Any diversion of a river would come with its own set of problems, said ecologist Madhav Gadgil on the controversial Yettinahole diversion project which seeks to divert 24 TMC of water from tributaries of the Nethravati.

Talking on the sidelines of a meet with forest dwellers of the Kudremukh National Park at Mallige Mane village in Belthangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada on Tuesday, Mr. Gadgil said diversion of West Flowing rivers was a “broader issue” but refused to comment further until he looked at the specifics of the projects.

However, he did oppose the concept of displacement of forest dwellers to make way for an elephant corridor.

He believed a self-governing local body, that was given incentives for animal protection, could be far more beneficial than “by prohibition and compensation”.

“You must get local people motivated to get involvement…I do not agree that all human presence is detrimental. There are ways of organising good co-existence,” said Mr. Gadgil.