The National Green Tribunal has kept in abeyance the environmental clearance given to the India based Neutrino Observatory (INO) in 2010. The south bench of NGT has asked the project to apply for a fresh clearance from the Union Environment Ministry.
The project is proposed to come up in Bodi west hills of Theni district.
This comes after a petition was filed by G Sundar Rajan of Poovulagin Nanbaragal. He claimed that the project was just 4.5 km away from Mathikettan Shola National Park in Iduukki district in Kerala and one km away from the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border.
The petitioner stated that as per the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), 2006, it will be a category ‘A’ project as it is in part, within 10km from the boundary of protected areas specified under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 and inter-State boundaries. Due to this reason, a study needs to be done by an accredited agency and public hearing should be conducted, stated Sundar in his petition, reported The New Indian Express.
Moreover, as the project is near a national park, the project requires permission from National Board for Wildlife also, said the NGT.
The National Green Tribunal said that the project proponents need apply afresh and also get required permission from the Kerala government.
The petition has been dismissed.
The New Indian Express reported that NGT has allowed the project to keep all the other clearances, including forest and land clearance.
NGT said that the land and funds cannot be taken back as the government of India had approved the project. It had been granted Rs. 1,583.05 crore in January 2015.
The Tamil Nadu government had provided over 66 acres for constructing the observatory and setting up accommodation facilities for the scientists.