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Corporate houses seek police help in building canine force for greater security

After terror attacks in Ahmedabad and Mumbai,the big business houses in the state have stepped up security at their plants.

Written by Hitarthpandya | Vadodara | Published: January 22, 2009 1:23:06 am

With terror groups increasingly targeting commercial hubs,companies in Hazira are forced to employ sniffer dogs to detect explosives

After terror attacks in Ahmedabad and Mumbai,the big business houses in the state have stepped up security at their plants. Apart from making it round-the-clock,the companies have also furnished their plants in the state with CCTVs and other electronic security gadgets.

With terror groups increasingly targeting the hubs of high commercial activity,nobody wants to take chances and hence the companies in Hazira near Surat have sought police help in training their dogs in explosive detection.

The total investment in this highly industrialised zone spread over 170 sq km has already crossed Rs 1 lakh crore.

The multi-division Essar group has written to the Surat police commissioner requesting to train the company’s dogs to detect explosives.

“Of the 20 dogs,we have asked the police to train two — a Labrador and a Doberman — in explosive detection. This is on a mutual understanding with the police and we will lend these trained dogs to them during emergencies,” said Colonel (retired) RK Vasal who is also the security chief of Essar Works,Hazira.

“Hazira houses many important companies; and if anything happens here,it will hit the economy of the country,” he added.

In Hazira,Essar has got two gas-based plants of 500 MW and 515 MW capacities and one liquid fuel-based plant of 32 MW. The objective is to keep an eye on things brought into the plant,he says.

“Having sniffer dogs is the only option we have to detect explosives. We cannot train them ourselves because the explosives they need to look for are banned. Therefore, getting them trained through the police is the only logical option,” said Vasal.

Hasmukh Patel,DIG (planning and modernisation),confirmed over phone from Guwahati,where he was attending a conference,that the police have received a letter from the Essar group to get their dogs trained in sniffing explosives,and that it can be done. “We are yet to complete the formalities,” he said.

Essar is not the only company that feels the need for such help. The Reliance Industries plant at Hazira complex spread over 1,000 acres manufactures a wide range of polymers,polyesters,fibre intermediates and petrochemicals. The company is keen on having bomb-sniffing canines. “We are very keen to get our dogs trained by the police. Although we have not yet written to them,we will do it soon,” said sources at Reliance Industries Limited.

The PSUs do not want to be left behind,either. The authorities at ONGC’s Hazira facility,the largest industrial gas processing plant in the country,are worried about the security of the plant and have already urged the Border Security Force (BSF) Academy in Tekanpur,Madhya Pradesh for training two of their dogs in explosives detection. The Hazira facility of ONGC supplies nearly half of India’s 91-mscmd (million standard cubic metres a day) supply of gas everyday.

“We have sent two Labradors to the BSF Academy. They will be trained in explosives detection for six months. We already have two other dogs trained in it but they are aging now,” said an ONGC official from the Hazira plant.

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