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22nd March 2024 (10 Topics)

Balancing Development of Renewable Energy with Conservation of Great Indian Bustard

Context

Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is facing threat of extinction due to their entanglement in power lines build to evacuate renewable energy. The Supreme Court constituted an expert committee to balance the conservation and protection of the endangered Great Indian Bustard bird population with the country’s international commitments to promote renewable sources of energy.

1: Dimension- Constitution of the Expert Committee

    • Multidisciplinary Expertise: The committee comprises experts from the Wildlife Institute of India, forest conservationists, and officials from Renewable Energy and Environment Ministries.
    • Inclusive Representation: Eminent personalities from diverse backgrounds, including academia, government, and conservation organizations, ensure comprehensive deliberations.
    • Special Invitations: Inclusion of representatives from Central Electrical Authority and Central Transmission Utility reflects a holistic approach towards addressing the issue.

2: Dimension- Scope and Objectives of the Committee

    • Feasibility Assessment: The committee will assess the viability of transitioning power cables underground, considering technical, economic, and ecological factors.
    • Identification of Priority Areas: Through scientific evaluation, priority spots for the birds in Rajasthan and Gujarat will be identified to focus conservation efforts effectively.
    • Sustainable Solutions: The committee's mandate extends beyond mitigating immediate threats to recommending long-term strategies that harmonize biodiversity conservation with sustainable development goals.

Analysis and Required Measures

3: Dimension- Mitigating Human-Wildlife Conflict

    • Technological Solutions: Transitioning power cables underground can significantly reduce bird mortality rates by eliminating collision risks.
    • Awareness and Education: Public awareness campaigns about the importance of biodiversity conservation and responsible infrastructure development are essential to mitigate conflicts.
    • Ecological Corridor Protection: Establishing protected ecological corridors can facilitate safe passage for wildlife, reducing human-wildlife conflicts in the long term.

4: Dimension- Integration of Sustainable Development Goals

    • Renewable Energy Transition: Promoting renewable energy sources such as solar and wind while minimizing ecological impact is crucial for achieving sustainable development objectives.
    • Green Infrastructure: Investing in eco-friendly infrastructure designs, such as wildlife-friendly power lines and green corridors, can promote biodiversity conservation alongside economic growth.
    • Policy Alignment: Harmonizing environmental regulations with developmental policies ensures that conservation efforts are integrated into broader national agendas.

5: Dimension- Enhanced Conservation Efforts

    • Habitat Restoration: Besides mitigating immediate threats, restoring degraded habitats and creating protected areas are essential for the long-term survival of the Great Indian Bustard.
    • Community Engagement: Involving local communities in conservation initiatives fosters stewardship and ensures the sustainable management of natural resources.
    • Research and Monitoring: Continued scientific research and monitoring are vital to understanding the ecological needs of the species and adapting conservation strategies accordingly.

Great Indian Bustard

  • The great Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) is a large, ground bird native to central and western India. It has a horizontal body, long bare legs, and an ostrich-like appearance. The great Indian bustard is one of the heaviest flying birds in the world.
  • It is considered the flagship grassland species and state bird of Rajasthan.
  • IUCN Status:Critically endangered

Mains Practice Question

Analyze the role of public-private partnerships in promoting sustainable development initiatives that balance environmental conservation with economic growth.

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