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Asansol
Asansol Railway Station built in 1885
Asansol
Location of Asansol
in West Bengal and India
Coordinates 23°41′N 86°59′E / 23.68°N 86.98°E / 23.68; 86.98
Country  India
State West Bengal
District(s) Bardhaman
Mayor Tapas Banerjee(TMC)
MP Bangsha Gopal Chaudhuri
MLA Prativa Ranjan Mukherjee
Population
Density
4,86,304 (proper Asansol); 10,67,369 (greater Asansol) (2001)
3,820 /km2 (9,894 /sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area
Elevation
127.3 km2 (49 sq mi)
97 m (318 ft)
Website www.asansolmycity.com/

Asansol (Bengali: আসানসোল), a coal mining & industrial metropolis and one of the busiest commercial centers in India, is the second largest city in West Bengal after Kolkata [1]. It is in Asansol subdivision located in Bardhaman District, in the western periphery of the state. It has a large work force, moderately high per capita income, educational establishments, good transport connections, several housing complexes, and land suitable for industry, institutions, transport and commerce. Its hinterland is Bankura and Purulia districts and North Bengal, linked to parts of Orissa and Jharkhand states. Asansol is going to be upgraded to a Mega City soon. According to a report released by International Institute for Environment and Development, a UK-based policy research non-governmental body, Asansol is among the 11 Indian cities in the list of 100 fastest growing cities in the world with a rank of 42 [2].

Contents

Overview

The stretch from Andal to Barakar and covering Raniganj, Jamuria, Asansol, Burnpur, Neamatpur, Kulti and Barakar, composed of a long stretch of about 40 kilometres along Grand Trunk Road forms one urban agglomeration, all of which falls within Asansol subdivision. The gaps between the almost contiguous urban centres are filled with collieries and small settlements. It should properly be considered as one city. The Chittaranjan - Rupnarayanpur urban centre is also closely linked. For the purposes of planning the entire stretch from Panagarh to Barakar is overseen by the Asansol Durgapur Development Authority (ADDA).

Being the central city for the coal belt, Asansol is heavily industrialized though many of the industries have fallen on hard times in recent years, leading to its transformation into a trading town that utilizes its position as the transport centre. The largest employers in the area are Eastern Coalfields (a subsidiary of Coal India Limited) and IISCO Steel Plant of Steel Authority of India Limited. Other major industries are Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, Hindustan Cables Ltd., Disergarh Power Supply, Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), Burn Standard, Reckitt and Coleman, couple of cement plants, such as Burnpur Cement, Asansol Cement and refractory units such as Kabita Refractories.

Map
The Sacred Heart Church (1875) now Cathedral of the R.C. Diocese of Asansol
The building of Atwal Brothers, a landmark in Asansol

History

Initially people of Dravidian and Austroloid stock inhabited this region. Around two thousand five hundred years ago, it became an area of significant Jain activity. According to some, the last Tirthankar of Jain religion, Mahavira Vardhamana, used to live and work in the area. The district and headquarters town thus came to be known as Bardhaman. Some identify the spread of Jainism in West Bengal with the Aryanisation of the region. Evidence of major Jain activity exists in the Jain temples on Pareshnath Hill in neighbouring Jharkhand. There is an old Jain temple at Begunia on the bank of the Barakar river and temples in neighbouring Bankura district also bear evidence of major Jain activity in the region.

Later, the area was possibly part of the Vishnupur kingdom, where the Malla dynasty ruled for around a thousand years till the advent of the British. There is a Vishnupur style temple in Chhotodighari village providing a clue to its links with Vishnupur. The local dialect and culture of the region has closer affinities with those of Bankura and Vishnupur than the other neighbouring areas.

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Coal and railways

In 1774, Suetonius Grant Heatly and John Summer of the East India Company discovered coal in the area, and mining started. The early exploration and mining operations were carried out in a haphazard manner and demand was limited. Regular mining operations started in 1820, led by an agency house, Alexander & Co. In 1835, Prince Dwarkanath Tagore bought over the collieries and Carr and Tagore Co. led the field. For the entire 19th century and a major part of the 20th century, Ranigunj coalfields in the Asansol region was the major producer of coal in the country.

At the behest of William Princep, Carr and Tagore Co. joined hands with Gilmore Hombray and Co. in 1843 to form Bengal Coal Co., which opened up the coal mining activities. Their headquarters was at Sanctoria. Other mining companies included Birbhum Coal Co., Equitable Coal Co., Madhu Roy and Prasanna Dutta Co., Bird and Co., South Barakar Coal Co., Andrew Yule and Company Ltd. and Balmer Lawrie.

