Basanti (community development block)

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Community development block
Basanti is located in West Bengal
Location in West Bengal
Coordinates: 22°12′46″N 88°41′11″E / 22.21278°N 88.68639°E / 22.21278; 88.68639
Country  India
State West Bengal
District South 24 Parganas
Parliamentary constituency Jaynagar
Assembly constituency Basanti, Gosaba
 • Total 404.21 km2 (156.07 sq mi)
6 m (20 ft)
 • Total 336,717
 • Density 830/km2 (2,200/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+5.30 (IST)
743312 (Basanti)
Area code(s) 03218
Vehicle registration WB-19, WB-20, WB-22
Literacy Rate 68.32 per cent

Basanti is a community development block that forms an administrative division in Canning subdivision of South 24 Parganas district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located 56 km from Alipore, the district headquarters.


Land reforms

During 1946-1950 the Tebhaga movement in several parts of the 24 Parganas district led to the enactment of the Bargadari Act. Although the Bargadari Act of 1950 recognised the rights of bargadars to a higher share of crops from the land that they tilled, it was not implemented. Large tracts, beyond the prescribed limit of land ceiling, remained with the rich landlords. In 1967, West Bengal witnessed a peasant uprising, against non-implementation of land reforms legislation, starting from Kheyadaha gram panchayat in Sonarpur CD Block. From 1977 onwards major land reforms took place in West Bengal under the Left Front government. Land in excess of land ceiling was acquired and distributed amongst the peasants. Subsequently, “Operation Barga” was aimed at securing tenancy rights for the peasants. In Basanti CD Block 10,057.41 acres of land was acquired and vested. Out of this 5,538.93 acres or 55.07% of the vested land was distributed amongst the peasants. The total number of patta holders was 9,397.[1]



Sonakhali is located at 22°12′46″N 88°41′11″E / 22.2127090°N 88.6863710°E / 22.2127090; 88.6863710.

Basanti CD Block is bounded by Canning II CD Block in the north, Sandeshkhali II CD Block in North 24 Parganas district and Gosaba CD Block in parts of the east, Sundarbans forests in parts of the east and south, Kultali and Canning I CD Blocks in the west.

Area and administration

Basanti CD Block has an area of 404.21 km2. Basanti police station serves this CD Block. Basanti panchayat samity has 13 gram panchayats. The block has 65 inhabited villages.[2] Headquarters of this block is at Sonakhali.

Sundarbans settlements

Village in a clearing of Sundarbans. Drawing by Frederic Peter Layard after an original sketch of 1839
House in Sundarbans with a pond and rice fields, 2010

The Sundarbans area, in the south of the district, includes 102 deltaic islands, out of which 54 are inhabited and the rest is reserved forest. The area spread over 54,000 km2 is home to 3.9 million people or around 40% of the population of the district. As per December 2001 census there were 271 Royal Bengal tigers and other animals in the Indian portion of the Sundarban forest, spread across 42,000 km2. The floor of the Sunderbans varies from 0.9 m to 2.11 m above sea level. Tidal saline water from the Bay of Bengal alternatively drowns and exposes the islands twice a day throughout the year. Around 3,500 km of earthen embankments, protecting the inhabited islands, have been facing the daily onslaught in a cyclone-prone area for more than a century. Clearing of the forests effectively started in 1781 and in about a century Hingalganj, Hasnabad, Sandeshkhali I and II, Minakhan, Haroa (all in North 24 Parganas district in 2016) Canning I and II, Jaynagar II, Mathurapur I and II, and Sagar (all in South 24 Parganas district in 2016) had been fully or substantially cleared of forests. Thereafter, much of the interiors of Kakdwip, Patharpratima, Basanti, Kultali and Gosaba were cleared for human settlement. People started moving into the area. The refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan were the last to come in large numbers between 1951 and 1971. Canning I and II, Jaynagar II, Mathurapur I and II, Kakdwip and Namkhana are a little away from the forests and being attached/ connected to the mainland their conditions are similar to other mainland blocks in the district, but Basanti, Gosaba, Kultali, Patharpratima and Sagar are largely isolated from the mainland. These islands are mostly separated from the deep forest by a river. Electric connections are rare, and transport and communications, other than river transport, are not there. Around 95% people depend on rain-fed agriculture. Sagar lies at the mouth of the Hooghly, which carries fresh water and so things are a little different there. The sea level, around India, is estimated to be rising at 2.55 mm per year. In the last 70 years, 220 km2 of forest land has been submerged and the process continues.[3]

