We’ve all heard the news of locust attacks which badly affected the western and central parts of India. The Government has come into action already and is now allowing the use of drones. The drones come in use to combat the aerial attacks caused due to swarming locusts invasion. The invasion is a huge threat to hard-grown crops. The Minister of Aviation had given permission to make use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) for combating locusts including anti-locust pesticides. The Agriculture Minister also now permits to use RPAS or drones for anti-locust operations.
Conditions Under Which Drones Are Allowed
The Agriculture Minister also allows exemption for use of battery-operated drones for aerial monitoring, spraying anti locust pesticides, public announcements. However, along with the conditions which include that they should not pose a threat to crops, livestock, or any other aerial/land manned or unmanned vehicles. Details of any update including RPA fight and pesticides sprayed will need to be uploaded to DGCA’s Digital Sky platform. This update should be within seven days of overcoming the menace.
The RPA’s should not exceed the load weight of 25Kg. The drones or any aerial vehicle for anti locust have the feature of auto-home return. This is in case of communication or transmission loss. The operation should also not be more than 200 feet above the ground level and shall be operated within the visual line at every time.
Restricted Places For The Drones
The Defense Ministry does not allow the use of drones for this purpose in places like within 5-km radius of airports at Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad; within 3 km from the perimeter of any (other) civil private or defense airports; within 25 km from an international border you have permission in writing from the Ministry. Also this includes a distance of within 5 km from Vijay Chowk in Delhi.
Also, if you have interests in learning about information on locust swarms, do check our article.