List of districts of West Bengal

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The Indian state of West Bengal borders with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and Sikkim. The Himalayas lies in the north of the state and the Bay of Bengal is at the south. In between them, the river Ganga flows eastwards and its main distributary, the Hooghly River, flows south to reach the Bay of Bengal. The Siliguri Corridor, which connects North-East India with rest of the India, lies in the North Bengal region of the state. Geographically, West Bengal is divided into a variety of regions—Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, Terai and Dooars region, North Bengal plains, Rarh region, Western plateau and high lands, coastal plains, Sunderbans and the Ganga Delta.[1]

In 1947, when India gained independence, the state of West Bengal was formed with 14 districts, as per partition plan of the then Bengal province of British India.[2][3] The former princely state Koch Bihar joined as a district in 1950,[4] and the former French enclave Chandannagore joined as part of the Hooghly district in 1954.[5] The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 led to addition of Purulia district to the state and to enlargement of West Dinajpur district.[6] Later, larger districts such as West Dinajpur, 24 Parganas and Midnapore were bifurcated. Till 24 June 2014 West Bengal was divided into 19 districts.

West Bengal is now divided into 21 districts which includes the Alipurduar district and the Kalimpong district under five divisions [7][8] and divisions are administered by Divisional Commissioners.[9] Kolkata, the capital of the state, constitutes the Kolkata district. Other districts are further divided into administrative units such as subdivisions and blocks, administered by SDO and BDO, respectively. The Panchayati Raj has a three-tier structure in the state. The atomic unit is called a Gram Panchayat, which is the Panchayat organisation for a collection of villages.[10] The block-level organisations are called Panchayat Samiti,[11] and the district-level organisations are named Zilla Parishad.[12]

Geography[edit]

West Bengal is bordered by three countries: Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh; and five Indian states: Sikkim, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Assam. Sikkim and Bhutan are located at the north of the state, Nepal at the northwest, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattishgarh at the west, Odisha at the southwest, the Bay of Bengal at the south, and Bangladesh and Assam are at the east. West Bengal is the only state of India that has both the Himalayas in the north and the Bay of Bengal at the south. In between them, the river Ganga enters the state from west, before it branches off into its main distributaries: the Hooghly River, which flows southwards to reach the Bay of Bengal, and the Padma River, which flows eastwards into Bangladesh.

The districts that are located at the north of the Ganga—Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Malda, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur , Alipurduar and Kalimpong — are often referred to collectively as North Bengal. Kalimpong is a newly added district of West Bengal.[1] Geographically, this area is divided into the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, the Terai and Dooars region, and the North Bengal plains.[1] The Siliguri Corridor, also known as Chicken's Neck, which connects North-East India with rest of the India, lies in this region. The Indo-Bangladesh enclaves are either enclaves or exclaves of the Cooch Behar district or the Jalpaiguri district.[13]

The districts on the south of the Ganges—Bankura, Bardhaman, Birbhum, Purulia, Murshidabad, Nadia, West Midnapore, East Midnapore, Hooghly, Howrah, Kolkata, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas—constitute a variety of geographical regions such as the Rarh region, the Western plateau and high lands, the coastal plains, the Sunderbans and the Ganga Delta.[1] Kolkata, the capital of the state, constitutes the Kolkata district.

The uninhabited South Talpatti Island, which surfaced in the Bay of Bengal in the 1970s near the Indo-Bangladesh border, is claimed by both India and Bangladesh.[14]

History[edit]

After India gained independence in 1947, the province of Bengal was partitioned along religious lines. The western part went to India (and was named West Bengal) while the eastern part joined Pakistan as a province called East Pakistan (later giving rise to Bangladesh in 1971).[2] At the time of its creation in 1947, the state of West Bengal was divided into 14 districts—Bankura, Birbhum, Burdwan, Calcutta (Kolkata), Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Hooghly, Howrah, Malda, Midnapore, Murshidabad, Nadia, West Dinajpur and 24 Parganas.[3] Cooch Behar district was a princely state named Koch Bihar till 20 August 1949, when the state formally agreed to join India. Transfer of administration was started on 12 September 1949 and was completed on 19 January 1950, when Cooch Behar became a district of West Bengal.[4] Chandernagore, which was earlier part of the French India, had voted to join India in a plebiscite in 1949. Formally, it joined India in 1952 and finally became a part of the Hooghly district of West Bengal on 2 October 1954.[5] The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 reorganised boundaries of the Indian states along linguistic lines. As this act was implemented, the then West Dinajpur district was enlarged with the addition of some areas from Bihar, and the Purulia district was formed on 1 November 1956 from parts of the Manbhum district of Bihar.[6]

