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First batch of 1,138 pilgrims leaves Jammu for annual Amarnath Yatra

Spike in terrorist activities have posed a serious threat to the security arrangements

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Amarnath Yatra. Image source: www.thetathaastu.com
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  • The first batch of pilgrims for Amarnath Yatra left Jammu today
  • Rajnath Singh will take a stalk of security measures in his two day visit to the state
  • CRPF will be inducting drones for aerial security and crowd management

JAMMU, JULY 1: Amid tight security, the first batch of 1,138 pilgrims left Jammu today, for the annual Amarnath yatra, which begins from Saturday, July 2.

The 48-day long yatra that will proceed to Amarnath shrine situated in South Kashmir Himalayas from Pahalgam and Balta, which has begun under the concern of increased incidents of terrorist attacks in the state.

Reportedly, there are 900 males, 225 females and 13 children in the first batch. They have left Jammu in 13 buses, 24 mini-buses and other modes of public and private transport in a group guarded by the security forces.

Flanked by junior minister Priya Sethi and Lok Sabha member Jugal Kishore State Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh flagged off the batch of pilgrims from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu at 5 am today.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Image source: abplive.com

According to the Indian Express, Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh will also take a stock of the security measures in his two day visit to the valley.He along with Governor N N Vohra will also be present for the pratham (first) darshan of ‘baba barfani’ (ice lingam at the shrine).

Nirmal Singh said, “With adequate number of security forces sent to the state by Central government, all security arrangements for smooth conduct of yatra have been put in place.”

Singh added that that special enquiry centres have been set up by police and other agencies for all information, particularly the weather conditions.

Speaking to The Hindu, a senior police officer said, “With up gradation in technology, many new electronic surveillance systems have been inducted in the security set up.”

He further told that CRPF will be inducting drones for aerial security and crowd management and added, “This will be in addition to the manual security in and around the base camp.”

The state is currently struggling with increased terrorist activities and attacks on security forces, which has posed a serious threat to the security arrangements made for the peaceful termination of the yatra.

-This report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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Amazon’s Customers Waiting On Drone Delivery

When you’re in his world you think more about technology than regulations.

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Drones
A drone demonstrates delivery capabilities from the top of a UPS truck during testing in Lithia, Florida. VOA

Jeff Bezos boldly predicted five years ago that drones would be carrying Amazon packages to people’s doorsteps by now.

Amazon customers are still waiting. And it’s unclear when, if ever, this particular order by the company’s founder and CEO will arrive.

Bezos made billions of dollars by transforming the retail sector. But overcoming the regulatory hurdles and safety issues posed by drones appears to be a challenge even for the world’s wealthiest man. The result is a blown deadline on his claim to CBS’ “60 Minutes” in December 2013 that drones would be making deliveries within five years.

The day may not be far off when drones will carry medicine to people in rural or remote areas, but the marketing hype around instant delivery of consumer goods looks more and more like just that — hype. Drones have a short battery life, and privacy concerns can be a hindrance, too.

“I don’t think you will see delivery of burritos or diapers in the suburbs,” says drone analyst Colin Snow.

Amazon, drones
In this Sept. 13, 2018, file photo Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, speaks at The Economic Club of Washington’s Milestone Celebration in Washington. VOA

Drone usage has grown rapidly in some industries, but mostly outside the retail sector and direct interaction with consumers.

The government estimates that about 110,000 commercial drones are operating in U.S. airspace, and the number is expected to soar to about 450,000 in 2022. They are being used in rural areas for mining and agriculture, for inspecting power lines and pipelines, and for surveying.

Amazon says it is still pushing ahead with plans to use drones for quick deliveries, though the company is staying away from fixed timelines.

“We are committed to making our goal of delivering packages by drones in 30 minutes or less a reality,” says Amazon spokeswoman Kristen Kish. The Seattle-based online retail giant says it has drone development centers in the United States, Austria, France, Israel and the United Kingdom.

Delivery companies have been testing the use of drones to deliver emergency supplies and to cover ground quickly in less populated areas. By contrast, package deliveries would be concentrated in office parks and neighborhoods where there are bigger issues around safety and privacy.

Amazon, online retailer, Drones
The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

In May, the Trump administration approved a three-year program for private companies and local government agencies to test drones for deliveries, inspections and other tasks.

But pilot programs by major delivery companies suggest few Americans will be greeted by package-bearing drones any time soon. United Parcel Service tested launching a drone from a delivery truck that was covering a rural route in Florida. DHL Express, the German delivery company, tested the use of drones to deliver medicine from Tanzania to an island in Lake Victoria.

Frank Appel, the CEO of DHL’s parent company, Deutsche Post AG, said “over the next couple of years” drones will remain a niche vehicle and not widely used. He said a big obstacle is battery life.

“If you have to recharge them every other hour, then you need so many drones and you have to orchestrate that. So good luck with that,” he told The Associated Press.

Appel said human couriers have another big advantage over drones: They know where customers live and which doorbell to ring. “To program that in IT is not that easy and not cheap,” he said.

Google , US, Alexa, Amazon, Drones
The logo of Amazon, online retailer is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, France. VOA

Analysts say it will take years for the Federal Aviation Administration to write all the rules to allow widespread drone deliveries.

Snow, the CEO of Skylogic Research, says a rule permitting operators to fly drones beyond their line of sight — so critical to deliveries — is at least 10 years away. A method will be needed to let law enforcement identify drones flying over people — federal officials are worried about their use by terrorists.

While the rules are being written, companies will rely on waivers from the FAA to keep experimenting and running small-scale pilot programs.

“People like DHL and the rest of them (will say), ‘Hey, we can deliver via drone this parcel package to this island,’ but that’s not the original vision that Amazon presented,” Snow says.

There is a long list of FAA rules governing drone flights. They generally can’t fly higher than 400 feet, over many federal facilities, or within five miles of an airport. Night flights are forbidden. For the delivery business, the most biggest holdup is that the machines must remain within sight of the operator at all times.

In June, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said the FAA’s was being overly conservative in its safety standards for drones. The group said FAA’s risk-averse attitude was holding back beneficial uses, such as drones helping firefighters who are battling a fierce blaze.

Amazon,com. Flickr, Drones
Amazon’s Customers Still Waiting, Flickr

Even before the criticism by the scientific panel, the FAA had begun to respond more quickly to operators’ requests for waivers from some rules, says Alan Perlman, founder of the Drone Pilot Ground School in Nashville, Tennessee. He said it is also getting easier and cheaper to buy liability insurance.

Bezos was mindful of the safety issues, telling “60 Minutes” back in 2013, “This thing can’t land on somebody’s head while they’re walking around their neighborhood.”

Also Read: Apple Music To Work With Amazon Echo

That didn’t stop him from predicting that drones fed with GPS coordinates would be taking off and making deliveries in “four, five years. I think so. It will work, and it will happen.”

To Perlman, the billionaire’s optimism made perfect sense.

“When you’re in his world you think more about technology than regulations, and the (drone) technology is there,” Perlman said. (VOA)