Gram panchayats

Gram panchayats of Basanti block/panchayat samiti are: Amjhara, Basanti, Bharatgarh, Charavidya, Chunakhali, Jharkhali, Jyotishpur, Kanthalberia, Masjidbati, Nafarganj, Phulmalancha, Ramchandrakhali and Uttar Mokam Baria.[4]



As per 2011 Census of India Basanti CD Block had a total population of 336,717, of which 330,092 were rural and 6,625 were urban. There were 171,279 (51%) males and 165,438 (49%) females. Population below 6 years was 50,770. Scheduled Castes numbered 119,631 and Scheduled Tribes numbered 20,060.[5]

As per 2001 census, Basanti block had a total population of 278,543, out of which 142,487 were males and 136,056 were females. Basanti block registered a population growth of 22.72 per cent during the 1991-2001 decade. Decadal growth for South 24 Parganas district was 20.89 per cent. Decadal growth in West Bengal was 17.84 per cent. Scheduled castes at 112,246 formed more than one-third the population. Scheduled tribes numbered 21,020.[2][6][7]

Census towns and large villages

Census town in Basanti CD Block (2011 census figure in brackets): Basanti (6,625).[5]

Large villages in Basanti CD Block (2011 census figures in brackets): Kumarkhali (12,021), Char Bidyarabad (13,035), Chunakhali (9,241), Baria (4,883), Purba Bayar Siong (4,538), Sachea Khali (4,372), Manasakhali (5,019), Lebukhali (6,973), Chitrakhali (7,208), Narayantala (5,416), Bhangonkhali (15,127), Phul Malancha (14,614), Tilkumar (8,913), Khari Machan (5,704), Dhuri (9,411), Amjhara (6,179), Kathalberia (14,113), Sonakhali (10,582), Uttar Sonakhali (6,202), Khirishkhali (4,800), Ramchandrakhali (7,849), Kala Hazra (4,626), Hogalduri (4,862), Gadkhali (4,685), Jyotishpur (4,833), Radharanipur (4,976), Hiranmoypur (6,562), Bharatgar (6,413), Dakshin Mokamberia (5,160), Kalidanga (4,134), Parbattipur (4,048), Lot No. 126 (15,695), Goran Bose (12,642) and Birinchibari (5,652).[5]


As per 2011 census the total number of literates in Basanti CD Block was 195,366 (68.32% of the population over 6 years) out of which 110,229 (56%) were males and 85,137 (44%) were females.[5]

As per 2011 census, literacy in South 24 Parganas district was 77.51[8] Literacy in West Bengal was 77.08% in 2011.[9] Literacy in India in 2011 was 74.04%.[9]

As per 2001 census, Basanti block had a total literacy of 56.98 per cent for the 6+ age group. While male literacy was 68.95 per cent female literacy was 44.33 per cent. South 24 Parganas district had a total literacy of 69.45 per cent, male literacy being 79.19 per cent and female literacy being 59.01 per cent.[2]

See also – List of West Bengal districts ranked by literacy rate


Bengali is the local language in these areas.


Religion in Basanti CD Block

In the 2011 census Hindus numbered 176,715 and formed 52.48% of the population in Basanti CD Block. Muslims numbered 151,101 and formed 44.87% of the population. Others numbered 8,901 and formed 2.65% of the population. Amongst the others, Christians numbered 7,693.[10]

In the 2011 census, Hindus numbered 5,155,545 and formed 63.17% of the population in South 24 Parganas district. Muslims numbered 2,903,075 and formed 35.57% of the population.[10] In West Bengal Hindus numbered 64,385,546 and formed 70.53% of the population. Muslims numbered 24,654,825 and formed 27.01% of the population.[10]

Human Development Report

According to the South 24 Parganas district Human Development Report it is an overwhelmingly rural district with 85% of the population living in rural areas. An analysis of the district’s population shows that 33 percent of the district’s population belongs to Scheduled Castes. While 65.86% of people are Hindus, 33.24% are Muslims. 86% of the population resided in the 29 CD Blocks. In 2005, more than 4 lakh households were identified as living below poverty line, pushing the poverty ratio in the district to 34.11%, way above the state and national poverty ratios.[11]

Basanti CD Block had a poverty ratio of 64.89% of the households in 2005, making it one of the poorest blocks in the whole of India. The Sundarbans region in general is afflicted with poverty with all the 13 CD Blocks recording above 30% and 8 CD Blocks recording more than 40% households in the BPL category.[11]

