SIRSI: Strong political will is essential for deciding on environmentally sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, said Venkatachal Hegde of Jawaharalal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, here on Saturday.

He was addressing a seminar on the aspects of linking of rivers in the Western Ghats. The seminar was held under the auspices of Prakruti organisation, Sirsi.

Before implementing any environment-related project, its impact on biodiversity of the land stretch should be studied, he said. Experts should identify biodiversity in the area and that should be protected, he added.

There was an investment of Rs. 50,000 crore on various projects in the Western Ghats, he said. A nuclear plant like the one in Kaiga could not be set up in a tropical rain forest in any other part of the world, he said.

Mr. Hegde said that Bedthi-Varada river linking project proposal was in its initial stages. Before implementing the project, entire river stretch, use of water, cultural aspects, and biodiversity of the area should be studied. A committee should be set up with experts, political leaders and people’s representatives to study pros and cons of the projects in detail, he said.

Pandurang Hegde of Prakruti organisation was present.