A Forest Beat Officer (FBO) with the Balupalle range of Railway Kodur division in Kadapa district, she is the sole ranger of the Seshachalam biosphere reserve. Situated in Andhra Pradesh, it takes this 25-year-old officer, a minimum of two days to cover the 20,000 square acre of treacherous beat.
She first has to cover the 60 km distance from Balupalle to Tirupati by road, further up, she then heads towards the Tirumala hills in Chittoor. On reaching Tirumala, she treks 35km deep into the dense forest cover in Kadapa.
Ragala has been negotiating this forest course for the past 2 years and that to be all alone. A jungle which is known for its notorious red sanders smugglers, wild animals hasn’t deterred the gutsy officer from doing her job. Thankfully, her superiors understand the grave danger Ragala goes through and do not insist on a daily course.
In an interview given to The Hindu, The Divisional Forest Officer (Tirupati wildlife), T.V. Subba, who was all praises for the fearless forester said, “During the British Raj, there was a motorable track between Balupalle and Moghilipenta plateau”. He also added that provisions were being made for Ragala to be accompanied by a dozen men on her courses.
On the other hand, Ragala Subbalakshmi, who is more than happy to do her job, said that “though it is a tough job, it gives me immense happiness in serving the department. Hard work gives me much pleasure. Adventure is, in fact, great learning.”
Rangala Subbalakshmi proves that ‘Energy and persistence conquer all things’.
(News Source: The Hindu)