants environmental clearance, it would violate the order pronounced by the southern bench of NGT.

“We will challenge the clearance immediately before NGT Delhi and even approach Supreme Court, if required,” he said.

Meanwhile, an anti-neutrino awareness campaign will be started from Madurai on March 31 by MDMK leader Vaiko. He is scheduled to go on a ‘padayatra’ for 11 days from Madurai to Bodi Hills in Theni district covering all the villages.

In response, an INO official told Express that the TIFR has submitted all documents sought by the EAC. “The July 8, 2010, public hearing was conducted in the presence of Theni district collector, superintendent of police, district revenue officer, forest officer and then Bodi legislator Lakshmanan,” the official clarified.


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