Recently, there’s been quite a stir near the historic Vasai fort, and it’s not just because of its ancient charm. Leopard sightings have set off a bit of a showdown between two big shots: the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB). What’s got them growling? Well, it seems the newly launched Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) boat services between Vasai and Bhayandar might be shaking things up a bit too much.

Folks around Vasai have been whispering about missing pets since last Friday. Valentine Mirchi, a fisherman from Vasai Koliwada Panchubandar, says over a dozen stray dogs and three goats have vanished. And guess what? They’re pointing fingers at a big cat lurking near the old fort. Yep, you heard it right. There’s a leopard prowling around, and it’s not playing nice.

So, what’s the big deal about these RoRo boats? Well, the ASI is worried sick about the fort taking a beating from all the extra traffic and vibrations caused by these new ferry services. They’re even planning to slap a gate on the road leading to the fort, so only visitors can pass through. Currently, everyone and their uncle is using that road, including folks hopping on those RoRo boats. ASI’s folks have even set up barricades to stop the traffic, but it’s turning into a real tug of war.

But hold your horses, because the MMB isn’t backing down either. They’re singing a different tune, saying the RoRo boats are a lifeline for local tourism. They’re not about to pull the plug on something that’s giving the economy a shot in the arm. Plus, they’re not convinced that a little traffic jam is reason enough to spoil everyone’s fun.

In the middle of all this back-and-forth, the ASI fired off a letter to the port inspector in Vasai, laying down the law. They’re saying, “Hey, this fort is a national treasure, and we can’t let anything mess with it.” They’re waving around the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act (AMASR) like it’s their trump card, demanding the RoRo services hit the brakes ASAP.

But wait, there’s more. A certain Mr. Maanikrao Gursal, the big cheese at MMB, says they’re on it. They’ve got their top brains working overtime to figure out a solution. Meanwhile, Dr. Yogesh Mokal from Suvarndurg Shipping and Marine Services Private Limited, the folks behind those RoRo boats, says they did everything by the book. They even got the ASI’s blessing before setting up shop. So, why all the fuss now?

Now, here’s where it gets hairy. Some locals are pointing fingers at the encroachment menace. They’re saying, “Hey, if you keep messing with Mother Nature, don’t be surprised if she bites back.” Illegal constructions and mining are turning the forests into a battleground, and the wildlife is paying the price. But it’s falling on deaf ears, with officials turning a blind eye to the chaos.

Meanwhile, Vasai’s residents are feeling the heat. That leopard’s still on the loose, and nobody’s sleeping easy. Forest officials are trying to calm everyone down, but folks are asking, “What’s taking so long? Are they waiting for the leopard to throw the first punch?” It’s been a tense week, and until that big cat’s behind bars, Vasai’s streets won’t be safe.