This post is based on what I read online. I connect the dots to develop a fuller picture. I have no inside sources.
First, what is the Indian LIGO stalling?
The Indian LIGO had been approved in its totality and the money had been earmarked. Then land acquisition had been completed. The next step was for the Indian Government to release the funds to LIGO to begin construction. The bulldozers and the earth movers were to go to work. But this is where the project is stuck. The money has not been released.
A cover story for public consumption both in US and India has been developed for sometime that this impasse is due to problems with finalizing the site selection process. I cannot say who cooked up this story, or why a cover story was at all needed.
The real story is that the Indian Government is taking its time to consider the project more fully. My guess is that they have obtained scientific opinion from a larger Indian scientific community (beyond the Indian Ligonauts).
How would more time help the Indian Government decide? Well, two crucial developments are in the offing: one only a month away, and the other less than six months away.
LIGO SECOND OBSERVATION RUN
After the two original detections, LIGO went through a tuneup to increase its sensitivity and so the chances of detection. The revamped LIGO was expected to log two detections per month. The second LIGO observation run (O2) started on 30 November 2016, and is expected to run for six months.
According to latest reports, they have about half a dozen O2 detections on hand and are evaluating these carefully. The results will be reported in May.
So it stands to reason that LIGO India decision should be postponed at least until then. When the results are published, the Government should consider what the LIGO dissidents have to say. Discount all other opinions.
THE 2017 NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS
This prize will likely be announced in the first part of October. The Ligonauts themselves have told the world that this prize would be a touchstone for LIGO. It stands to reason that the Indian Government might go ahead and wait for this announcement also. After all, what are six months in the life of this gigantic decades-long project?
However, the US LIGO people seem to have become impatient with this delay, and are pressurizing India to act immediately. Recently, two high level LIGO officials, Fred Raab and David Reitze, went to India and gave the following message to the Indian Ligonauts (as reported in the LIGO Weekly Reports 10-14 April 2017):
Dave and Fred met with the LIGO-India Science Management Board members. Topics of discussion included urgency of adoption of an integrated schedule for both the Project and Operations development, including human resource development, as well as recruitment of LIGO-India participation in the post O2 vacuum and detector modifications, which is a significant training opportunity.
This message says India should move immediately. The above sounds like a reasonable position. It is also an ultimatum. Therefore, the ball now goes to Indian Government’s court.
My opinion: A scam project has its sham timetable. Nothing can or should depend on it.
Consider also Australia’s position (see the previous post.)