Government urges Supreme Court to modify order on underground cables

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Supreme Court to modify order on underground cables

Recently, the government has urged the Supreme Court to modify the order on underground cables in the Great Indian Bustard (Godavan) habitat.

  • The Supreme Court, in M.K. Ranjit Singh v Union of India, April 2021, had made it mandatory to lay all power lines underground in both the ‘probable’ and ‘priority habitat’ of the future Great Indian Bustard.
  • However, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy have jointly urged to modify the order for the following reasons:- will affect widely.
  • The area being restricted has about 263 GW of renewable energy capacity. In particular, it is also an area receiving excessive solar radiation.
  • It is not technically possible to underground high voltage power lines. In addition, this would also increase the cost of renewable energy produced from the area.

Other Threats to the Great Indian Bustard:

Poaching, habitat degradation, ‘greening’ projects that turn dry grasslands into forested areas, etc. In addition, there is a risk of death of the GIB from the collision of wind turbines and power transmission lines.

Measures taken by Government of India for Great Indian Bustard Conservation:

It is one of the species included in the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats Recovery Program of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. It is covered under National Wildlife Action Plan (Year 2002-2018).

Great Indian Bustard

The habitat includes arid and semi-arid grasslands, open areas with thorny shrubs and tall grasses interspersed with fields. It lives away from irrigated areas. They are the largest in Rajasthan and are endemic to the Indian subcontinent.

Status: It is listed in Schedule of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. It is included in the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and in Appendix 1 of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Plants (CITES). In addition, it is also listed as Critically Endangered in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Important sites: National Desert Park Sanctuary (Rajasthan), Naliya (Gujarat), Warora (Maharashtra) and Bellary (Karnataka).

Source – The Hindu

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