Despite being convinced that a Rs 1,500 crore India-based Neutrino Observatory proposed to be set up underground in Theni region of Tamil Nadu poses no radioactivity threat, a key politician who had initially opposed the project has not been able to retract his position, former Atomic Energy Commission chairman R K Sinha said on the sidelines of the Indian Science Congress.
The INO is proposed to be a world-class underground facility to study fundamental particles called neutrinos, but despite environmental clearances and government sanction, it has been stalled on account of legal hurdles and opposition initially from former Kerala chief minister and CPM leader V S Achuthanandan and later Tamil Nadu-based MDMK leader Vaiko.
Last year on January 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet had approved the setting up of the INO.
“Everything has been done for the INO. The project has been sanctioned and environmental clearance has been given, but opposition on completely unscientific grounds was launched by an individual. There is no reason to object, but having carried out false propaganda through the media, that individual now finds it difficult to back out though he has been convinced,” Sinha said.
“I asked our scientists at TIFR to go and convince the protesters because my standing as a bureaucrat will not work. But the scientists came back and said the politician was convinced but he said he could not do anything. I don’t know what will happen ultimately,’’ the former AEC chairman said.