In a bid to save the Great Indian Bustard from extinction, the Supreme Court on Monday constituted a high-level committee to examine the feasibility of under-grounding of over-head transmission power lines in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Facing risk of extinction, only 150 critically-endangered Great Indian Bustards are left in India, out of which around 90% are found in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
“In cases where it is possible to lay powerlines under ground it must be done within one year," the three-judge bench of Chief Justice AS Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V Ramasubramanian noted. The apex court also directed the concerned departments to install diverters to protect birds from colliding with the high voltage power lines.
However, the Centre said that the undergrounding on power lines is not a feasible option.
Earlier, Supreme Court on Tuesday had asked the Centre, Rajasthan and Gujarat governments on why the power lines could not be laid underground to save the Great Indian Bustard, which is the heaviest flying bird on the planet.
The bench was then informed by the Central Power Ministry that there was technical problem in undergrounding the high voltage electric cables.