Former J&K Chief Secretary Ashok Jaitley passed away on Tuesday. He was 73.
Popular among friends and relatives as 'Tony', Jaitley joined the IAS (Indian Administrative Service) in 1964 and was assigned the Jammu and Kashmir cadre. He served in various capacities in the state and was the youngest IAS officer to rise to the level of a secretary among his batchmates.
Jaitley served as the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir from 1996 to 2002. He retired from service in 2002 and served as advisor to the state government for six months.
Jaitley was the second-longest serving Chief Secretary of the state after PeerzadaGhulam Ahmad, who held the post from 1953 to 1963.
Besides illustrious career in civil service, Jaitley was a prolific reader and a socialite.
Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed expressed deep sorrow over the demise of Jaitley.
Mufti described the former bureaucrat as an "outstanding officer who rose to become the Chief Secretary of J&K purely on the basis of his dedication and administrative acumen." "The contribution of Jaitley in the development of the State will be remembered for times to come," Mufti said in an official handout issued here. He also conveyed his sympathies to the bereaved and prayed for peace to the departed soul.
Governor N N Vohra while condoling the demise of Jaitley conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved family and prayed for eternal peace to the departed soul. A spokesperson of the Raj Bhavan in a statement here said the Governor knew Jaitley for many years and considered him a very capable administrator who had performed creditably during very difficult times.
Minister for Education NaeemAkther while expressing solidarity with the bereaved family described Jaitley as a great human being "endowed with an overpowering personality" and a person "known for his intellect and friendly nature."
"Jaitley acted like a friend to the people of J&K. He (Jaitley) not only was a capable administrator but a visionary as well who contributed enormously towards the economic development of the State," Akther said and added that he had a long personal association with Jaitley.
Meanwhile, J&K Chief Secretary Chief Secretary, Iqbal Khandey also expressed profound grief over the demise of Jaitley.
"The news of his demise has come as a shock to me," he said. "On my own behalf and on behalf of my colleagues, I express heartfelt condolences over the sad demise of Jaitley, the former Chief Secretary of J&K. We pray for the departed soul and also pray that God bestow his family with the strength to bear this loss," the Chief Secretary said in his condolence message.
Immediately after hearing the news about the demise of Jaitley, a condolence meeting under the chairmanship of Khandey was convened in the Civil Secretariat here, in which all Aministrative Secretaries participated. Remembering Jaitley, the Chief Secretary said he had a very long association and friendship with him and always held him in high esteem.
Expressing his sentiments, Principal Secretary, Planning and Development, B R Sharma described Jaitley as an iconic figure and a strong administrator. "Each one of us would look up to him; he was decisive, quick on uptake and helpful to junior officers. We always felt very comfortable with him," he said.
Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, BB Vyas described Jaitley as a great human being endowed with an overpowering personality and a person known for his intellect and friendly nature.
Principal Secretary, Forests, R K Gupta, Principal Secretary, Home, R K Goyal, Commissioner Secretary, R&B, RohitKansal, Commissioner Secretary, Higher Education, Sarita Chauhan, Commissioner Secretary, Agriculture, M ABukhari and others also recalled their association with the former Chief Secretary especially during their early days of service.
National Conference also condoled demise of Jaitley.
National Conference President Dr. Farooq Abdullah expressed grief and sorrow over the noted bureaucrat's death and prayed for peace to the departed soul. Abdullah said Jaitley's service to the state of J&K stood out and would be remembered for long.
National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah also said he was saddened by news of the demise of Jaitley and described him as a renowned, excellent public servant and a close confidant of NC president Dr Farooq. The NC working president prayed for peace to the departed soul and extended his solidarity with the Jaitley family.
Meanwhile, a condolence meeting, under the Chairmanship of Director General of Police (DGP), K Rajendra Kumar was held at Police Headquarters (PHQ) here this afternoon to mourn the demise of former Chief Secretary J&K. Rajendra said Jaitley was a visionary officer who led the state administration for years in various capacities with his innovative methods.