Around 10,000 student volunteers,double the number from last year,will aid Pune police in maintaining law and order during the ten-day Ganesh festival which begins next week.
Besides monitoring surging crowds,the volunteers,called Police Mitra,will ensure women are not harassed. Their six-day police training began in phases Monday.
University of Punes (UoP) National Service Scheme (NSS) programme coordinator Shakera Inamdar said that more colleges and students have been encouraged to participate this year.
Students from around 113 colleges in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad have volunteered. We have also focused on roping in more girls. We have arranged a separate police training camp for volunteers in Pimpri-Chinchwad area, she said.
Police Mitra includes NSS volunteers,students associated with National Cadet Corps (NCC) and Board of Students Welfare of UoP.
Inamdar said,Volunteers will receive training on security surveillance and crowd management. This year,the state government has allowed the use of loudspeakers till midnight on five days,compared to the three days last year.
A coordinator for the training programme,S R Pacharane from Appasaheb Jedhe College in Shukrawar Peth,said the increase in the number of volunteers will help the police manage crowds near famous Ganesh mandals.
After the German Bakery blast in 2010,Pune police have been using student volunteers from local colleges to help keep law and order intact.
The initiative has been appreciated by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.