The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has expressed grave concern over many states, including Odisha, for not having the policy to thwart drone attacks, when the State has many vital installations.
The Standing Committee on Home Affairs under the Chairmanship of veteran congress leader Anand Sharma had sought replies from states with regard to the steps that are taken/policies framed to deal with the drone attacks.
As per the report, only 8 states like Rajasthan, Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunanchal Pradesh and Punjab have given a reply to the Parliamentary Committee.
The replies by states show that Odisha's two neighbours - Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal - have an anti-drone threat policy in the State.
And this has come as a surprise for the security observers here as the Odisha Police on December 14, 2017, had arrested four Russian nationals for flying a drone equipped with a camera capable of taking high-definition images over the Sri Jagannath Temple. Significantly, three of the four, who claimed as members of ISKCON, were women.
Andhra Pradesh Drone Policy
In its reply to the Parliamentary Committee, the Andhra Pradesh government said, "ADGP, Operations, has been nominated as nodal officer to address the challenges of drone attacks. Strict watch and vigilance are being maintained on all vital installations by the concerned SSP. Apart from the above, guidelines issued by MHA regarding flying permission in Red, Green and Yellow Zones are being followed
Drone Policy Of West Bengal
As per the reply to the Committee, the Intelligence Branch in West Bengal has prepared geo-coordinates of vital Installations in the form of Red Zones and Yellow Zones with categorization and points for uploading on Digital Sky Platform as per DGCA and MHA guidelines
Is Odisha Less Prone?
It can be clearly said that the security threat to Odisha is not like the border states of Punjab and Rajasthan. Incidentally, among the 8 states, both the vulnerable states have an anti-drone policy.
But the security threats of Odisha is no lesser than that of its two neighbours Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
Odisha is home to at least five important defence installations like two missile testing centres at Chandipur in Balasore district and Dr A P J Abdul Kalam island (Wheelers Island) in neighbouring Bhadrak. Besides, the State has a training centre of the Indian Navy in Chilika lake, an ordnance factory at Saintala in Balangir district and an airbase of the Indian Air Force at Charbatia in the coastal Cuttack district.
Moreover, like Andhra Pradesh, Odisha is bracing up with the Maoist threat. And like West Bengal, the State is grappling with an intense drug menace. The Odisha Police have been busting the white powder network day in and day out across the coastal belt.
The growing enormity is evidenced by the fact that the State police had seized a mere 73 quintals of cannabis in 2010. The seizures a decade hence had been astronomical - 1549.8 quintals- in 2020.
Par Committee On Odisha
The Standing Committee on Home Affairs lists Odisha as a sensitive State. Consider the following statement made by the Committee.
"In the 21st century India, there are police stations without telephones or proper wireless connectivity especially in many sensitive states like Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Punjab, particularly in view of the fact that some of these States had been rewarded with better performance incentives in the year 2018-19," the committee observed.
As per the BPRD report, 38 police stations in Odisha don't have wireless or mobile connectivity. The State has 621 police stations. In 3 police stations, there are no telephones, the data revealed.
Odisha In Drug Map
Earlier in 2019, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs had stated that the quantum growth in cases under NDPS Act 1985 puts the glare on the sharp rise in drug trafficking in states, where a sharp growth in cases and seizures have been made till 2019-20.
In the list of states with the sharp rise in cases and seizures, Odisha figured prominently.
As a consequence, in its 237th report submitted in February 2022, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home has expressed grave concern for the lack of policy in many states to deal with the drone threat.
Expressing serious concern, the Standing Committee on Home has said, "Since different types of drones are used for committing crimes, transporting drugs, arms and ammunition, etc., it is a threat to the internal security of the country. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Home Affairs along with the Ministry of Civil Aviation may advise States to sensitize ground-level police personnel on the drone regulations. This may include the civilian use of drones which will help in detecting rogue drones."