Why MHA’s UAV mission may just be impossible

Jugal R Purohit  New Delhi

Stonewalled for over a year and a half by the spy-agency National Technological Research Organisation (NTRO), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has tasked the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with procuring the vital Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for anti-Naxal operations. While fully justified in being upset with the spy agency, there are not many takers for the MHA’s move to duplicate assets.

Sources say the MHA proposal will face a tough scrutiny when it reaches the Finance ministry. Notwithstanding that, the opposition to this comes from not just on the exorbitant price tags but also on account of the complexity of the task involved.

Adding a yet another question mark to this move, sources within the NTRO said that there was a reason behind the delay. “For over a year now, we have been working on creating the right infrastructure for a base in northern Chattisgarh. It is a location which suits the CRPF which had a problem with us flying solely out of Hyderabad. Today, it is possible to operate out of that base in a couple of months, which means your problem is largely solved,” said a source. If the spy agency is to be believed, it has re-shuffled its fleet of UAVs to ensure that the planes dedicated for anti-Naxal operations can be doubled by the end of the year.