Adieu to a top bureaucrat

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K.P. Sasi Nair (newsmediaeye@gmail.com)

www.mediaeyenews.com

K Nalinakshan was a rare breed among bureaucrats who championed a hands-on approach in any job he was entrusted with. He would eagerly roll up his sleeves and wade into a crisis with abandon. Little surprise his affable character and boundless energy rubbed off on his team and enabled him to accomplish many success stories.

The aloof laid-back style preferred by many civil servants was not his cup of tea.

When the Shipping Corporation of India tanker Lala Lajpat Rai caught fire in the 1980s while anchored at the oil jetty of Mumbai port, he was the General Manager of Bombay Port Trust. He swung into action on a war footing to organise rescue and other operations, working through the day and late nights untiringly. The fire was eventually put out after foreign experts were called in, but it was the Nalinakshan-led team’s proactive action to tug the burning tanker away into a deeper sea that prevented a major disaster to the harbour.

Nalinakshan, aged 79, passed away in Mumbai on Friday, leaving behind a legion of admirers in the corridors of power and beyond. As Urban Development Secretary from 1995-1999, the 1967-batch IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre was the architect of several innovative policies in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) such as development control rules. He later became the BMC Commissioner.

In a colourful career spanning more than 35 years, he was the chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Nhava Seva and adorned several top-level positions including Additional Chief Secretary of Transport and Excise in Maharashtra.

“His smiling face, pleasant disposition, proactive approach to problem-solving were all praiseworthy qualities,” P.S. Nair, CEO and Executive Director of GMR Airports in New Delhi, told Mediaeye. “We shall greatly miss him.”

Nair, who was earlier a top official at the Airports Authority of India, recalled Nalinakshan’s efforts as the Chief Executive of City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) to speed up the ground for the international airport that is now coming up in New Mumbai. Known for his “ever readiness to help the needy at all times”, Nalinakshan was always anguished about wasted opportunities caused by the prolonged decision-making process.

“I vividly recollect the passionate discussions we used to have on the undue delay of the second airport when I was posted as the Mumbai Airport Director in the late 1990s,” he said.

Speaking to Mediaeye, Dhanalaxmi Bank Director P.K. Vijayakumar said Nalinakshan was a “deeply spiritual and blessed person with a heart of gold”. Vijayakumar, who had retired as the Director-General of Income Tax, based in Kerala, had a long association with Nalinakshan.

Vivek Nair, Co-Chief Executive Officer of HLV Ltd that owns the Hotel Leela in Mumbai, knew the veteran bureaucrat well. “He had an uncanny knack to untangle knotty issues. His quick decision-making and foresight played a big role in the developments you see in this big city and beyond.”

A native of Kozhikode, Kerala, Nalinakshan was a brilliant student through school and college, in both studies and extracurricular activities such as public speaking, debates and dramas, retired Kerala High Court Justice N. Hema recalled about her favourite cousin. A product of Malabar Christian College, he was also a keen football player.

He worked as a lecturer at Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College, affiliated with the University of Calicut, where GMR’s Nair was one of his students.

When he first cracked the civil services exam, he was picked in the Indian Police Service and did a stint as Assistant Superintendent of Police in Kerala. He got into the IAS later.

Popular with his colleagues, Nalinakshan headed the IAS Association for many years. After his retirement in 2002, the veteran bureaucrat settled down in Churchgate near Mumbai’s picturesque Marine Drive. Always jovial he was often seen hitting the gym. A deeply spiritual man, he leaves behind his wife, three sons, their spouses and grandchildren.

“He was a role model for us,” Anil Sukumaran, a businessman from Kozhikode and close acquaintance, told Mediaeye. “The light has gone out.”

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There are 155 comments

  1. Manoj, Manjith, sumeet |

    A great loss for our family. For us he is not a cousin brother but a father figure. He is our father’s dister’s son and born and brought up in our house where we are staying now in panicker road, calicut.
    We are in a position in our life purely because if him. We called him “etta” and he used to advise, interfere on alll of our family matters like an elder brother even he communucated with us one vefore his tragical /accidental death.

    Reply
  2. Sumeet madhavan |

    We deeply miss our brother, father figure… Dont expect a gem like him to be witnessed ever in my life time… With a heavy heart.. My dearest brother/father Rest in Peace..I will remember you forever and my prayers and love for you will never fade away in life time????????????????

    Reply
  3. Manoj, Manjith, sumeet |

    A great liss for our whole family.
    We used to call him “etta” and he is our father’s sister’s son and born and brought up with us in our house where we are staying now at panicker road, kozhikide.
    He used call us regularly for giving advises in different personal/ family matters even he had called us one day before his tragical/accidental death.

