At Pune railway station, just two dogs to sniff 160 trains
Apart from the five original sniffers, no more dogs have been procured by the Pune division since 2009
In order to bolster security at railway stations, the Pune railway division has demanded additional sniffer dogs to strengthen the existing squad of five canines. Though the railway division established the dog squad in 2009, the number of dogs has remained constant.
four-legged saviour: One of the two canines being led around by its handler at the Pune railway station. File Pic
Currently, only two of the five dogs check bags at the Pune railway station. The canines are kept at Shivajinagar station and are taken to the Pune station around 8 am after finishing their training and morning meals.
These dogs sniff luggage at all the six platforms till 10 am, when they are taken back to Shivajinagar. The dogs are then back on duty at Pune station from 5 pm to 8 pm. A total of 160 trains leave Pune station daily, and the two dogs clock five hours of duty each day.
Of the remaining three canines, one is used to sniff out narcotics, and the other two are stationed at Miraj. These two dogs cover stations like Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur, that fall under the jurisdiction of the Pune division.
Yogendra Kumar Singh, PRO for Pune railway division, said, “With the introduction of new trains in the railway budget, 172 trains will be passing via Pune. This means that number of passengers alighting and boarding from Pune station would be increasing. Therefore we need at least three dogs that can be trained and added to the existing squad. This will help to ensure safety of the passengers.”
He added that in the past, the division had sent several requests to the central government for procurement of additional sniffer dogs. Harsha Shah, president of Railway Pravasi Group, said, “The railway administration is not at all serious about the safety of the passengers. Looking at the ever-increasing number of passengers and trains, the railway needs 20 sniffer dogs. The Pune station alone should have at least 10 dogs.”
As per the guidelines mentioned in the management of dog squads standing order number 84 of Railway Protection Force (RPF):
>> A handler has to earmark his canine’s position with the troops
>> A canine must get 15 minutes of rest after every 30 minutes of duty
>> A single dog must not work beyond six to eight hours a day
>> Every canine must be given water and light feed, as per need
>> Handlers must monitor body language and behaviour of their dogs closely