BACKGROUND INFORMATION

 

 

Industrial development in West Bengal dates back to the latter part of 19th century when jute mills were set up along the sides of river Hooghly. These were followed by engineering, iron and steel, cotton textile, chemicals and other industries.  At present, important large scale industries in West Bengal include  (i) Jute  and textile (ii) Iron & steel (iii) Engineering (iv) Petroleum refining (v) Chemicals (vi) Paper (vii) Tea (viii) Cotton textile & (ix) Leather.

 

West Bengal is dominated by tropical humid or sub-humid type of climate.  This type of climate is suitable for the development of industries and urban settlements.

 

Further, availability of raw materials, power, supply of labour, port facilities and surface transport facilities are the favourable factors for the development of industries in West Bengal.

 

Development of industrial base is primarily dependent on the availability of power.  Rapid progress in the generation of thermal power has made a very important contribution to the development of the industries.

 

Installed power generation capacity in 1950-51 was less than 600 mega-watt.  At present, it is nearly 7,000 megawatt.  98% of its come from coal based thermal power stations.  Thermal power generation accounts for the highest proportion of coal consumption in West Bengal.  Consumption of coal by this sector increased from 63% of the total consumption in 1994-95 to 70% of the total in 2000-01.

 

West Bengal is the pioneer and till now most important State in the country for the manufacturing of jute textiles.  At present there are 81 jute mills in West Bengal (including now operating jute mills).  In 2000-2001, total production of jute textiles in West Bengal was 1.39 million tones.

 

West Bengal is one of the leading States in the production of engineering goods.& export of engineering goods from West Bengal is highly significant.  Major engineering industries include machine tool, textile machinery, transport equipment, railways engine, wagon manufacturing, precision engineering tools, ship building etc.

 

West Bengal possesses two out of seven integrated iron and steel plants of the country.  Total production of finished steel in West Bengal increased from 1.03 million tones in 1991-92 to 1.40 million tones in 1999-2000.

 

Tea industry plays an important role in the economy of West Bengal.  Total production of tea in West Bengal increased from 133.19 million kgs in 1980 to 180.72 million kgs in 2000.  During the same period, total number of tea estates remain unchanged at 306.  West Bengal is the 2nd largest tea producing state in India following Assam and accounted for 21.3% of the country’s total production in 2000.

 

Leather industry occupies an important position in the industrial economy  of the State.  West Bengal is the highest foreign exchange earner from the export of finished leather goods among all the States in India.  The State accounts for 15% of the total production of leather and leather products of India.

 

2.1.   PHYSICAL & GEOGRAPHICAL STRUCTURE

 

West Bengal is essentially a flat, fearless alluvial plain, only 1% of her area in the far north is really mountainous and about 6% of the area in the west is low plateau.  Thus the relief of West Bengal can be divided into 3 main divisions viz.

 

(1) The Northern Mountains

(2) The Western Plateau And The Fringing Uplands

(3) The Plains

 

(1)     The Northern Mountains : The Northern Mountains occupy about northern two-third of Darjeeling district and a minor area in the north-east of the district of Jalpaiguri.  The mountains of both of these district belong to the folded Himalayan system and have connection through Bhutan.

 

(2)     The Western Plateau and the Fringing Uplands : The Western Plateau and the Fringing Uplands covers an area comprising of the whole of Purulia district, the Western part of Birbhum, Bankura and Burdwan districts and a small part in the north-east of Midnapore.  The principal rivers of the plateau viz. the Bakreswar, the Kopai, the Ajoy, the Kangsabati, the Subarnarekha and some others generally flow eastward following the general slope of the country.

 

(3)     The Plains : The whole of West Bengal excluding the Northern Mountains and the Western Plateau is an alluvial plain drained by the Ganga and its various tributaries.  They are (a) the Tarai (b) the North Bengal Plain (c) The Ganga Delta, (d) the Rahr Plain and (e) the Sandy Coastal plain Kanthi.

 

(a)        The Terai his along the junction between the hills and plains in the Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal.  The part of Terai that lies east of the Tista is known as ‘Duars’ which is so called because it affords, as if, a number of doors to enter Bhutan.  The Terai has higher elevation and steeper slope than the remaining part of the plain.

 

(b)        The Northern Plain lying between the Ganga and the Terai comprised of newer and finer alluvium.  However, a substantial part in the south of West Dinajpur and in the north east of Malda is built up with old alluvium.  The tract is known as the Barind which extends beyond West Bengal to Bangladesh.

 

(c)        The Ganga Delta : The plain south of the Ganga and east of the Bhagirathi-Hooghly is generally recognized as the Ganga Delta which occupies.

