Ever since the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) gave the green light for civilian use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in April this year, police stations have been merrily making their own ground rules, leading to disparity. Quashing their right to grant permission to fly drones, the Pune city police have now bestowed that power solely on the special branch to bring back uniformity.
Speaking to Pune Mirror, joint commissioner of police (law and order) Sunil Ramanand said, “Drones can be used by terrorists. Therefore, we have to check the security aspects while granting permissions to operators who intend to fly drones. The police stations were issuing permissions to everyone who approached them by setting conditions on their own whims. Now, we have put a mechanism in place wherein only the special branch at the police commissioner’s office will issue permission for flying drones, not local police stations. After following due security checks, permission will be granted on a case-to-case basis. The DGCA does not have the manpower to monitor the use of drones.”
Officials from the police commissionerate said that the decision was taken to also have a centralised system that can keep a check on the operators. Cops claimed that drones were more popular during high-profile marriages and among builders, who want to do aerial photography of their projects.
Police and event management company officials said that they had been getting permissions from senior police inspectors of some police stations, the conditions being that they have to provide footage of the video captured by drones, copies of photographs. A few other police stations, however, did not bother to demand such things. “We mostly use drones during marriage functions for making videos. Permission is granted easily when you have a good rapport with the cops. In some cases, they insist on certain conditions to be fulfilled. But that is seldom followed strictly,” chorused officials from two such companies.
Intelligence officials said that Pune being an important military station, with several establishments located within the city, it is necessary to keep a check on drones flying around. “These drones can be easily used to click photos and make videos of sensitive locations. They can also be used to drop explosives. So, some stringent checks are required for their operations,” one of the sleuths told Mirror.
In April this year, the DGCA came up with guidelines for civilian use of drone, which states that a unique identification number (UIN) needs to be obtained from the DGCA first.