The discovery of coal brought in the railways. In India, the first operational railway track was between Mumbai and Thane in 1853. In the eastern sector, the first train ran from Howrah to Hughli in 1854. It was officially opened in 1855 up to Ranigunj (194 km). It was extended through the Sahibganj loop up to Varanasi in 1862 and to Delhi in 1866. The line to Mumbai via Allahabad was opened in 1870. The present main line via Patna was opened in 1871. The present grand chord via Gaya came in 1906. The Howrah-Bardhaman chord was opened in 1917.

Asansol became an important centre of railway activity, and the railway settlements grew with the growth of the locomotive shops. It also brought in the European and Anglo-Indian communities, who were to play a pivotal role in the life of Asansol. Durand Institute (now renamed Swami Vivekananda Institute), reputed to be the oldest railway institute in Asia, was a major centre of European and Anglo-Indian activity. The old churches of Asansol and the leading schools were built to cater primarily to these communities. It was much later that Indians were allowed into the schools. There were a handful of Armenian businessmen. Old timers still recall the shops of Gregory at Asansol and Johannes at Burnpur. While Asansol emerged as an important centre of East Indian Railway, ultimately becoming the divisional headquarters in 1925, Adra emerged as a major centre of Bengal Nagpur Railway.

Development of industries

The extensive growth of railways in the country led to the development of the iron and steel industry. In 1870, James Erskine set up the Bengal Iron Works, also known as Barakar Iron Works. Some sources attribute the development to Hoare Miller and Co. of Kolkata. It is possible that James Erskine was an employee of that company. The first blast furnace using coal instead of charcoal went into production at Kulti in 1875. In those days, the place was more easily identified as Kendwa. Kulti was a smaller village than Kendwa. It utilised low-grade iron ore available locally.

In 1901 the country’s first iron ore mine was developed at Pansiraburu in Singhbhum district (then in Bengal, now in Jharkhand), as part of Manoharpur Ore Mines and linked to Kulti. In 1904, Kulti is credited with having produced steel from open hearth furnaces. However, with stiff competition from imported material, the steelmaking facilities were closed down. The ownership of the pioneering plant changed hands many times. The farsighted control of the plant by Sir Rajendranath Mookerjee, who had founded Martin and Co. with Sir Acquin Martin, kept it going.

The Sen-Raleigh cycle factory was located in the outskirts called Kanyapur. Later the company was taken over by government and renamed to CCIL. Models from the factory included Raleigh, Humber, Balaka, Rudge, Arjun and Swathi. Another major industry was Hindustan Pilkington Glass with a factory located in a prime area of the city. Due to labor problems the industry was closed.

IISCO Steel Plant at Burnpur

Burn and Co promoted The Indian Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. in 1918. G.H. Fairhurst is credited with having founded the plant at Burnpur (then better known as Hirapur). Sir Rajendranath Mookerjee and T. Leslie Martin were also associated with it. Sir Biren Mookerjee joined a little later and played a major role in the development of the plant. Iron production started at Burnpur in 1922. Kulti Works of Bengal Iron was merged with IISCO in 1936. Steel Corporation of Bengal (SCOB) set up the steelmaking facilities at Burnpur in 1939. SCOB was merged with IISCO in 1952 and Martin Burn was then the managing agent of the company. Indian Standard Wagon (ISW) (later renamed Burn Standard) set up its wagon factory at Burnpur.

Another major development of the colonial culture was the establishment of clubs. The British are credited with the formation of such clubs as Asansol Club, Burnpur Club, Kulti Club and Dishergarh Club. In the early days, these clubs did not admit Indians, who had their own organisations such as Hirapur Indian Association (later renamed Bharati Bhaban). Subsequently, Indians gained admission into the British clubs.

The growth and development of trade unions was a corollary of industrial development. Labour wages were low but the conditions of the rural areas were so pitiable that the area witnessed considerable influx of population not only from the neighbouring districts but also from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (then the United Provinces). The countryside was weighed down by excessive land revenue and lack of development. Famines were a regular feature.

Independence and industrial boom

The independence of the country in 1947 ushered in the next major economic change. Damodar Valley Corporation, the first multipurpose river valley project in the country, had a major presence at the edge of the area with dams at Maithon and Panchet (at both places the river forms the border with Jharkhand). The artificial lakes behind the dams have added considerably to the natural beauty of the area and are centres of picnicking.

