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Press Note April 10,1999


Veteran trade Union leader and the president of Chemical Mazdoor Union, Mr. Vasant Khanolkar (72) passed away in Mumbai in the early hours of April 8, due to heart attack. Hundreds of trade union activists, workers and people from all walks of life mourned his death.

A socialists activist in his youth, he was involved in the work of the Rashtra Seva Dal and allied socialist organisations. He led the Mumbai based Chemical Mazdoor Union and was one of the moving spirit behind the Hind Mazdoor Sabha, an umbrella organisation of number of trade unions in different sectors. The 1970s and 1980s saw emergence of some of the finest trade union leaders like Mr. Khanolkar. He was also involved and had initiated many social and educational activities in Chembur, where he lived for most of the part of his life. He was involved into the training of the trade union activists and was concerned about the impact of the new economic policy on the industrial labour-scenario.

He was an active supporter of various people's movements including Narmada Bachao Andolan and participated in number of programmes of the movement. He took initiative in facilitating dialogue between the trade unions and the people's movements for alternative development. His long experience in the trade unionism and his deep and pragmatic understanding of the issues and their complexities were useful for number of organisations and activists.

He is survived by wife Indutai Khanolkar, herself a social worker, daughter Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan and National Alliance of People's Movements and an architect son, Mahesh and daughter-in-law.

Narmada Bachao Andolan deeply mourns the death of such an experienced and active comrade-in-arms and an experienced advisor-supporter.

Sanjay Sangvai