Noting the high mortality of Great Indian Bustard, the National Green Tribunal has directed the government to prepare within two months a time-bound action plan for protection of these birds.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel constituted a joint committee to prepare the action plan for implementation of suggestions submitted by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) over the issue.
The panel comprises director general and additional director general, Forest (Wildlife) from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, nominees of Ministry of Power, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and nominees of Energy Departments of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The Union Environment Ministry has acknowledged that adult mortality among Great Indian Bustard is still very high due to collisions with power-lines that crisscross their flying paths.
WII has suggested a slew of measures, including mitigation of all power transmission lines passing through priority bustard habitats, disallowing new wind turbines, solar farms among others.
"Reduce poaching of Great Indian Bustard and other wildlife in the Thar landscape by improving protection enforcement through training of forest department frontline staff in smart patrolling tools with the help of conservation organisations," WII said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by the Centre for Wildlife and Environment Litigation, through advocate Gaurav Bansal, seeking directions to the ministry to make bio-diversity impact assessment mandatory for every wind-power project, irrespective of its size or capacity.
The plea said according to the 30th Forest Advisory Committee meeting, power lines, especially high-voltage transmission lines with multiple overhead wires, are the major threat to the critically endangered species as they have poor frontal vision.
It said 75 per cent of the birds have died due to collision with power lines in the past 30 years.