For the first time in India, an oil making company has got permission to use drones for aerial surveillance of its pipeline. The request by Indian oils to use drones to keep an eye from the sky on their Delhi-Panipat pipeline project has been approved by the aviation minister. ‘This move will help in probating oil thefts worth hundreds of crores’, a senior official minister said.
The aviation minister issued the order for the use of drones in India on Monday 6 June. IOC last month got permission to use RPAS or drones for aerial surveillance for their pipeline. After examining the ministry has given permission to IOC to operate RPAS for aerial surveillance for 4 months from 6 July.
The DGCA has also attached some conditions to IOC for the use of drones for their Delhi-Panipat section of its Mathura-Jalandhar pipeline. The condition is that the drone can only be used in the day time from sunrise to sunset. The regulator of aviation has asked IOC to take clearance from all local administrations, defense, air force of India, and Airport Authority of India.
In the past few months, the ministry of aviation has been allowing the use of drones for new projects like fighting the drone menace by aerial spraying of pesticides. Drones were also given permission to be operated at night for this project. The agriculture ministry has got permission for the night operation of these drones. Night operation is more effective for this purpose as locusts are caught napping, a senior official said.
India is currently finalizing the process of unmanned aircraft system rules 2020, which covers the entire usage of drones from manufacture to usage. Public comments are invited for the rules of drones within 30 days and after that final rules will be made and given, the aviation minister said. Safety and security are the main concerns and once rules are finalized, it will progressively pave the way for using drones.