Sir Biren Mookerjee


Birendra Nath Mookerjee (born on February 14,1899) with his early education at the Bishop's Collegiate School, Hasting's House, Calcutta, was admitted to the Bengal Engineering College, Sibpur and later on sent to Britain to study at Trinity college, Cambridge where he obtained B.A. and M.A. Degrees.

In 1924,Birendranath joined Martin & Co as an Assistant and became its partner ten years later. In 1931,he had already become a partner of Burn & Co - a British firm acquired by his father early in 1927.When the two companies were amalgamated in 1946 and came to be known as Martin Burn Ltd., he became its Managing Director in which capacity he further flourished the roaring business his father left behind.

If Sir Biren (knighted in 1942) is closely associated with the birth and progress of Martin Burn, his singular achievement in life is the founding of the first steel plant in Bengal - now beleaguered IISCO Indian Iron and Steel Co Ltd at Burnpur. With its genesis in the Steel Corporation of Bengal formed in 1937 under his Chairmanship, IISCO was the first steel plant in Bengal, which Sir Biren nurtured with all the attention he could afford to give as he had to look after Martin Burn and a host of other companies in a managerial capacity.

The founding father of IISCO, Sir Biren successfully conducted the negotiations for a Rs.15 crore loan with World Bank for by then a steel major -' the first such credit by the international organization for a private enterprise'. A creditable achievement indeed!

But he was helpless and quite sad when the Central Government in 1972 took over the management of IISCO of which he was the Chairman without adequate compensation.

The Sheriff of Calcutta in 1940-41, President of the Calcutta Board of the Imperial Bank of India (now State Bank), Sir Biren held a number of honourable positions in various capacities. He was a fellow of the Engineering faculty of Calcutta University, a Chairman of the governing body of the BE College, Sibpur and the Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

"The doyen of industrialization in Bengal" as Lord Sinha, his close friend, remarked in his condolence message, Sir Biren laid down his eventful and glorious life at the age of 83 on November 04,1982.

Roll of Honours