Great Indian Bustard Habitat Violation: NGT Notice to Rajasthan Govt.3 min read

BY : MOHD. ARKAN

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to the Rajasthan Government, the State Forest Department, and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the case of an alleged violation of the habitat of the endangered bird species of Great Indian Bustard (GIB).

The notice came in response to a petition filed by the ERDS Foundation and a temple trust with technical support from INTACH, Barmer chapter alleging the violation in setting up two new transmission lines and a grid sub-station on a deemed forest land in Jaisalmer. The NGT has asked for a report on the matter within six weeks from a joint committee consisting of the Divisional Forest Officer and Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB).

Background

The ERDS Foundation filed a petition with the NGT demanding removal of the overhead transmission lines passing through the ‘oran’, which is the natural habitat of the endangered GIB. In response to the petition, the Tribunal has issued notices and has directed the respondent to submit their reply within four weeks. The Tribunal has also formed a joint committee and sought for a factual and action taken report within six weeks.

As the petition mentioned that the setting up of these transmission lines is illegal and violates the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, the Tribunal also directed the Rajasthan Government to strictly adhere to the guidelines issued by the MoEF and CC with regards to environmental clearance.

The local villagers of the area have been protesting against the overhead transmission lines for a long time but the matter ignited after the death of a female GIB near Sanvata village after colliding with a vertically aligned high-voltage power line on September 18. The locals of the area claim that the whole 15,000-hectare of oran land, which is the natural habitat for GIB, has been declared as deemed forest by the Supreme Court.

Update

  • The National Green Tribunal has issued notices to the Rajasthan Government, the State Forest Department, and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
  • The notice is issued in response to the petition filed by the ERDS Foundation and a local temple trust in technical support of INTACH, Barmer chapter
  • In the petition, the applicants alleged that the installation of the overhead transmission lines and power grids is illegal and under direct violation of the provisions under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the Biological Diversity Act, 2002
  • The transmission lines laid in the deemed forest land in Jaisalmer, also known as ‘oran’ or sacred grove, is the natural habitat of the Great Indian Bustards
  • The locals allege that these high-voltage power transmission lines endanger the sustenance of the GIBs

Summary

In a case related to the petition filed by the ERDS Foundation alleging that the laying of power transmission lines through the deemed forest known as oran is illegal and threatens the sustenance of the endangered bird species GIBs, the NGT has issued notices to the Rajasthan Government and has directed them to submit their response within four weeks via e-mail. The NGT has also ordered them to strictly follow the guidelines issued by MoEF & CC.

The Tribunal has also ordered the joint committee consisting of Divisional Forrest Officer and Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board to submit a factual and action taken report of the area in the matter within six weeks.

The issue has been in constant protest by the locals of the area but it suddenly caught fire after a high-voltage power transmission line killed a female GIB in Sanvata village of the oran on September 18, 2020.

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