New Delhi: The four-legged soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are clearly not on the priority list of the ministry of home affairs (MHA). 

The ministry had recently turned down the request of the CRPF for sanctioning 186 posts of staff and officers required to run the force’s Dog Breeding and Training School (DBTS) in Bengaluru.

Unfortunately, the CRPF has got only 42 people across ranks to run the centre, with 860 dogs, out of which 174 are under training.

Moreover, out of these 42 posts, 27 were already sanctioned by the MHA in 2012. Sadly, the process of even sanctioning this number took almost four years.

The dogs at the CRPF's training and breeding centre assist the force in highly sensitive operations, especially in Naxal-infested areas. Last year, one of these dogs even died following an improvised explosive device (IED) blast. 

The situation is so grim that the CPRF was forced to convert general duty personnel into dog handlers. There are more than 1900 handlers in the CRPF, but on paper the total number of dog handlers is only 50. According to the provision, there should be two handlers per dog.

The authorities have complained that it is getting impossible to run the centre with so less people. Also, the officials are afraid that this staff shortage will affect the training of the dogs.

Moreover, the ministry has also asked the CRPF to give details of the functioning of dog training centres of other security forces, including the Army. Currently, the CRPF centre runs on an ad hoc basis.

The Dog Breeding And Training School of the CRPF at Taralu started in August 2011 with the arrival of six breeding stocks and 15 pups. The training of the first batch of pups started on September 1, 2011.

"Initially the MHA sanctioned the institute with 27 posts in 2012. Taking into account the huge authorisation and training requirements, the CRPF requested the MHA for expansion of the institute with 186 posts of various ranks. However, the MHA has agreed to only 42 posts, (which) means only 15 posts have been added, though a formal approval from the MHA is pending," a senior CRPF official told MyNation.

The CRPF had sent a proposal in 2014 and got a virtual approval this year.

"The MHA has asked us to give details of dog centres in other forces including the Indian Army, namely how the other forces are running dog training centres and how many staff and officers are involved in running the centre. However, the shortage of staff will affect the training of the dogs," the official told MyNation.

The official spokesperson of the CRPF didn't respond to a query on the matter when contacted by MyNation.