Khandeparkar panel gets down to work, finally


Justice R M S Khandeparkar (retd) has finally begun his work to ‘verify’ the irregularities and illegalities enlisted by Justice M B Shah Commission in its exhaustive report on illegal mining in Goa. The first meeting of the six-member Independent High Level Investigation Committee (IHLIC) is likely to be held next week. 
 Khandeparkar told Herald that he has begun his initial work of going through the Shah Commission report which he described as, “very huge and extensive.”  “I will be going through the entire report first, before having a meeting with other members of the committee,” he said. 
Khandeparkar said that he is planning to hold committee’s first meeting next week, where members would officially interact with each other on the Shah Commission report. The committee has been given a year to submit its report. Already three months have lapsed since the committee was notified. 
The formation of six-member high level committee was announced on October 3, 2012, and the notification was issued in November, last year. The committee was formed to study the findings of the Commission’s report which had pointed out several irregularities and illegalities in the mining sector. 
Mining operations are currently halted following the Supreme Court suspension order. 
Responding to a question, Khandeparkar said, “the report being exhaustive, the committee might take some time as a comprehensive report has to be presented to the State government. We have to verify each and every irregularity or illegality identified in the report, which is a time consuming exercise. Nothing can be done hurriedly.” 
The six members of the committee include environmental expert K P Nayati, former Director of NEERI Tapan Chakraborti, Mumbai IIT Dr Pramod Pathak, Chartered Accountant V B Prabhu Verlekar and the Principal Secretary (Mines). 
The committee has to suggest measures for effective control, supervision and regulation of the mining industry. It will also investigate the loss to the State exchequer due to pilferage of royalty, cess collection and encroachments pointed out in the Commission’s report.
Commission also has to identify offences and illegalities by public servants. The high powered committee has to suggest remedial measures for better coordination between various agencies. [H]