Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan on Monday criticised the Union Government for facilitating a ‘’US agenda’’ through the proposed Neutrino observatory on a contiguous stretch of Tamil Nadu’s Theni district and adjoining Idukki in Kerala and asked the authorities concerned to dispel apprehensions over the ‘’mysterious project.’’
‘’Until proper studies are conducted, further moves to establish the project should be put on hold,’’ he demanded.
The observatory is expected to study effects of the neutrino, an electrically neutral and sub-atomic particle. The collaborative project is coming up under the aegis of the US department of Nuclear Energy and the Indian Government.
VS told a news conference here that the Neutrino project was one of the many Indo-US projects planned on the sly. ‘’The project is proposed to be set up underground in the Idukki-Theni belt. While parts of the underground structure is in Tamil Nadu, a huge portion of it is in our Idukki district. Only Tamil Nadu has been approached for sanction to establish the project. None has approached Kerala and availed permission so far. Everything has been kept under wraps,’’ he charged. He said that the underground observatory was meant to study bio-diversity changes on the terrain of the diverse Idukki and its slopes. ‘’Neutrino rays will be fired from Chicago in the US to the proposed observatory here. The secrecy of the whole project is intriguing. The Indian Government has to come out clean on this. It is believed that the construction of the tunnel is expected to start soon. The region is lying close to the Mullaperiyar dam. The presence of numerous dams in the area is really a cause for concern,’’ VS said.
‘’The studies and the proposed setting up of the observatory have been kept as a highly guarded secret and even the Madhav Gadgil Committee, which had studied the Western Ghats, or the Supreme Court-appointed committee to look into the Mullaperiyar dam issue have been kept in the dark,’’ VS said.
‘’The Centre should let us know what the benefit of this experiment is. The scientific community and the people should discuss it,’’ he said. Blasting for constructing the tunnel is expected to move at a pace of four strikes a day and it is expected to take four years for completion, after which, the observatory will be established, the opposition Leader said.