Ban On Drones In Sgr Leaves Owners, Sellers High And Dry

by Muhammad Hassan Shah

SRINAGAR: With the ban imposed on drones in Srinagar by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the people who own the equipment for professional use have been left distraught and questioning.

The police diktat comes after a recent low intensity blasts at the Indian Air-force station in Jammu reportedly carried out using drones. Subsequently, suspicious drone movement reported at some places in the region. However, wondrously, Srinagar became the first district in the union territory to witness a ban on drone usage with police asking the owners to deposit them at the nearest police stations

Wedding photographer Aamir Beigh, who owns a drone, told Kashmir Life that he has been using the equipment for past five years with a fear in his mind whenever he operates it.

“Kashmir is highly sensitive place due to security issues. I always seek permission from the authorities before flying it. I understand my limitations while flying the drone,” Beigh said.

Beigh said some of his friends, who also use drones, have already received phone calls from police stations asking them about the aerial devices they own and the previous footage shot by them.

“Drones are extremely expensive gadgets. It’s not a matter of a small amount of money,” Beigh said, adding that the ban might have an negative impact on the business in general.

Masood Bhatt, another wedding filmmaker said the drones are important part of their profession because the clients demand aerial shots more often.

He said it is a trend in the Valley to have drone shots in wedding videos owing to the beauty of Kashmir. “Whenever we use drone we make sure we have the permission of Tourism Department before we fly it. We understand the security concerns and we follow all the norms and regulations that exist. But at least we deserve a special permission or a license to use the drone as it is the part of our work.”

“It isn’t easy for any person to give away their drones to the police as they are very expensive. There are people who have invested lakhs of rupees to buy drones. The investment and efforts shouldn’t be wasted like this,” Bhatt added.

Nasir Rather, who deals in drones and allied equipment, said he mainly sells drones these days as business in the cinematic world revolves around them.

Rather fears that his business is going to be drastically impacted owing to the huge investment made by him for buying aerial objects.

“I have employed people who would now lose their jobs because of the ban,” Rather said, adding that government should come up with a policy for allowing genuine users to sell and operate drones.

A senior police officer said that the ban on aerial objects including might be extended to other “sensitive” districts in the Valley.



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