RPF to start its third National Canine Training Centre at Pune, after Delhi and Coimbatore

Pune Rail Division on CR to get Dog Training Centre shortly!

PUNE: The railway protection force (RPF) will soon have a bit more bite. Within a fortnight, the RPF will be starting RPF K9 School, Pune — its third national canine training centre after Delhi and Coimbatore.

The Pune facility is expected to start functioning from a temporary premises. “While the permanent centre will come up at Todiwala Road, we will start a temporary facility at Shivajinagar by next month. The RPF parade ground will be used. The first batch — comprising 14 dogs and 28 handlers — for the central railways will be arriving for training. The school will be called RPF K9 School, Pune, and the railway board has already permitted the same,” a senior official of the Pune division told.

Once fully functional, the centre will be able to hold and train two batches of 15 dogs each, along with their handlers. “Each dog requires two handlers and the training for the dogs start when they are still puppies. The 32-week training covers tracking and sniffing of objectionable objects, drugs, explosives etc.” the official said.

“The thrust is on strengthening the existing surveillance systems and adding more to the current infrastructure. With the third training centre starting in Pune, RPF security systems will become stronger. Canines from all rail divisions can be trained at this facility. Also, the facility can be used by other security agencies,” the official said.

He added while the dog squad of the Pune RPF was functioning well, a new entrant was expected shortly. “Right now, we have a total of seven dogs, which are trained in sniffing and tracking. Breeds include labrador and doberman. We have finalized the purchase of two Belgian Shephard puppies and they should be reaching us soon. They too will be trained at the same facility as trackers and sniffers. The cost of each dog can be between Rs 70,000 and Rs 80,000. The Belgian Shephard breed is very agile and is being used by other security agencies like the CRPF in the Naxalite-hit areas in different states,” the official said.

Last year, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court had taken a sou motu cognizance of reports of June 22, 2017, exposing the absence of measures for rehabilitation of canines serving in the bomb disposal and detection units. The newspaper highlighted plight of one such canine named ‘Reno’ and lack of rehabilitation plans or services rendered to such sniffer dogs serving in the Railway Protection Force.