In the matter relating to the preservation of Great Indian Bustard from laying of electricity lines, ASG Aishwarya Bhati informs #SupremeCourt that Attorney General for India KK Venugopal is under quarantine as one his associates have tested #COVID19 positive
Senior Advocate Shyam Divan makes submissions: We don't have choice but to avoid such lines of power if we want to save this bird. GIB lacks frontal vision according to the affidavit by Union.
Divan: Undergrounding of power lines is a feature all across the world. Fossil fuel consumption is reduced.
CJI: who will bear the expenditure of these changes ?
Divan: The electricity Act itself provides provisions to take the expenditure into account.
CJI: Other than cost involved, there is nothing against humans at all. Cost which may have to be borne by some corporations.
Divan: Rescue program which is going on needs to be supplemented by the removal of such lines.
CJI: Potential GIB habitat is a vague term. They are birds and where they migrate we don't know. They are not a herd of Bisons that they will cross only one area always. How do we use the word potential in the order?

Divan: We will go as per scientific report
CJI: as an immediate measure we can direct divertors to be installed.

Divan: It is a most welcome step. One animal saved is one specie saved.
CJI: anybody on the respondent side who are opposing Mr Divan.
ASG Aishwarya Bhati: I appear for Ministry of Power. One affidavit filed yersterday and one filed on March 15, 2021. In the March 15 affidavit. We are not taking this as an adversarial litigation.

CJI: do you accept that preservation of species is important than cost
Bhati: yes, My Lord

CJI: it is a welcome response
CJI: If we can give directions in terms of lines Mr Divan has mentioned or according to the map.

Bhati: complete details of power lines are there in our affidavit.
CJI: in rural area or farm lands it will be easier to lay these lines underground than in cities where buildings might come in way

Bhati: But these lines can pose issues for the farmers

CJI: But tenders were issued for underground high voltage lines and now you say this
Bhati: All those renders are in urban areas

CJI: Nagpur-Jabalpur road is not an urban area. I know that area. We are hearing you only because we don't want to make an order which is technically impossible.
Bhati: Insulation is only possible for low voltage lines.

CJI: then go deeper and spend a little more on excavation or whatever it is called. You are telling us difficulties and not impossibilities
Senior Adv SB Upadhyay: I appear for Power Grid Corporation. We are outside Rajasthan and Gujarat and we pass interstate.
Senior Adv Dr Manish Singhvi appears for state of Rajasthan: High voltage line of 22 KV and above should not be underground as it will cause fatalities to farmers and laborers.

CJI: that's because you don't want to go beyond certain depth.
CJI: Dr Singhvi, the only thing you can do is acquire the land for undergrounding

Singhvi: Its hundreds or thousands of Kilometers of line. Low voltage can be laid underground and one time cost of 200 to 300 crore will be there. For High Voltage let us go for divertors
Singhvi: There are 1285 KM of high voltage lines. Using divertors here will cause ₹ 185 crore cost which is bearable.

CJI: why can't you lay the High voltage lines underground?

Singhvi: 1285 kilometer is a long network and it will involve huge technical difficulties
CJI: we will come back at 2 pm and hear you for 15 minutes more.

Bench breaks for lunch.
Bench resumes.

Dr Singhvi: There are operational difficulties for laying high voltage line underground

CJI: we are saying this the last time. You are giving us no explanation too. What kind of argument is this you are reading only Unions affidavit? Underground high voltage is possible and tenders have been issued.
Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi appears for an association for transmission lines

CJI: Why are we hearing you ? General Knowledge?

Singhvi: We will be the most affected with costs. Our legal rights will be affected as generator of solar bears a large chunk of expense.
Singhvi: My rights need to be safeguarded.

CJI: Tell me where have you put your grievances on oath
Singhvi: Bird flight divertors will have huge expense bearing on power generator companies. Your order will be seem as a mandatory order.
Singhvi: All public interests is a balancing excercise. Ours also is a public interest as the solar and wind energy companies help in reducing pollution.
CJI: We can say that our order will not effect the contractual relations.
If we deem fit we will say it
We are very conscious of the mistakes we can committ

Order reserved.

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