Maharashtra's Hingoli district has been chosen for carrying out experiments on the ambitious Ligo project that proved existence of gravitational waves, a major breakthrough in science. It would be third such laboratory in the world, first outside the United States.
The existing labarotaries are located in Hanford, Washington, and in Livingston, Louisiana. A senior scientist with the Department of Science and Technology said, "Aundh in Hingoli district is a preferred site for the Ligo project.
We've begun work on it, which includes setting up committees to start the preliminary work." He said a strip of four km on both sides of a 150-metre wide area is needed to carry out the experiments.
"So we would not be needing much land," he said. Apart from the Aundh, the government was also looking at another site near Rajasthan's Udaipur, which was initially short listed.
"We needed a flat site to carry out the experiments, the four kms strips that would require an unhindered straight and flat site for studying the lasers. The Aundh site fits the bill," said a senior Department of Atomic Energy official.
Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory- India (LIGO-India) will also bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for Indian industries as they will be engaged in the construction of 8 km-long beam tube at ultra- high vaccuum on a levelled terrain.
An agreement to set up the LIGO project was recently signed between the scientists from the US' National Science Foundation (NSF) with the India's DAE and the DST.
On February 17, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given in-principle approval to the LIGO-India mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves. The project would cost up to Rs 1200-1300 crore. Indian scientists had played a crucial role in the recent detection of gravitational waves.