The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) have formed a national level apex committee to monitor the progress of Rs.1,200-crore India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) being established in Theni district.
Only the Union Cabinet approval is pending for this major science project. The collaborators are now focussing on ‘pre-project activities' for starting the construction works at Bodi West Hills in Pottipuram panchayat in Theni district.
Naba K. Mondal, Chief Spokesperson, INO Project, told The Hindu here on Tuesday that the land transfer (26 hectares) for the underground project was “in process and there is sound support from the Tamil Nadu government.”
A meeting of collaborators was held in Madurai on January 24 and 25 with participation of researchers and scientists from 25 leading institutions including the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.
“We have already got environmental/ forest clearances for the project. After the Atomic Energy Commission meets in February on this project, the process can be speeded up. We expect to commence the works at the INO site in six months time,” he informed.
The status report on project preparation is being given to the DAE-DST apex committee from time to time and currently the specific tasks to be assigned to each institution are being deliberated.
According to him, there are various levels of monitoring going on for implementing the INO Project in Theni district. Different industrial houses, including those in the private sector, will be involved for assembly line production.
Also, the possibility of taking the expertise of a few international teams for the country's first ever neutrino observatory project is being explored, Dr. Mondal who represents TIFR, Mumbai, has said.
Scientists from European nations, Japan and the U.S. may be involved.
The INO Project Chief Spokesperson has exuded confidence that India would be able to successfully complete the project since “the levels of enthusiasm shown by our scientists is abundant and they are excited.”
Completion of the project is expected in five to six years from now.
Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in Chennai, Guwahati, Mumbai and Indore are also involved with each institution taking up a sphere of activity like simulation, electronics design and development.
A team from the INO Project will meet the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and others after the process of land transfer is completed to thank them for their support in science development. The project is funded by the DAE and DST.