Drone use in restricted areas goes uncheckedThe Border Police Post in Lomanthang, Mustang, seized a drone camera being used by a film shooting unit last week. The film crew had not taken permission from local authorities to use the equipment.
The Border Police Post in Lomanthang, Mustang, seized a drone camera being used by a film shooting unit last week. The film crew had not taken permission from local authorities to use the equipment. A few days later, police seized another drone in Thasang Rural Municipality. An Indian tourist was caught operating the drone without permit.
The seized drone cameras were handed over to the Jomsom office of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). The government has declared the northern territory of Kagbeni in Mustang as a restricted zone, and regulated the use of drone cameras in the region. The Home Ministry approved a new procedure to regulate use of drone cameras in the country in February this year. As per the procedure, drone cameras must be registered with the CAAN and their owners should obtain identification numbers for their equipment.
Individuals or organisations should submit an application along with citizenship or passport, objectives of using the drone, purchase bill of the drone, among other necessary documents, for registration. The procedure restricts the operation of drone cameras in some “highly sensitive” places. Certain air routes, areas within five kilometres of airports and five kilometres from international borders have been prohibited for drone use.
However, the illegal use of drone cameras in Mustang and other districts have relatively gone unchecked.
High altitude trekkers, mountaineers, film crew and researchers, among others, have been using drone cameras without permission.
A source claimed that authorities have failed to implement the laws effectively to control the illegal use of the drone cameras.
After the new working guidelines were implemented in the country, the local administration in Kaski confiscated two drone cameras and handed them over to the CAAN office in Pokhara.
Bhola Prasad Guragain, chief of the CAAN Pokhara, admitted that it was difficult to control illegal use of drone cameras which are mostly brought into the country by tourists.
“The introduction of the new working guidelines has been able to curb illegal use up to some extent,” claimed Guragain.
Though there is a legal provision to seize drone cameras used without taking permission from the authorities, the CAAN has been handing them back to their owners after charging them fines ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000. The Pokhara office of CAAN said that the office seized 10 drone cameras in the current fiscal year in Kaski district.