Mining pits in Goa's hinterland are working wonders for harvesting water, said a mine owner whose firm has been virtually indicted by a judicial panel, here Thursday.
Avdhoot Timblo, whose firm along with several other mining companies was mentioned in the M.B. Shah Commission report on illegal mining, said: "Mining activity near the Selaulim reservoir has resulted in 70 lakes, which store water."
Timblo denied that mining had caused excessive damage in Goa.
His claim comes even as green activists have pointed out that excessive mining has been bleeding Goa's environment as well as water bodies.
Timblo told reporters in Panaji that at one point of time nearly 500 mining operations were going on in Goa and that Panaji "could also have a mine" if pollution could be controlled.
The businessman whose mining outfits, along with virtually all other mining companies, have been reportedly indicted in the judicial commission report, also said that the mining boom in Goa had given rise to "good cholesterol" and "bad cholesterol".
"There is 'bad cholesterol' like a few trees cut, people killed (by mining trucks) in road accidents, but there is 'good cholesterol' too which is far greater than the bad cholesterol," Timblo said, adding that the over Rs.7,000 crore which the mining industry generated was one of the "good cholesterol" generated by the Goa mining industry.
He said that mining firms in Goa were unfairly targeted by the law enforcing authorities for what he claimed were trivial violations of law, like over-speeding.
"I am allowed to extract 1.5 (million tonnes), if I extract 1.75 (million tonnes) I should be hanged?" asked Timblo.
Firms run by Timblo, along with the Vedanta Resources-owned Sesa Goa, are the top mining players in the state.
The Justice Shah Commission had exposed a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam in Goa.