Panaji, Feb 27 (IANS) The ban on mining operations in Goa has led to a fall in water levels in the state's rivers, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said.
The rain water collected in the hollow open cast iron ore mining pits is normally pumped out by mining companies, which in turn "raised water-levels" in the state's water bodies, he told reporters here.
"Because (due to the mining ban) they (mining companies) were unable to pump out water, the water level is down now. It was okay earlier," Parrikar said.
Incidentally, Parrikar's comments find an echo in sentiments expressed by one of Goa's leading mining magnates, Avdhoot Timblo, who recently said that contrary to popular opinion mining pits actually manage to conserve water.
The chief minister said the state government would pump out water from the mining pits at the expense of the exchequer to ensure that the water-level of the state's rivers rises.
"We will do it at our own expense," Parrikar said.
Mining has been banned in Goa for over four months now, after the Supreme Court hearing a petition filed by activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan announced a probe by a central empowered committee into Goa's Karnataka-like illegal mining scandal.
The petition follows the revelation of a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam exposed by a judicial commission headed by Justice M.B. Shah, who said that top mining companies, politicians as well as bureaucrats were beneficiaries of the scam.