Delhi Metro is hiring but the new recruits aren’t human. The backbone of the Capital’s transport system is expanding rapidly over the next few years and its security apparatus pivots on man’s best friend: The dog.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is going on an overdrive to hire dogs as part of its extended bomb squad to sniff out explosives and prevent potentially catastrophic attacks. Just last month, the authorities purchased eight dogs – five Labradors and three German Shepherds – who have been sent for training at a centre in Indirapuram.
The canines will undergo six months of training in bomb detection. The force will add another four dogs in the next six months and twelve more over the next year.
The reason for the hiring spree: The DMRC plans to add 107 stations spanning over 159 kilometres in its Phase III, translating to millions of new passengers. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) -- which guards Delhi’s metro stations – feels human personnel won’t be enough to provide security for the expanded network.
At present, there are 51 dogs guarding metro stations-- 22 German Shepherds, 17 Labradors, ten Cocker Spaniels and two Golden Retrievers.
The German Shepherd is good for drug detection and the Labrador is good for search and detection of bombs. Golden Retrievers are good sniffer dogs and easy to train as they are obedient by nature. Cocker Spaniels come in handy in searching under metro seats due to their low height.
The CISF’s focus on dogs has increased in recent times with the force purchasing 19 dogs this year for phase III stations — the largest purchase since it started the squad in 2007 with two dogs.
Dogs play an important role in bomb detection because their reaction time is faster than humans. Though there has never been a bomb found in any metro station in the city, the dogs have detected various unattended items on the platforms.
These dogs start their day at 7am and end at 11pm. Each dog works on a four-hour schedule, in which they cover at least five-to-six stations. Two dogs are kept in reserve during the night for an emergency.
“The dogs’ breed that CISF have including German Shepherd, Labrador, Cocker Spaniel and Golden Retriever as they have good sniffing power and detection instinct,” the officer added. The stations under Phase III of the Delhi metro are being thrown open in phases and the entire network is expected to be operational by mid-2017.
CISF spokesperson Manjit Singh said they will soon purchase three high-tech bomb defusal squad (BFS) vehicles that will have a space for dog carriers. The CISF currently has five BFS vehicles, out of which two purchased this year have similar spaces.
A senior official of the department said, “From this year, we have started buying only those bomb defusal squad (BFS) vehicles that have space for dog carrier as it has the capacity to carry dogs.”