The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) suspended the Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO). It has asked the project proponent to make a fresh application.
NGT suspended the EC after petitioner submitted that the INO project was just 4.5 km away from Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district (Kerala) and one kilometre from Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and falls under category ‘A’ project in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
What is the issue?
- The Union Environment Ministry had categorised INO project as a Category ‘B’ project, for which an EIA is not necessary.
- But, as per EIA Notification, 2006, any project specified in category ‘B’ will be treated as category A, if it is located in whole or in part within 10 km from the boundary of protected areas notified under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and inter-State boundaries.
What NGT says?
INO is a category ‘A’ project, which meant EIA study has to be done by an accredited agency. Since the project was near a national park, INO needs to get a clearance from the National Board for Wildlife. It also needs to get necessary clearance from the Kerala government as well.
About India-Based Neutrino Observatory (INO)
- It country’s most ambitious basic science project proposed to come up in Bodi west hills of Theni district of Tamil Nadu.
- It aims at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 meter. Its mandate is to conduct basic research on the 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 a complex of caverns which will house detector which is 130 metres long, 26 metres wide and 30 metre high.