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VS writes to Manmohan on neutrino laboratory

Special Correspondent
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Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take steps to ally misgivings relating to the proposal to establish a neutrino laboratory on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Achuthanandan said there was no justification for allowing the U.S.-based Fermi Laboratory to conduct nuclear experiments on the area very close to the Mullapperiyar dam. Construction of the laboratory was progressing without transparency.

Although the permission of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department was sought, there was no attempt to keep Kerala posted about the related developments, he said.

Mr. Achuthanandan said neither the Madhav Gadgil Committee nor the High Power Committee on Mullaperiyar Dam constituted by the Supreme Court had been told about the proposal.

There was no sign that sufficient studies had been done to assess the possible impact of quarrying in the ecologically fragile area which had as many as 12 dams. Whether there was any possibility of radiation contamination of the water sources in the area also needed to studied in detail.

The Leader of the Opposition contended that there was need of an open discussion among the scientific community and the people on the proposed experiment.

The State government should make a strong plea to the Centre for suspension of work, including construction of the tunnel. If, on the contrary, the laboratory was being set up with the knowledge and consent of the State government, details of such a decision should be made public, Mr. Achuthanandan said.

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