- Bidhannagar, Kolkata
Infobox Indian Jurisdiction
native_name = Bidhannagar | other_name = Salt Lake City
type = city | latd = 22.58 | longd = 88.42
locator_position = right | state_name = West Bengal
district = North 24 Parganas
altitude = 11
population_as_of = 2001
population_total = 167848| population_density =
Bidhan Nagar (Bengali বিধাননগর), or Salt Lake City as it is popularly called, is a planned satellite township developed between 1958 and 1965 to accommodate the burgeoning population of
Kolkata, the capitalof the Indian state of West Bengal. Dr.Bidhan Chandra Roy, the then Chief Ministerof West Bengal, was instrumental in formulating the plan to build a satellite residential area on this once swampy stretch of land on the eastern fringe of the city. It is now a hub of economic and social expansion and is famous as the centre for IT in the city. The township is called Bidhannagar in Bengali in the honour of Dr. B. C. Roy, and also shares its name with its namesake city in the United Stateson account of the story of its origin.
As of 2001 India
census, [GR|India] Bidhannagar had a population of 167,848. Males constitute 51% of the population and females 49%. Bidhan Nagar has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 81% and female literacy of 74%. 9% of the population is under 6 years of age. Bidhannagar was initially planned to accommodate a population of 450,000.
Bidhannagar is located at coord|22.58|N|88.42|E| [ [http://www.fallingrain.com/world/IN/28/Salt_Lake_City.html Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Bidhannagar] ] . It has an average elevation of 11
metres (49 feet).
historyof Bidhannagar reveals that on 17 June, 1756, Siraj ud-Daulah, the Nawab(the ruler) of Bengalcamped at this place to chalk out the strategy for attacking the British East India Companyat Fort William. The said attack led to the much discussed incident of the deaths in Black Hole Prison on 20 Juneof the same year. After the death of Siraj ud-Daulah in 1757 in the Battle of Plasseythe right and title of these swampy salt water lakes remained with Mir Jafarand his descendants, though the British came out victorious in the said battle. Gradually, the right of the lakes went to the hands of local landlords and there happened a spurt in the pisciculturein the area. In 1865, the British officially started reclaiming these salt water bodies by connecting it with Mahratta Ditch(canal). In 1878, the Government leased out the right of the place to Nandalal Das and Durgacharan Kundu. Their leasehold right ended in 1887. On 30 April, 1890, the Government again advertised in the newspaper and gave the leasehold right to the highest bidder, Bhabanath Sen, who offered INR 3400. The said right ended in 1899. In 1906, the Government again leased out the lakes for 10 years to the highest bidder against INR 9750.
In 1922, Mr. O. C. Leas, CIE, was appointed by the Government as the Special officer to chalk out a scheme for proper revamp of the silted salt water lakes. He recommended that a canal of convert|9|mi|km|sing=on length should be dug from
Dhapavia salt water lakes up to Piyali river in the south. However, after that nothing palpable was done by the Government for the proper reclamation of these salt water lakes until the British left India. In 1947, one "Master Plan Technical Committee" was constituted. But it did not work. On 18 September, 1953, the Dutch engineering firm NEDECOstarted surveying the salt water lakes on the invitation of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal. On 15 February, 1955, a Government Gazettee notification was published regarding the acquisition of 173.70 acres of land for the expansion of reclamation of the north of Salt Lake area. It is named after Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, renowned doctor and former chief minister of West Bengal.
16 May, 1955, Calcutta Gazettee Government notification was published, which stated that the Governor of West Bengalhas been pleased to acquire convert|8760.50|acre|km2 of "Bherie"s (pisciculture area) under the Sec1.(4) of Land Acquisition Act, 1884. The basic area included the mauzas, that is, Hadia, Nayabad, Karimpur, Jagatipota, Mukundapur, Pargachhia, Tentulbari, Panchpota and a few minor others. In 1958, the Chief Minister Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy put his steps in the area for the first time. The global tender, for the reclamation of salt water lakes was floated in 1959, which was won by M/s. "Invest Import" Company of erstwhile Yugoslavia. These marshy, shallow salt water lakes were chosen as the site for developing the auxiliary township of Kolkata. Salt Lake City, later renamed as Bidhannagar (Bengali: "Nagar=City") as a mark of recognition to one of its founders, Dr. Roy.
In fact, the area was a conglomerate of several salt lakes, a low-lying saucer shaped area, which was lower than the adjoining drainage channels. The only available method of development was to fill these salt lakes to a higher level which would permit gravity drainage through the nearby channels. The Hooghly river, lying in the western fringe of
Kolkata, needed dredgingto maintain the minimum draught for ships. By May 19 1956, the Government had taken over the lands and then gradually Salt Lake started taking shape. The erstwhile Yugoslav firm "Invest Import" (selected by a global tender) was entrusted with the reclamationwork of the swampy land area. Pipes were laid down from Chitpur lockgate in the north of Kolkata to Salt Lake for bringing silt from the bed of Hooghly river to Salt Lake via a number of pumping stations. It took nearly 7 years to fill up the 12.35 km² of land with dredged silt, which was once a very fertile fishing zone. On 16 April 1962, the Salt Lake City was officially born.The original planner of Bidhannagar was a Yugoslav named "Dobrivojo Toscovic".
