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Supreme Court Order: Protecting GIB & Florican



  Apr 11, 2024

Supreme Court Order: Protecting GIB & Florican



What was the Supreme Court’s directive regarding the Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican on 21/03/2024?

The Supreme Court of India revised its previous stance on the protection of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) and Lesser Florican, by relaxing the 2021 injunction on the installation of overhead transmission lines in their habitats. It highlighted the challenge of balancing conservation efforts with sustainable development and India’s international commitments to renewable energy.

Why did the Supreme Court reconsider its 2021 order?

The Union of India indicated that the 2021 directive for undergrounding high and low voltage power lines was practically unfeasible and would not significantly contribute to the conservation of the GIB. The Court recognized the need to recalibrate its decision to accommodate both the imperative of species conservation and the requirements of sustainable development, including the expansion of renewable energy sources.

What areas are considered for the GIB’s conservation?

The Wildlife Institute of India identified specific regions totaling over 88,000 square kilometers across the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. These include a “priority area” of 13,663 square kilometers, “potential areas” of 18,680 square kilometers, and “additional important areas” of 6,654 square kilometers.

What is the role of the newly constituted expert committee?

The Supreme Court directed the formation of an expert committee to explore the feasibility and scope of overhead and underground electric lines within the designated priority and potential areas. The committee is tasked with identifying long-term conservation measures for the GIB and evaluating sustainable development alternatives for future power lines that respect conservation needs and India’s renewable energy goals.

What are the committee’s specific tasks?

The committee’s responsibilities include determining the scope of electric lines in priority areas, ensuring the survival of the GIB, identifying sustainable alternatives for future power infrastructure, and recommending any additional conservation measures or modifications to existing and future power lines. This may involve evaluating the use of bird diverters and expanding the designated conservation areas.

When is the committee expected to report its findings?

The expert committee is required to complete its work and submit a comprehensive report to the Supreme Court through the Union Government by July 31, 2024.

This order represents a nuanced approach by the Supreme Court to address the complex interplay between the need for environmental conservation and the demands of modern infrastructure development, particularly in the context of India’s renewable energy commitments.



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