With the Union Civil Aviation Ministry yet to decide on its request to ‘tweak’ some clauses in the newly-formulated ‘The Drone Regulations 1.0’ for ‘hassle-free’ deployment of the high-tech gadgets to keep an eye on the poachers and for better wildlife management, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is mulling over bringing all the tiger reserves (50 overall) under the surveillance of the unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) as per the existing norms itself.
“We will soon hold a meeting with the Ministry to get the approval for deployment of drones in all the tiger reserves within the existing norms as our request to tweak the new drone policy is yet to be accepted,” said sources in the NTCA.
Following the announcement of the ‘The Drone Regulations 1.0’ late last year, the NTCA and Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had represented before the Civil Aviation Ministry alleging that the policy in its present format “does not augur well for the functioning of the government’s wildlife agencies like them which are engaged in curbing wildlife crime and habitat management including human-animal conflicts”.
They had sought permissions such as allowing it to fly the drones in night, in protected areas and along international borders sharing the boundaries of Indian tiger reserves. They also insisted that maintaining “full visual line of sight” at all times, as prescribed in the new guidelines, is impractical.