The development of the area was done in "Sectors". The plots were classified as residential, residential (shop-allowable), commercial, institutional and industrial. By 1965, Sector-I was complete and by 1969, Sector-II and Sector-III were ready for occupancy. Then came up the industrial Sectors IV and V (the location of the IT industries). The Sector IV contains
Nicco Park, erstwhile Jhilmil— the first amusement park of eastern India with 40 acres of land and the Nalban Boating Complex and so also the under-privileged area of Sukantanagar, the space apparently created for the rehabilitation of the displaced persons of Duttabad due to the construction of the Salt Lake Stadium in consultation with the Lutheran World Service. The 12.35 km² area of the town, initially composed of 12873 plots of land apart from 87 housing estates and blocks, got built up. Recently, the land area of this township has almost doubled to 33.5 km² due to the incorporation of Duttabad, Sukantanagar, Nayapatti, Dhapa-Manpur and Mahishbathan areas. The whole of Duttabad remains as an underdeveloped area till date.
Bidhannagar was originally developed under the direct administration of the
Irrigationand Waterways Department of the Governmentof West Bengal. In fact, this very department of the Governmentbuilt Bidhannagar. Then it came under the Public Works (Metropolitan Development) Department. Then again it came under the wings of Metropolitan Development Department. The name of this department was changed to Urban DevelopmentDepartment in 1991. In 1989, a Notified Area Authoritywas set up to administer the area. Ultimately in 1995, Bidhannagar got its own elected body called Bidhannagar Municipalityconsisting of 23 wards. All the plots of land in Bidhanannagar are leasehold plots and the Urban Development Department (the Lessor) directly manages the land matters, while the Municipalityis responsible for sanctioning of building plans, providing essential basic services to the citizens, maintenance of the non-arterial (type V and VI) roads and other civic infrastructures of the township.
Being a planned city, Bidhannagar offers many facilities usually not available in many of the other older Indian cities. It has clean and well-maintained roads and sanitation, tree-clad boulevards, relatively pollution free environment, its own swimming pool, a large number of schools, the largest sports stadium in India the
Yuva Bharati Krirangan, modern shopping malls such as City Centre, INOX multiplex, Adlabs multiplex, an amusement park, the Netaji Subhas Sports Institute, a 5-star hotel (Hyatt Regency) and a vast array of Governmentoffices that cater not only to the local town but to the entire city of Calcutta. Originally, Bidhannagar had been designed to accommodate the entire administrative apparatus of greater Calcutta, but this idea was dropped early during the planning.
Nicco Park, the first amusement park in eastern India, is located in the Sector IV, so also the Nalban Boating Complex. One of the largest
shopping mallof Kolkata, City Centre, has come up near Central Park in 2004 with a built-up area of convert|400000|sqft|m2|abbr=on.
Bidhannagar also contain few very good private and Government hospitals like AMRI, Anandalok, Calcutta Heart Research Institute, Columbia-Asia, Seva etc.
Apart from this, there are 3 police stations, electricity offices, water supply tanks, sewerage water plants etc as civic infrastructure. However, poor street lighting has made
petty theftand eve teasinga recurrent problem. Another police station is likely to come up for policing only the sector V- the Information Technology hub.
The Information Technology hub is the centre of some of the notable IT/
ITES Indian and multinationalcompanies.
Bidhannagar is also home to Central Park,(also called Banabitan) the largest park in the Kolkata urban area after the Maidan. Like the town it is situated in, it too has a more famous namesake in USA.
Bidhannagar houses a number of institutes offering philanthropic and spiritual services. Institution of Public Health Engineers, Salt Lake Sanskritik Parishad, Vivekananda Institute of Environment and Management, Workshop for the Blind and Bidhannagar Vivekananda Kendra are located here.
The Central Park, which is about convert|100|acre|km2, and comprises Banabitan administered by the
ForestDepartment, the statues of Netaji Subhas Chandra Boseand Swami Vivekanandaand Kaji Najrul Islam, a central store of the Urban DevelopmentDepartment, has already been subjected to a greater scrutiny by the KMDA(Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority). The KMDA has been planning comprehensively for chalking out a Master Development Planfor the beautificationof the Central Park of Bidhannagar.The Central Park is regarded as the Lungof Bidhannagar.
Bidhannagar is home to several academic, research and professional institutions. The
Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Kolkata campus, The Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, The Variable Energy Cyclotron and the Satyendra Nath Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences offer research facilities. The Bidhannagar College, The Technical Teacher's Training Institute, the College of Leather Technology, the Administrative Training Institute and Jadavpur University's second campus, the West Bengal University of Technology, the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, the Calcutta campus of IIT Kharagpur, International Institute Of Information Technology (IIITK), the Dhirubhai AmbaniInstitute of Information Technology, the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Institute Of Engineering & Management, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, the National Institute of Homeopathyand several management and engineering colleges and other institutions are located in the township.
Schools in Bidhannagar include the
Bidhannagar Municipal School, a combined primary and high schooland a branch of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, named Bhavan's Gangabux Kanoria Vidyamandir,Salt Lake School (CA Block), Labanhrad Vidyapith (AD Block), Bidhannagar Government High School(BD Block) and Labanhrad Vidyapith for Girls etc. . Also there are two Kendriya Vidyalaya in Salt Lake viz. K.V. No. 1 & K.V. No. 2 Salt Lake.
A new township thrice the size of Salt Lake is coming up further east in
Rajarhatunder the name of New Town.
* [http://www.bidhannagarmunicipality.org.in Bidhannagar Municipality]
* [http://north24parganas.nic.in/bidhannagar.htm Bidhan Nagar at the North 24 Parganas district webpage (under construction)]
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