Mumbai: Officers of the Forest Department are among the unsung heroes in Kerala. On August 15, they received a distress call following a landslide in Bimmaram colony in Ranni Range (Pathanamthitta district), which is an isolated tribal pocket surrounded by dense trees.
That set the Forest department team on a rescue mission, for which they were least prepared. As they hit the road, they found it was badly damaged and most trees were uprooted. All houses, too, were damaged beyond recognition; the 20 tribal families, which reside in the hamlet, had subsisted without food and clothing for several days as the area was cut off from mainland. These families were later shifted by the rescue team to a community hall managed by the forest department. When officials interacted with the displaced, they were told about a couple (Shiju and Divya) who were still stranded with their one-month old baby. When the forest officers reached the site, they were shocked.
“We found Shiju and Divya sitting in a mound of debris in their house. The hapless couple were holding their one and a half month old baby, which was without clothes. They also did not have any medicines for the baby,” said a forest official. The team moved the family back to the community hall, where the baby was fed. The team, which included Deputy Range Officer Rathish, Section Forest Officer Daisy, Beat Forest Officer Nithin, Sabna, Vidya, Harikumar and their driver Feroze, were assisted by Deputy Forest officer Unnikrishanan. Rathish took a photo of the baby and Rema Rajeshwari (IPS officer in Telangana) tweeted it. Rathish has previously been honoured by the Kerala Chief Minister for ‘Best Service.’