It will serve as R&D centre for India-based Neutrino Observatory

Soon Madurai will get a prestigious facility with the establishment of Inter-Institutional Centre for High Energy Physics (IICHEP) on 33 acres of land at Vadapazhanji near here. Compound wall has been constructed around the land and the building plan sent to the Directorate of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) in Chennai for approval.

It will serve as a research and development centre for India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) to be established on 66 acres of land at Pottipuram in Theni district. Being a collaborative project of 22 reputed scientific research institutions in the country, the centre would be a hub for scientists and students, offering research programmes in particle physics. At present, it is functioning from a rented building near the site.

Naba K. Mondal, Project Director, INO, said they would start constructing a massive laboratory building immediately after obtaining the DTCP approval. It would be followed by a 20,000 sq. ft. main building housing offices for scientists, lecture rooms and so on. Staff quarters, students’ hostel and an indoor auditorium had been planned.

The centre bought the land from the State government for a consideration of over Rs. 16 crore and engaged a Mumbai architect to draw the building plan. “Though the land is uneven and had been exploited by stone miners, our architect has done a good job and promised us to landscape it,” Mr. Mondal said.

S. Stephen Inbanathan of American College, one of the collaborators of the project, said the local residents of the area had been evincing keen interest in the progress of the project for they believe it would create a special place for their locality in the world map. “The people are totally convinced about the safety of the project as we have explained it in detail through a series of meetings,” he said.

The site is located adjacent to an eight-acre land earmarked for establishment of Centre for Research in Medical Entomology.

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