History

Diamond Harbour

The British renamed a settlement called Hajipur as Diamond Harbour. It no longer has a harbour, but there are a few bricks to designate the location of an old fort. It used to be a safe resting spot for ships and even today offers a spectacular view of the river. Prior to the British, Portuguese pirates had a major influence in the region. The ruins of the fort of Chingrikhali (locally known as Purano Kella) cannot be seen any more. It is uncertain whether the fort was built by the Portuguese or the British. There used to be an old lighthouse, which has now been eroded by the river. Diamond Harbour is well connected with Kolkata by road and rail. It has a number of private hotels. As Diamond Harbour is within easy reach of Kolkata, just around 50 km, it is a picnic spot for city dwellers. According to the 2001 Census, Diamond Harbour had a population of 37,238, 51 per cent being men. The average literacy rate is 72 per cent, higher than the national average of 59.5 per cent: male literacy is 77 per cent and female literacy is 67 per cent. This small town with a picturesque setting is the gateway to the south-western part of the district, leading to such places as Gangasagar, Kakdwip, Namkhana and Bakkhali. Gangasagar is the confluence of the river Ganges with the Bay of Bengal, a popular annual pilgrimage centre, where people in lakhs take the holy dip. Bakkhali is a popular beach resort. There is a five star hotel with a magnificent panoramic view of the river at Raichak. Jetties at Diamond Harbour, Raichak and Mirpur provide steamer services to the other bank of the wide river estuary.




"Diamond Harbour, at the Mouth of the Hooghly"
Rousselet, Louis. India and Its Native Princes. Bickers and Son: London, 1878. p. 609.

Demography

Demography of South 24 Parganas District

The present South 24-Parganas district forms the southern-most part of the deltaic plains of Bengal. The district is proximate to the highly urbanized metropolis of Kolkata on the eastern side as well as the virgin and beautiful natural environs of Sundarbans. The district can be categorized into three broad groups (i) the marshy riverine land of Sunderban (ii) the non-Sundarban rural areas and (iii) the Urban and Semi-urban areas. The urban and semi-urban areas viz. Thakurpukur, Mahestala, Bishnurpur, Sonarpur, Baruipur, which are adjacent to Kolkata has locational advantage for industrialization.




Location & Geographical Area: The South 24-Parganas district is located between 22030’45” to 20029’ North latitude and between 8904’56” and 8803’45’’ East longitudes. The district is bounded by the river Hooghly in the West, Bay of Bengal in the South, Calcutta city and North 24 Parganas in the North & the Eastern boundary is demarcated by Bangladesh and Bidya & Matla River.

Population

Population in South 24 Parganas

The district of South 24 Parganas had a population of more than 69 lakhs in 2001. The decadal growth rate of population between 1991 and 2001 had been 20.85 per cent, which is higher than the state average of 17.77 per cent. The proximity to Kolkata, the largest metropolis in Eastern India, is largely responsible for this phenomenon. This has created a unique problem for the district administration. The aspirations and demand of the people living close to Kolkata and commuting each day for their livelihoods are very different from those people living in rural areas or even in distant muffassil cities.

Source: Census (2001)

South 24 Parganas is a district with varying population density. Though a large part of the landmass of the district is classified as forest area and falls under the Sundarban Tiger Reserve, the population density is staggeringly high in Alipore, Diamond Harbour and Baruipur subdivisions. The highest concentration is in Alipur Sub Division and the lowest in Kakdwip Sub Division.



Literacy (7+ persons) and Work Participation Rates by Religious Communities

Source: Census of India (2001)

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