I was on duty in Waghai. When I came out of the quarters in the morning there was a leopard standing just 10 feet away from me. However, after seeing him, I did not respond and he left. Such incidents are no longer feared. This is our duty. This was stated by Anjana Palwa, a female employee working as an RFO in Valsad. She said that 5 lions were encountered during training in Gir forest. However, they did not harm us in any way. Since then the fear of wildlife has gone away. Apart from Anjanaben, Pratibhaben Patel and Heenaben Patel are also serving as RFO in Valsad. As the world celebrates Women Forrester Day today, they shared their experiences on the occasion.
Pratibhaben Patel is on duty in Hanumat Mal Range of Dharampur and Heenaben is on duty in Pangarbari Range. Both of these studies have done MA B.Ed. They did not choose the field of education but the field of forest protection and came to work in this field. However, in the beginning both of them had a little trouble but now they too have got used to this job and both of them have started liking this field.
About her experience, Pratibha said that it used to be difficult to be alone in the forest, patrolling at night, etc., but now work is being done in this field without any difficulty. Valsad district does not currently have wildlife like leopards in their area, but they are conducting several operations to catch timber thieves. She has repeatedly sued several gangs of timber thieves. She has also conducted several joint operations with forresters in Maharashtra.
This is what female RFO Hinaben Patel is saying. Her field of work is also adjacent to the Maharashtra Board. She is also conducting an operation with Maharashtra foresters to catch timber thieves. She said her first duty was in Dangs. She was a round forester then. At that time they were also patrolling the forest on foot. They walked in the direction of the sound of wood-cutting and stopped cutting wood. She also captured the sarpanch’s JCB in an operation in Dharampur taluka of Valsad district. Trees were being cut down from this JCB. She said that many such operations were taking place. In Valsad district, 3 RFOs, 3 round foresters and 28 women beat guards are on duty. The most difficult job is that of a bitguard. RFO-level officers are on duty at the big center, but female beatguards are on duty in the hinterland. They are also making their mark in the field of male monopolies. On this day, salute to these women foresters who are protecting the forests of Valsad.