Ahmednagar: Veteran social worker Sintha Kashinath Halbe, a close aide of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, passed away here last night due to old-age related ailments, family sources said today.

He was 89 and is survived by two daughters and a son.

Halbe founded several organisations to promote social and educational causes and was also associated with other charity groups.

Hazare expressed grief over the death of Halbe, whom he described as his close friend.

“Dr Halbe was my close friend. He was a strong supporter of movement against corruption and involved all my agitations. He was also devoted to rural development.”

Halbe initiated a number of watershed development projects in 1976-77 in this district in Western Maharashtra.

The nation has lost a visionary-philanthropist, Hazare said in his condolence message to Halbe’s son Vijay.

Halbe established a rural college for training of social workers at Ahmednagar 50 years ago. The college was modelled on Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

He also set up Snehalaya, an NGO that works for rehabilitation of commercial sex workers and their children.

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