Deganga (community development block)
|Community development block|
|District||North 24 Parganas|
|• Official||Bengali, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Barasat, Basirhat|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Deganga, Haroa|
Deganga community development block is an administrative division in Barasat Sadar subdivision of North 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal. Deganga police station serves this block. Headquarters of this block is at Debalay. The area with an old history in a rural setting is facing the problem of arsenic contamination of groundwater.
The saga of the Vidyadhari River, which flows through the Deganga area, has been part of local folklore since time immemorial. The river had formed a major navigation route for earlier civilisations. In the 3rd century BC, the nearby river port of Chandraketugarh was on the banks of this river. There still are tell-tale signs of that bygone era, and efforts are on to find more evidence of a lost civilization, possibly Meryan. The source of the river is located near Haringhata in Nadia. Later it winds down through the area before meeting at Roymangal at the confluence of Sundarbans.
Deganga is an intermediate panchayat (local self-government) under North 24 Parganas district. Village panchayats under it are – Amulia, Berachampa I & II, Chakla, Champatala, Chaurashi, Deganga I & II, Hadipur-Jikhra I & II, Kolsur, Nurnagar and Sohai-Shetpur.
Land acquisition fear
Villagers in West Bengal are greatly worried about acquisition of land for industry. In March 2007, Sasthi Charan Ghosh, Block Development Officer, decided to inspect a fenced-up plot near Kalianibil in Deganga in connection with a plywood company's plans to set up a factory there. Later they were to meet to decide on the company's application. Barely had they finished the inspection when rumours spread that government officials were measuring land for acquisition. Over 1,000 villagers ambushed cars carrying the officials. Police rushed in to rescue them, but failed to stop the mob from setting ablaze two vehicles belonging to the circle inspector and zilla parishad. A number of policemen were injured.
2010 anti-Hindu Riots
The 2010 Deganga riots began on 6 September when an Islamist mob resorted to arson and violence on the Hindu localities of Deganga, Kartikpur and Beliaghata under the Deganga police station area. The violence began late in the evening and continued throughout the night into the next morning. The district police, Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force and Border Security Force all failed to stop the mob violence, army was finally deployed. The army staged a flag march on the Taki Road, while Islamist violence continued unabated in the interior villages off the Taki Road, till Wednesday in spite of army presence and promulgation of prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC. The violence finally calmed down on 9 September after hundreds of Hindu business establishments and residences were looted, destroyed and burnt, dozens of Hindus were severely injured and several Hindu temples desecrated and vandalized.
Deganga is one of the areas where groundwater is affected by arsenic contamination. In Kolsur in Deganga area, Pal Trockner's arsenic removal technology was used at an expenditure of over Rs 30 million. Experts feel that the entire expenditure has gone waste. Aqua Welfare Society, a non government organization (NGO), has been providing arsenic safe water to the local through rain water harvesting. They are providing the water through modified dugwells, the water which is treated with chlorine regularly. AWS has organised several interactive workshops including one on water at Kolsur High School, on 26 November 2006. The participants were informed that by 2009 the state government had planned to provide water through pipelines that would either be treated river water or water from the third aquifer (deep tubewell) that is arsenic free. However, it was also mentioned that the remote villages where it would be difficult to provide the pipelines the villagers would need to use alternate sources for their drinking water.
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