With the nationalisation of the railways East Indian Railway became Eastern Railway and Bengal Nagpur Railway became South Eastern Railway. Asansol became divisional head quarters of Eastern Railway. Andal has the largest marshalling yard in Asia. The diesel locomotiveo shed at Andal can accommodate 101 locomotives and the electric locomotive shed at Asansol can accommodate 118 locomotives.

Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) was the first locomotive workshop in India, named after the freedom fighter, leader and statesman Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das. It initially produced steam locomotives. The production activity started on 26 January, 1950 the day when India became a Republic. The first steam locomotive Deshbandhu was dedicated to the nation by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India. With the roll out of first CLW built WAG-9 electric locomotive Navyug on 14 November 1998, India joined the five countries which can manufacture electric locomotives with 3-phase technology. In 2006, CLW produced Dr Silver, a 6,000 hp (4,500 kW) three-phase locomotive with remote diagnostic system.[3] Until 31 March 2006 CLW has produced 3380 electric locomotives.

Sen Raleigh Industries started production in their cycle factory at Kanyapur, near Asansol, in 1949. Pilkington set up a glass factory in Asansol. The Jaykay group established an aluminium plant at Jaykaynagar, near Asansol. The Dhakeswari textile mill was set up at Suryanagar on the banks of the Damodar. Bengal Paper Mill was established at Ballabhpur, Ranigunj. Hindustan Cables Ltd. set up their plant at Rupnarayanpur.

A steel plant was set up in neighbouring Durgapur and the plant at Burnpur was expanded. There also was considerable expansion of townships and other facilities. Nehru Park (formerly Lahmeyer Park) was built utilising the natural contour of the terrain on the banks of the Damodar. The airstrip at Burnpur can handle small aircraft. Along with the expansion of the steel plant at Burnpur the outdated open top blast furnaces of Kulti were closed and the Kulti Works emerged as the pioneer and later as the largest producer of spun pipes in the country. It also produced foundry products.

Geography

Pumping arrangements in the Damodar River

Asansol is located at 23°41′N 86°59′E / 23.68°N 86.98°E / 23.68; 86.98.[4] It has an average elevation of 97 metres (318 ft).

While most of Bengal is flat alluvial plains, Asansol subdivision lies on exposed Gondwana rocks and consists mostly of undulating laterite soil. It forms the lower edge of the Chota Nagpur plateau, which occupies most of Jharkhand. It is located between two rivers, Damodar and Ajay. Another river, Barakar, joins the Damodar near Dishergarh. A small rivulet, Nunia, flows past Asansol. The Ghagarburi temple on its banks attracts devotees round the year.

Dhanbad district lies on the western side and Durgapur sub division of Bardhman district lies on the eastern side. To the south, across the Damodar river are the Purulia and Bankura districts. To the north are Dumka and Birbhum districts. Dhanbad district across the Barakar river in Jharkhand is also a major mining area and has close links with Asansol. Both lie in the Damodar valley.

Economy

Nehru Park on the banks of Damodar River

The city's economy is based on the coal and steel industries. Situated in the Damodar River valley, the city has evolved and expanded over time to a population of one million, ranking it 23rd in India. It is located about 200 km from Kolkata.

Industrial decline and revival

Technological obsolescence proved to be a bane for the Asansol industrial belt. As the British industrialists left, the Indian trading community, which took over the British-owned industries and mines, failed to handle the situation properly, leading to labour trouble and industrial decline. The government stepped in and took over the mining and many of the industrial activities. The non-coking coal industry was nationalised in 1973. The coalmines in the Ranigunj coalfields were placed under Eastern Coalfields Ltd., a subsidiary of Coal India limited, with its headquarters at Sanctoria.

The Indian Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., then the third largest private company in India, was taken over by the government on 14 July 1972. It was made a subsidiary of SAIL in 1979 and merged with SAIL in 2006. The overall decline in industrial activity continued and many of the factories have closed down.

The industrial growth that has taken place since the opening up of the Indian economy in 1991 has yet to make an impact on the Asansol industrial region. However, with the continued development of Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, activities in the Eastern Coalfields, and the sanction of major investment for the modernisation of the IISCO Steel Plant of SAIL, the area is looking up again.

