Why Nagaland mourns death of Padma Shri IAS officer AM Gokhale due to Covid

A.M. Gokhale, 1968-batch IAS officer | Twitter | @srikantkesnur
A.M. Gokhale, 1968-batch IAS officer | Twitter | @srikantkesnur

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New Delhi: People across Nagaland mourned the recent death of A.M. Gokhale, a 1968-batch IAS officer, who had pioneered the concept of Village Development Boards (VDB) in the state. 

Gokhale succumbed to Covid-19 on 18 April in Pune. 

The VDBs, which he gave birth to, are statutory bodies functioning under the primary village authority known as Village Councils. VDBs are managed by residents of a village and have become a key vehicle in the delivery of government schemes for rural development. The first VDB was set up in 1976 in Ketsapomi village in Phek district.  

Pankaj Kumar, former chief secretary of Nagaland, told The Better India, “The institution of VDB is remembered as the lasting legacy of Shri A.M. Gokhale.”

“Gokhale understood Nagaland much better than other IAS officers from outside the state,” R. Kevichusa, retired IAS officer and Gokhale’s former colleague, has been quoted as saying.

Gokhale, who had also served in the Indian Navy as a short-service commissioned officer before joining the IAS, was awarded the Padma Shri in 1990 for his work on VDBs. 

Also read: For over 10 years, this Sikkim man has kept a lake litter-free at 12,406 ft

One of world’s ‘rarest’ birds spotted at Arunachal 

A white-bellied heron, considered ‘critically endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data Book and listed as Schedule IV in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, was recently spotted at Walong, in Arunachal Pradesh’s Anjaw district.

The bird was photographed by Anjaw Divisional Forest Officer Santosh Kumar Reddy, range forest officer Nosing Pul and scientist Dekbin Yonggam. It was spotted at a height of 1,200 meters above sea level.

According to forest officials, it was the first instance of the bird being spotted at a higher elevation area in India.

They also said the presence of nesting sites within this area was a “positive sign” as the breeding season of the white-bellied heron starts from February and lasts till June.

The white-bellied heron is considered one of the rarest birds in the world and found only in Bhutan, Myanmar and the Namdapha Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh.

Manipur aims at saving endangered flower

In an attempt to save the endangered and indigenous ‘Kombirei’ (Blue Iris Laevigata Fisch) blossom of Manipur, the state authorities recently transplanted the flower at its habitat in Yaralpat region.

The purple-coloured flower holds immense significance for the state’s Meitei community and is offered to ancient deities on the day of the Cheiraoba or the Meitei New Year.

Transplantation efforts for the flower, which blooms only once a year, were taken by the Directorate of the Environment of Climate Change and the Manipur Initiative for Conservation of Nature, with technical support from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, North East Institute of Science and Technology (CSIR-NEIST).

H. Birkumar Singh, principal scientist, CSIR-NEIST, has been quoted as saying that the ecosystem of Kombirei flower was completely destroyed, calling for the transplantation efforts to rejuvenate this rare species. Singh also said the species only thrives in marshy land or peat areas.

Assamese film on masks gets official entry in Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival

A 10-minute-long Assamese film on the use of masks during the pandemic was selected for official screening at the 11th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2021 in Mumbai Friday. 

Called ‘Mask’, the short film is directed by Bhawani Doley Tahu from Assam’s North Lakhimpur town.

Tahu has been quoted as saying that this was her maiden venture into filmmaking and she had hired only two professionals. Rest of the cast and crew were newcomers. 

“… I saw many underprivileged people in our society using the used and thrown-away face masks… The message of my film… is that don’t apply the used face masks,” Tahu said. 

The film also sends out a message on the proper disposal of used face masks amid a raging pandemic.

(Edited by Debalina Dey)

Also read: Manipur flags wrong location of Keibul Lamjao park on KitKat wrapper, Nestle apologises


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