 

(d)        The Rahr Plain: The Rahr Plain lies east of the Western Plateau Fringe, west of the Bhagirathi-Hooghly and north-west of sandy coastal plain of Kanthi.  The western section of the plain is slightly higher and undulating whereas the eastern counterpart, built upon new alluvium, is lower and flat.  The region is drained by a number of rivers of which the Mayurakshi, the Ajoy, the Damodar.  The Darakeswar, the Silabati, the Kangsabati are the most important.

 

(e)         The Sandy Coastal Plain, Kanthi : The plain extends as a strip along the Midnapore coast mainly from the west of the Hooghly river to the border of Orissa.  Its inland extension is about 10-15 km. from the coast.  A belt of sand dunes run parallel to the coast and the beaches at places are sandy and firm and at places marshy.  Here are also found a number of salt creeks or which the Rasulpur river is the most important.

 

2.2    DENSITY OF POPULATION

 

West Bengal is a state covered by 87,853 sq. km. area in the eastern part of the country.  Population of the state is nearly 68,077,965 (As per 1991 census) and density of population is 767 (approx.) per sq. km.  This high density of population is primarily due to

 

(a)         Progressive agricultural activities in the Gangetic plain

 

(b)         Presence of minerals and power (including hydel power) resources in the coal fields of the Damodar basin e.g. Raniganj, Assam etc.

 

(c)         Rapid industrialization and development of commerce and trade activities in Kolkata, Howrah , Durgapur, Asansol.

 

(d)         Level plains with easy accessibility as developed in the flat alluvial deltaic plains of Southern West Bengal.

 

2.3              STRATEGIC BENEBITS AS METROPOLITAN CITY

 

Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, is situated on the bank of the lower Hooghly river.  It is one of the four metropolitan city of the country.  Kolkata had over 10.9 million inhabitants in 1991.  It is the largest metropolitan city and second biggest port of cultural, commercial and industrial centre of India.  Kolkata is served by the eastern railway, South Eastern Railway, Metro Railway, numerous navigable waterways and airways(with international airport-Dum Dum).

 

2.3.1            MAJOR PORT

 

Kolkata port is one of the 11 major ports of India.  It is located on the left bank of the river Hooghly in West Bengal.  It is a  significant port in eastern India.  The port is fully equipped with dock systems for handling bulk carrier and bigger vessels.  But dredging is required throughout the year due to variable depth of water in the Hooghly river.

 

The hinterland  Kolkata serves West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, parts of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.  Its extensive hinterland is also rich in minerals, forest resources and different agricultural as well as industrial products and is well connected with Kolkata by roads, railways and airways.  The chief exports are tea, coal, sugar, gunnies and other jute goods, iron and steel manufacture bone-meal, railways wagons, lac, mica, scrap, leather goods etc.  The imports are foodgrains, flour rice, machinery, oil, sulphur, fertilizer, petroleum, cement, timber, railways equipments etc.

 

2.3.2      PHYSICAL DIVISIONS

 

According to physical features West Bengal can be divided into three physical divisions.  They are:

 

i)             Mountains and Hills

ii)           Highland & Plateaus

iii)         Plains

 

i)       Mountains and Hills : The middle and outer Himalaya in Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts constitute this region.

 

ii)      Uplands of the Western Plateau Fringe: This physical region is geologically the oldest part of West Bengal.  It extend over the whole of Purulia and the Western part of Midnapure, Bankura, Burdwan and Birbhum districts.

 

iii)     Riverine Plains and Delta: The vast alluvial plains stretch from the northern foothills to the Southern coasts.


2.3.3   INTERNATIONAL BORDERS

 

West Bengal has international borders with three independent states – Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.  Besides, China is also a very close neighbour.  No other state in India has so many independent neighbours.

 

2.3.4   CLIMATE

 

West Bengal experiences a hot and humid monsoon climate.  But diversity in hypsographical features as well as in geographical situation of its different parts have caused diversity in climate.  The climate of West Bengal can be divided into 4 principal seasons.

 

i)             Hot weather or summer season – (March to May)

ii)           Rainy season – (June to September)

iii)         Autumn season – (October to November)

iv)         Winter season – (December to February)

 

2.3.5.           AGRICULTURE

 

Importance of agriculture

 

Warm and humid climate and vast areas of fertile plain lands have caused the agriculture to be developed as the most magnificent economic activity of the State.  Nearly ²/³ rd of the total land area of West Bengal is used for cultivation.  Importance of agriculture in the economy of West Bengal may be mentioned as follows:

 

1.      Agricultural sector is the most important employment generating sector of the State.  According to the 1991 census; 53% of the total workers of the State are directly engaged in agriculture.  Agriculture also indirectly constitutes to the employment generation by promoting agro-based industries and other agriculture-related activities.

 

2.      Contribution of agricultural sector to the State domestic product is greater than any other economic sector of West Bengal.  In     1999-2000 this sector accounted for Rs. 33,241 crores  which was 26% of the total domestic product.

