Soubhik Mitra, Hindustan Times
India’s aviation safety regulator has approached the Mumbai police seeking information about the use of drones at city college festivals. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday sent a note to the Mumbai police commissioner’s office seeking details of such incidents and demanding that action be taken against them.
“Operating drones are banned in the country. But stray cases of students operating drones at college festivals have come to our notice. As a result, we have sought details from the police,” said a senior DGCA official requesting anonymity.
According to DGCA sources, drones made by a student of an engineering college were operated at a Goregaon mall, which hosted an annual college festival, on December 18.
The aviation regulator had banned the use of drones in October, after frequent use of camera-mounted aerial vehicles became a fad during poll campaigns, in the run up to the state Assembly elections.
“The airspace over Indian cities has a high density of manned aircraft traffic. Owing to the lack of regulation, operating procedures and uncertainly of the technology, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) pose a threat of collisions,” read the DGCA directive.
Even the International Civil Aviation Organization, the UN-appointed global aviation watchdog, is yet to publish regulations on the use of drones for civil purposes.
DGCA officials said that they were not discouraging students from manufacturing UAVs, but the the move was to avoid misuse of technology. “Multiple security alerts have surfaced stating that drones could be used for terrorist attacks. As a result, it is unsafe to permit their use, unless we have complete information about the purpose,” said another DGCA official.
Concerns about usage of drones first surfaced in the city when a Pizza company operated trial UAV flights to deliver the popular snack.
Police commissioner, Rakesh Maria, was not available for comments.