Later, some large districts were divided into smaller districts. On 1 March 1986, the district of 24 Parganas was bifurcated into two districts—the North 24 Parganas district and the South 24 Parganas district.[15] On 1 April 1992, the West Dinajpur district was bifurcated into the North Dinajpur district and the South Dinajpur district.[16][17] On 1 January 2002, the erstwhile Midnapore district was bifurcated into the Purba Medinipur district and the Paschim Medinipur district.[18]

Since 2007, the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state has been revived by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and its supporters in the Darjeeling hills.[19] The Kamtapur People's Party and its supporters' movement for a separate Kamtapur state that covers the North Bengal has also gained momentum in the 2000s.[20]

Administrative structure[edit]

Divisions of West Bengal

A district is governed by a District Collector, who is better known as a District Magistrate (DM) in the state of West Bengal.[21] A DM is an officer from either Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS), and is appointed by the State Government of West Bengal.[21] Each district is divided into subdivisions, except the Kolkata district, which contains urban area only, administered by Kolkata Municipal Corporation. A subdivision is governed by a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), better known as a Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO).[22] Other than urban units such as town municipalities, a subdivision contains 'community development blocks' (also known as CD blocks or blocks). A block consists of urban units such as census towns and rural units called gram panchayats. A block is administered by a Block Development Officer (BDO), who is appointed by the Government of West Bengal.[21]

A gram panchayat, which consists of a group of villages, is administered by a village council headed by a Pradhan.[10] As per the West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973, each Block has a Panchayat Samiti, whose members include the Pradhans of the constituent gram panchayats, and the MLAs from the block.[11] A Panchayat Samiti is headed by a Sabhadhipati.[23] The third tier of the Panchayati Raj is Zilla Parishad, a district level organisation with the Sabhapatis of the constituent Panchayat Samitis and the MLAs from the district as its members.[12] A Zilla Parishad is headed by a Sabhadhipati.[24] For the Darjeeling district, the Zilla Parishad has ceased to exist, but a similar organisation for the Siliguri subdivision exists, which is designated as a Mahakuma Parishad.[25]

The Gorkha Hill Council, formed in 1988, administers three (out of four) subdivisions of the Darjeeling district: Darjeeling Sadar, Kalimpong and Kurseong.[26] Gorkha Hill Council manages the departments of Public Health, Education, Public Works, Transport, Tourism, Market, Small scale industries, Agriculture, Agricultural waterways, Forest (except reserved forests), Water, Livestock, Vocational Training and Sports and Youth services.[27] District administration of Darjeeling, which is still responsible for election, panchayat, law and order, revenue etc., also acts as an interface between the Council and the State Government.[27]

A District Superintendent of Police, better known as a Superintendent of Police, heads the District Police organisation of West Bengal Police. This is as per the Police Act of 1861, which is applicable to the whole of India.[28] The Superintendents of Police are officers of the Indian Police Service.[29] For every subdivision, there is a Subdivision Police, headed by a Police officer of the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police or Deputy Superintendent of Police.[30] Under subdivisions, there are Police Circles, each headed by an Inspector of Police.[30] A Police Circle consists of Police Stations, each headed by an Inspector of Police, or in case of rural areas, by a Sub-Inspector of Police.[30]

The Calcutta High Court has the jurisdiction of the state of West Bengal. Though most of the districts have more courts other than a District Court, not every subdivision of the state has a Court.[31]

A group of districts forms a division, which is administered by a 'Divisional Commissioner'. West Bengal is now divided in twenty one districts, grouped under five divisions:[9]

Malda division Burdwan division Jalpaiguri division Presidency division Medinipur division

Alphabetical listing of West Bengal[edit]

