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DGCA rejects plea to declare airspace above Puri temple as ‘no fly zone’

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Bhubaneswar, July 16:

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has rejected the plea for declaration of the air space above Odisha’s 12th century Hindu shrine Shree Jagannath temple premises in Puri as a ‘no fly zone’ on the grounds that it will violate laws and rules governing civil aviation in the country.

Aerial view of theTemple shot by a drone device
Aerial view of theTemple shot by a drone device

In a letter to the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), the DGCA said it has no plans to declare the air space above the Shree Jagannath temple premises in Puri as a no fly zone. It said it has no plans to declare any fresh no flying zones in-principle as it would violate laws and rules governing civil aviation and affect the safety and efficiency of civil aviation operations.

In his reaction to the DGCA decision, SJTA chief administrator Arabinda Kumar Padhee admitted to receiving such a letter from the DGCA and said; “We have written to the government in this regard. Since it’s an in- principle decision of the DGCA citing safety and efficiency of civil aviation operators, it is difficult. We will study the use of appropriate alternative technology like jammers etc to prevent aerial photography of the temple from helicoptersflying above the temple for its security”.

It may be mentioned here that the SJTA and the Puri district administration had written to the DGCA seeking declaration of the air space above the Shree Jagannath Temple as a no fly zone after foreign tourists managed to take aerial photographs of the temple with the help of cameras fitted in quadcopters and private planes and uploaded it in the social media.

Following the incident, several organizations expressing concern over the security of the temple had demanded declaration of the air space above the 12th century shrine as a no fly zone.