Archive for August 20th, 2018

LIGO India is halted

August 20, 2018

Folks, LIGO India is a good project to watch if you want to surmise which direction LIGO is headed. Are there good people working in the background to deal with the LIGO fraud? LIGO India is one observatory that is yet to be built, and building from scratch an observatory based on fraudulent science when the fraud stands exposed is an extremely serious matter.

The LIGO INDIA story thus far:

LIGO India was going great guns. The Government and the Legislature gave approval, and the Prime Minister pledged his personal support. They were looking at an overall budget of Rs. 1200 crore. A site was searched for and the site in Dudhala village (Hingoli District) was finalized. There are clear official statements to this effect both from LIGO and from the Government.

The site had been surveyed for seismic and other aspects, and then concrete marker posts had been put down. Scientists in big cars often visited the site (according to local villagers) – including some sahibs. The villagers were most impressed by this “NASA Project” coming up in India. A building was rented near the site to serve as office-cum-guesthouse. A LIGO INDIA sign was installed on this building and the pictures of this was plastered all over the Internet to symbolize how they were making rapid progress.

In recent months, both the Prime Minister and the Science Minister made highly public and laudatory statements in support of LIGO.

Land acquisition had begun in right earnest. Whatever land in that site belonged to the Government was given over to LIGO. But more adjoining land was needed – land that belonged to 40-50 private owners. Negotiations were completed to acquire those parcels of land at a premium price. For the private owners as well as for LIGO, this deal was said to be a “win win” situation.

LIGO_India_site

In the meantime, some special rule was invoked to give LIGO a fast-track status. This was supposed to speed things along even more.

Also in the meantime, the LIGO budget was being revised upward – what with all the money spent on finalizing the Dudhala site.

Initially it was said that construction of the observatory would begin in mid-2018. It was then revised to 2019.

Oopsie!

Now a new news report is out. Most strangely, it describes the flatness (lack thereof) of the terrain as a new stumbling block for the project! So much so that they are now back-pedaling and saying:

The consortium is yet to formally declare the Dudhala site as the host of the interferometers.

It is as if they now want an “out” from the Dudhala site, and are preparing the public for this change.

The flatness of the terrain is an issue that should have been the very first thing they would have got out of the way – years ago. Actually, it was only necessary for the base of the trenches under the LIGO tubes to be reasonably flat. The rest of the terrain could remain as it was. The perfect flatness and the rectilinear property of the tubes would then be achieved with their support legs. In fact, LIGO Hanford site was carved out of uneven terrain, without disturbing the overall landscape. Given all this, why does flatness emerge as an unforeseen stumbling block now?

The ability to install the LIGO arms perfectly level should have been the zeroth criterion of site selection.

Dual_detectors_with_arrow_and_stns_labeled

LIGO Hanford

It seems that LIGO India wanted to survey the Dudhala terrain by drilling a number of boreholes. Why would it be necessary to drill boreholes to establish flatness of the terrain? May be they wanted to assess the competence of the subsurface. I don’t know.

LIGO India had accordingly asked permission to survey the terrain as follows:

The LIGO-India consortium, made up of physicists from several institutes, had submitted a proposal to “prospect” 121 hectares of forest land in Dudhala village, Hingoli.

What they got instead was the following:

The prospecting permission, according to the minutes of the forest clearance committee meeting of the Union Environment Ministry, was only for sinking boreholes in 0.375 hectares and separate permission would be needed at a later stage for constructing the observatory.

When you have to survey 121 hectares of land, and you are given permission to survey 0.375 hectares, what do you call that permission? I call it Permission Denied.

And notice that only now it is being revealed that – contrary to what the world was given to understand before – they never received permission to construct the observatory on the site in the first place. And from what we see now, permissions are certainly not foregone conclusions.

What now?

Anyway, allowing room for various interpretations, it is clear that there have now arisen ifs, ands, and buts (as stated by LIGO India themselves):

“We have to level the land and assess the time and effort it will take for this.”

This means that LIGO India is as much up in the air today as it was when they got started. A Prime Minister-backed, Legislature-backed, Nobel-blessed, fully-funded, fast-tracked, America-inspired national-prestige project is at the mercy of the full lethargy of Indian bureaucracy.

Or is it?

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