Coal country

Asansol is in the heart of the coal country. Ranigunj coalfields cover an area of 1530 km². Although it is spread over four districts of West Bengal – Bardhaman, Birbhum, Bankura and Purulia – and a part of Dhanbad district (Jharia coalfields are also in that district) of Jharkhand, the heart of Ranigunj Coalfields lies in the Asansol region. Pandaveswar, Kajora, Jhanjra Bankola, Kenda, Sonepur, Kunustoria, Satgram, Sripur, Sodepur and Salanpur are the major coal areas around Asansol. Kasta Coalfields, north of the Ajay river in Birbhum district, Mejia and Parbelia, across the Damodar in Bankura and Purulia district respectively, and Mugma, across the Barakar river in Dhanbad district, are adjacent to Asansol. Only small patches intrude into Durgapur subdivision. Coal in India was first mined in Narayankuri near Ranigunj.[5] Sitarampur boasts of the first Mines Rescue Station, Directorate of Mines Safety and explosive manufacturing unit now defunct but the former two still in operation.

The region sits on seams of coal. Reserves of coal in West Bengal (mostly in Asansol) are estimated to be 22.62 billion tonnes. ECL has 107 operating mines, a majority of them in Asansol. Superior quality non-coking coal is mined in the region. With around two centuries of coal mining in the region, most of the coal in the upper seams have been exhausted and underground mining has been extending to deeper seams. However, substantial volumes of coal are available in the pillars and walls of coal left behind to support the roofs of underground mines. Coal remaining in the surface seams can be mined by open cast methods.

The use of heavy duty earth-moving equipment has led to the development of large open cast mines. ECL’s total coal production of 27.25 million tonnes in 2004-05, is expected to rise to 46 million tonnes by 2011-12. Out of this 32.84 million tonnes is expected to be from the open cast mines. The annual production of Sonepur Bazari open cast project, a major project in the area, is proposed to be raised from the level of 3 million tonnes in 2004-05 to 8 million tonnes by 2011-12.

Underground coal mining brings with it the problem of subsidence. By law, when coal is taken out from an underground mine it is to be filled in with sand. However, the laws were not there in earlier days and even when it was there, private mine owners had violated this for decades and left behind big gaps beneath the surface. At places, the surface is subsiding and creating havoc in the area.

In 1952, 12 people were killed in a roof collapse in Dhemo Main colliery. In 1954, 63 people were killed in Newton Chikli, near Ranigunj, as a result of inundation. In 1956, 28 people were killed in Baro Dhemo colliery because of inundation. In 1958, 175 people were killed at Chinakuri because of explosion of fire damp. In 1994, 55 people were killed in New Kenda, near Jamuria, as a result of fire/suffocation by gases.[6]

The Baro Dhemo colliery accident, where a large number of people were rescued the mine was inundated with water, provided the inspiration for a theatrical production in Bengali, Angar (1959), directed by Utpal Dutta. The lighting effects by Tapash Sen, which recreated the flooding of a mine on the stage at Kolkata, were notable.

Administration

Bardhaman became a major administrative centre for the Muslim rulers and the subdivision was a part of the Muslim kingdoms in the region. It later became a part of the Bardhaman Raj functioning under the Mughals. When Mir Kassem, then Nawab of Sube Bangala, ceded Bardhaman along with Medinipur and Chittagong to East India Company in 1760 (three years after the Battle of Plassey), it was the beginning of an eventful chapter for the region. Till that time the area was a wilderness of forest and jungle, dotted at long intervals with tiny settlements. The countryside was ravaged and plundered by outlaws.

Administrative changes started taking place with the advent of the British. While Badhaman Raj continued to function under British tutelage, changes were made to suit the requirements of British administration. One major change was that of parganas (administrative division) to thana (police station).

In 1837 when Bankura district was formed, the Asansol-Ranigunj area was part of Bankura district. In 1847, Ranigunj subdivision was formed with three police stations –Ranigunj, Kanksa and Neamatpur and it was made a part of Bardhaman district. In 1906 the subdivisional headquarters was shifted to Asansol and the subdivision renamed accordingly. In 1910, the police stations in Asansol subdivision were Asansol, Ranigunj, Kanksa, Faridpur and Barakar. In 2006, Asansol subdivision has the following police stations: Chittaranjan, Salanpur, Barabani, Asansol (North), Asansol (South), Ranigunj, Jamuria, Hirapur and Kulti. In 1968, Durgapur subdivision was carved out of Asansol subdivision.

