Apex Court Issues Specifications for Bird Diverters in the Great Indian Bustard Habitat

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The special committee constituted by the Supreme Court, after consultations with the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), has specified the technical standards for bird flight diverters to be installed in the priority areas associated with the endangered Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican bird species.

The committee has recommended that the size, color, operating temperature, grip strength, and other construction features of the bird diverters, installation, and testing are essential parameters that must be standardized.

The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that the overhead transmission lines should be shifted underground to protect the endangered bird species. In April 2021, it directed the authorities to complete moving the transmission lines underground within a year. Until then, diverters were to be hung from the existing powerlines. During the course of the hearing, the apex court said that the installation of bird diverters in the bird habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan should be completed before July 20, 2022.

According to the new notification, the diverters must be dynamic and have a warning disc (2-D or 3-D in design) and associated clamps and connectors. The utilities should install a mixture of LED and non-LED diverters on their powerlines, where at least one in five (20% of total) diverters on a line should be LED type. The diverters should be designed for an effective life period of 15 years.

The total weight of the diverter should not be more than 800 grams (gm), and the weight of the LED-type bird flight diverters should not weigh more than 1,000 gm.

The committee said the warning disc should be suitable for hanging on the conductor through clamps and hardware. The clamp for holding the conductor should be spring type, made of UV-stabilized engineered composite plastic (polymer) or metal or carbon fiber, and suitable for live line installation by hot stick or drone.

The utility or power agency must get reports for the following tests conducted by the testing laboratory accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) or any accreditation body as per the relevant International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)/IS standards:

  • Mechanical strength test
  • Vibration test
  • Temperature cycle test
  • Heating cycle test
  • Radio interference voltage and visual corona test
  • Corrosion resistance test
  • Aging tests

The mechanical strength tests should be carried out before and after the aging test.

All bird diverters should have a warranty period of at least five years. The warranty should cover all components of the diverter.

The committee has stated that since the deployment of bird flight diverters is an emerging field in India, there is ample scope for improving the quality of these devices from learnings based on the assessment of their field durability and effectiveness.  A mechanism may be explored to carry out routine field monitoring of installed diverters and develop a shareable information repository for further necessary refinements of these standards by an appropriate committee.

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