Meet the first forest guard from tribal community in Kerala
Kothamangalam: “I had just joined the force when my superior asked me to accompany the team that went to nab a cannabis case accused from the forest. He said ‘you know the forest well, so just go with them’. But actually, the accused was staying with his wife in a cave. While arresting her, there should be a woman officer. That’s why they asked me to join the team. We walked about 6 kilometres through Pooyamkutty forest at 2 am in the dark. Finally, we nabbed him from a cave in Kallelimedu area. When I returned from the forest with six other officers, I felt really proud,” Sudha shared her memories of two decades in the forest.
Those who appear for PSC exams might be familiar with P G Sudha, who is the first forest guard from tribal community in Kerala. Sudha is a recipient of the special honours of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister for excellent service. She retired from service on Friday.
Sudha hails from Pinavoorkudi in Kothamangalam in Ernakulam. She was married at a very early age and has three children. In 1988, her husband Sasikumar passed away. After that, her only aim was to raise her children well.
Sudha started working as an Anganwadi worker and later joined the forest department as a guard in 2002. She was first appointed in Kuttampuzha range. Now, she retired as section forest officer from the same range.
The hunting for Thundam-Edamalayar elephant poaching case accused was one of the biggest operations of the forest department. Sudha was part of the team and she said it was an unforgettable experience for her.
Apart from the job, she tried her best to help her community. She worked hard for educating hundreds of girls in some of the tribal hamlets which can be reached only after travelling many kilometres through the forest. She also focussed on health and employment of the tribal people.
Sudha was in the forefront to destroy cannabis cultivation and wash distilling centres in the forest. She also encourages afforestation. For her excellence, Sudha was honoured with the chief minister’s ‘Best Forest Guard’ medal in 2006.
The prime minister’s honour was received for her efforts to end open defecation in tribal hamlets. About 500 toilets were built in 9 tribal hamlets in Kuttampuzha panchayat. She also received honours for shutting the wash distilling centres in Kunjippara.
Sudha has three sons and the eldest is Jomon who works as forester in Malakkappara station under Edamalayar range. The second one is Jeemon who works as CPO in Angamaly police station. Youngest son Gireesh Kumar is a farmer.
“Though I retired from forest department, I have not retired from the forests. I’ll always be near the wild as the daughter of nature,” Sudha said proudly.