NGT seeks bird diverters to prevent death of bustards

NGT asks UoI, states to install bird diverters on power lines to stop death of Great Indian Bustard

Credit: DH file photo.

The National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre and states to install bird diverters on all existing power lines within four months and under-grounding of the new power lines to prevent fatality of critically endangered species Great Indian Bustard.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel passed the order after considering a report by a six-member expert committee.

“Since the main reason for mortality of GIBs is the collisions with power lines laid by the Wind/Solar Energy projects, crisscrossing their paths and under-grounding of transmission lines is not viable for the projects already completed, installation of the bird diverters to prevent such fatalities needs to be undertaken on priority basis expeditiously, preferably within four months,” the bench said.

Under-grounding of transmission lines needs to be ensured for all new projects henceforth, as recommended by the six-member expert Committee, by making it a mandatory condition for grant of consents, the tribunal said.

“While granting such consents, impact of such projects on biodiversity of the area, specially in the context of GIBs, be undertaken. The MoEF/CPCB/ state pollution control boards may take further action as per action plan suggested by the six-member Committee, appointed by this tribunal,” the bench said.

Monitoring of compliance be done, preferably by the Wildlife Institute of India at least twice in a year, the NGT directed.

The Union Environment Ministry had earlier acknowledged that adult mortality among Great Indian Bustard is still very high due to collisions with power-lines that crisscross their flying paths.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by the Centre for Wildlife and Environment Litigation, through advocate Gaurav Bansal, seeking directions to the ministry to make bio-diversity impact assessment mandatory for every wind-power project, irrespective of its size or capacity.

The plea said according to the 30th Forest Advisory Committee meeting, power lines, especially high-voltage transmission lines with multiple overhead wires, are the major threat to the critically endangered species as they have poor frontal vision.

It said 75 per cent of the birds have died due to collision with power lines in the past 30 years.