 

3.      Agriculture has promoted the development of agro-based industries in West Bengal.  Jute is a very important commercial crop in the State and it supports the jute textile industry in the Hooghly industrial region in and around Kolkata.  The State accounts for most of the jute textiles produced in India.  Tea is another important industry in the State.  Kolkata is the biggest auction market for tea in India.  Rice mills, oil mills, silk industry etc. are other important agro-based industries in the State.

 

4.      West Bengal is the largest producer of rice in India.  Surplus rice production in the State provides income opportunities to the rice farmers.

 

Contribution of West Bengal to all India production of selected crops and comparative yield rates

 

Crops

Production (as % of the country’s total)

Production rank in India (2000-01)

Yield rate in 2000-01 (Kgs. Per hectare)

1980-81

1985-86

1999-91

2000-01

West Bengal

India

Rice

13.9%

12.5%

14.0%

14.6%

1st

2,287

1,913

Wheat

1.3%

1.6%

1.0%

1.5%

9th

2,485

2,743

Jute

57.6%

59.9%

60.2%

71.7%

1st

2,182

2,014

Tea

23.4%

24.0%

20.8%

21.3%

2nd

1,647

N. A.

Potato

20.4%

26.5%

29.5%

34.7%

2nd

25,606

18,421

 

[Source: Economic Review, Government of West Bengal]  N. A. = Not Available

 

2.3.6.   FAVOURABLE CONDITIONS FOR THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE IN WEST BENGAL

 

Physical Conditions

 

1)                 Climate: Climate of West Bengal in general is warm and humid which is highly favourable for the development of Agriculture.  Annual average rainfall is around 200 c.m. which is most suitable for the cultivation of rice.  Temperature is favourable for cultivation is most of the places except in the high Himalayan areas of Darjeeling district.  Monsoon is the main rainfall season in West Bengal which occurs between June and September.  But pre-monsoon non-western rainfall is also important for the development of agriculture in southern part of West Bengal.

 

2)                 Soil: Alluvial soil is the most dominant type of soil in West Bengal except in the places .ie fringes of the western districts and Himalayan areas of Darjeeling district.  Moderately high clay content of alluvial soil of the deltaic part of the State causes high water retention capacity.  This is suitable for the cultivation of rice and jute.

 

Coarsely textured soils of the sub-Himalayan region of north Bengal and red hilly soils of the Darjeeling Himalayan are suitable for the cultivation of tea.

 

Silly alluvial soil of Hooghly and Burdwan districts is also favourable for the cultivation of potato.

 

3)                 Land Form: Depositional plain land is the most common type of landform in West Bengal with exception of northern most and Western most parts of the state.  This type of landform is most favourable for the cultivation of rice, jute and many other crops and vegetables.

 

4)                 Inland Waterbodies: Presence of the river Ganga and its perennial tributaries and distributaries facilitate the development of irrigation system.  This is particularly more important when river valley projects have been developed.

 

 

2.3.7.  SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITIONS

 

1.                  Demand.  West Bengal is one of  the most densely populated state in India.  For this reason, demand for crops is very high which results into the development of intensive agricultural practices for the cultivation of food grains.  Cash crops like jute has a high industrial demand within the state that is a motivating factor for the development of jute cultivation.

 

2.                  Technology. Agriculture in West Bengal is basically traditional.  But in recent years there is a rapid increase in the uses of modern technological inputs.  These inputs not only include chemical fertilizers and high yielding varieties of (HYV) seeds but also  sometimes portable agricultural machinery which are suitable for small farms.  Uses of these inputs have caused a significant increase in the production of agricultural commodities.

 

3.                  Labour.  In spite of the growth of other sectors of economy, agriculture is still the dominant employment-generating sector providing employment to more than half of the state’s total working population.  Labour intensive agricultural practices have been developed due to the high density of population in the rural areas.  Easy availability of traditionally skilled agricultural workers is a favorable condition for the growth and development of agriculture in the state.

 

4.                  Land Reform.  Redistribution of surplus agricultural land under the land reform measures had caused the more efficient and intensive utilization of the cultivable lands of the state.  Till September, 2001, 4.28 lakh hectares of surplus land were distributed to 26.05 lakh beneficiaries.  Registration of share croppers under the land reform programme has also created a favorable situation for the development of agriculture.  It has obtained the security of tenure for the share croppers, thereby creating greater motivation and more involvement of these people in the agricultural activities.

 

2.3.8.   MEASURES TAKEN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT  OF AGRICULTURE

 

1.                  Redistribution of surplus land.  This is one of the most successful measures to involve more people in agriculture and to ensure more efficient utilization of agricultural land.  This measure has increased the multiple cropping areas (areas cultivated more than once in a year) and the yield rates have also been increased.

