New Delhi [India], April 23 (ANI): The Supreme Court has directed Gujarat and Rajasthan to expedite the installation of bird divertors at least in the priority areas to save Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said, "The installation of bird divertors at least in the priority areas of the States of Gujarat and Rajasthan must be taken up with the utmost expedition. The installation of bird divertors in the priority areas shall be completed before 20 July 2022, when these proceedings shall be taken up for further direction."
The court also directed the States of Rajasthan and Gujarat as well as all power producers in the private domain shall ensure that within the priority areas, a comprehensive exercise is completed within a period of three weeks to assess the total length of transmission lines; and the estimated number of bird divertors required for the purpose.
The top court also said that the Committee which has been appointed by the Court shall within a month in consultation with the CEA formulate the standards of quality required for
the bird divertors so that uniformity can be maintained in the standards to be observed.
"Necessary steps shall be taken immediately thereafter for ensuring that the time schedule of completing the installation of bird divertors in the priority areas associated with the Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican is observed by all power producers in Gujarat and Rajasthan," the top court said, directing to file compliance reports at least a week before the
next date of listing.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on July 20, 2022.
In terms of the previous order dated 19 April 2021, any company which seeks an exemption from the direction to install underground transmission lines, shall be at liberty to move the Committee which has been constituted by this Court and any grievance thereafter may be submitted before this Court, the top court said.
The injunction which has been imposed in the order of this Court from the installation of fresh overhead transmission lines, save with the approval of the Committee, shall be scrupulously enforced, the top court said.
The top court also remarked that the States of Gujarat and Rajasthan as well as private power producers shall ensure that there is no breach of the directions of this court.
Earlier, a three-judge bench had directed has directed the concerned authorities to convert the overhead cables into underground powerlines.
The court's order had come on a plea seeking to protect two species of birds including the Great Indian Bustard.
According to the petition, the existence of overhead power lines is stated to have become a hazard due to which the said species of birds on collision are getting killed.
One application had also sought interim directions to Rajasthan and Gujarat to ensure predator-proof fencing, controlled grazing in the enclosure development and not to permit installation of overhead power lines.
The court had noted the petitioners being environmentalists, sought to protect the rare birds which are dwindling in number.
It was also contended that the GIB is one of the heaviest flying birds in the world and has disappeared from 90 per cent of the habitat except in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat which is to be protected.
According to the petitioners, overhead power lines are the biggest threat to the survival of the GIBs. (ANI)