Monumental loss

Leaving behind an indelible image of an able and efficient administrator, a noted town planner, possessing good management skills, never compromising with principles of honesty and probity, prompt in taking critical decisions and living a simple personal life, former Indian civil servant and politician, twice Governor of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir, Jagmohan Malhotra left for his heavenly abode. Known for being a tough and unyielding man in his way of functioning, as he believed and practiced transparency and honesty, he had earned lot many admirers as also avowed critics. He took various daring steps in respect of beautification of Delhi city as Vice Chairperson in Delhi Development Authority. He, besides, an able administrator, was a man of letters and had more interest in the subject of History as he penned a few books too. A person of mixed qualities, as he was, a few of his policies and ways of functioning were not wholly liked by some people but that did not deter him from his style of working for which he was removed within less than a year in 1990 on his second stint when militancy in the then state of J&K had erupted on a massive scale and when he infused a new life in the administration which otherwise had a difficult time and lack of strong will in administering things properly. His early removal was on account of the differences having erupted between him and the then Prime Minister V.P. Singh. Well, that is always with those who in the interests of the general public and the country, usually take firm decisions and frame policies but one thing is without any qualms – that the general public usually like such administrators who deliver. Jagmohan had to his credit varied exposure and experiences as a result of not only as a civil servant but even after he entered politics. He remained in the Rajya Sabha as a nominated MP in early 90s but later, he won three Lok Sabha elections from New Delhi which showed, despite his uncompromising principles, he commanded respect and confidence of the people. For his achievements in various positions, he had received many awards as well, like Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan etc. He, however, was severely criticised for various ”demolition drives” which in fact, were clearance, resettlement and redevelopment drives. Having remained as a Union Cabinet Minister in the Government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir (the then state) where he had two stints to serve as the Governor from 1984-89 and for a few months in 1990, he has to his credit taking up a lot of public welfare schemes, beautifying of the twin capital cities and roads, improving the then existing infrastructure, public utility facilities and the like. The initiatives taken by him in respect of the famous and one of the most revered shrines Mata Shree Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra Jammu, resulted in constituting of a Shrine Board to ensure better administration of the shrine and he supervised over the improvement in its infrastructure which led to building of better roads and facilities for the visiting devotees en-route