The mega operation to catch the prowling leopard in Belagavi city has entered day 21. Even as two elephants and a special drone team have joined hands, the 200 plus staff from the forest and police departments have failed to trap the big cat.
The forest department is spending Rs 2 to 3 lakh per day for carrying out the operation. Though the team is getting CCTV footage of the leopard, it is still escaping and disappearing.
Schools and colleges in surrounding areas have been closed for over 20 days and thousands of students are being troubled for their studies.
Meanwhile, the authorities are facing flak from the public for failing to catch the leopard. Social media posts have been created making Aadhaar Card of it and claiming that the leopard is now a respectable citizen of Belagavi city and it will only leave after celebrating Ganesh festival.
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The posts have also kindled the mega operation, involving hundreds of staff. However, the authorities claim that the leopard is taking shelter in the premises of Golf Club. The premises is full of dense vegetation and the leopard is able to hide away.
The authorities have built watch towers and placed cages at strategic spots in Golf Club spread across 250-acres in the heart of the city.
Sources explain that till date, the forest department has spent between Rs 30 to Rs 40 lakh to catch the leopard. The authorities are clearing the thick vegetation to track and enable the better visibility of leopard to be able to trap it.