Code[32] District Headquarters[33] Established[34] Subdivisions[9] Area[35] Population As of 2011[35] Population Density Map
AD Alipurduar Alipurduar 2014[18] 3,383 km2 (1,306 sq mi) 1,700,000 400/km2 (1,000/sq mi) Alipurduar District.png
BN Bankura Bankura 1947 6,882 km2 (2,657 sq mi) 3,596,292 523/km2 (1,350/sq mi)
Bankura district.svg
BR Bardhaman Bardhaman 1947 7,024 km2 (2,712 sq mi) 7,723,663 1,100/km2 (2,800/sq mi)
Bardhaman district.svg
BI Birbhum Suri 1947 4,545 km2 (1,755 sq mi) 3,502,387 771/km2 (2,000/sq mi)
Birbhum district.svg
KB Cooch Behar Cooch Behar 1950[4] 3,387 km2 (1,308 sq mi) 2,822,780 833/km2 (2,160/sq mi)
Cooch Behar district.svg
DA Darjeeling Darjeeling 1947 2,092.5 km2 (807.9 sq mi) 1,797,422 859/km2 (2,220/sq mi)
Darjeeling district.svg
ME East Midnapore Tamluk 2002[18] 4,736 km2 (1,829 sq mi) 5,094,238 1,076/km2 (2,790/sq mi)
East Midnapore district.svg
HG Hooghly Chinsura 1947 3,149 km2 (1,216 sq mi) 5,520,389 1,753/km2 (4,540/sq mi)
Hooghly district.svg
HR Howrah Howrah 1947 1,467 km2 (566 sq mi) 4,841,638 3,300/km2 (8,500/sq mi)
Howrah district.svg
JA Jalpaiguri Jalpaiguri 1947 2,844 km2 (1,098 sq mi) 2,172,846 621/km2 (1,610/sq mi)
Jalpaiguri district.svg
KO Kolkata Kolkata 1947 185 km2 (71 sq mi) 4,486,679 24,252/km2 (62,810/sq mi)
Kolkata district.svg
KA Kalimpong Kalimpong 2017[18] 1,044 km2 (403 sq mi) 251,642
MA Malda English Bazar 1947 3,733 km2 (1,441 sq mi) 3,997,970 1,071/km2 (2,770/sq mi)
Malda district.svg
MU Murshidabad Baharampur 1947 5,324 km2 (2,056 sq mi) 7,102,430 1,334/km2 (3,460/sq mi)
Murshidabad district.svg
NA Nadia Krishnanagar 1947 3,927 km2 (1,516 sq mi) 5,168,488 1,316/km2 (3,410/sq mi)
Nadia district.svg
PN North 24 Parganas Barasat 1986[15] 4,094 km2 (1,581 sq mi) 10,082,852 2,463/km2 (6,380/sq mi)
North 24 Parganas district.svg
UD North Dinajpur Raiganj 1992[16] 3,140 km2 (1,210 sq mi) 3,000,849 956/km2 (2,480/sq mi)
North Dinajpur district.svg
PU Purulia Purulia 1956[6] 6,259 km2 (2,417 sq mi) 2,927,965 468/km2 (1,210/sq mi)
Purulia district.svg
PS South 24 Parganas Alipore 1986[15] 9,960 km2 (3,850 sq mi) 8,153,176 819/km2 (2,120/sq mi)
South 24 Parganas district.svg
DD South Dinajpur Balurghat 1992[17] 2,219 km2 (857 sq mi) 1,670,931 753/km2 (1,950/sq mi)
South Dinajpur district.svg
ME West Midnapore Medinipur 2002[18] 9,345 km2 (3,608 sq mi) 5,943,300 636/km2 (1,650/sq mi)
West Midnapore district.svg
Total 21 72 88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi) 91,347,736 1,029/km2 (2,670/sq mi)
India WB.svg

Demographics[edit]

The following is a list of the basic demographic data for the districts of West Bengal by their population rank in India[36]

Rank District Population Growth Rate Sex Ratio Literacy Density/KM
2 North 24 Parganas 11,060,148 12.04 955 84.53 2,445
6 South 24 Parganas 8,161,961 18.17 956 77.51 819
7 Bardhaman 7,717,563 11.92 945 76.21 1,099
9 Murshidabad 7,103,807 21.09 958 66.59 1,334
14 West Midnapore 5,943,300 14.44 960 79.04 636
16 Hooghly 5,520,389 9.49 958 82.55 1,753
18 Nadia 5,168,488 12.24 947 75.58 1,316
20 East Midnapore 5,094,238 15.32 936 87.66 1,076
23 Howrah 4,841,638 13.31 935 83.85 3,300
35 Kolkata 4,496,694 -1.67 908 86.31 24,306
58 Malda 3,997,970 21.50 939 62.71 1,071
66 Jalpaiguri 3,869,675 13.77 954 73.79 621
80 Bankura 3,596,292 12.64 954 70.95 523
84 Birbhum 3,502,387 16.15 956 70.90 771
124 North Dinajpur 3,000,849 22.90 936 60.13 956
129 Purulia 2,927,965 15.43 955 65.38 468
136 Cooch Behar 2,822,780 13.86 942 75.49 833
257 Darjeeling 1,842,034 14.47 971 79.92 585
295 South Dinajpur 1,670,931 11.16 954 73.86 753