Additional Superintendent of Police is in overall charge of Police administration of Asansol being assisted by Dy. S.P (Hqrs), Dy.S.P (SR) and Dy.S.P, DEB Asansol. Asansol Police Lines which is located at the heart of the city is the head quarters of Asansol Police though the Police Office is located at Evelyn Lodge. Armed Police Inspector (API) Asansol is in charge of District Armed Police who are deployed at Asansol. Reserve Office looks after disposition, leave, transfer/promotional matters of police personnel. Apart from that District Intelligence Officer-II is entrusted with intelligence related matters.

Asansol subdivisional police has done pioneering work by introducing registered organisations like Disha Janakalyan Kendra, Lachhipur and Faiz-e-Aam Committee, Railpar, and Udichi Co-operative, and Gunjan Ecological Park, Nigha. Shri Soumen Mitra IPS, the then Addl.s.p, Asansol introduced this concept.

Asansol is a corporation administered by the Asansol Municipal Corporation. In 1850, a union committee was formed to look after the civic needs of Asansol. The municipality was approved in 1885 but started functioning effectively in 1896. It has been upgraded to the status of a corporation in 1996.

Politics

In 2006 state assembly elections Prativa Ranjan Mukherjee of CPI (M) won the Asansol seat defeating his nearest rival Kalyan Banerjee of AITC. In 2001, Kalyan Banerjee had defeated Goutam Roy Choudhuri of CPI (M). In 1996, Tapas Banerjee of INC had defeated Goutam Roy Choudhury. In 1991, Goutam Roy Choudhury had won the seat defeating Bajrangi Gupta of BJP. In 1987, Prabuddha Laha of INC had defeated Goutam Roy Choudhury. In 1982, Bejoy Pal of CPI (M) defeated his nearest rival Sukumar Banerjee of INC. In 1977, Haradhan Roy of CPI (M) defeated Gopika Ranjan Mitra of INC.[7] In 1972, Niranjan Dihidar of CPI won the seat. In 1969 and 1971, Dr. Lokesh Ghosh of CPI (M) won the seat. In 1967, Gopika Ranjan Mitra of INC won the seat. In 1962, Bijoy Pal of CPI won. In 1957, it was won by Shibdas Ghatak of INC. In independent India’s first election in 1952, Atindra Kumar Bose of Forward Block won the seat defeating Yogendranath Roy of INC.[8]

Asansol (Lok Sabha constituency) is composed of the following assembly segments: Asansol, Hirapur, Kulti, Barabani, Ranigunj, Jamuria and Ukhra.[9]

In the elections to the first Lok Sabha held in 1951, Asansol was part of the Burdwan constituency. While Amitava Ghosh won the general seat, Mono Mohan Das won the seat reserved for Scheduled Castes. In the 1957 election for the second Lok Sabha, Asansol constituency was formed for the first time. Once again, the winners were Atulya Ghosh and Mono Mohan Das. In the 1962 election for the third Lok Sabha, Atulya Ghosh won from Asansol. For the 1967 election to the fourth Lok Sabha, the veteran leader and treasurer of the Congress Party, Atulya Ghosh, shifted to Bankura and lost what was described as a historic battle to J.M. Biswas of CPI. Deben Sen of Samyukta Socialist Party won the Asansol seat.

In 1971 and 1977 Robin Sen of CPI (M) won the Asansol seat. Ananda Gopal Mukherjee, the state Congress leader wrested back the seat in 1980 and retained it in 1984 for the eighth Lok Sabha. Thereafter, it has been a steady CPI (M) seat. Haradhan Roy won it in 1989, 1991 and 1994. Bikash Chowdhury won it in 1998 and 2004. On the incumbent’s death, Bangsa Gopal Chaudhuri won it in a bye-election in 2005.
Now a days CPI (M) is achieving the majority. Partha Mukherjee is the general secretary of CPI (M). ABTA, the Teachers association of Bengal, and CITU, the labours association, are strong. Pradip Mondal is the subdivisional secretary and Amitadyuti Ghosh is the Jonal Secretary of ABTA.

1984 Anti-Sikh massacre

Asansol became a victim of 1984 Anti-Sikh massacre when sectarian unrest created by congress politicians loyal to Indira Gandhi engulfed New Delhi leading to the death of thousands of Sikhs.

Transport

The Grand Trunk Road (NH 2) runs across the subdivision. The highway has been broadened as part of the Golden Quadrilateral project and now allows two lane traffic each way. A bypass enables highway traffic to avoid the congested areas of Asansol, Neamatpur, Kulti and Barakar. Asansol is connected to Kolkata by road with daily buses as well as non-ac government buses.

