Chennai: Tamilnadu Health Secretary Beela Rajesh has risen to the occasion in the State’s attempt to contain Coronavirus pandemic.
With the previous Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan having held the position for many years, he was hugely popular. He had a charm over the media and the public for being approachable and was a force to reckon with during the crisis times earlier. So, Beela had large shoes to fill in when she was appointed to the post.
But she has proved herself well, many feel. With an unprecedented crisis gripping the State in the name of coronavirus, Beela is putting up a brave fight. Besides effectively conveying messages to the public through the media, she helps the government take wise decisions, sources said. She reportedly works for 18 hours a day taking stock of Covid-19 spread and making efforts to combat it.
Not many know, her mother, Rani Venkatesan, a native of Nagercoil, was a senior Congress leader and a former MLA. Her father, S N Venkatesan is a retired DGP, he hails from Thoothukudi. Years ago, Beela’s family owned casuarina planations in Thoothukudi and Kottivakkam in Chennai. Even today, they have properties in Kottivakkam, it is said.
Beela Rajesh has two siblings, a sister, Beena and brother, Karthi who are settled in Singapore, it is learnt. She finished her MBBS from Madras Medical College.
Inspiration to scale higher in her career came after she met Rajesh Das, her husband, who is an IPS officer from Odhisha batch of 1982.They tied the knot in 1992 and Rajesh was posted in Tamilnadu.
Beela worked hard and cleared UPSC in 1997. She was initially posted in Bihar and was later given a temporary transfer to Tamilnadu. In 2003, she was again posted in Jharkhand. But she came back to her home State soon.
As a senior IAS officer, Beela took charge as Health Secretary of Tamilnadu after Radhakrishnan was transferred to the Transport Department as Principal Secretary. Radhakrishnan had held the post for seven years.
She has previously served as Sub-Collector of Chengapattu, Commissioner of Fisheries and Commissioner for Town and Country Planning, and also at CM Special Cell.
She was Commissioner for Indian Medicine and Homeopathy before being transferred as Health Secretary. Beela lives in Kottivakkam and her parents too live nearby.
It is said, everyday she makes it a point to have dinner with her family. Apart from delicacies from Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi, she likes to eat simple food such as Dosa, Idly and Chappathi.
A badminton enthusiast, she does not often get time to play the sport these days. Her day begins at 8 am, with calls to Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Chief Secretary Shanmugam discussing Covid-19 updates. She also ensures that the sanitation aspect in the city and other parts of the State is foolproof. Currently, she is also the point of contact to the State and the Central governments.