Vaiko opposes neutrino project, cites farmer woes (but lab will be 1.2km underground!)

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 6.01.15
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Chennai, Jan. 6 (PTI): MDMK leader Vaiko on Tuesday demanded that the proposed underground neutrino project in Tamil Nadu's Theni district be scrapped, claiming it would affect the environment in that area.

”Agricultural lands would be acquired to lay roads into the project venue and to dump waste material. The area would be deeply affected as they had to dig two huge tunnels by breaking the hill,” said Vaiko, whose Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam quit the National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party last December.

The neutrino project is to be built at a depth of over 1.2km under a hill. Neutrinos, known by physicists as ghost particles because they have no electric charge and very little mass, can be detected only by equipment placed deep underground, which keeps out cosmic rays.

“It would not only affect the environment but also the mountain farming in that area,” Vaiko referred to the protests by farmers in that area against the project ever since its conception by the previous governments.

Vaiko said the neutrino project is not an industry that would generate employment for the people in that area but an institution to carry out research only.

The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) says on its website that the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the Rs 1,500 crore observatory.

The Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Science & Technology are jointly backing the project, while the Tamil Nadu government is providing infrastructure support.