Environment Ministry Current Affairs

Environment Ministry gives nod to Neutrino project

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF’s) has given environmental clearance to India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project to be set up in Bodi West hills in Tamil Nadu. The approval was given by MoEF’s Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) after taking up INO project issue as special case.

Key Facts

The project proponents during meeting with EAC have clarified that studies showed there will be no impact of blasting on any habitation in the vicinity due to INO project. It was informed also that there was no scope for radioactivity and leaching of water and these have been explained to courts. EAC also stipulated specific conditions after granting clearance of which two are key for project to take off. One is consent to establish and operate to be obtained from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).

India-Based Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project

The project aims at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 meter. Its mandate is to conduct basic research on elementary particle called neutrino. It is jointly supported by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science & Technology (DST), with DAE acting as the nodal agency.

The observatory will be located underground in order to provide adequate shielding to the neutrino detector from cosmic background radiation. It will comprise complex of caverns which will house detector which is 130 metres long, 26 metres wide and 30 metre high.

Along with main cavern, there will be two smaller caverns that will be used for setting up experiments for neutrino double detector and dark matters. The non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics underground research complex will be approached by a 2-kms long tunnel.

The project also envisages construction of 50,000 tonne magnetised iron calorimeter detector (ICAL). It will study the properties of the neutrino, in particular the mass hierarchy among different types of neutrino.


Animal Welfare Board of India headquarters shifted from Chennai to Ballabhgarh

Government has shifted headquarters of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to Ballabhgarh in Faridabad District of Haryana from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It was shifted after consultation with AWBI for better coordination between the Environment Ministry and AWBI for carrying out the animal welfare activities.

The Rule 3 of the Animal Welfare Board (Administrative) Rules, 1962 mentions that the headquarter of AWBI shall be at New Delhi or at such other place as central government, may, after consultation with the Board direct.

Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)

AWBI is a statutory advisory body established in 1962 under Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It frames a range of rules on how animals ought to be humanely treated everywhere. It has also frequently litigated to have stricter laws to ensure animals were not unduly harassed or tortured.

Initially it was within jurisdiction of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Later in 1990, the subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred to Environment Ministry.

The Board consists of 28 Members, who serve for a period of 3 years. Its headquaters is located at Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Several government organisations, along with animal rights activists and parliamentarians, are represented on the Board.

Functions of AWBI

It recognises Animal Welfare Organisations by granting them recognition if they meet its guidelines. It also appoints key people to the positions of (Hon) Animal Welfare Officers, who serve as the key point of contact between the people, the government and law enforcement agencies.

It suggests changes to laws and rules about animal welfare issues. It also offers guidance to organisations and officials such as police to help them interpret and apply the laws. It issues publications to raise awareness of various animal welfare issues. Its education team gives talks on animal welfare subjects, and trains members of the community to be Certified Animal Welfare Educators

It provides financial assistance to recognised AWOs, who submit applications to the Board. Categories of grants include Regular Grant, Cattle Rescue Grant, Provision of Shelter House for Animals, Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme, Ambulance for animals in distress and Natural Calamity grant.