Umesh Isalkar & Sarang Dastane,TNN
PUNE: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is using Netra, an unmanned aerial vehicle, to carry out surveillance at the landslide site at Malin in Ambegaon taluka. This is only the second time that the disaster response force is using the indigenously developed high-tech surveillance technique in its rescue efforts.
The NDRF team made the drone fly around 9.30am on Sunday to rule out the presence of cracks and leaks on hills surrounding the disaster site.
The battery-operated high resolution surveillance instrument covers an area of 2.5km radius and transmits streaming visuals. It is primarily used to gather information about inaccessible areas and untraceable objects trapped there.
The disaster response force inducted the unmanned aerial vehicle only last year. “This is the second time that we are using Netra in a rescue operation in the country since its induction,” said A P Rameshan, NDRF sub-inspector, who is among the four people from the force trained to operate the drone.
The NDRF used the drobe for the first time at Mandi in Himachal Pradesh in June to trace 24 engineering students from Hyderabad and a tour operator, who were swept away when water in the Beas river rose suddenly.
“On Sunday, we could fly the drone over the hills only for five minutes as it started raining soon after and we had to stop. We are going to fly it again when the weather is clear. The aim is to see if there are any cracks on hills nearby and conduct a recce of the disaster site to chalk out our further course of action,” Rameshan said.
Netra has an autopilot system developed indigenously with an endurance of 30 minutes. It is operated using a remote control and it can give a bird’s eye view of the disaster site.