Santosh Kumar S R 0

No Neutrino Observatory in Tiger Land

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The hilly terrain of the Western Ghats, clothed in dense mixed and moist deciduous forests, make Mudumalai (the ancient hills) a most attractive wildlife reserve. The Mysore-Ooty highway runs through the Park, following the course of the Moyar River, which separates Mudumalai from Bandipur. Just 321 sq. km. in area the hilly terrain provides diverse habitats. The wild elephant, gaur, deer and primates like the bonnet macaque and langurs all inhabit the Park. The predators include the tiger, leopard and the dhole - the Asiatic wild dog, that hunts in packs. The predators of the skies are the crested hawk eagle and the crested serpent eagle that can be seen circling above. In the cool of the dense forests, among the stands of teak and bamboo thickets, are colourful birds hornbills, the great black woodpecker with its dramatic red crest, mynas, barbets and parakeets. The tiny eared owl, the scops owl and the little scops owl are more heard than seen. The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is an effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory to study fundamental issues in physics. The primary goal of the laboratory is the study of neutrinos from various natural and laboratory sources. The Government of Tamil Nadu has given an in-principle approval to locate the project at Singara near Masinagudi pending statutory clearances. The project has been given environmental clearance by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. The process of obtaining other statutory clearances is in progress. The INO project needs 52,000 tons of iron in the first stage and another 50,000 tons in the second stage only for the detector. Additionally, approximately another 35,000 tons of cement, steel, PVC, copper, aluminium, sand and other building materials will be needed. This huge volume of iron and other material will come from Mysore (nearest railway station) normally moved in 20 ton trucks. New roads through the forests will be essential. This will damage the delicate environment and eco system affecting the many denizens of the area. This petition is an appeal to the government bodies through like minded and concerned citizens for the cause of the mute animals that inhabit the earth with us and without whom we will eventually cease to exist.



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