Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

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    In News

    • The Centre has approached the Supreme Court seeking modification of its order directing that all transmission cables in the habitat of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) be laid underground.
      • Earlier in 2021, SC has directed that overhead power lines be laid underground wherever feasible.

    Challenges/ Difficulties in Implementation

    • It has implications for the Power sector, & makes renewable energy remain untapped.
    • Poor Financial Conditions of Discoms & affect over Jobs.
    • Area falling in Rajasthan and Gujarat contains a large proportion of the country’s total solar and wind energy potential.
    • Laying power lines underground will escalate the cost of renewable energy production and hurt India’s renewable energy targets.
      • India has set a target to achieve installed renewable energy capacity (excluding large Hydro) of 175 GW by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030.
    • These areas were arid areas that required electricity for sourcing water. So reducing wires is difficult.
    • The High Voltage lines can not be made underground. And Diverters are very costly to install and maintain.

    Great Indian Bustard (GIB)

    • About
      • One of the heaviest flying birds endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
      • State Bird of Rajasthan
    • Habitat: 
      • Untamed, Arid grasslands.
      • A Maximum number of GIBs were found in Jaisalmer and the Indian Army-controlled field firing range near Pokhran, Rajasthan.
      • Other areas: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
    • Protection Status:
      • IUCN Status: Critically Endangered.
      • Listed in Wildlife Protection Act’s Schedule 1.
    • Threats to the Bird:
      • Hunting, Intensification of agriculture, Power lines.

    Indian Initiatives for Protection of GIB

    • Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard-An Integrated Approach: The government has released ?33 crores for the conservation of the GIB through this project.
      • Its tenure is for five years 
      • Fund has been devolved from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) 
      • Technical support will be provided by WII.
    • Directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT): NGT ordered a time-bound action plan for the implementation of mitigation measures such as installation of bird diverters and their regular maintenance and monitoring by power agencies.
    • A Bustard conservation breeding centre in Rajasthan has been set up in Jaisalmer.
    • Conservation Reserves: Great Indian Bustard habitats to be declared as conservation reserves.
    • Project Great Indian Bustard launched by the Rajasthan government

    Way Ahead

    • Install Firefly Flight Bird Diverters, Underground cables wherever possible, declaring Inviolate Area & imposing fine.

    Source: IE