Green Energy Projects Threaten the Endangered Great Indian Bustard
Green energy projects have threatened the life of the Great Indian Bustard (Godawan).
It may be noted that due to the graded solar and wind power projects being conducted in Rajasthan, the cases of Great Indian Bustard colliding with high voltage wires are increasing. Due to this their death rate has increased in recent times.
- According to estimates by the Wildlife Institute of India, about 15 percent of Great Indian Bustards die each year due to collisions with electrical wires.
- Thus this network of electrical wiring has emerged as a more widespread threat than habitat damage and degradation.
- In April 2021, the Supreme Court in M.K.Ranjit Singh vs Union of India had issued specific binding guidelines. In this case, the court recognized the need to balance sustainable development for humans with the rights of other living beings.
- The Supreme Court has set a time limit of one year from the date of its order for undergrounding the electrical wires.
- All electrical wiring in both the “probable” and “priority-based habitat” of the Great Indian Bustard in the future is to be mandatorily underground.
- Until the electrical wires are underground, bird-diverters will be installed immediately on all the wires.
Issues related to undergrounding of wires
- This increases the cost of the project and the cost of electricity by about 20 Also, technical feasibility issues exist for high voltage power cables.
- The Supreme Court had also constituted a three-member expert committee to examine the feasibility of undergrounding high voltage electrical cables.
About Great Indian Bustard
- It is an endemic species of the Indian subcontinent. It is found in Central India, Western India and East Pakistan.
- It is included in the Critically Endangered category in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- Important sites for the Great Indian Bustard are National Desert Park Sanctuary (Rajasthan), Naliya (Gujarat), Warora (Maharashtra) and Bellary (Karnataka) etc.
- They are mostly found in habitats such as arid and semi-arid grasslands, open land with thorny bushes and tall grasslands adjacent to agricultural land. It lives away from irrigated areas.
- It is one of the species included in the recovery program under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Source – The Hindu