Guwahati gets Northeast’s first drone pilot training school
Guwahati found a place on the drone map of India on Tuesday with the inauguration of the Northeast’s first drone pilot training school. This initiative, its founders feel, will “open up new” avenues for the region’s youth since they will be trained by the “best” in the industry.
The school has been set up at Tech City in the capital city by the Assam Electronics Development Corporation Limited (Amtron), an Assam government undertaking, after getting clearance from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on July 6. Amtron has roped in EduRade, a Guwahati-based government-recognised start-up, as its training partner.
Assam cabinet minister for health, information technology and science and technology Keshab Mahanta inaugurated the school which is expected to meet the growing need of trained personnel in the state and other northeastern states as they embrace the use of drone in a big way in the coming years.
The requirement of drone pilots will only grow in the Northeast because of its difficult terrain, security concerns and heightened development activities.
The school can accommodate 30 trainees per batch for the one-week certified course that includes both theory classes and field training. One has to be Class X pass with a valid passport to get enrolled.
Mahanta later tweeted, “Glad to launch AMTRON Drone School in Tech City, Guwahati, today, which is the first-ever in NE & would mark a new era in education combined with technology.”Amtron has acquired two micro category (2kg and below) and two small category (2-25kg) indigenous drones. Two more small category drones used for agricultural activities are also being assembled for trainees.
“This school is the only government certified drone pilot training centre in the northeast. Work on the venture started in January. The state government and the Amtron are working hard to create new career opportunities for the youths and the drone school is one such initiative,” Biswajit Dey, accountable manager and the instructor of the school, told The Telegraph.
EduRade has several trainers who are certified by DGCA and are now with the drone school to conduct the training programme.
“Classes will be held at Tech City (Azara) and practical training will be held at Assam Forest School (Jalukbari) located nearby. The forest school has allotted three-acre plot for training. Assam had used drones for survey and locating those in distress during the recent floods. The demand for trained drone pilot will only grow,” Dey said.
Dey is also one of the co-founders of EduRade. The other two co-founders of Edurade are Ritesh Kanu and Debajit Deka.
The first batch of the students included six lady officers of the forest department that needs huge number of trained personnel for surveillance and for mapping activities.
There are altogether 27 DGCA-approved drone schools in India. The Amtron school was the24th to get DGCA clearance, Dey said.
That the use of drone is set to increase both in Assam and its neighbouring states was evident from the plans of neighbouring Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.
Tripura agriculture minister Pranjit Singha Roy on Wednesday revealed that the BJP-led state government was mulling to launch a pilot project for precision cultivation using drones.
On the other hand, Arunachal Pradesh’s East Kameng district will be launching a pilot project for delivery of medicines using drones in far-flung areas of the district from August 15.
East Kameng DC Pravimal Abhishek Polumatla told this newspaper that after the completion of the six-month pilot project (medicine from the sky), the state government will assess the operational issues like trained manpower and come up with a state policy.
“Besides medicine delivery, there is also plan to use drones in disaster management,” he said.
For the pilot project, the administration has invited private parties to participate and showcase their expertise in the use of drone technology.
Last year in November, Meghalaya became the first state in the country to successfully deliver medicines using a drone to a remote healthcare centre in West Khasi Hills district. It helped reduce delivery time from three hours by road to 30 minutes by the drone.