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Tourist questioned for flying drone near Taj  

A tourist from Philippines was forced to land a drone he was flying near the Taj Mahal on Monday. No FIR was registered against the man, as he was scheduled to fly back home later in the day. However, he and his companion -- an Indian tourist -- were questioned by the police.

lucknow Updated: Mar 06, 2018 14:28 IST
Hemendra Chaturvedi
Hemendra Chaturvedi
Hindustan Times, Agra
Tourist,Taj Mahal,Philippines
Police forced a tourist from Philippines to land the drone he was flying near the Taj airspace.(HT Photo)

A tourist from Philippines was forced to land a drone he was flying near the Taj Mahal on Monday. No FIR was registered against the man, as he was scheduled to fly back home later in the day. However, he and his companion -- an Indian tourist -- were questioned by the police.

Past violations
  • A drone was found flying in the airspace of the Taj Mahal on February 10, 2018. Police launched a search but could not nab the operator.
  • A South Korean professor, Chun Hong Chul, 50, was held for flying a drone in the 'no-flying zone' over the Taj Mahal on February 22, 2017. He was questioned after the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel saw a drone hovering on eastern airspace of the monument. The tourist expressed ignorance about the ban on drone-flying near the Taj. He was allowed to leave after submitting an undertaking to cooperate in the matter.
  • In another incident, a damaged drone camera was recovered from the Yamuna river basin in December 2017. A local youth had handed over the camera to the Itimad-ud-daula police.

Despite the Taj airspace being a ‘no-fly zone’, there have been several incidents of drone-flying in the area over the last two years.

“The drone was traced before it could hover over the Taj. Both the foreign and the Indian tourist were taken to the police station for interrogation. However, they were allowed to go after some formalities, as they expressed ignorance about rules restricting flying of drones near the Taj. But the hotel manager seems to be at fault for not informing the tourists about this rule. The tourists were staying at another hotel in Baluganj area of the city and had arrived at this hotel near Taj only on Monday,” said SP (city) Kunwar Anupam Singh.

“The hoteliers operating around the Taj Mahal have been repeatedly informed about these restrictions that have been applicable for the past one year,” he added.

Agra police said they were consulting legal experts to initiate action against the hotel manager for allowing the rooftop of his establishment to be used for drone-flying. “Strict instructions have been issued to hotel owners and managers to disallow guests from operating drones from their premises,” said Singh.

First Published: Mar 06, 2018 14:28 IST