Former Nagaland chief secretary, Padma Shri AM Gokhale passed away on Sunday due to Covid19.

He was 75 years old.

Gokhale’s demise has been deeply condoled by Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio.

Gokhale, a 1968 batch IAS officer of Nagaland cadre, served in various capacities in Nagaland till his superannuation in January 2006.

The former chief secretary was awarded Padma Shri in 1990 for his work on Village Development Boards and role in forming the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana.

“I am deeply grieved at hearing the news of passing away today morning of Padma Shri AM Gokhale, former Chief Secretary of Nagaland,” Nagaland chief minister Rio said in his condolence message.

“It’s a loss which is not limited to his immediate family members but to all of us in Nagaland,” Rio said.

Gokhale was an exceptional office, 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 added.

In Nagaland, he developed the concept of the Village Development Board which decentralised development to the village level, much before the Panchayati Raj institutions were brought in the rest of the country, the chief minister said.

The people of the entire state shall continue to fondly remember the passionate manner in which he executed and put in place the necessary foundation to ensure its success and sustainability.

“He was awarded Padma Shri for this path-breaking work,” Rio said.

Building on the strengths and traditions of the people of Nagaland and merging it with his passion for conserving environment, he 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,” the Nagaland CM said.

Gokhale always did what was in the best of interests for the people of the state, and he will always remain in the hearts of people of Nagaland, chief minister Rio said.

Informing that Gokhale died of Covid, Rio said: “His death to COVID is a great loss to the people of Nagaland.”

“At this moment of grief I extend my deepest condolences to the family —Savita Gokhale and children and pray to God Almighty to grant them the strength to bear with this irreparable loss. May his soul rest in peace,” Rio added.

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