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‘People cancelling bookings, no one wants the trouble of getting extra permissions’

After two drones dropped explosives on the IAF Station in Jammu, the UT Administration has restricted the use of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles by civilians in J&K. Where they are still allowed, operators need to get registered with officials.

Written by Arun Sharma |
July 11, 2021 3:37:24 am
A police ‘drone awareness’ drive in Samba, Jammu. (Photo: PTI)

After two drones dropped explosives on the IAF Station in Jammu, the UT Administration has restricted the use of drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles by civilians in J&K. Where they are still allowed, operators need to get registered with officials.

Have the restrictions affected your business?

Definitely, but national interest comes first. In Jammu district alone, there are 39 registered private establishments using drones for shooting weddings and other functions. Though our drones are already registered, we now need additional permissions. This will not be easy, especially when one has to shoot in multiple locations.

So, what do you plan on doing now?

I will have to look for alternatives… Earlier, we earned Rs 30,000-40,000 per month through drone bookings. But now people are cancelling as no one wants the trouble of seeking permissions. But without drones, to cover a big venue, we would need more men and equipment, which will add to costs.

How much does a drone cost?

A quadcopter drone with batteries costs Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. I took a loan to buy one last year and am yet to pay it since bookings dried up because of restrictions on guests since the pandemic. Now that the Covid-19 caseload has reduced, we were looking forward to a good marriage season between October and December.

Can drones used by you also be a threat?

The quadcopters used by most of us are small and cannot carry any payload. For that one needs a hexa or octacopter. However, quadcopters can be used for surveillance.

What do you think the government can do?

Every drone comes with a GPS, and they can ensure that the operators upgrade to the latest version. This can help ensure that the drones don’t fly into areas marked ‘Red’, such as near security installations. The new GPS even alerts if a drone enters an area marked ‘Blue’.

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