In standard of living Basanti was the last amongst all the 29 blocks. In infrastructure development it had the 28th rank amongst all CD Blocks, positioned only above Kultali CD Block. In Basanti, an insignificant 0.44% households had access to electricity. The length of surfaced roads was 0.46 km per km2 area. The number of bank branches was 0.18 per 10,000 population. Lack of access to irrigation is a major problem for most of the CD Blocks in South 24 Parganas, but it assumes particular significance in the Sundarbans, where there is hardly any scope for employment beyond the agricultural sector. In Basanti, 49.44% of rural households were engaged as daily/ agricultural/ other physical labour, 32.69% were cultivators, 5.98% were self-employed rural artisans/ hawkers, 4.69% were engaged in labour oriented regular jobs in the unorganised sector, and 7.20% were engaged in the organised sector or work as professionals.[11]

As per 1991 census, while male literacy rate was 54.68% female literacy was 24.18% and there was a gender gap of 30.50% in Basanti. In 2006, Basanti had 22 secondary and higher secondary schools. All of them had library facility but none of them had computer facilities (no electricity).[11]

In 2006, in Basanti for 65 villages there were 63 health sub-centres and 4 rural hospital/public health centres having 33 beds with 2 medical officers, 8 nurses, 68 health assistants and 5 pharmacists and technicians. 38.6% of the 254 habitations in Basanti CD Block were fully covered with safe drinking water (including tube wells and tap water), 44.5% habitations were partly covered and 16.9% habitations were not covered.[11]

Basanti has 198.723 km of embankments. Breaches in these embankments varied from 6.6 km in 2002-03 to 42.3 km in 2006-07. Embankments raised along rivers are of critical importance for the safety of lives and protection of crops, against daily tides and tidal surges. Technologically the embankment structures are weak and there is need of proper drainage of accumulated rain water through sluice gates. Crude cuts in embankments for drainage of accumulated rain water and channels built for providing water to large fisheries (bheris) also add to the hazards. Cyclones and tropical depressions are regular threats.[11]


Certain areas of South 24 Parganas district has been identified where ground water is affected by arsenic contamination.[12] High levels of arsenic in ground water were found in twelve 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 are Baruipur, Bhangar I, Bhangar II, Bishnupur I, Bishnupur II, Basanti, Budge Budge, Canning I, Canning II, Sonarpur, Mograhat II and Joynagar.[13]

External links

  • Sundarbans National Park travel guide from Wikivoyage


  1. ^ "District Human Development Report: South 24 Parganas". (1) Chapter 1.2, South 24 Parganas in Historical Perspective, pages 7-9 (2) Chapter 3.4, Land reforms, pages 32-33. Development & Planning Department, Government of West Bengal, 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "District Statistical Handbook – 2009 – South 24 Parganas" (PDF). South 24 Parganas at a glance, Tables 2.1, 2.2, 2.4 (b), 4.5. Bureau of Applied Economics and Statistics, Government of West Bengal. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  3. ^ "District Human Development Report: South 24 Parganas". Chapter 9: Sundarbans and the Remote Islanders, p 290-311. Development & Planning Department, Government of West Bengal, 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Blocks and Gram Panchayats in South 24 Parganas". South 24 Parganas District Administration. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "C.D. Block Wise Primary Census Abstract Data(PCA)". 2011 census: West Bengal – District-wise CD Blocks. Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Provisional Population Totals, West Bengal. Table 4". Census of India 2001 – South 24 Parganas. Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-20.
  7. ^ "Provisional Population Totals, West Bengal. Table 4". Census of India 2001. Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2011-01-20.
  8. ^ "District Census 2011". Population Census 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Provisional population tables and annexures" (PDF). Census 2011:Table 2(3) Literates and Literacy rates by sex. Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "C1 Population by Religious Community". West Bengal. Registrar General and Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "District Human Development Report: South 24 Parganas". Intro: pp 16-19, 42 Block specific: pp 39-40, 73, 99, 132, 146, 192, 221. Development & Planning Department, Government of West Bengal, 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Groundwater Arsenic contamination in West Bengal-India (19 years study )". Groundwater arsenic contamination status of North 24-Parganas district, one of the nine arsenic affected districts of West Bengal-India. SOES. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
  13. ^ "High arsenic levels in South". The Statesman, 24 June 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
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