Renowned trade union leader Dipankar Mukherjee (69), who passed away on Monday morning, was a brilliant parliamentarian with versatile capabilities.
Elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 1994 from West Bengal as a Communist Party of India (Marxist) member, Mr. Mukherjee played an important role in intervening in all crucial economic and industrial policy-related issues during his 12-year-long parliamentary stint till 2006.
Born in June 1943 in Kolkata, Mr. Mukherjee had a bright educational career. He graduated in electrical engineering from Banaras Hindu University and started his career in BHEL in Bhopal. He worked in a high position in Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation at the Ramagundam plant, in Andhra Pradesh. He quit as Additional Chief Engineer of Haldia Fertilisers and joined as a full-timer the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) in 1991. He was its national secretary until his demise. He also represented CITU in the Central Board of Trustees of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation.
Having extensive knowledge in industrial engineering and industrial economics across industries, particularly in power, fertilizers, and petroleum, he made useful contributions for the revival of industries and PSUs. He campaigned against the anti-PSU policies of successive governments.
Mr. Mukherjee's noted intervention was, of course, in the area of petrol-pricing. He was a major contributor to a Parliamentary Standing Committee Report on the Pricing of Petroleum Products in 2005, which brought the issue of high indirect taxes on petrol products to the fore, and criticised the concept of “under-recoveries,” which was based on “import-party pricing,”than actually incurred costs.
Mr. Mukherjee closely followed the issue of natural gas pricing and matters related to the KG-D6 gas block. Many of the anomalies, which were later nailed by the CAG report, were initially identified by him, a statement issued by the CITU said.
A prolific writer, Mr. Mukherjee wrote on trade union, economic and political issues. He used to contribute regularly to trade union and political journals. He wrote many pamphlets, notably on the nuclear deal between India and the U.S. and the Employees' Pension Scheme.
“I am grieved to hear the news of the demise of comrade Dipankar Mukherjee,” CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said in a condolence message.