Karnataka HC directs State Govt to reconstitute expert committee for Great Indian Bustard

Anushka Mansharamani

The government of Karnataka reconstituted the advisory committee formed for the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) after the Karnataka High Court expressed doubts about the expertise of the members appointed. 

Advocate Vikram Huilgol, representing the state, submitted the memo to the court to bring to light that the Chief Conservator of Forest Ballari had issued an official memorandum reconstitution of the advisory committee.

The memorandum was issued in order to give appropriate advice for the conservation of the GIB. 

Advocate Revathi Shivakumar, representing the petitioner stated that if the advisory committee does not recommend or advise the state government to take some action to save the GIB those who have survived may not survive at all. 

Following the argument put forth by the counsel for petitioners, the bench directed the state government to ensure that the petition is placed before the reconstituted advisory committee in order to make immediate suggestions. 

The bench further directed the decision and suggestions of the advisory committee to be placed before the court during the next hearing. 

 The plea stated, “The GIB is an open-country bird that avoids areas with dense and tall plants. In addition to this, anti-poaching camps and five watchtowers are being constructed in great haste. These buildings and tall trees will cause hindrance to the birds and cause them to fly away in search of favourable habitats.”

The plea further submitted that the presence of tall structures would impact the low flying birds and that the GIBs prefer open grasslands without tall structures and tall trees. 

The plea also stated that many GIB deaths have taken place as the birds have hit the power lines and tall structures and thereby stating that the GIB stopped breeding in Karnataka’s only sanctuary after the Forest Department built tall structures.

The petitioners suggested that if the construction is removed by this winter the GIB might breed in spring again. 

They lastly highlighted that if they miss the breeding season for the second year continuously that would lead to their extinction in Karnataka as there are only around 8 surviving GIB species in Karnataka. 

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