Jamshedpur, Feb. 9: She is beauty with brains.
Diana, the three-year-old Labrador from the RPF’s Bandamunda unit, is here to bolster the strength of the Tatanagar force.
The trained sniffer was specially requisitioned after Nidhi, the Doberman who helped the RPF (Tatanagar) crack many a complicated case for over a decade, retired in February 2009. Though the force did get a pair of Labrador pups — Snowy and Alexander — as replacements, they are still “young and untrained”.
RPF inspector R.C. Bhuin said Diana had slipped into Nidhi’s shoes with alacrity and ease. “She came here only a few days ago and is already on duty on platforms, tracks, parcel yard, goods shed and waiting hall. Diana has even taken a liking for our men who were very close to Nidhi.”
Bhuin said they had strongly felt the absence of Nidhi, known for her dedicated services, after she retired at the age of 13. As per a standing RPF order, dogs who become old are rendered retired. They are later auctioned. Nidhi had carried a price tag of just Rs 150 when orders came for her auction.
However, vehement protests by Jharkhand Animal Welfare Society (JAWS) prompted the RPF headquarters in Delhi to cancel her public sale. Instead, Nidhi was handed over to Mango-based animal lover J.K. Srivastava in September.
Her kennel had been lying empty and unhappy till Diana moved in.
Unlike Tatanagar, the Bandamunda unit had two pairs of sniffer dogs and so did not have a problem in sparing Diana. “Besides, we were experiencing problems without a trained sniffer in our squad. Diana is swift and intelligent and now things are better,” Bhuin said, adding that they might keep her forever.
The Labrador pups are currently training in Podanur, Chennai. “It has been two months since Snowy and Alexander, and their handlers, left. They will be back later this year,” Bhuin said, adding that they would be ready for fieldwork in about two years.
“The pups are both three months old and are being trained to be sniffers. They will learn how to detect bombs and explosives and be pressed into service gradually. We do not want to rush things,” another RPF official said.
Till then, Diana is everyone’s darling.