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HEC ‘old boy’ dies in Czech mishap
- Freak coke oven explosion at ArcelorMittal plant claimed engineer

Amitava Dasgupta, a brilliant mechanical engineer who was associated with Ranchi’s Heavy Engineering Corporation for 16 years, died of burns from an industrial accident in Ostrava, Czech Republic. He was 60 years old.

A BIT-Sindri alumnus, he had been working as an adviser to McNally Bharat Engineering Company and was at the ArcelorMittal plant in Ostrava when an explosion in a coke oven battery on November 7 charred him with 90 per cent burns.

Yet, before breathing his last on December 23, 2012, he fought a brave battle for six weeks in an Ostrava hospital. His wife Sarbani was by his side in his last moments.

Dasgupta was with Heavy Engineering Corporation between 1976 and 1992. Then, he left Ranchi.

Though Dasgupta has worked in a number of jobs afterwards in other cities — Birla Technical Services, Otto India and McNally Bharat Engineering — his colleagues in Ranchi still remember him as an ace tech designer and a leader in the workplace.

N.P. Singh, president of HEC Officers’ Association, said Dasgupta was “one of my favourites”.

“He was very energetic, displayed excellent leadership qualities and was very active in the officers’ association. His work ethic was excellent. I regret his tragic demise,” Singh said.

“I was shocked beyond words on hearing the news of Dasgupta’s demise. I got in touch with one of his BIT-Sindri friends, Bhaskar Dutta, from whom I got the phone number of Amitava’s younger brother Arunava. I rushed him a condolence message but I know words are futile,” Jai Prakash Dwivedi, HEC project division in-charge told The Telegraph.

Dwivedi added that Dasgupta was a “good friend, a good man and a good engineer”.

“We worked for 16 years together, learnt on the job and grew in our professions. We also went to Russia on an HEC-sponsored training programme for nine months. I’d say his greatest strength was his understanding of technical design. His fundamentals were very clear. Plus, he was a team player and sincere about his work,” he said.

What shocked Dwivedi most was the gruesome nature of the death.

“I can’t imagine Dasgupta met such a tragic end,” Dwivedi added.

When The Telegraph contacted Dasgupta’s brother Arunava over phone in Calcutta, he said he was still in a state of shock.

“In his last years, dada and his family were based in Calcutta. In Ostrava, he was kept on artificial respiration for nearly one-and-a-half months and had to undergo many surgeries. We should have perhaps shifted him to Germany for treatment. But fate had other designs,” the grief-stricken brother said.