The Indiabased Neutrino Observaory (INO) proposed to be set up under the Cardamom Hills (09.9632361°N, 077.2729306°E) in the Western Ghats, a UNESCO heritage site, near the KeralaTamil Nadu border with its entry portal in Pottipuram village in Theni district of Tamil Nadu has been opposed by the local communities and the environmentalists. The first INO Risk Audit Report was published in Countercurrents. 2 The main issues raised in the the Risk Audit Group’s articles are:
(a) The construction has the potential to cause hydrogeological calamities which will affect the livelihood of close to 10 million people in six districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, who depend on the waters stored in reservoirs within the INO neighbourhood.3
(b) Violation of the Federal Principles by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change as this is an interstate project (Kerala and Tamil Nadu States) and the Government of Kerala has not even been informed about it.
The appeal against the grant of environmental clearance to INO in the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal, Southern Zone Chennai filed by G Sundararajan is coming up for final arguments in early March 2017. Among the grounds for the appeal was the potential impacts on the aquifer and water bodies. About a year after the filing of the appeal in NGT and some four years after the award of prior environmental clearance by the Government of India, the Tata Institute of Fundamenal Research (TIFR) has kindly uploaded on its website the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of INO prepared in December 2010 by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO). With the publication of the DPR it will be easy for Lawyers Sundarrajan and Vetri Selvan to convince the Hon’ble Tribunal about the impending water related disaster if the scientists are allowed to blast the Ghats. This report clearly mentions that tunnelling can disrupt the aquifers, there will be water loss and elaborate arrangements will be made for pumping the water out.
Water Loss in INO’s Detailed Project Report
The INO proponents were aware of the ‘inevitability’ of aquifer damage as these quotes from INO’s Detailed Project Report (DPR)4 prepared in December 2010 by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) reveal:
Read the full report Here