Sanctuary Asia
OFF TRACK Image Credit: Sanctuary Asia
OFF TRACK Image Credit: Sanctuary Asia

Off Track

Billy Arjan Singh would turn in his grave on seeing this image.

He spent his entire life trying to protect Dudhwa and its environs. The tiger was always central to his purpose, but when anyone spoke of Dudhwa’s grasslands and its barasingha deer, his heart and eyes would light up.

He was an old-fashioned, habitat-integrity-wildlife-protection man, whose infectious love for nature was outweighed by a burning desire to protect nature from “... fools who know how to count money, but not blessings.”

Across India, the powerful people in whose charge we have left the critical business of infrastructure development, seem unable to comprehend what 12-year-olds now easily grasp... that forests ARE infrastructures. Destroying such perfectly functional, critical infrastructures, to build less critical infrastructures, at humongous financial risk and cost, makes poor economic sense.

As for the tiger, it is at the absolute apex of its evolution. Just by breathing and hunting and sleeping, it bumps up India’s GDP when hordes come from far and near to gaze at it. That’s not all. Its forests feed 600 rivers with the purest, sweetest water. Its green gables sequester carbon, which its soils store more effectively than any tax money-sucking-invention that human skullduggery might dream up.

It’s time the Indian Railways put its development agenda on track, and got the tiger off its (lethal) tracks.

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