HT Special: Flying drones in Pune? From Dec 1 police will decide where, when and how

Updated on Oct 28, 2018 04:54 PM IST

Intelligence officials are of the view that Pune being an important military station, with army and air force base, ammunition factory, ordnance depot and several defence laboratories, drone flying overhead is a sensitive issue.

In view of sensitive military establishments located in Pune, the Pune police are taking necessary steps on the use of drones in the city.(HT representational photo)
In view of sensitive military establishments located in Pune, the Pune police are taking necessary steps on the use of drones in the city.(HT representational photo)
Hindustan Times, Pune | ByNadeem Inamdar and Namita Shibad

In view of sensitive military establishments located in Pune, the Pune police are taking necessary steps on the use of drones in the city. The move is in keeping with the new set of central government regulations on the use of drones that will come into force from December 1 this year.

In August 2018, the civil aviation ministry had released guidelines to be effective from December 1, for the use of remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) or drones by individuals and companies in non-military areas.

“Special branch of Pune police, and not police stations, is the sole authority to give permission to use drones in the city to ensure uniformity in the implementation of the law. So far, 44 commercial drone operators have been given permission to operate drones in the city,” said Ashok Morale, deputy commissioner of police (special branch).

Intelligence officials are of the view that Pune being an important military station, with army and air force base, ammunition factory, ordnance depot and several defence laboratories, drone flying overhead is a sensitive issue.

Siddharth Shetty of Ispirt, an NGO that ‘acted as a sherpa’ to the central government on its digital sky policy, said, “The government is consulting different agencies, including directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) and airports authority of India (AAI), to outline zones that will be marked red, amber and green.

“Flying in green zones will be allowed easily, amber will require permission from authorities and red zones will be no fly,” he said.

Shetty said that a system that will be able to track drones will also be put in place. “This will have to evolve over time. It could be a SIM card or some other technology but the government is looking at this as well,” he said, adding that technologies will also be deployed by security personnel to prevent or shoot down rogue drones.

Drones fitted with cameras have found a number of applications such as video shooting of high-profile marriages, pre-wedding shoots, agitations, public gatherings, entertainment events, aerial view of real estate and infrastructure projects.

New policy on drones effective December 1, 2018

•In August, the civil aviation ministry released guidelines to be effective from December 1, for the use of remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) by individuals and companies in non-military areas.

•44 drone operators in Pune have been granted permission by special branch of Pune police

•Commercial use of drones — as taxis, delivery vehicles, or other services — will not be allowed as of now

•No permissions will be needed for flying ‘nano’ drones, which weigh less than 250gm, within the visual range. However, operators have been advised to inform the local police beforehand and to not breach the privacy of any individual.

•Digital sky platform will be the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) portal to implement a ‘no permission, no take-off’ (NPNT) policy.

•All RPAS, except nano drones and those owned by government intelligence agencies, will have to be registered and issued with a unique identification number (UIN).

•As per the regulations, there are five categories of drones by weight — nano, micro, small, medium and large.

•The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has identified 23 sites across the country where experiments related to drones will be conducted.

•For flying in controlled airspace, the filing of flight plan and obtaining air defence clearance (ADC) /flight information centre (FIC) number will be necessary. The regulation defines “no-drone zones” as areas around airports, near the international border, Vijay Chowk in New Delhi, state secretariat complexes in state capitals, and strategic locations and vital military installations. A case under the Indian Penal Code can be filed for flying a drone in a prohibited zone.

-Source: Civil aviation ministry, Pune police

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