Hyderabad: The pilot project of using drones in the fight against mosquito menace seems to be yielding positive results, with the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) deciding to replicate the initiative in all of its six zones.
As a pilot, the civic body deployed drones to spray bio enzymes to contain growth of water hyacinth and curb mosquito menace at Miyapur lake and Malkam Cheruvu in Raidurgam, Serilingampally zone. Officials said the results were positive. “The outcome of the pilot project was encouraging as there was considerable reduction in growth of mosquito larva,” an official said.
The municipal corporation used custom-made 10-litre-capacity drones for spraying herbal herbicide, including neem, citrodora and cow dung. The drone was used in spraying the bio enzyme at six litres per acre — one acre was covered in 10 minutes. Otherwise, the exercise takes about two weeks to a month of done manually, which means nearly 20 to 25 workers need to be deployed. GHMC officials said drones, apart from being effective, also helped save time and manpower.
Drones will be operated and maintained by three private agencies which will be paid hire charges of Rs 10 lakh per annum each. Local entomology wing officials will coordinate the spraying activities and provide the chemicals, GHMC Serilingampally Zone Commissioner D Harichandana said.
Workers, who were deployed at the lakes for clearing water hyacinth and manual anti-larval operations, will be shifted to other areas, especially residential colonies, she said. On the security aspects in using drones, she said the agencies will be permitted to use only low-flying unmanned aerial vehicles without any cameras. The operators and entomology wing officials will be at the site during the exercise as the drones are operated using joysticks, Harichandana said. Further, the Police Department would be intimated about the work schedule in advance to seek their approval, she added.
While each zone will be provided with one drone, Khairtabad and Charminar zones together will be offered one drone as there are not many water bodies in these zones. Serilingampally zone has nearly 75 lakes under its jurisdiction.