The railway track from Kolkata to Delhi passes through the subdivision and bifurcates into the main line and the grand chord line, at Sitarampur railway junction, a little to the west of Asansol. Another railway track links Asansol with Adra and then to Jamshedpur via Purulia and Kharagpur via Bankura. A branch line connects Andal with Sainthia on the Sahibgunj loop. Almost all of the trains linking Kolkata with north India connect Asansol with Kolkata as well as with north India. The Howrah - Indore Shipra Express is the only train that connects the city to Indore, Bhopal and other central Indian cities.

An aerodrome is located at Burnpur in Asansol. Another airport will be constructed at Andal near Asansol within the next decade.

Demographics

As of 2001 India census,[10] Asansol had a population of 1,067,369. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Asansol has an average literacy rate of 73%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Language

Although Asansol is a predominantly Bengali speaking city today, English was widely spoken and was once the language of business communication. After the railway works came, there was a substantial British and Anglo-Indian population. English medium schools started to impart education in English from as early as 1877. The first Christian Brother School in India St. Patrick's School was started in 1890. The students from this and other English medium schools provided the elite work force that was needed to operate the British Indian Railways, the British Indian Army and the coal mines.

Post independence, most of the Anglo-Indian community migrated to Canada and Australia. The community living in Asansol now is predominantly Bengali. The Bengali community is well represented by people from both East (now Bangladesh) and West Bengal, and there is a strong connection with the communities of the neighbouring state of Bihar. As a result a significant population speaks Hindi, which makes it the second most spoken language of the town.

Culture

People from various parts of India have added to the diverse cultures and traditions at all levels. Both Burnpur United Club and Burnpur Cricket Club flourished. There were clubs such as Barret Club and Kulti Sammelani, which prospered. Golf was played at Kulti and Yachting was popular at Maithon. In 1951, Asansol Rifle Club was set up at Chandmari. The two cultural hubs are Rabindrabhabon at Asansol and Bharati Bhawan at Burnpur. Another cultural center of Asansol City is Sarat Mancha, located at Asansol Police Lines.

With the advent of the 'band culture' Asansol also holds seat to some of the bands. Muzik Street[11], Bahubachan, Sixth Sense and Desh[12] being popular.

Education

Asansol is an educational hub, acting as the educational centre for the coal belt from Dhanbad to Ranigunj. Some of the schools are Asansol Ramakrishna Mission, Dhadka NCL vidyamandir, Domohani Kelejora High School, Umarani Gorai Mahilakalyan, Arunoday High School, Manimala Girls, Eastern Railways High School, Dyanand Anglo Vedic Higher Secondary School, St. Patrick's Higher Secondary School, St. Vincent's High and Technical School, Loreto Convent,[13] Assembly of God Church School, The Eastern Railway School, Subhaspalli Bidyaniketan and Burnpur Riverside School (BRS), DAV Public School, Asansol Collegiate School, India International School and Jaharmal Jalan Institution. An upcoming nonprofit online directory called the Asansol Schools Network will enable those with connections to Asansol to find each other - http://asansolschools.org/. There are five schools run by IISCo authority. There are four general degree colleges. Bidhan Chandra College and B.B college are coeducational colleges. Asansol Girls College is a college for Girls in Asansol. There is an engineering college (Asansol Engineering College), one pharmacy college, two polytechnics and one homeopathy medical college.

Developments

Development in Asansol is carried out by Asansol Durgapur Development Authority. ADDA promotes industrial estates, housing schemes, urban infrastructure development for industrialisation of this region, to provide solutions to industries and entrepreneurs. Its projects include roads, bridges, drainage, transport, water supply, irrigation. It develops schools, colleges and amusement parks.

Recent developments

Shristinagar

Shristinagar, better known as New Asansol, is a green township spread over 100 acres (0.40 km2) with a development of around 6,000,000 square feet (560,000 m2) housing 5000 families. It comprises premium residential apartments, group housing structures, plotted housing units, bungalows and row houses, commercial and retail area, IT park, resort cum club with infrastructure.

The central business district will be at the heart of Shristinagar spread over 20 acres (81,000 m2) encompassing activity centers like shopping mall with multiplex, IT park with an hotel, an amusement park along with a lifestyle club. Asansol Centrum will be the largest mall in West Bengal outside Kolkata comprising of a multiplex.

Galaxy Mall

Srijan Developers along with Avani Group is building a shopping mall at Burnpur Road in the heart of the city. This will comprise branded anchor stores and a multiplex. This wiil be also one of the largest malls in this region.

