Drones will soon be used for research and inspection activity at three thermal power plants of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
On Friday, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had granted conditional exemption to NTPC for the deployment of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) its power generation stations.
These RPAS will be deployed at Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station, Madhya Pradesh, Gadarwara Super Thermal Power Plant, Madhya Pradesh, and Sipat Super Thermal Power Project, Chhattisgarh.
Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation said, “NTPC will use the drones to carry out terrain mapping, stockpile volumetric analysis, aerial inspections and other applications at the three NTPC sites. This will provide NTPC excellent data with high accuracy at a fraction of the cost. This is in line with Government of India’s attempts to promote use of industrial drones in infrastructure, mining, agriculture and disaster relief etc.”
The conditional exemption is till December 31, 2020 or until the full operationalisation of Digital Sky Platform, whichever is earlier.
Just last week, MoCA had granted conditional exemption to the use of RPAS for mapping and implementation of web-based Geographical Information System (GIS) platform for Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS).
As per the conditions laid down by DGCA, the RPAS operation for the Delhi-Meerut RRTS shall be restricted to day operations (from sunrise to sunset), within Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS). Necessary permission regarding Aerial Photography, if applicable, will have to be taken from Directorate of Regulations and Information, DGCA.
In both permissions, reports will have to be submitted to Air Safety Directorate of DGCA in case of incident/accident during at any phase of the operations.