Amit Chatterjee, a much loved and respected Tata hand, died on Wednesday morning at Tata Main Hospital where he had been admitted for more than a week with severe pneumonia.
Survived by wife Jeanette and daughter Mia, Chatterjee (70) was cremated at Parvati Ghat in Bistupur in the afternoon in the presence of friends and relatives, some of whom had come down from Malaysia and Canada.
Chatterjee, retired from Tata Steel in 2011 as advisor to the MD (then H.M. Nerurkar) after an association of more than four decades.
He was among the few from the country to receive the Doctor of Science (engineering) degree from London University (1988) for outstanding work on coal-based direct reduction and oxygen steel making during his tenure in the R&D division of Tata Steel.
An international authority on metallurgy and founder managing director of Tata Sponge Iron (in Odisha), Chatterjee was awarded a fellowship from the prestigious Imperial College in 2005.
Anand Sen, president TQM (total quality management) and steel business, Tata Steel, acknowledged Chatterjee’s contribution to the company.
“He was one of Jamshedpur’s noteworthy citizens and famous in his own right. Nobody can forget his contribution in the field of metallurgy and Tata Steel. We pray that his soul rests in peace,” he told The Telegraph.
Born and brought up in Jamshedpur — he graduated from Loyola School in 1960 — Chatterjee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1980. Thereafter, his mobility was restricted and he became confined to a wheelchair.
But Chatterjee, his friends and admirers recalled, was not one to be deterred by physical challenges.
“He was not a man to be defeated by his disability and he faced life with immense courage and perseverance. He was very sharp, intelligent and passionate about his connection with Loyola,” said Ronnie D’Costa, patron of the school’s alumni association.
As news spread, tributes poured in from metallurgists who have had the opportunity to be associated with him.
“Chatterjee had a very good command on the subject and could easily find solutions to any problem in metallurgy. He was outspoken with a research bent of mind,” said N.G. Goswami, chief scientist at National Metallurgical Laboratory, who knew him for more than two decades.