Report fixing accountability for the collapse of Ruby Residency building in Canacona submitted in 2014 and tabled in 2015 is yet to be acted upon; No clarity which Department is to act on the report
PANJIM: Not only have all accused, barring a contractor, been discharged from the Ruby Residency under construction residential building collapse case, the report of the V K Jha Commission that inquired into the tragic incident is gathering dust in the filing system of the State government.
The voluminous report was submitted to the then Goa government in July 2014, made public a year later in August 2015, but the authorities have been tight-lipped on implementing the recommendations.
As per information available with Herald, the report was submitted to then Chief Secretary R K Srivastava, who marked it to then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for study and further action. Parrikar had termed the report as an eye-opener on the functioning of Town and Country Planning Department and assured it would be tabled in the monsoon session of the Legislative Assembly. “It’s a voluminous report. There are few points that are not correct but the committee has done a fantastic job,” he had said.
However, before he could act on the findings, he joined the Union cabinet as Defence Minister, in November 2014 and Laxmikant Parsekar took over as Chief Minister. Since then, it is not clear which department was entrusted to act on the report with government sources revealing that Home, Town & Country Planning and Revenue departments were involved in the process.
“The report had not come to us. It was only during the inquiry that the commission chief would seek details and documents pertaining to the case,” an official of the Home Department told Herald.
Parsekar, who took over from Parrikar, as Chief Minister, in November 2014, said, “Departmental Enquires (DE) against the suspended government officers were underway. How could I take action until the inquiry findings were submitted to us? I am told it is submitted to the (present) government just recently,” he told Herald on Tuesday.
The Commission had fixed responsibility on eight government officials who were arrested by Crime Branch in the case and were later released on bail. These officials were deputy collector and chief officer Canacona Municipal Council Prashant Shirodkar, Collector-North Goa Deepak Dessai, Deputy Collector Bicholim Pradip Naik, Canacona Municipal Engineer Ajay Naik, then Municipal Engineer Ashank Naik and Suhhas Faldesai, then Town Planner Prakash Bandodkar and Draftsman Ramesh Naik.
The inquiry had listed Canacona Police Station as one of the ‘prime accused’ in the tragedy for failing to act against the culprits in June 2012, when the same building had collapsed for the first time, two years before the fatal crash killing 31 people. The Commission also held that the Builders – Pradip Singh Birring and Jugdeep Kumar Sehagal – are first and foremost to be held responsible for the catastrophe while also naming contractors and other material suppliers as accused.