At a time when the central government has ordered undergrounding of distribution line cables for new projects up to 33 kilovolts, a leading state-run transmission company has decided to back a study to find out impacts of power line on various bird species and to come up with possible solutions.
The study, carried out by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and sponsored by Power Grid Corp of India, is centred around Kutch which is home to large number of birds. Kutch also has large number of industries and power generating units and a lot of power cables spread across the areas have caused bird hits and bird deaths in the past.
“Through the study we aim to find out critical areas and high use areas from where the power lines pass and pose potential risk to the birds that travel through these paths. Kutch has a large congregation of birds including cranes, flamingos and pelicans that could collide with some power lines in their path. Also, raptors face similar issue,” said Suresh Kumar, a senior researcher at WII.
He said that the study would look at solutions like re-routing of electric lines and doing an in-depth analysis of putting diverters to avoid bird hits.
While Kutch has about 4,500 kilometres of transmission lines, the distribution lines are not mapped due to unavailability of proper data and rapid addition of newer lines. Birds like some large raptors get injured after colliding with distribution lines of 11KV to 66KV. In the case of cranes and flamingos, they face challenge of electrocution due to collision with transmission lines carrying high voltage power of 132KV to 1,200KV, said Kumar.
In 2010, as many as 400 demoiselle cranes got electrocuted in Khadir area of Kutch after they collided with power lines. Similar instances took place few years ago at Bhavnagar where 30 cranes got electrocuted.