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TN CM to hold high-level meeting on Neutrino Observatory project

The project is pending before the State Board for Wildlife, chaired by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and for the past two decades have been racked with court cases and ecological issue

IANS | Chennai |

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Wednesday will hold a meeting of top state government officials on the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) proposed in the fragile tiger corridor in the Western Ghats in Theni district, sources said.

A delegation from Tamil Nadu led by former Union Minister T.R. Balu had earlier met Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi. The state had strongly objected to the Neutrino Observatory project being operational from the Western ghats.

A high-level meeting of PRAGATI (Pro-active Governance and Timely Implementation) chaired by the Prime Minister is to be held at New Delhi on Wednesday and one of the agendas could be the Neutrino Observatory project, sources said.

Stalin has already written a letter to the Prime Minister stating that the project cannot be implemented at the proposed site.

Sources said that Piyush Goyal, head of the Project Monitoring Group had reportedly told the officials of Tamil Nadu in a meeting held in July that the Central government would stall central schemes and projects to Tamil Nadu if the state opposed the Neutrino Observatory project.

The Tamil Nadu side led by T.R. Balu had in its meeting with the Union Minister, conveyed that the Centre “cannot threaten the state into submission on the project. The project cannot move forward without the clearance of the Tamil Nadu pollution control board and the National Board for Wildlife”.

Presently, the project is pending before the State Board for Wildlife, chaired by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

The INO project has been in cold storage for the past two decades due to several court cases and ecological issues creating a barrier for the project.

The Tamil Nadu government is opposing the project mainly on the ecological grounds as the sizeable part of the project would pass through the Project Tiger and the fragile Western Ghats.

Officials in the know of things said that the project which has an underground component would create an imbalance in the fragile eco-system of Mathikettan Shola through which the project passes and would undermine the Tiger population in the area that has a common tiger corridor with Kerala forest land.