    Reply
  4. Indeed a big unrecoverable void is been created with this sad demise. A heartfelt salutation to this hero who will remain in memories of uncountable beneficiaries.

    Reply
  5. Have heard and learnt a lot about him through my intimate friend who was his cousin brother. Also met him twice or thrice at my friends home. Was an admiring person especially on his career graph during our college days. May the departed soul RIP

    Reply
  6. Sri Nalinakshan was known for his abilities to take pragmatic decisions especially in matters relating to the deprived sections of the society.He was a bureaucrat who believed that Govt Work is Gods Work and he believed Work is Worship!He has contributed immensely to the society during his service and post retirement also.May his Aatma attain Moksha!?? ?????? :

    Reply
  7. A man popular for his honest endeavours in the beaurocratic and political circles in Maharashtra.

    A man adored by ex Maharashtra Chief ministers Vasanthdada patil, sharath pawar and Manohar joshi.

    He is the only collector who was recommended by the then prime minister Mrs. Indira gandhi to be re-posted to Nanded Dist in Maharashtra to handle a socio-pilitical riot in the year 1976.

    The man who transformed the JNPT into an international level Seaport during his tenure as Chairman of the Port.
    The first South Indian BMC Commissioner of Mumbai.
    A keralite studied in malayalam medium controlled Maharashtra especially Mumbai for a long 3decades.
    Manoj
    9739127154

    Reply
  8. Sindhu Rajan Panicker |

    K Nalinakshan was a rare breed among bureaucrats who championed a hands-on approach in any job he was entrusted with. He would eagerly roll up his sleeves and wade into a crisis with abandon. Little surprise his affable character and boundless energy rubbed off on his team and enabled him to accomplish many success stories.

    A true quote

    Reply
  9. The tribute very articulately paints a life like picture of a well loved and respected bureaucrat known for his dedication and commitment to building institutions.It conveys his infectious energy and enthusiasm even to people who did not have the good fortune to meet the stalwart.

    Reply
  10. The article is quite emphatic, it clearly describes the proficiency . For those who knew him well it would have been poiginant moments. He is surely an inspiration
    to future generations.

    Reply
  11. Indeed saddened to hear the tragic death of Shri Nalinakshan, a well known and diligent bureaucrat. Though personally did not know him, I had heard of his earnest Services to Mumbai. May the departed Soul attain Satgati. Heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. May the Almighty grant them sufficient strength to bear this great loss.

    Reply
  12. Dr S S Mantha, Former Chairman AICTE and Chancellor, K |

    Nalinakshan had a great sense of administrative acumen and a conviction to carry through his ideas to fruition.

    He was a former chief of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and was widely respected in the corridors of power and the government.

    My interaction with him in the 90’s was always cordial and intellectual.

    What was endearing was his ability to take quick decisions.

    He had held several important positions in the state and the central government.

    I particularly remember his tenure as urban development secretary in the late 90’s when he brought about several path breaking ideas.

    The country has indeed lost an able administrator and a good human being in his death.

    Reply
  13. Dr S S Mantha, Former Chairman AICTE and Chancellor, K |

    Nalinakshan had a great sense of administrative acumen and a conviction to carry through his ideas to fruition.

    He was a former chief of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and was widely respected in the corridors of power and the government.

    My interaction with him in the 90’s was always cordial and intellectual.

    What was endearing was his ability to take quick decisions.

    He had held several important positions in the state and the central government.

    I particularly remember his tenure as urban development secretary in the late 90’s when he brought about several path breaking ideas.

    The country has indeed lost an able administrator and a good human being in his death.

    Reply
  14. Ravindranathan Poliyedath |

    New information and knowledge about this quiet and calm, but strong performer. Always appreciate people who reach at the top with hardwork and honest performance of duties. Feeling proud to be one for self and my state KERALA where such adorable personalities originates.

    Reply
  15. Dr.Mathew Kandathil |

    Mr.Nalinakshan can be dubbed ” Mr.Fix-It “.
    A decisive bureaucrat, an oxymoron indeed.
    We need many more dedicated civil servants like him.
    May his soul RIP.

    Reply
  16. Krishnakumar CP |

    A man of conviction, integrity and commitment. Sad that while performing Pooja , this happened. Humble tribute.

    Reply
  17. Though I never had the privilege of seeing him personally , of course I heard of him about his bold and timely fearless action always turns, culminating into perfection adoring him as a KARMA YOGI in Spiritual parlance. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

    Reply
  18. He was a rare bureaucrat and had good administrative skills. He was instrumental in bringing new policies to BMC, especially development regulation laws. May the departed soul rest in peace.

