Kohima: Former Nagaland Chief Secretary and Padma Achyut Madhav Gokhale passed away today at Pune in Maharashtra yesterday. He was 75 and survived by his wife and two sons.
Born on January 3, 1946, late Gokhale, was a former Short Service Commissioned Officer in the Indian Navy. He joined the prestigious Indian Administrative Service (IAS) after completing his IAS probation in Mussoorie (1973-74), he first joined the service of the Government of Nagaland as an Assistant Commissioner in Mokokchung and culminating with the topmost job of the State bureaucracy as the Chief Secretary. Gokhale was responsible for the establishment of the Village Development Boards (VDBs) and Nagaland Empowerment of People through Energy Development” (NEPeD) in Nagaland, including community-based organisations.
He was awarded Padma Shri in 1990 for his work on Village Development Boards and his 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. Returning to State after a central deputation in 1992, he was instrumental in the launching of the NEPeD as the State’s Agricultural Production Commissioner.
Meanwhile, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio led the State in grieving the demise of Late Gokhale and said that it is a “loss which is not limited to his immediate family members but to all of us in Nagaland.”
In a condolence message, Rio said 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, 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 the rest of the country.
For the first time, the initiative brought in financing from external agencies to Nagaland and its success also motivated the State Government to set up a number of other game-changing missions such as the Bamboo Mission, Honey Mission, Rio added.