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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Gujarat cadre IAS officer Guruprasad Mohapatra dies of Covid-related complications

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani took to Twitter to offer their condolences.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: June 20, 2021 1:57:58 am
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra. (Photo: ANI)

Gujarat cadre IAS officer and secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Guruprasad Mohapatra passed away due to Covid-19 related complications in New Delhi on Saturday. He was 59.

Mohapatra had played a key role in several projects including the Sabarmati Riverfront and had introduced “model roads” in Ahmedabad.

“Mohapatra was admitted to AIIMS on April 18 after he was infected with Covid. He was in the hospital for over one-and-a-half months and had recovered from Covid,” said a senior official in Delhi.

Prior to taking over as DPIIT secretary, Mohapatra served as chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI). A 1986-batch IAS officer of Gujarat batch, Mohapatra was one of the IAS officers who moved to Delhi after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister.

“Saddened by the demise of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, DPIIT Secretary. I had worked with him extensively in Gujarat and at the Centre. He had a great understanding of administrative issues and was known for his innovative zeal. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also took to twitter to express condolences and said the state has lost an able officer.

A native of Bhubaneswar in Odisha, Mohapatra had a masters in political science from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). His first major posting in Gujarat was as the Surat Municipal Commissioner between 1999 and 2002. He was instrumental in converting the diamond and textile hub of the state into a model for urban governance with focus on solid waste management, good infrastructure and financial management. He also held important positions including that of the managing director of Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd in Vadodara, Commissioner of Transport, Commissioner of Commercial Taxes Department and Municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad. Mohapatra was also among those in the race for the post chief secretary of his parent state.

He was a member of Gujarat Electricity Board between 2002 and 2004, and played a significant role in Gujarat government’s plan to reorganise and restructure the electricity board into different entities for greater efficiency.

As municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad, he headed the development of several urban projects including the Sabarmati Riverfront, BRTS and Kankaria lakefront.

Mohapatra had introduced Ahmedabad residents to the concept of ‘model roads’. The zero obstruction, encroachment-free wall to wall model roads with footpaths on both sides and a divider changed the city roads starting from Judges Bungalow road which was replicated to several other busiest stretches like Ashram Road after it received a huge appreciation from residents.

It was during his tenure that the Sabarmati Riverfront Development was completed and inaugurated while he also contributed majorly in the Kankaria lakefront development project.

Mohapatra was the founder officer for the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP) Hospital project which was completed and inaugurated during former commissioner Vijay Mehra’s tenure in 2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Also, the popular annual cultural events in the city- book fair and flower show-were also started during his tenure.

Remembered as a polite officer, his staff and colleagues also term him as a good administrator, a problem solver who knew how to get work done. Not to forget, along with his writing skills he also had a good sense of humour, says one of his deputy municipal commissioners.

His first assignment in Delhi was between 2014-16 as joint secretary, Department of Commerce and Industry.

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