Medica Synergie Hospital

Medica Synergie will be opening its new multi-speciality hospital on NH-II by-pass.

B.P Poddar Hospitals

B.P Poddar Hospitals of Kolkata is planning to open a new hospital in Asansol.

Reliance Retail

Reliance Retail has been allotted 10.0 acres of land at KSTP, Asansol for developing Reliance Town Centre.

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)

Reliance Industries Limited has been allotted (77.72 + 22.28) acres of land at Mouza Ganrui, JL No. 12, Asansol on NH-II, for setting up Reliance Distribution Centre.

Blue Chip Projects Pvt. Ltd

Blue Chip Projects Pvt. Ltd has been allotted 103.0 Katha of land on Sen-reliegh Road in KSTP, Asansol for developing a shopping mall. The work is in progress.

Blue Light Beverages Pvt. Ltd

Blue Light Beverages Pvt. Ltd has been allotted 98 Katha 10 Chhatak of land on NH-II, By-pass, near Jubilee Crossing for one shopping mall.

Steel Plant

In Salanpur, Bhushan Steel Ltd will invest Rs 8000-crore to make an integrated steel plant which will be followed by a private township for its employees.

Sugam Park

Sugam Park will be a premium residential township.

CBM Project in the area of Asansol

Great Eastern Energy Corporation Limited has started the exploration, production and marketing of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) in the Burnpur riverside area. The company has successfully started supplying CBM gas to industry and opened a CNG refueling station in association with IOCL in Asansol and Durgapur subdivisions.

Nearby places

  • Churulia - where the poet - Kazi Nazrul Islam was born. He is considered the national poet of Bangladesh. The village is about 17 km from Asansol, and contains a museum with his works and a memorial.
  • Santiniketan - Visva-Bharati, founded by Rabindranath Tagore and now a central university and an institution of national importance, is located here. It is about 90 km from Asansol.
  • Durgapur - An industrial city 50 km to the east of Asansol and home to the Durgapur Steel Plant
  • Bishnupur - the terracotta temple town and home to major art and craft is about 100 km from Asansol. The Bankura horse, symbol of Indian handicrafts is produced at Panchmura, near Vishnupur. It is also the home of the Baluchari sari, initially woven with Ramayana and Mahabharata motifs but now modernised.
  • Kalyaneshwari temple – the temple of the Lady of Fulfilment, about 20 km from Asansol has been a place of pilgrimage, particularly for barren women, for about five centuries. It is in Maithon
  • Jaydev Kenduli – temple dedicated to the Sanskrit poet Joydeb, on the banks of the Ajay river, is about 80 km from Asansol. Makar sankranti mela with bauls (religious singers with a detached philosophy and spontaneity of their own) participating is held in mid January.
  • Bakreshwar – hot spring and temple is about 70 km from Asansol.
  • Joychandi Pahar – picnic spot and centre for rock climbing training is about 30 km from Asansol.
  • Maithon-A beautiful place some 26 km from Asansol. Maithon Dam and Maithon Hydro Electric Power Station are among the notable places to visit
  • Gunjan Echological Park - A social welfare project of Asansol Police located on G.T. Road at Nigha under Jamuria P.S. It was earlier an abandoned O.C.P. of Eastern Coalfields Limited and was a den of criminals and illegally-mined-coal racketeers. Shri Somen Mitra, IPS, the then Addl S P of Asansol took the initiative to get that area under control of the Asansol police.

Nearly 300 acres of land with waterbody is now an attraction for the citizens of Asansol, with a mini-zoo and a children's park. During winter, the lake supports hundreds of migratory birds. An anglers' club also exists at the Ecological Park. Asansol police is in a process to develop the area in association with ECL, SAIL-ISP and ADDA.

See also

References

  • History of The Indian Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. by Dr. N.R.Srinivasan
  • Bardhaman Jelar Itihas O Lok Sanskriti (History and Folk-lore of Bardhaman District) in Bengali by Akkari Chattopadhyay
  • Web sites of companies operating in the area.
  • Web sites of the Election Commission.

Notes

External links


Asansol Picture Gallery
File:Chitra Cinema Hall, Asansol.JPG
Chitra Cinema Hall, Asansol. 

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asansol is a city in Rarh in India. It is the second largest urban agglomeration in West Bengal and is an important mining and industrial centre.

