Great Indian Bustard Habitat-Supreme Court Order

Great Indian Bustard Habitat

Today I will explain to you a very interesting topic, i.e., one order of the Supreme Court to modify order on underground cables. Let us see it in detail and to understand it in detail it is necessary to deeply talk about the Great Indian Bustard.

Govt urges SC to modify order on underground cables

The court had ordered immediate undergrounding of the cables, irrespective of the cost involved. To keep the birds clear of the cables until this undergrounding is done, the order further said that bird diverters should be installed immediately.

Modify plan to protect Great Indian Bustard, it will work against climate goals, govt tells SC

Three ministries- Environment and forest, New and Renewable Energy, and Power- have submitted a modification application with respect to an April 2021 SC order. It will work against the climate goals because it will be very costly.

The court had ordered immediate undergrounding of the cables, irrespective of the cost involved. To keep the birds clear of the cables until this undergrounding is done, the order further said that bird (Great Indian Bustard Habitat) diverters should be installed immediately.

  • The Supreme Court in April 2021 ordered that all overhead power transmission lines in core and potential GIB habitats in Rajasthan and Gujrat should be undergrounded.

  • The SC also formed a three-member committee, including Devesh Gandhi, the member of the bustard specialist group of IUCN, to help power companies comply with the order. But Gandhvi notes that nothing has happened on the ground.

Let us see shortly, that why it is necessary to modify the underground cables and why it is necessary to take steps to save the GIBs

  • Only 150 Great Indian Bustard left in India

  • Dehradun: once nominated for the national bird of India. the Great Indian Bustard is dying a slow death only 150 such birds are present in the country today, according to the Wildlife.

Past incidents of Overhead Powerlines

  • In Rajasthan, 18 GIBs die every year after colliding as the birds.

The center has approached the Supreme Court seeking modification of its order directing that all transmission cables in the habitat of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) be laid underground, saying that the area falling in Rajasthan and Gujarat contains a large proportion of the country’s total solar and wind energy potential and the process will escalate the cost of renewable energy production and hurt India’s renewable energy cause.

In a bid to check the dwindling numbers of the endangered Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican, a Supreme Court bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India S A Bobde on April 9, directed that overhead power lined be laid underground, wherever feasible, passing along the habitat of the birds in Rajasthan and Gujrat.

  • Seeking modification of this order, the application was filed jointly by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and climate change (MoEF&CC). Ministry of Power and the Minister of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said the SC direction “has vast adverse implications for the power sector in India and energy transition away from fossil fuels” and that the MNRE was not heard before the order was passed.

  • The government said that energy transition is essential for reducing emission and controlling climate change and India has made international commitments including under the agreement signed in Paris in 2015 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for transition to non-fossil fuels and for emission reduction.

  • India, it added, has set a target to achieve installed renewable energy capacity (excluding large Hydro) of 175 GW by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030.

  • The government said that to ensure the conservation of the GIB and its habitat, MoCEF&CC has developed the National Bustard Recovery plans which are currently being implemented by conservation agencies. MoEF&CC, the Rajasthan government, and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have also established a conservation breeding facility in Desert National Park at Jaisalmer in June 2019.

  • It said the great Indian Bustards is due to multiple reasons requiring measures at Central, State, and local levels spanning across different sectors.

  • The plea also pointed to several technical difficulties in undertaking the project as “there is no manufacturer of underground/insulted cables for 765 kV in the world”.

  • It urged the court to allow high voltage and extra-high voltage lines i.e. 66 kV and above power lines in Priority GIR Habitat to be laid as overhead power lines with the installation of appropriate mitigation measures such as bird diverters.

Great Indian Bustards

  1. GIBs are the largest among the four bustard species found in India-the other three being MacQueen’s bustard, lesser florican, and the Bengal florican.

  2. GIBs’ historic range included much of the Indian sub-continent but it has now shrunken to just 10 percent of it.

  3. Great Indian Bustards are the heaviest birds with flight.

Their Habitats

  1. GIBs prefer grasslands as their habitats.

  2. Being terrestrial birds, they spend most of their time on the ground with occasional flights to go from one part of their habitat to the other.

  3. They feed on insects, lizards, grass, seeds, etc.

  4. GIBs are considered the flagship bird species of grassland and hence barometers of the health of grassland ecosystems.

Timeline their extinction

  • In February last year, the Central government had told the 13th conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) held in Gandhinagar, that the GIB population in India had fallen to just 150.

  • Of them, 128 birds were in Rajasthan, 10 in the Kutch district of Gujrat, and a few in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.




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