Maha’s 1st woman SEC Neela Satyanarayana succumbs to Covid (Ld)

Multi-faceted personality and retired IAS officer Neela Satayanarayana – who created history as the first woman State Election Commissioner (SEC) – succumbed to Covid-19 at a hospital, official sources said here on Thursday.

An IAS officer of the 1972 batch, Satyanarayana, 71, held many important posts in the state government and finally crowned her 42-years of bureaucratic service with the post SEC.

Popular as “a people-friendly IAS officer”, she was reputed for her fearless approach, never bending before the political class vis-A-vis public interest during the course of duties across several departments in the state government.

Besides, Neela Satyanarayana made mark as a prolific writer, poet, lyricist, singer, composer and music director who had composed songs for scores of Marathi films and a couple of Bollywood movies.

She had been admitted to a suburban government hospital a few days ago for Corona treatment and breathed her last early today, shocking state political circles.

Condoling her death, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the state will always remember her as “an experienced and sensitive person who excelled in the field of arts and literature, inspired youth towards civil services” and making the SEC closer to the masses.

Expressing shock, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that her contributions to governance and literature will always be an inspiration for all.

Grieving over Neela Satyanarayana’s demise, state Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that she was “a tough administrator and also a sensitive author” and her untimely death was saddening.

Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar expressed grief and said “She was the first woman SEC.. We have lost a humane and empathic ex-officer”.

Over her 42 years services, Neela Satyanarayana handled key responsibilities in textile, finance, revenue, culture, information & public relations among others and post-retirement, the then Congress-NCP government made her the first woman to head the coveted Constitutional post of SEC, till July 2014.

After demitting the office of SEC, she remained busy with social-cultural-academic activities, training women and youth through programmes like ‘Kranti-Jyoti’ and ‘Aarohi’, etc.