Monday, February 25, 2008

CID eyes new robot, twin with cops rusts

- BOMB-REMOVAL GADGET
A STAFF REPORTER

The Canada-made Robot that Calcutta police bought for Rs 45 lakh in 2004 but never ever used, except to demonstrate its capability. A Telegraph picture
The CID intends to spend close to a crore to buy an explosives-removal gadget, though a similar device has been lying unused with Calcutta police for the past four years.

The city police had bought Canada-made Robot — a remote-controlled device — for Rs 45 lakh and have used it once since, during a demonstration.

The one the CID plans to buy costs Rs 75 lakh.

“We have decided to buy the gadget to avert casualties or injuries during removal of explosives,” said D.P. Tarenia, the inspector-general of police (CID).

“Two of our policemen got killed and several were injured over the past couple of years while trying to remove explosives in Maoist-dominated areas. Once Robot comes, we can do the job without putting the lives of our men at risk,” he explained.

Robot tops the list of gadgets that the CID will submit to the government for procurement.

A section of officers, however, fears that the costly gadget would meet with the same fate as the one with Calcutta police.

“If an explosive is found in a place 200 km from the CID’s Bhabani Bhavan headquarters, no one will take the gadget there. Even after spending around a crore, the cops will have to risk their lives to remove explosives,” said a CID officer.

An officer of the bomb disposal squad of the city police said: “Robot has never been used, as our experts manage the situation on their own.”

Sources said the gadget, lying idle for so long, has developed a snag. “We had to spend thousands on repairs,” said an officer.

A Mumbai police team, which was recently in town to inspect Robot, was shocked to learn that the gadget has never been pressed into service.

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