Basanti, South 24 Parganas
|District||South 24 Parganas|
|• Official||Bengali, English|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Sex ratio||955 ♂/♀|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Jaynagar (SC)|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Basanti (SC), Gosaba (SC)|
Basanti is a town with a police station in Basanti CD Block in Canning subdivision of South 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal. The backward Basanti area is implementing various development programmes. The environment has been vitiated by occasional political clashes amongst the ruling Left Front partners.
Basanti is located at Sundarbans region, bounded by the Matla and Vidyadhari rivers/creeks. Sonakhali, opposite Basanti, is a popular starting point for Sundarbans steamer/launch trips. Sonakhali is 100 km from Kolkata. Basanti Road is linked to Eastern Metropolitan Bypass near Science City in Kolkata. Sundarbans bypass project, costing Rs 2.29 crore has been under implementation since 2002. It will reduce the distance between Kolkata and Basanti by 25 km. The 12-km bypass will connect Dhuri and Jibantala. Sundarbans, being full of creeks and rivers, needs more bridges, especially on the Matla.. one of the main deltaic islands in the
As per 2011 Census of India Basanti had a total population of 6,625, of which 3,447 (52%) were males and 3,178 (48%) were females. Population below 6 years was 728. The total number of literates in Basanti was 4,729 (80.19 % of the population over 6 years).
The state government has initiated two plans for agricultural improvement. The “amar bon” (my forest) project aims at planting more trees in the area as a preventive measure towards global warming. Over 14,000,000 saplings will be planted in various places through women, children and NGOs. As the area is surrounded by saline waters in the creeks, the “Rainwater harvesting through Land Shaping” project aims at construction of ponds on 1/5 of the agricultural land and rest of the land is spared for agriculture. The target is to construct 50,000 such ponds. 
Around 20,000 kg of honey is collected every year from forests of Sundarbans. Mostly people from the Kultali, Joynagar, Basanti, Gosaba and Canning are honey collectors. The number of honey collectors have dwindled from around 1,500 a few years back to around 700 in 2007. From 1985 through 2004, about 75 honey collectors were killed by tigers in the forests. Now all honey collectors are insured for Rs. 50,000. The forest department has also intensified vigilance during the honey collection period. The range officers and guards are on full alert. No deaths have been reported since 2004.
West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) has installed a solar-power village electrification programme at Nafarganj village in the Basanti block. A Rs 250 crore rural electrification project is being implemented on the islands to provide the people of the area with power through non-conventional energy sources, as conventional grid supply is not feasible.
90 per cent of the islands remain in darkness after sunset, although efforts are on to provide power to the islands. The state government had appointed the WBREDA as the nodal agency for its solar power project for the Sundarbans. Part of the project cost under the low cost non-conventional energy project was shared by the central government. There are two schemes under the project. Under the first, a small unit priced at Rs. 14,000 each was provided to domestic consumers who had to pay Rs. 3,000 for it while the rest was equally shared between the centre and the state. For the other, consumers have to pay Rs. 8,500 for a big unit while the central government provides a subsidy of Rs. 10,000 and the state shells out Rs. 5,500.
Dominique Lapierre's floating hospitals
Four launches with doctors carrying medicines, sophisticated portable X-ray and echo-cardiograph machines, provided by the French author Dominique Lapierre move along the waterways of the Sundarbans to its furthest corners. Residents of such places as Sandeshkhali, Basanti, Gosaba and Kultali have expressed their gratitude to him for his support when he came in 2004. Since 1981, Lapierre has dedicated half of his royalty earnings from his books to sustain a humanitarian crusade in the slums of Kolkata and the deprived areas of rural Bengal. For his work, Lapierre was made a citizen of honour of Kolkata.
A study of the School of Environmental Studies, most of whose surveyors are Jadavpur University scholars, shows the extent of arsenic contamination in the ground water of South 24-Parganas is shocking. High levels of arsenic in ground water was found in 12 blocks of the district. Water samples collected from tubewells in the affected places contained arsenic above the normal level (10 microgram a litre as specified by the World Health Organisation). The affected blocks include Basanti.
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