People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 25

June 24, 2012

CITU Condoles Comrade Dipankar Mukherjee’s Demise  


COMRADE Dipankar Mukherjee, national secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), expired on June 18, 2012 at Gangaram Hospital, New Delhi at the age of 70 years, after about a fortnight’s confinement there. On May 30, 2012, he was admitted to the hospital with serious illness, and on June 1 he had to undergo a major nine hours long surgery in pancreatic zone, for removal of a lump, which lasted for about nine hours. After surgery, he was slowly recovering in the initial phase, but from June 14 onward, the situation took a complicated turn and he finally breathed his last on June 18 morning.


Dipankar Mukherjee was born in June 1943 in Calcutta. His father was a railway worker. He had a brilliant educational career throughout his student life. He graduated in electrical engineering from Banaras Hindu University and started his working life in the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) in Bhopal. He also worked in a high position in Hindustan Fertiliser Corporation, Ramagundam plant in Andhra Pradesh. He was closely associated with the Peoples’ Science movement.  He left the coveted job of additional chief engineer of Haldia Fertilisers, joined as a wholetimer of the CITU in 1991 and took an active part in the trade union movement since then. Having deep knowledge of industrial engineering and industrial economics across the industries, particularly in power, fertilisers and petroleum, he made useful contributions in the struggle for revival of sick industries, and of sick public sector undertakings (PSUs) in particular, and also against the anti-PSU policies of the successive governments. As a trade union leader, he was acclaimed for his deep knowledge and his consistent class outlook. He was elected national secretary of the CITU in 2003 and represented the CITU on various forums. He was the CITU’s representative in the Central Board of Trustees (CBT) of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) till his demise.


Comrade Dipankar was a brilliant parliamentarian with versatile capabilities. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 1994 from West Bengal, as a CPI(M) member, and played an important role in intervening effectively on all crucial economic and industrial policy related issues during his 12 years long parliamentary stint till 2006. He made a notable contribution in developing an alternative workable vision on pricing of petroleum products in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum & Natural Gas during his tenure in that committee — totally opposite to the present policy of deregulation. His interventions in parliamentary debates in exposing the faulty and anti-people policy of the successive governments on fertiliser, power, petroleum, etc, his brilliant speeches in exposing the privatisation of blue chip PSUs like BALCO, IPCL etc, his exposure of the shady deal of sell-out of Centaur Hotel,   the conspiracy behind dubious gameplan of disinvestment of the shares of PSUs to set in the process of “creeping privatization,” the shady deals to hand over the control and business of Delhi and Mumbai airports to private players, are some of the instances which will be remembered for ever. He had also been very vociferous in raising the issues on rights and livelihood of the working class and peasantry on the floor of parliament in a regular manner.  He also made his mark as chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport & Tourism, as chairman of the Committee of Petitions and as chairman of the Committee on Subordinate Legislations in different spells of his parliamentary tenure.


He was a prolific writer on trade union, economic and political issues, and used to contribute regularly to the trade union and political journals. He wrote many pamphlets which were published by the CITU. Notables were his pamphlet exposing the Indo-US Nuclear Deal and his booklet on Employees Pension Scheme.  He discharged the responsibility as working editor of The Working Class and CITU Mazdoor, monthly journals of the CITU in English and Hindi, till the last day of his life. 


In Dipankar Mukherjee’s death, the CITU has lost one of its frontline leaders, the trade union movement has lost a leading figure working for unity of the working class in the frontline of struggle, and the country has lost a committed soldier for the cause of the working people. While expressing grief for the departed comrade, the CITU conveys condolence to his colleagues, friends and family members and dips its flag in respect to his memory.


The All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation, BSNL Employees Union, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU), the All India Democratic Women’s Association, the Students Federation of India (SFI), the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and several other organisations have also condoled the demise of Comrade Dipankar Mukherjee.