States

First woman SEC of Maharashtra dies

Maharashtra’s first woman State Election Commissioner (SEC) and former IAS officer Neela Satyanarayan died on Thursday due to COVID-19. She was admitted to SevenHills hospital in Mumbai. She was 72.

Known to be a no-nonsense bureaucrat, sensitive author and thinker, she had a reputation of being one who is always ready to listen and work out solutions for problems.

The 1972-batch IAS officer was the principal secretary (textile) during the first Shiv Sena-BJP government led by Manohar Joshi, and had handled the issue of textile mill lands. She is believed to have told Mr. Joshi and other ministers of his Cabinet that if the government failed to attend to the problems of textile mill workers it could face adverse consequences. This resulted in the setting up of more than three committees, including one under Charles Correa, to study the issue.

She also handled other important departments including, director general, Information and Public Relations; and additional chief secretary in Home and Revenue departments. Post-retirement she was appointed the first woman SEC.

Apart from being a bureaucrat, Satyanarayan also authored books, wrote lyrics and composed music for films. Her books Vanava, Ek Purna Ek Apurna is admired by readers and critics. Her second book on her real-life experiences of raising a specially-abled son, created a flutter in the government and administration.

Condoling her death, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari said, “In her demise, we have lost a dedicated officer and socially responsive thinker. I pay my deepest respects to the memory of late Smt Satyanarayan and pray God to give her family strength to bear the great personal loss.”

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that her life was an inspiration to the youth, while Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said that the State has lost a humane and empathetic ex-officer.

Maharashtra unit Congress president Balasaheb Thorat said she was a diligent official and a sensible writer.


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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 3:07:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/first-woman-sec-of-maharashtra-dies/article32107765.ece

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