Is the sighting of a tiger by irrigation officials in Bejjur forest in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district on July 13 a mere coincidence or does the incident have some other meaning to it?
This is the question being debated by those who are for and against diversion of pristine forest for construction of the huge Pranahita canal.
In what could be termed as one of the rarest incidents of its kind, a tiger crossed the path of a convoy of vehicles which included irrigation officials in the front and wildlife experts behind them.
The convoy of experts was traversing in Bejjur to fix locations for eco-friendly bridges on the canal of Pranahita barrage for facilitating tiger movement in the area when the sighting took place.
“It is more than coincidence as the big cat appeared right in the middle of the proposed alignment of the canal at Lodpalli where the largest chunk of forest, 360 hectares, is slated to be diverted.
The canal itself is an unbelievable 1.5-km wide at this place,” revealed an official in the convoy.
“It was as if the wild animal wanted us to stay away from the place which is the main link between Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur of Maharashtra and Indravati Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh,” summed up a forest department official as he recalled the thrilling experience.
“Why else would that have happened with a team who had planned the destruction of its habitat,” he added as a matter of reasoning.