Madura: Noted social activist Medha Patkar today joined hands with MDMK leader Vaiko to oppose the proposed neutrino observatory project in Theni district, claiming that it would cause large-scale environmental damages.
"Nature will suffer major damages if India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) is set up. Radiation from it will affect people in the area. The central government does not seem to care about the people's livelihood. The INO project will not benefit India either," Patkar said.
She said the Centre was showing keen interest in implementing the project, which has not received approval from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. No guidelines or rules had been framed for implementing it either.
"The main water resources, including Mullaiperiyar and Idukki dams, will be affected by the project," she said.
She was addressing a press meet along with Vaiko before
launching a campaign against INO.
Patkar alleged that BJP government was following the same
'anti-environmental' schemes as the Congress regime, which had started the Narmada dam and Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project.
She said Kerala had opposed INO and various state governments had not agreed to locate the project in their states, nor were they willing to cooperate with the Centre on it. It was against this background that the project was being started in Theni district.
Patkar alleged that the tunnel to be created for the INO,
using explosives, would harm the environment in and around the district. Water springs and other water resources would get plugged, rendering the area dry.
Claiming that INO would require five lakh litres of water
per day, she said it would touch 3.5 crore litres as the project advanced. The hill and forest wealth would be affected and that's why Vaiko was also fighting against it, she said.
Patkar alleged that the BJP government was implementing the same projects it opposed when Congress was in power. There were reports that a site near Madurai Kamaraj University had been selected to dump waste from INO, which would affect the Madurai district also, she said.
Vaiko alleged that the BJP government was implementing a scheme that would affect livelihood of people of the district and natural wealth of Tamil Nadu.
"The Anti-INO Movement is not a political movement. It is not a caste movement. It is a movement for the welfare of the people and in the interest of the people," Vaiko said.
He claimed a similar project in Italy had destroyed a river and people were fighting against it.