Protection Of Great Indian Bustards (GIB): Supreme Court May Order Under-grounding Of Low Tension Cables

16th Mar,2021

Protection Of Great Indian Bustards (GIB): Supreme Court May Order Under-grounding Of Low Tension Cables



The Supreme Court intervened on Monday on behalf of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustards, which have been killed after colliding with power lines in their dwindling natural habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde will look into whether overhead power cables can be replaced with underground ones in order to save one of the world's heaviest flying birds.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, representing the Power Ministry, argued that only low-voltage lines, not high-voltage lines, can be buried. The court also determined that an alternative method for guiding the birds away from the power lines, such as installing flight bird diverters, would be prohibitively costly. In reality, the court discovered that the diverters would end up costing more than building and maintaining underground lines due to their recurring costs. While hearing the case about the demise of the Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican, a three-judge bench consisting of CJI SA Bobde, Justice Bopanna, and Justice Ramasubramanian raised several concerns. A.M. Singhvi, a senior lawyer representing some power firms, objected to the court issuing a blanket ban that would affect over 50 lakh jobs. The greater threat to the birds, according to Mr. Singhvi, is their declining habitat, which has been flattened for agriculture. He clarified that these are arid areas that rely on electricity to obtain water. We are not opposed to power generation. Chief Justice Bobde replied, "We're talking about the nature of electricity transmission." The court agreed to further hear the case next week.