Santoshpur, Kolkata


Santoshpur, Kolkata

Santoshpur is a suburban area in the southeastern part of Kolkata, India. It is loosely bounded by Garfa area on the north, the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass on the west and the Sealdah-Sonarpur railway tracks on the east and the south.

This area was initially part of Jadavpur. The area was comprised mainly of shallow marshy lands and agricultural fields even as late as the seventies. Some houses were built in the fifties and sixties mostly on the eastern side of the Jadavpur Rail Station. Residents walked to the station or to the Jadavpur Bus Stand to board Bus Routes 8B or 9. The seventies saw an uptick in the number of houses constructed and spread more to the east. It was common sight at this time to see agricultural fields, small dairy operations and residential houses coexist on the same street. The main Santoshpur Avenue, which started near the Jadavpur Railway crossing, was metalled. Other streets were being built and were mostly unmetalled. The new residents would pitch in their money and arrange for truckloads of dirt to be dumped on the road to make them passable during the monsoon season.

With the coming of scheduled bus transport, Santoshpur started seeing faster growth. A shuttle bus service (Route 9A) started which connected the residents to Jadavpur Bus Stand which was a little more than 2 km. away. It was quite common to spend half an hour on the bus to cover this distance mainly due to the narrow roads and the railway level crossing. Another bus route (Route 1A) started connecting Santoshpur to Garden Reach area in the southwestern part of Kolkata. The bus provided direct connection to Jadavpur, Lake Gardens, Tollygunge, Rashbehari, Kalighat, Hazra, Gopalnagar, Alipur Zoo, Khidirpur areas with convenient connections to virtually all areas of Kolkata. After some time, the Golpark to BBD Bag (Route 106) minibus route was extended to Santoshpur and provided direct connection to the central business district. Office workers could reach their offices in the B.B.D.Bag, Esplanade, Park Street, Camac Street, Theater Road areas without changing buses. Within a few years, another bus route (Route 206) started operations to Babughat providing cheaper alternative transportation to the office area.

Santoshpur started to grow faster and faster. Vacant lots were filling up fast. Agricultural lands were becoming scarce and could be found only on the other side of the Panchannagram canal (popularly called "khaal"). The cheaper land costs and proximity to the city proved to be an irresistible attraction for middle-class Bengalis. Government employees, bank employees, school teachers, college professors, and small businessmen started flocking to this new area.

In the meantime, the area which were under Panchayats and saw little organized development morphed into the Jadavpur Municipality. The headquarters were established in the "Battala Bazar" area - which became the heart of the new area. A new permanent market was planned a few hundred metres east of the streetside market. With the incorporation of the municipality in Kolkata Municipal Corporation as part of Borough 12, Santoshpur was poised for a quantum leap.

The opening of the southern stretches of the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass provided the residents with the option to commute via either Jadavpur or the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. With the explosive population growth, traffic snarls became very common around the Jadavpur railway crossing. A railway overbridge over Jadavpur Railway Station was planned connecting Santoshpur Avenue with Raja Subodh Mullick Road, about half a kilometre to the south of the Jadavpur Bus Stand. The construction was completed in record time. The travel time fell dramatically. New bus routes were introduced and Santoshpur became a sought after place to live for the Bengali middle-class.

To accommodate this heavy demand, mid-rise apartment buildings started being built by real estate developers. Apartment complexes were also built in the erstwhile marshy lands on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. As more people started streaming in, Santoshpur has been becoming more cosmopolitan.

From a sleepy outpost to a teeming urban neighbourhood, Santoshpur has come a long way. It now faces problems of overdevelopment. The water supply, sewage system, drainage channels, and streets were not designed for this level of growth. Waterlogging during monsoon is becoming common. The narrow streets meant for pedestrians and bicycles are being overburdened with cars, rickshaws, autorickshaws. In the coming years, unplanned growth need to be reined in to prevent Santoshpur from becoming a victim of its own success.

ee also

Now(2008) Santoshpur changes its look and apears with more modern and decent look with a spectacular lake and an arambagh foodmart.


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