Kanker Jungle Warfare School: Costly equipment or top of the line weapons are required to fight Maoists. But Chhattisgarh is carrying out a unique experiment. Using mongrels as sniffer dogs is just one of them.
A group of seven stray dogs have now turned sniffer dogs at the Kanker Jungle Warfare School for the Chhattisgarh police.
Retired Brigadier, B K Ponwar says, "The biggest threat in Chhattisgarh is IED (Improvised Explosive Devices). Because of this reason we trained certain people in Meerut. We had more handlers available than the dogs. Then we found, lets try and experiment, train our local mongrel breeds in the same manner - go through the 9 months course."
The results were stunning. Not only are the dogs accurate but they are also as fast as foreign breeds like labradors. One of them, Lily is posted at the Bilaspur High Court to sniff out explosives. Two others, Teja and Billo have found about 27 Improvised Explosive Devices saving over a 100 lives.
But training the local breeds for the high-risk job isn't easy. "They are more difficult to train than the foreign dogs, they need more attention and care than foreign breeds," says a dog handler. But, once that obstacle is crossed, they have several advantages. For instance, they come for free and are capable of doing 30 kilometre treks during a mission without showing signs of fatigue.
To fight guerrilla like the guerrilla is the very idea out here, and using the common mongrel as sniffer dog is one them. So far it seems to be working very well.