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d David Christiana (1 September 2007). "Arsenic Mitigation in West Bengal, India: New Hope for Millions" (PDF). Southwest Hydrology. p. 32. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Harun-or-Rashid (2012). "Partition of Bengal, 1947". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  3. ^ a b Chatterji, Joya (2007). The Spoils of Partition: Bengal and India, 1947–1967. Cambridge University Press. p. 58. ISBN 0-521-87536-6. Retrieved 8 December 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c "Brief History of Cooch Behar". Official website of Cooch Behar District. Retrieved 10 September 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "States of India since 1947". World Statesmen website. Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c "District profile". Official website of Purulia District. Archived from the original on 9 December 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2008. 
  7. ^ http://www.thestatesman.net/news/60975-alipurduar-to-become-bengal-s-20th-dist.html
  8. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Alipurduar-a-new-district-on-June-25/articleshow/36916065.cms
  9. ^ a b c "Directory of District, Sub division, Panchayat Samiti/ Block and Gram Panchayats in West Bengal, March 2008". West Bengal. National Informatics Centre, India. 19 March 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2008. 
  10. ^ a b "Section 9 of West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973". Department of Panchayat and Rural Department, West Bengal. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  11. ^ a b "Section 94 of West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973". Department of Panchayat and Rural Department, West Bengal. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "Section 140 of West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973". Department of Panchayat and Rural Department, West Bengal. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  13. ^ Evgeny Vinokurov (2005). "Theory of Enclaves, Chapter 6: Enclave stories and case studies" (PDF). Evgeny Vinokurov's website. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2008. 
  14. ^ A.G. Noorani (31 August 2001). "Of Indo-Bangladesh distrust". Frontline magazine. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  15. ^ a b c Mandal, Asim Kumar (2003). The Sundarbans of India: A Development Analysis. Indus Publishing. pp. 168–169. ISBN 81-7387-143-4. Retrieved 4 September 2008. 
  16. ^ a b "Home page". Official website of Uttar Dinajpur District. Retrieved 1 September 2008. 
  17. ^ a b "Historical Perspective". Official website of South Dinajpur District. Retrieved 1 September 2008. 
  18. ^ a b c d e Jana, Naresh (31 December 2001). "Tamluk readies for giant's partition". The Telegraph (Kolkata). Retrieved 1 September 2008. 
  19. ^ "Call for Gorkhaland renewed". Darjeeling Times. 7 October 2007. Retrieved 11 December 2008. 
  20. ^ Indo Asian News Service (25 June 2008). "West Bengal faces another blockade, this time for Kamtapur state". AOL India News. Retrieved 11 December 2008. 
  21. ^ a b c "Section 2 of West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973". Department of Panchayat and Rural Department, West Bengal. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  22. ^ Ramesh Kumar Arora, Ramesh Kumar Arora Rajni Goyal. Indian Public Administration: Institutions and Issues. New Age Publishers. p. 298. ISBN 81-7328-068-1. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  23. ^ "Section 98 of West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973". Department of Panchayat and Rural Department, West Bengal. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  24. ^ "Section 143 of West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973". Department of Panchayat and Rural Department, West Bengal. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  25. ^ "Section 185 of West Bengal Panchayat Act, 1973". Department of Panchayat and Rural Department, West Bengal. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  26. ^ "Memoranda of Settlement - DGHC". Darjeeling Times. Retrieved 11 December 2008. 
  27. ^ a b "History of Darjeeling: Darjeeling-Today". Official website of Darjeeling District. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  28. ^ "The Police Act, 1861". India Code Legislative Department. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 
  29. ^ "Indian Police Service (Uniform) Rules". Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India. Archived from the original on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 
  30. ^ a b c "Police Organisation of India" (PDF). Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. p. 9. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 
  31. ^ "Different Courts in West Bengal (Other than High Courts, Kolkata)". Judicial Department, Government of West Bengal. Retrieved 14 December 2008. 
  32. ^ "NIC Policy on format of e-mail Address: Appendix (2): Districts Abbreviations as per ISO 3166–2" (PDF). Ministry Of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India. 18 August 2004. pp. 5–10. Retrieved 24 November 2008. 
  33. ^ "Districts : West Bengal". Government of India portal. Retrieved 24 November 2008. 
  34. ^ Here 'Established' means year of establishment as a district of West Bengal. The state of West Bengal was established in 1947 with 14 districts of erstwhile Bengal province of British India.
  35. ^ a b "Area, Population, Decennial Growth Rate and Density for 2001 and 2011 at a glance for West Bengal and the Districts" (XLS). 2011 census of India. Retrieved 13 December 2012. 
  36. ^ "Indian Districts by Population, Growth Rate, Sex Ratio 2011 Census". Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 

External links[edit]