AHMEDABAD: Gujarat’s energy division has backed translocation of the 4 Great Indian Bustards (GIB) out of the state’s Kutch area, telling the Supreme Court in an affidavit that this feature could also be explored.
“As per the information available, there are four female GIBs left in Kutch area, therefore the option of re-locating the remaining GIBs may be explored,” the energy division’s affidavit filed within the high court docket on April 21 stated.
HT has reviewed a duplicate of the affidavit.
The energy division’s application was in reply to a PIL matter the place the Supreme Court issued an order on April 19, 2021 to take the ability strains underground for the safety of GIBs within the precedence and potential habitat of Kutch, Gujarat, and Rajasthan, and to put in diverters on all powerlines till it’s executed.
Since 2018 no male bustards have been present in Kutch.
The Kutch GIB sanctuary, unfold over 2 sq. kilometre in Abadasa taluka, has usually been hailed as one of the best habitats for the critically endangered species. The bustard habitat is unfold in an space of 2,000 sq km in Kutch.
(*4*) Shyamal Tikadar, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden of Gujarat informed Hindustan Times.
The GIB is a critically endangered fowl with its final viable breeding inhabitants in India. Less than 100 of these magnificent grassland birds stay within the wild, based on conservation specialists.
Though habitat loss and degradation have been accountable for this fowl’s decline up to now few many years, their deaths because of collision with overhead energy strains for renewable energy technology, particularly windmills, has been the most important direct risk.
During the 14th meeting of the State Board for Wildlife in February 2019, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani who was the board chairperson had stated that irrespective of the prices, events involved should lay the ability strains underground.
On April 19, 2021, a Supreme Court ordered that energy strains be taken underground. The SC order covers Adadasa and Mandvi taluka in Kutch district of Gujarat and elements of Rajasthan.
“We are all in favour of alternative energy. But it should not be at the cost of a species going extinct in the world. If they (government) can do it (lay underground lines) for flamingoes in the Khadir region in Kutch, why can’t they do it for bustards?,” stated Dr M Ok Ranjitsinh Jhala, the lead petitioner of the PIL filed within the Supreme Court. He is taken into account the architect of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
He stated one of the explanations behind the energy division’s transfer could also be to take away the bustards altogether and thereby cast off the problem of taking the overhead powerlines underground.
“Once the GIBs are out of the sanctuary, the Kutch GIB Sanctuary can be de-notified. There have been such instances in the past including three sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh that were de-notified in similar circumstances. There is no question of stopping the electricity supply or power production. The only matter is to change the mode of transmission and send the power lines underground in crucial areas. And if not done, then we will be facilitating the extinction of GIB. It may become the first species of India that will be deliberately made extinct despite knowing the scientific steps to save it,” stated Jhala.
The GIB named ‘Gibi’ was the mascot for the thirteenth Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), in Gandhinagar in February 2020.
The CMS is an environmental treaty agreed underneath the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme. The Government of India had moved a proposal in February 2020 on the COP-CMS conference in Gujarat for the inclusion of GIBs in Appendix 1. Once that is executed, CMS events, which embody greater than 124 international locations, try to guard the species. This covers actions reminiscent of conserving or restoring the locations the place they stay, mitigating obstacles to migration, and controlling different elements that may endanger them.
The GIB habitat in Kutch can also be an element of the Central Asian Flyway route of migration and a big quantity of migratory species are sighted right here throughout winters.
The bustard habitat in Kutch can also be an element of the Central Asian Flyway route of migration and a big quantity of migratory species are sighted right here throughout winters.
Abdasa, which homes the GIB Sanctuary, is the one place in India the place all three species of bustards together with Asian Houbara, GIB and Lesser Florican will be seen in the identical habitat throughout totally different seasons, based on Dr. Devesh Gadhavi, deputy director on the Corbett Foundation. “Hence, it is of the utmost urgency to safeguard these bustard habitats,” stated Gadhvi.
The collaborative work of the Corbett Foundation and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) reveals that just about 30,000 birds of totally different species die because of collision with energy strains yearly in Abdasa taluka of Kutch district alone.
The WII additionally estimates that over 1 lakh birds are killed yearly in Rajasthan’s Thar because of collision with overhead powerlines. The 2021 examine by WII estimates that 18 GIBs die every year because of collision with energy strains in Thar.
A Central authorities backed captive breeding programme is underway in Rajasthan. It is the state fowl of Rajasthan.
“Abdasa is the ‘Bustard Capital’ of India as three species of bustards are found here. Conserving these areas will be beneficial not only to the GIBs but also to the lesser floricans who are also known to be colliding with powerlines as per the latest research study. It is also important to keep these habitats free from the overhead powerlines and managed as bustard habitats so that the captive-bred bird can be released here in near future” stated Gadhvi, who has been working for the conservation of GIB in Kutch for greater than 12 years.
An official on the state’s energy division stated that the translocation proposal was for exploratory objective and that they’ve additionally submitted earlier than the court docket that the state energy transmission company GETCO has initiated the method for buy of 18,000 fowl diverters and they’re prone to be put in by June this year. The affidavit additionally says that the state distribution company PGVCL is conducting feasibility research of taking overhead strains underground.