Obituary: Surendra Abaji Pandhare (1940 – 2023)

By Anjan Kr Chatterjee

Former Addl. Director General Geological Survey of India


Shri Surendra Abaji Pandhare, Retired Director, Geological Survey of India (GSI), did his schooling from Chandrapur. He completed his post graduation in Applied Geology from the University Department of Geology, Nagpur University, in 1965, topping the merit list. He worked with the Directorate of Geology and Mining (DGM), Maharashtra, for two years thereafter, and joined GSI as Assistant Geologist in February 1968. Shri Pandhare was promoted as Geologist in 1972 and as Senior Geologist in 1981. Posted at Raipur and Bhopal, he was engaged in systematic mapping. Thereafter, he was engaged in magnesite exploration in Bastar dist, bauxite in Amarkantak and East Coast, base metals in Sidhi district and iron ore in Raoghat area, all in the then undivided M.P. state. During 1968, he compiled technical information on the till then, all the GSI Engineering Geology projects in Central India and prepared a reference map. Shri Pandhare was transferred to the then Planning and Coordination Division (now Policy Support System Division), Central Region, GSI, Nagpur, in 1982, where he continued to be posted till 1998. Here, he handled matters related to technical coordination of field items in the Central Region, material management (stores) and was also inquiry officer for many vigilance cases . He was elected as President of the GSI Scientific Officers Association (GSISOA) for the 1993- 95 term. His keen administrative acumen helped him navigate through as a popular leader, during the turbulent years of career progression of GSI geoscientists. He was liked by a vast majority in the geoscientific fraternity of the GSI.

Promoted as Director (Geology) in 1998, he continued to be associated with the Policy Support System (PSS) Division, Central Region, GSI, Nagpur, and also looked after the Curatorial Division. He was also tasked with the responsibility to supervise printing of District Resources Maps of Central Region for the Map and Cartography Division and to head the Material Management Division, Central Region, for one and a half year.

Shri Pandhare did his Bachelor of Law (LLB) in 1988, securing sixth position in merit in the Nagpur University. He was a very popular figure both during his service and post retirement and had a vast circle of relatives, friends and admirers. Also a very attentive and keen member of the GGS, he had driven his own car at age 83, to attend our AGM on 01.12.2023, just 21 days before he breathed his last. He had various ailments but was almost invincible, fighting it out to stay fit and healthy, with his regular, long morning and evening walks. Shri Pandhare passed away following a massive cardiac arrest on 22nd December 2023. His absence in the geoscientific community meets and get-togethers are badly missed. We pay our heartfelt condolences to his Mrs, three children and their families for this saddest loss.

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