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SC’s Consideration of Lifting Ban on Transmission Lines through GIB Habitats

Why is it in the news?

  • The Supreme Court constituted an expert committee to examine the feasibility and extent of installing overhead and underground powerlines in Great Indian Bustard (GIB)
  • The committee is chaired by the Director of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, and is tasked with submitting its report to the Court by July 31, 2024.

More about the news

  • In April 2021, the Supreme Court had ordered power companies in Rajasthan and Gujarat to underground high-tension power lines to prevent GIB fatalities.
  • However, the Court is re-evaluating this directive due to concerns over the critical nature of GIB habitats and the difficulties associated with undergrounding power lines.

Reasons for Reconsideration

  • Approximately 90% of GIB’s habitat has disappeared, making the remaining areas critical for their conservation.
  • GIBs have poor frontal vision and struggle to perceive overhead powerlines, resulting in fatal collisions.
  • Undergrounding power lines pose significant fiscal burdens, estimated at around ₹55,000 crore, and agricultural safety concerns due to potential cable punctures during farming activities.
About the Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

·       GIBs inhabit arid and semi-arid grasslands, avoiding irrigated areas, and are often found in open country with thorn scrub and tall grass interspersed with cultivation.

·       Endemic to the Indian Subcontinent, Rajasthan hosts the highest population of GIBs.

·       Classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.

·       Key habitats include Desert National Park Sanctuary (Rajasthan), Naliya (Gujarat), Warora (Maharashtra), and Bellary (Karnataka).

 

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