The Times of India is reporting that Indian police forces will deploy drones to monitor temples and expressways through Republic Day (Jan. 26), the nation’s annual commemoration of the enactment of its constitution in 1950.
“To strengthen vigilance, drone cameras would be used for the first time at major temples at Mathura and Vrindavan, Yamuna Expressway and the Mathura Refinery,” police official Rakesh Singh said.
Delhi Police recently ordered a Netra quadcopter from India’s defense ministry to secure various sites. “This instrument can be extremely useful for surveillance during VVIP functions organized in Delhi from time to time as well as when law and order is threatened,” the police agency stated in its request, specifically referring to Republic Day celebrations.
The Netra UAV is manufactured in partnership with Indian drone firm ideaForge and reportedly offers a line-of-sight range of about four kilometers with a 40-minute flight time.
“It can also lock onto a particular vehicle or target while on flight and has a get-back-home feature in the event of loss of connection,” a Delhi police official stated. Security may be tighter after it was announced that President Obama will visit India for Republic Day – the first American head of state to receive an invitation.
In the city of Ballari, “four constables have undergone training to operate [drones], which run on battery, having a life of 30 minutes, and control its movement and also the lenses of the camera, by a remote,” reports The Hindu.
While police may deploy drones on Republic Day, they are also keeping a vigilant eye for illegal drone flights. The India Express reports that the Delhi police chief “has asked his force and police departments of the neighboring states to keep a vigilant eye on drones, as they have been perceived as a major threat to security, especially in view of Republic Day,” a senior police official said.
While Indian drone regulations have reportedly been enforced in a hit-or-miss fashion, the nation may be tightening up as evidence by a recent report in which police in Tiruvannamalai Taluk arrested eight people for taking unauthorized aerial footage using a drone.
As reported in DRONELIFE: “The drone operators, six IT professionals and two students, allegedly took aerial visuals of the Tiruvannamalai hill and the Arunachaleswarar Temple. While a 2014 bill in the region prohibited the use of any UAV except by government authorities or with specific permission, the law had not previously been strictly enforced.”
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