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Procedure to regulate drone flights enacted

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Kathmandu, February 25, 2017: The Ministry of Home Affairs has formulated and enforced Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flight Procedure, 2016 in view of apparent threats to security from haphazard use of UAV.

The procedure aims to make drone flights systematic. “The formulation of this procedure was became necessary as various foreign and Nepali citizens and organisations sought permission for UAV flights to collect details of the loss of lives and property after the devastating earthquakes of 2015 and assess and study future disaster risk,” said the MoHA.

As per the procedure, one should obtain permission from the Ministry of Information and Communications for frequency and from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation for personal drone flight. No one will be allowed to use drones to cause disturbance to the peace, security and privacy of persons.

The person applying for permission to use UAVs should submit their personal and drone details, area where it is to be flown, purpose of the flight, and its duration. “No one will be permitted to use UAV, flying camera, and drone within 1,000 metre aerial distance of security agencies and other sensitive areas,” says the procedure. Security agencies have been authorised to confiscate UAVs flown in prohibited areas and take action against their operators. The MoHA may depute a team to field to monitor drone flight to ascertain whether or not it follows procedure.

The government may not be obliged to grant permission for drone flight if it deems such act will have adverse impact on security sensitivity. “If anyone uses drones in contravention of the provisions referred to in this procedure, the government will initiate action against them under the Civil Aviation Authority Act, 1996 and the Electronic Transactions Act, 2008,” it warned.

The trend of using UAVs to carry out studies, conduct surveys, take photographs, and collect information is gradually on the rise, especially after the 2015 earthquakes . Such UAVs are often used for military and entertainment purpose in various countries, apart from carrying out studies on agriculture, environment and geography.