    Reply
  19. Anuradha nashikkar |

    I met personally met him with respect Railway station Road issue. He promptly called upon a person in charge, resolved the matter with courtesy. An action-packed person R.I.P

    Reply
  20. Shekhar Nashikkar |

    He contributed a lot for the city, so we owe incredible tasks performed by him. God may offer salvation for his last.

    Reply
  21. Dr. V. Irene Hunt |

    I am deeply shocked and saddened on hearing Nalinakshans demise. We were family friends(our mothers were childhood playmates and my father his head master) Myself and Nalinakshan were class mates in college. We continued our friend shipeven till this point He was a brilliant student with pictographic
    memory power. He used to win trophies in Inter collegiate debates and oratory contests. He was popular among teachers. His smiling face and readiness to help the needy made him shining star of the college. Thus he became a role model among students. Inspire of achieving top level positions in his career he remained humble and simple just like his old days. He was God fearing at the same time never compromised for quality and honesty. . May his soul rest in peace. I also pray for his family that God

    Reply
  22. Indeed a good article to understand more about Nalinakshan Sir. Those who know him personally or professionally would always remember him for his spontaneity, meditative clarity on his approach and his capabilities to take right discussions.
    Wishing him a place at Almighty’s scheme of things…!

    Reply
  23. Biju Kumar M Kokkattu |

    Heartfelt condolences….May his departed soul rest in peace. We lost a great human being and he was an inspiration to others…His contribution for Maharashtra state as well as Mumbai Municipal Corporation always remember. Pranamam

    Reply
  24. An outstanding bureaucrat, his work ethics and dedication to public service will remain worthy of emulation. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

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    Reply
  25. An outstanding bureaucrat, his work ethics and dedication to public service will remain worthy of emulation. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

    Reply
  26. SASIDHARAN Paramal |

    Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job Dear Sasi Nair,Keep it up. Expecting more articles….. Sasi????

    Reply
  27. Sai Ganesh Panchal |

    It is very heart touching that K.Nalinakshan one of the rare breed among the Bureaucrats is no more. He was an inspiration to many youngsters and due to his demise his inspirants are deeply touched, but surely his ideology preachings and thought will be immortal and always be alive in the minds of the people.

    Reply
  28. He had a very distinguished career and contributed immensely to each role he was assigned !
    He was a role model IAS officer !
    May his soul rest in peace.

    Reply
  29. Chandrashekhar Krishnamurthy |

    I had an opportunity to meet him when he was Muncipal Commissioner. He was always positive and energetic.its very rare to find such Officers now.very sad to know his passing away.God rest his soul in peace.????

    Reply
  30. Chandrashekhar Krishnamurthy |

    Sorry..I forgot to mention.whenever i met him he always used to call me Chandra.it was very sweet of him.

    Reply
  31. This article about Nalinakshan is very Informative and will be inspiration to new generation May his soul rest in peace

    Reply
  32. When he was BMC Commissioner, Nalinakshan became a friend of the media, he took our questions with a smile and never minded the sting. It was a joy to interview him. Years after he left the bureaucracy, to my surprise Ifound him working out beside me in a gym. He grinned and said, “Now I am enjoying life.” RiP.

    Reply
  33. Also, K. P. Sasi Nair’s obituary on Nalinakshan is so beautifully fleshed out, the old bureaucrat would have been amused, delighted and grinned in pride.

    Reply
  34. Deeply Shocked and saddened by his untimely demise. He was a bureaucrat totally dedicated to his work and had a vision to provide good infrastructure and clean Mumbai for the people of this city. He had a dream to showcase Mumbai City as one of the Best city in the world at par with London and New York and was striving hard as Mumbai Municipal Commissioner. Mr. Nalinakshan as a Bureaucrat will be missed by the people of Mumbai City infact he has set examples for the present Bureaucrats of the country. May his soul rest in peace.

    Reply
  35. New information and knowledge about this quiet and calm, but strong performer. Always appreciate people who reach at the top with hard work and honest performance of duties. Feeling proud to be one for self and my state Kerala where such adorable personalities originate I never had the privilege of seeing him personally , of course I heard of him about his bold and timely fearless action always turns, culminating into perfection adoring him as a KARMA YOGI in Spiritual parlance. May his soul rest in eternal peace

    Reply
  36. An Outstanding bureaucrat and he had a distinguished career. His dedication to public service and contributions to society is an inspiration and role model for all officers. May his soul rest in peace.

    Reply

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