Former Chief Secy Gohkale passes away

Former Chief Secy Gohkale passes away
Late AM Gokhale (File)
DMAPUR, APR 18 (NPN) | Publish Date: 4/18/2021 12:13:14 PM IST

Former Nagaland chief secretary, Padma Shri Achyut Madhav Gokhale passed away on Sunday due to Covid-19 in Pune. He was 75 years old.

Born on January 3, 1946, late Gokhale joined the prestigious Indian Administrative Service in 1973 with the seniority of 1968 batch of Nagaland Cadre after serving the Indian Navy as a Short Service Commissioned officer.

Gokhale was responsible for establishment of the Village Development Boards (VDBs) and NEPED in Nagaland, including community based organisations.

He was awarded Padma Shri in 1990 for his work on Village Development Boards and role in forming the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana. He also served as Secretary to the Government of India at the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources and also as chairman of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

During his tenure in Nagaland, Gokhale launched a people’s programme, Nagaland Empowerment of People through Economic Development (NEPED), which had reported success in getting the involvement of the people of Nagaland.

CM leads condolence

State chief minister Neiphiu Rio expressed grief at the passing away of former State chief secretary and Padma Shri AM Gokhale and termed it as a loss “not limited to his immediate family members but to all of us in Nagaland”. 

In a condolence message, the chief minister termed Gokhale as an exceptional officer, an optimist, a true leader and a thinker par excellence, who, during his more than three decades of service in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), brought about revolutionary changes. He said the former chief secretary developed the concept of village development boards in Nagaland that decentralised development to the village level, much before the panchayati raj institutions were brought in rest of the country. 

Rio said people of the entire State would continue to fondly remember the passionate manner with which Gokhale had executed and put in place the necessary foundation to ensure its success and sustainability, adding he was awarded Padma Shri for this path-breaking work.

Building on the strengths and traditions of the people of Nagaland and merging it with his passion for conserving environment, he had established Nagaland Environment Protection and Economic Development through People’s Act (NEPED), building a motivated and dedicated team from scratch, which for the first time also brought in financing from external agencies to Nagaland. Its success also motivated the State government to set up a number of other game-changing missions such as the Bamboo Mission, Honey Mission, etc, the message recalled.

According to Rio, Gokhale always did what was in the best of interests for the people of the State, and he would always remain in the hearts of people of Nagaland, and his death due to COVID-19 was a great loss to the people of Nagaland. Rio extended his deepest condolences to the family— Ms. Savita Gokhale and children – and prayed to God Almighty to grant them the strength to bear with this irreparable loss and for resting his soul in peace.

Dy.CM: State deputy chief minister and BLP leader Y. Patton has condoled the death of Padmashri AM Gokhale IAS (retd), former chief secretary of Nagaland.

Patton said Gokhale was the  brain behind in introducing Alder tree plantations drive which helped in jhum cultivation cycles, and its benefits in eco- forestry. His vision for an integrated rural development became a reality with the establishment of Village Development Boards, starting with Ketsapo in Phek district as a model village, Patton said.

Describing him as a reformer and a brilliant civil servant, Patton said Gokhale has left deep imprint in the hearts of the people of Nagaland. In his demise the nation has lost an efficient bureaucrat. 

Patton, on behalf of the state BJP legislators, conveyed deepest condolences to the bereaved family and prayed for the departed to rest in peace.

CS: Nagaland chief secretary, J Alam expressed shocked and pain by the sudden demise of A.M Gokhale IAS (Retd), former chief secretary Nagaland and former Secretary to Government of India.

During his illustrious career, Alam said that Gokhale distinguished himself with several path breaking innovations in public and development administration. His most lasting and shining contribution was the setting up and nurturing of Village Development Boards in Nagaland-- the main mechanism of village level development in the State. 

For this sterling achievement, he was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri Award by the Government of India- a rare honour for government officials, Alam said. 

He also implemented the first ever externally aided project of NEPED in Nagaland with assistance from the Canadian aid agency with encouraging results and opening the doors for other similar EAPs later. He served as the chief secretary at a crucial time when the ceasefire was signed between the Government of India and the NSCN (I-M).

Throughout his life, he remained dedicated to the cause of development of the rural poor, for which the people of the state will never forget his contribution in conceiving and building the institution of VD that remains a model of success not only in the North East but the entire country, Alam added.

The chief secretary said that the people have lost a fine gentleman with infectious energy and dedication, a team leader and a true friend and benefactor of the people of Nagaland. “His lasting legacy of VDBs and NEPED will continue to inspire and guide the young civil servants and the people &Nagaland...time to come,” Alam stated.

On behalf of the State government, Alam conveyed condolences to the bereaved family and prayed to the God Almighty to grant them the courage and fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

NPCC: Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) president K Therie expressed shock and sorrow at the passing away of the former chief secretary.

In his condolence message, Therie termed Gokhale as a socialist at heart, who dedicatedly served the people with purpose guided by his socialist mindset. 

His continued zeal to empower the grassroots by bringing government mechanisms to them saw the formulation and birth of VDB and NEPED, among a host of other achievements, throughout a lifetime of public service. The fruits of his wisdom and labour would continue to be enjoyed for generations to come, the NPCC president stated.

Therie said Gokhale’s affable personality and love for the Nagas would also be fondly remembered and cherished, while his contributions to Naga society would remain etched in “our” history with gratitude.

He said all rank and file of NPCC joined him in offering their deepest condolences to the bereaved and prayed that the grace of Almighty God be upon them and console them. They also prayed for resting the departed soul in eternal peace.

NSVDBSA: Nagaland State VDB Secretaries’ Association (NSVDBSA) has also expressed sorrow at the demise of Gokhale. 

Terming him as the architect of VDBs in Nagaland, NSVDBSA president, Tohoshe Awomi in a message said it was due to Gokhale’s wisdom that VDB was first set up in the State at Ketsapomi village in Phek district in 1976 under his authority on a trial basis, which became a success and till today the State was enjoying its fruit.

Awomi said Gokhale’s departure left “us” all in shock and pained. He conveyed the association’s respect and deepest sorrow and sympathy to his family members during this hour of grief and prayed that may the love of Lord give them strength during this hard time.

“I, on behalf of Nagaland State VDB Secretaries’ Association, convey my heartfelt condolences and pray that Almighty comfort the family and loved ones of the departed soul,” the message read.

NRDSA: Nagaland Rural Development Service Association (NRDSA) has expressed grief at the demise of the former chief secretary. 

Association’s general secretary Kupto Achumi in a message said Gokhale would always be remembered as the man who founded VDB in Nagaland, adding his sudden death left everyone in shock.

NRDSA extended its deepest condolence to the bereaved family members and prayed to God Almighty to comfort and give them strength to overcome the grief and loss. It also prayed for resting the departed soul in eternal peace.

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