Schoolchildren, Scouts and Guides, and dog lovers had a gala time at the Republic Day celebrations organised by the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway at RPF Parade Grounds.

The canines included three Labrador Pinchers, a German Shepherd, and a Doberman. They enthralled the crowd with their skills like jumping through a ring of fire, detection of explosives and tracking of criminals, and “obeying the orders of their masters,” drawing cheers from the crowd. Handler K.V.S. Patnaik and other RPF staff were seen keeping a watch on the canines as they sat in the shade of the tent after their performance under the sun.

A number of children gathered around and tried to pet and shake hands with the dogs as they lazed on the ground. Manish, a student of Kendriya Vidyalaya – 2 (KV-2), 104 Area, was seen asking Mr. Patnaik: “Uncle is there a veggie among these dogs?” He intends to rear a veggie at home as bringing up a non-vegetarian dog would be a costly proposition. Other children were seen asking the handlers whether they could shake hands with the dogs or pass their hands through their silky coat.

Dog Squad in charge K.G. Prakashan and second in charge ISN Raju were present. “Waltair Division is one of the most efficient divisions not only in the ECoR but also in the Railways. It is among the few divisions with an originating loading of 50 million tonnes and earning of over Rs. 5,000 crore,” DRM Anil Kumar told the gathering in his Republic Day message.

He said though the division had suffered heavy losses in the K-K line due to cyclone and incessant rains, which caused breach of the track at Boddavara and landslides at various places in the section in December last year, the officials and staff met the challenges and restored traffic in the minimum possible time.

Earlier, the DRM unfurled the national flag and took the Rashtriya Salami presented by the contingent of RPF, Cadets of Bharat Scouts and Guides, and Civil Defence Personnel at the RPF parade grounds. Additional DRM C. Madhusudhana Rao was present. President of East Coast Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation Anju Anil Kumar and vice-president of E.Co.R.W.W.O Kiran Mayee Rao visited the Railway Hospital and presented Horlicks bottles and fruits to around 80 patients.

More In: Visakhapatnam