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Central portal to approve govt agencies’ request to use private drones

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) The Centre on Tuesday launched the ‘Garud Portal' for providing fast track conditional exemptions to government agencies for deploying their own or privately-operated drones to implement the lockdown.

Essentially, the portal allows government agencies to seek Centre's approval for employing drone operations services from private firms and individuals for Covid-19 related prevention work, for instance the monitoring of the lockdown implementation.

In a statement, the Ministry of Civil Aviation said that ‘Garud' is an acronym for ‘Government Authorisation for Relief Using Drones'.

“Getting the necessary approvals from Competent Authority and launching the portal in less than two weeks is a testimony of the hard work and dedication of various officials at MoCA, DGCA, AAI and NIC involved in the process,” the ministry said in a statement.

Lately, the country's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle industry has formed the National Drone Rapid Response Force (NDRRF). IANS was the first to report this development.

At present, the ready-to-deploy drones from individual professionals to partner companies are enforcing the guidelines of the national lockdown to help contain the pandemic across the country.

Even though the state police forces do have drones, they lack trained pilots in the numbers that are required to enforce such a massive undertaking.

It is estimated that around 400 drones are currently operating in the country to assist the local administrations. Some 30 odd companies and many trained freelance drone photographers are also involved in these operations.

There has been a high demand for drones throughout the country from states like Maharashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.

–IANS

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