NGT cancels environmental clearance given to Neutrino project at Theni
Chennai: The southern bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) has cancelled the environmental clearance given to Neutrino project at Pottipuram in Theni district of Tamil Nadu.
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had given its nod for the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) in 2010.
The INO Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 metre for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India.
he Tamil Nadu government had handed over 66 acres for constructing the observatory and setting up accommodation facilities for the scientists.
However, an environmental organization had lodged a complaint with the NGT bench alleging that the environmental clearance was obtained by misleading the ministry. It had added that an unauthorised agency had conducted the study at the Bodi West Hills in Theni and submitted the report.
The project that was proposed to be set up in Theni in Tamil Nadu was put on hold by the NGT when it was told that the Madhikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district of Kerala was just about 4.9 km from the proposed project site.
The tribunal was also informed that the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border was only a kilometre away, making it a Category "A" project.
Following this, the NGT suspended the nod for the project.
Following the suspension of the green nod, the INO said it would verify the claims that the project site in Tamil Nadu was near a national park and an inter-state border, using GIS-based information system.
It said it would obtain further statutory clearances, if warranted.
INO spokesperson and faculty at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences D Indumathi said they would verify the claim and take requisite clearances if warranted.
"We will verify the petitioner's claim if the (Neutrino) project site falls within 4.9 km of the national park. We will verify the distance by using GIS-based information systems and if it tallies, we will take all other requisite clearances from the appropriate authorities," she told PTI.
She said they were yet to get the NGT order and added that only after getting it, it would be possible to go further on the matter.
The NGT's southern bench, comprising Justice P Jyothimani and expert member P S Rao had said that in light of the new facts cropping up during arguments, "it will be appropriate for us to keep the EC in abeyance."
(with inputs from PTI )