Nehru Park, Burnpur
Nehru Park, Burnpur

Get in

By train

Asansol is an important junction on the Howrah-Delhi track and most of the trains stop here. For travel from Kolkata, 200 km, the short distance trains are ideal - Ranchi Shatabdi Express, Agniveena Express, Coalfield Express and Black Diamond Express from Howrah, and Inter City Express from Sealdah. Be sure to book a reserved seat in advance because the trains are generally crowded.

By road

Asansol is on Grand Trunk Road (NH 2) and so travel is straight. The road is superb with four lanes and a divider in place. Those travelling from Kolkata should take the Durgapur Expressway from Dankuni and then Grand Trunk Road (bypassing Bardhaman town)from Shaktigarh.

By plane

Kolkata is the nearest commercial airport. There is a private airstrip at Burnpur, suitable for small planes.

Get around

Hired cars, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are available. Nobody goes by meters and so be sure to check about the hire charges before boarding.

  • Nehru Park on the bank of the Damodar river in Burnpur.
  • Churulia - here the famous poet - Kazi Nazrul Islam was born. He is considered the national poet of Bangladesh. The village is about 17 km from Asansol, and contains a museum with his works and a memorial for him. A fair with high standard cultural programmes are organised on the occasion of the poet's birthday in the Bengali month of Jaistha (May-June).
  • Kalyaneswari Temple – The temple of the Lady of Fulfilment, about 20 km from Asansol has been a place of pilgrimage, particularly for barren women, for about five centuries. It is near Maithon. Normally one makes it a part of a visit to Maithon Dam.
  • Maithon Dam - about 20 km from Asansol. It is approachable via Neamatpur or Asansol Bypass, or one can take a little circuitous route via Chirkunda. Those travelling in a car often take one route for going out and return by the other.
  • Panchet Dam – about 20 km from Asansol. It is approachable by Chirkunda.
  • Joychandi Pahar – popular picnic spot and centre for rock climbing training, is about 30 km from Asansol. One has to take a train on the Asansol-Adra line to get there. There is a station of that name.

Parks:

1.Satabdi Park: It is at 2 KM form station. There is the facilities of Paddle boating and few rides for the children. Nice place to spend the evening. 2. Neheru Park (Lamia Park): It is near about at 10 km from station. It is also a nice picnic spot for week ends.

Do

With the massive Rs. 5,000 crore plus modernisation of IISCO Steel Plant coming up, Asansol will be abuzz with commercial activity.

  • Ghagar Buri Chandi Temple, NEAR NH2. Maa ghagar buri is one 'roop' of Maa Chandi. U can give puja in morning time. U can have auto, taxi etc from ASN stn.  edit
  • Chelidanga, (2 km from station). Heart of Asansol....one should come here on Christmas and new Year time to see the gloroy of the towm at its best....  edit

Buy

Coal and steel in bulk quantities. It is in the heart of the mining-industry zone. However, shops do sell the necessities of daily life. Most of the shops are on Grand Trunk Road, in the market area. It is near the station.

  • Arpan on Burnpur Road, adjacent to Chitra Cinema.
  • Sudhamrit on Grand Trunk Road, right in the market place
  • ```Garam Masala``` Bombay hotel presents a complete vegetarian a/c restaurant in the market
  • Arpan has a bar.

Most of clubs in the area have the colonial old world charm but entry is restricted strictly to members and their guests.

  • Hotel Maithon, Maithon Dam, Kalyaneswari, Burdwan, West Bengal, 0341 252 1405. checkin: 31/12/2009; checkout: 02/01/2010.  edit
  • Hotel Shanti Niwas, +91 033 9230653695. checkin: 12 noon; checkout: 11.30 AM. Hotel with AC rooms near the dam 1000.  edit
  • Santiniketan - Visva-Bharati, founded by Rabindranath Tagore and now a central university and an institution of national importance, is located here. It is about 90 km from Asansol.
  • Vishnupur - the famous terracota temple town and home to major art and craft is about 100 km from Asansol. The Bankura horse, symbol of Indian handicrafts is produced at Panchmura, near Vishnupur. It is also the home of the Baluchari sari, initially woven with Ramayana and Mahabharata motifs but now modernised.
  • Kendubillo – temple and birthplace of Sanskrit poet Joydeb, on the banks of the Ajay river, is about 80 km from Asansol. Makar sankranti mela with bauls (religious singers with a detached philosohy and spontanaeity of their own) participating is held in mid January.
  • Bakreshwar – hot spring and temple is about 70 km from Asanasol.
  • Durgapur - 30 km from Asansol.
  • Dhanbad - 60 km from Asansol.
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