Monday, May 04, 2020

Remove restrictions on drone use for essential industries, govt agencies, says FICCI

Government agencies and critical industries should be given blanket exemptions from restrictions regarding drones till December 31 so that these devices can be used freely during the COVID-19 pandemic, industry body FICCI stated in its recommendations to the central government on Saturday.

"Currently, drones are only allowed to legally fly using permission from Digital Sky (online platform) in six small green zones in remote rural areas of the country. This is insufficient to address the numerous challenges faced by our country in the time of this crisis," stated the FICCI's committee on drones.

The committee stated that a critical industry like the oil and gas sector has not been permitted till date for drone-based surveillance of cross-country pipeline networks, and its previous attempts to seek waiver from government regulations have proven to be unsuccessful.

Therefore, the FICCI said the law enforcement agencies, municipal corporations, fire departments, forest departments, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), critical industries, etc, should be given blanket exemptions from government restrictions till December 31, 2020, to "augment available manpower and prevent risk of human life" amid the pandemic.

The safety risk associated with the usage of drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), for the aforementioned purposes during the COVID-19 lockdown is miniscule as there are very few "civil manned aircraft" in operation, it said. Moreover, there are very few people in public areas whose safety could be affected by drone flights, it noted.
04/05/20 PTI/Business Today
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