NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has directed the installation of bird diverters on overhead power transmission lines at least in the priority areas of the States of Gujarat and Rajasthan with utmost expedition by July 20 for the protection of the endangered birds Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican.
"...Necessary steps shall be taken immediately thereafter for ensuring that the time schedule of completing the installation of bird diverters 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 in its order dated April 21.
The court has asked the States of Rajasthan and Gujarat as well as all power producers in the private domain to 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 diverters required for the purpose.
The apex court added 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.
It added that the feasibility of and need for installation of fresh overhead transmission lines is being examined by the committee on a case to case basis and hence, applicants have sufficient remedies in the first instance to approach the Committee, and can move the top court in case of any subsisting grievance.
The directions by the top court came on a plea filed in the nature of public interest seeking to protect two species of birds namely the Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser Florican, which is on the verge of extinction.
“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,” the plea had said.
The Supreme Court had earlier directed Rajasthan and Gujarat state governments to file a status report on the matter. The status report indicated that the Committee received eight applications for exemption from the requirement of setting up underground transmission lines.
The Committee has tabulated the status of the applications. The tabulated chart indicated that out of the eight applications which were submitted to it, the Committee has approved two applications on the receipt of CEA’s technical report permitting the laying of overhead transmission lines subject to the installation of bird diverters.
The remaining six applications are at various stages of scrutiny upon which a decision is expected to be taken by the Committee.
The top court said that the work of the Committee may proceed in terms of the order of this Court dated April 19, 2021, and a fresh status report should be filed before the next date of listing.
The next date of hearing is on July 20.