Readying for elections a major challenge: District Police Chief Shilpa Dyavaiah

Kottayam: Around seven months ago, when Shilpa Dyavaiah took charge as the police chief in Kasargod, the district was tackling a dire situation of Covid spread. However, now, when she is moving to another district to continue with her duties, the number of active cases in Kasaragod is among the lowest in the state. 

This Covid warrior of Kasaragod now takes over as police chief of Kottayam, and the district is presently among the ones that record the highest active Covid cases in the country. For the new district police chief, Coronavirus becomes the main culprit, naturally. It took stringent measures like a triple lockdown among others for Inspector General of Police Vijay Sakhare and Shilpa Dyavaiah to bring the Covid cases under control in Kasaragod. 

For Shilpa, who is a native of Bengaluru, public administration is more like a family matter. Her father, C D Dyavaiah was an IFS official from Karnataka. She is a B Tech graduate in Electronics and also holds a degree in MBA. It was while working in TATA Consultancy as a business analyst that Shilpa appeared for the IAS exam. She was posted in the Kerala cadre in 2016. She has occupied important positions previously as Kasargod and Kannur ASP, and Commandant of Women Police Battalion. In the actress assault case, Shilpa was handed the investigation duty in the incident where the approver from Bekal was threatened by a personal staff member of MLA Ganesh Kumar. She had carried out the arrest of the staff through a midnight raid at the MLA’s office. 

In the gold smuggling case, the police force led by Shilpa had arrested Manjeshwaram MLA MC Kamaruddin after summoning the politician under the pretext of questioning him. Asking whether there was any political pressure in both these cases is understating the question itself. However, the stress involved in Shilpa’s work-life does not intrude into her personal life. She used to practice Bharatnatyam during her school days; music and reading are her other hobbies. Her family hails from Hassan, Karnataka. Shilpa’s husband works as a senior development manager at L&T. Her daughter, Ira, is eight years old. 

Preparing for elections is a major challenge, Shilpa talks to Manorama.

What’s the major challenge in Kottayam?

I have never before worked in Kottayam; I’ve to learn more about the district. The main challenge looming in front of us is the smooth conduct of Assembly elections. That is the priority at the moment.

 In Kottayam, important positions like that of the District Panchayat President, Collector and so on are occupied by women.

That is a good thing. It is only in Kerala that women find such good prospects. The state consistently creates more opportunities for women empowerment. It also points at the societal progression in Kerala.

The current state of Covid spread is a hurdle faced by Kottayam. What would be the strategy of defence? 

I have to learn about Kottayam—its settings and surroundings. Accordingly, the strategy of defence would be designed and executed. I have the firm belief that it will be successful. 

Drug trafficking among youngsters is on the rise. How do you plan to counter this?

This is a huge challenge faced by society; stringent measures are the only way to combat this. We succeeded in the efforts taken in Kasargod. Apart from that, we also started awareness campaigns with the help of Janamaithri Police and Student Police. We will try all of this in Kottayam as well. 

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