MNRE To Grant RE Project Extensions In GIB Habitats Only On ‘Merit’

Highlights :

  • Earlier, a blanket extension was given to renewable projects operational in habit areas of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB).
  • Several projects in Rajasthan and Gujarat had witnessed the issue of delays in project commencement due to the issue.
MNRE To Grant RE Project Extensions In GIB Habitats Only On ‘Merit’

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has now decided to grant an extension to renewable power projects in Great Indian Bustard (GIB) habitat areas only based on the case’s merits. It has planned to do away with the earlier system of giving a blanket exemption of 30 days in the scheduled commencement of such power projects. The latest development will likely affect several projects in Rajasthan and Gujarat, where the problem exists. 

Last year, the ministry decided to give a blanket extension of 30 days on the scheduled commissioning date of power projects located in GIB habitats. However, it also included several projects that failed to start due to delays in completing their transmission networks. 

As per the ministry’s latest decision, all such projects in such vulnerable areas would be scrutinized based on the actual situations, and approvals for grant of extensions could be given accordingly. The ministry has also decided to refrain from granting any relief to such projects whose transmission lines do not cross from such vulnerable areas. 

Meanwhile, the project developers must also show that they took all possible steps to complete the project timely, but it was delayed due to conditions beyond their control. It has been planned to rule out giving relaxation of any relief to errant power project developers. 

Earlier, the Supreme Court had ordered the installation of bird diverters in such areas to prevent any injury to GIB, an endangered species. However, till November 2022, the SC, in its order, said that the works related to bird diverters were not complete. Meanwhile, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has also issued draft plans to make underground transmission lines in GIB habitat areas. 

The Great Indian Bustards are listed under Schedule-I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and enjoy projection from the government due. As per the studies conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India, there are around 150 Great Indian Bustards left across the country which includes about 128 birds in Rajasthan and less than ten birds each in the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. 

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