5,000 extra pairs of eyes for fest security
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Reeling under perpetual staff-shortage, the city police have trained 5,000-odd students of colleges under the University of Pune (UoP) to help them maintain law and order during the 10-day Ganesh festival.
The students from more than 100 colleges were trained to be 'student cops' at a 10-day camp held at the Pune Police headquarters in Shivajinagar. On Thursday, a function at Ganesh Kala Krida Kendra, which was also attended by historian and writer Babasaheb Purandare, marked the conclusion of the training camp.
The students, in batches of 500 each, were trained in bandobast duty and taught steps to be taken in case of any terror attack or disaster. Senior cops and defence and security experts gave them guidance.
Pune Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol had proposed the student-cop idea following the low-intensity blasts on J M Road on August 1.
Almost all the 5,000 students trained are National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers of their colleges. After the idea got a positive response from vice-chancellor Vasudev Gade, NSS co-ordinator Shakira Inamdar was tasked with organising the training sessions.
Former CID chief Ashok Dhiware, ACP Rajendra Bhamre, senior PI Bhanupratap Barge and PI Sunil Tambe were among those who gave the students advice and tips.
Defence analyst Brigadier Hemant Mahajan was among the trainers.
Tambe told Newsline, "The training module included basic information on various kinds terror strikes and how to keep vigil on large crowds."
All the 5,000 will be given t-shirts and I-cards and they will help police teams during processions and bandobast duty. On Thursday evening, the 5,000 students were divided into teams and allotted areas they would be deployed during the festival. A large number of teams will be deployed on Laxmi Road, Tilak Road, Kelkar Road and Kumthekar Road, the route the processions take. Pune police will bear the expenses of each student for 10 days of work, additional commissioner Chandrashekhar Daithankar said.
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