Sikander is just 3 and Veera is a year younger than him. But they play an important role in sniffing around the venue where Prime Minister will address farmers in MP on February 18.
Don’t mistake them for kids. They are sniffer dogs who have mastered the art of detecting most dangerous explosives that could wreak havoc if not defused in time.
While Labrador Sikandar, a member of the bomb detection and disposal squad in Hoshagabad, will be part of Modi’s security ring for the fourth time, German shepherd Veera makes debut.
“It’s an acid test for both, particularly Veera, as the farmers’ meet is the biggest challenge for them ahead of the gargantuan task of security at the April-May Simhastha in Ujjain,” said the handlers of the sniffer dogs.
Both are working four-five hours daily at the meet venue in Sherpur village, 40 km from Bhopal.
Sikandar has been part of Prime Minister’s security at programmes in Khandwa, Betul and Bhopal over the last two years, while Veera was tasked with security for the winter session of Madhya Pradesh assembly in December.
Their handlers Ashok Atulkar and Dinesh Malwi said both the dogs, who were sourced from a breeding centre in Hyderabad, were trained in sniffing various genres of explosives, spanning from plastic explosives and TNT to RDX.
But, at a time when the top officials and ministers are vrooming in air-conditioned MUVs and SUVs, the temperature-sensitive canines are travelling in normal BDDS vehicles and staying in normal rooms.
“Air-conditioned BDDS vehicles will soon be part of our fleet for the Simhastha security. We hope to see the two dogs travelling in AC vehicles soon,” the dog handler duo said.
State public works department minister Sartaj Singh inspected the arrangements at the farmers meet venue on Tuesday, where work is underway to build a permanent stage and three helipads for the Prime Minister.