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|December 23, 1998||
Freedom fighter Ratnappa Kumbhar dead
Ratnappa Bharmappa Kumbhar, the veteran freedom-fighter and a member of the committee that framed the Indian Constitution, died of a heart attack early this morning. He was 89.
Kumbhar was instrumental in bringing about the industrial and agricultural prosperity of Shirol and Hatkanangale tehsil of Kolhapur district and was a recipient of the Padmashri. Kumbhar was a former minister in the Maharashtra cabinet and a sitting Congress MLA.
Kumbhar was also the founder-chairman of Panchaganga co-operative sugar factory located near the powerloom town of Ichalkaranji.
Kumbhar was brought to Kolhapur from the factory rest house at around 2.30 am after he complained of uneasiness. However, he died before any medical aid could arrive, according to a factory spokesperson.
Born on September 15, 1909 in the potter community at Nimshirgaon village in Shirol tehsil, Kumbhar completed his graduation in 1933 at Rajaram college in Nagpur.
During his youth, Kumbhar was keenly interested in political and social work and mobilised support under the Prajaparishad banner against the local princely state rulers. He actively participated in the freedom movement and went underground for about six years. He was on the forefront of an agitation for dissolution of princely states.
Kumbhar is survived by three daughters.
After independence, Kumbhar became a member of the committee that framed the Indian Constitution and was later elected an MP in 1952. Kumbhar was later drawn into the welfare of farmers and with the purpose he instituted the Panchaganga co-operative sugar factory in 1955 in Hatkanangale tehsil. For the prosperity of Hatakanangale and Shirol tehsil farmers Kumbhar brought some 56,000 acres of land under 59 lift irrigation schemes.
Kumbhar, later, undertook various schemes and also ran them successfully, including the Kolhapur Zilla Sahakari Shetakari Vinkari Soot Girani, the Peoples Co-operative Bank, the Janata Central co-operative consumer stores and educational institution.
Between 1962 and 1982 and from 1990 to his death Kumbhar represented the Shirol assembly constituency as an MLA. Between 1974 and 1978 he was minister of state for home and civil supplies minister in the Vasantrao Naik and Vasantdada Patil ministries.
Both houses of the Maharashtra legislature were adjourned for the day today as a mark of respect of veteran freedom fighter.
Chief Minister Manohar Joshi, Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde, opposition leaders and presiding officers in the two houses paid rich tributes to Kumbhar for his contributions.
Joshi and leader of the opposition Pichad left for Kolhapur to attend the funeral and to pay their last respects. Joshi told the house that Kumbhar or Anna as he was popularly known would be given a funeral with state honours.
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