Lt. Gen. J.F.R. Jacob: The man who did a lot for Chandigarh

Chandigarh, Jan 13 (IANS) Though he was always feted as the hero of the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war where he negotiated the surrender of nearly 93,000 Pakistani troops, Lt. Gen. J.F.R. Jacob had endeared himself to people in Chandigarh during his three-year stint as Punjab governor and union territory administrator.

Jacob, a bachelor, passed away in New Delhi on Wednesday after a brief illness at the age of 93.

Jacob, who had earlier served as governor of Goa for nearly two years, had joined as Punjab governor and union territory (of Chandigarh) administrator in November 1999. He relinquished charge here in May 2003.

During his stint of three years and five months as UT administrator, Jacob adopted a hands-on approach to governance. This was unprecedented as no other administrator before him had done so.

Jacob used to make surprise checks regularly at various places — from government offices to other facilities — to ensure that Chandigarh residents got better governance and facilities.

His ‘raids’ used to keep the bureaucrat-driven city on its toes.

It was during Jacob’s time that the multi-crore Information Technology (IT) Park was conceptualised and implemented.

Other major projects initiated during his tenure included Chandigarh’s new bus stand, the Botanical Garden, setting up a new engineering college, development of new parks and green belts and expansion of healthcare and education facilities.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday condoled the death of Jacob and described him as an “able administrator, an astute military officer and a dedicated soldier besides a fine human being”.

Badal recalled the “outstanding services” rendered by Jacob as the governor of Punjab and administrator of the union territory of Chandigarh.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said: “Gen. Jacob was not only a brilliant army officer who served his motherland in the 1971 war against Pakistan and was witness to the historic surrender by Pakistan Army but he also proved his administrative acumen while serving as lt. governor of Goa and then as governor of Punjab.”

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