 

2.                  Registration of share croppers.  This is also a very important measure to ensure the security of tenure for the share croppers so that they are better motivated and more actively involved in the development of agriculture.  Till September, 2000, 1495 lakh share croppers registered their names under the scheme Operation Barga.

 

3.                  Expansion of irrigation facilities.  Development of irrigation potential has been given utmost importance mainly through the creation of minor irrigation potential.  Till the end of March, 2001 total gross minor irrigation potential created in the state was 34.64 lakh hectares of which 28.68 lakh hectares were utilized.  Till March, 2001, total area under major irrigation schemes was 10.39 lakh hectares.  In 1999-2000, 28% of the net sown area was under irrigation.  Most significant achievements in the development of irrigation in recent years have been made in Jalpaiguri district and Darjeeling district (plain area) due to Teesta Barrage Project.

 

4.                  Increase in gross cropped area.  Net sown area has remained more or less same during the last years or so as it was not possible to convert the non-agricultural areas into agricultural areas.  So, the only way to increase total area under cultivation was to increase the gross cropped area through the practices of multiple cropping (if one hectare of land is cultivated thrice a year, gross cropped area is 1 X 3 = 3 hectares).  Due to the increase in multiple cropping, total gross cropped area increased from 86.6 lakh hectares in 1990-91 to 91.2 lakh hectares in 2000-01.

 

5.                  Uses of high yielding varieties of seeds.  Increasing uses of high yielding varieties of seeds have increased the crop production to a significant extent and have increased the extent of multiple cropping.  Area under high yielding varieties of rice increased from 29.6% of total rice farming area in 1980-81 to 88.6% of total rice farming area in 2000-01.  Most of the Aus and all the Boro rice cultivation areas are now under high yielding varieties of rice.

 

6.                  Uses of modern agricultural machinery.  Traditionally, agriculture in West Bengal is based on muscle power of man and animals.  But in recent years, different measures have been taken by the government to introduce small and portable agricultural machinery and for this reason, subsidies are given by the government on the purchase of these machinery.

 

7.                  Development of dry land farming.  The state government has promoted modern dry land farming practices in 59 blocks of five districts, namely, Bankura, Birbhum, Purulia, Midnapore (Western part) and Burdwan (some parts).  These areas suffer from low and erratic rainfall, limited irrigation potential and poor soil status.  The strategy involves (i) soil and water management, (ii) cropping system management, (iii) fertilizer application management and (iv) alternative land use management.

 

8.                  Development of agricultural research.  Emphasis has been given to promote research activities related to the farming practices, seeds, fertilizer applications, soil and water management techniques etc.  A Dryland Research Station has been set up in Bankura, Bidhan Chandra Agricultural University has been set up in Kalyani to promote research and development of agriculture.

 

 

2.3.9.  ROLE OF AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDUSTRIES IN WEST BENGAL

 

Agricultural resource laid the foundation of early industrial development in the state when jute textile industry was developed at the later part of 19th century.  It was followed by other industries some of which became important at the national level.

Agriculture in West Bengal has promoted industrial development in the following ways:

 

i)       Some of the agricultural crops produced in West Bengal are used as raw materials for agro-based industries.  Most important crop for this purpose is jute that  supports the jute textile industry in West Bengal.  Other important crops are tea promoting, tea packaging industry and sugarcane promoting, sugar industry.  Besides this, mulberry cultivation promotes silk textile industry.


ii)      Development of agriculture has created an economic base in the rural areas which encourages industrial development.  There is an expansion of market in the rural areas for the industrial goods which is a motivating factor for the development of consumer goods industry.

 

iii)    Agricultural sector creates demand for certain industrial products which are used as inputs for agriculture.  These include fertilizers, pesticides, agricultural machinery, etc. There is an increasing demand for these inputs in the rural areas of West Bengal which encourage the setting up of these industries.

 

2.3.10. DEVELOPMENT OF INDUSTRIES BASED ON AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES

 

1)                 Jute textile industry.  West Bengal is the single largest producer of raw jute in India.  Industrial development in the state started with the development of jute textile industry.  It is not only one of the most important industries in West Bengal, it is an export earning industry for the country.  At present West Bengal possesses 47 out of 58 jute mills in the country and accounts for 85% of the country’s total value of jute output.

 

2)                 Tea industry.  West Bengal is the 2nd largest tea producing state in India and accounts for little more than ¹/5 th of the country’s total production.  Development of tea leaf processing (like CTC tea) and tea packaging industry in the state is based on the cultivation of tea in the northern districts of West Bengal.  Kolkata is the biggest auction market for tea in India.  Rice mills, oil mills, silk industry etc. are other important agro-based industries in the State.

 

3)                 Sugar industry.  Sugarcane cultivation in West Bengal is mainly found in Nadia and Murshidabad districts and also in Birbhum district.  Cultivation of sugarcane has promoted the development of sugar mills in Palasi (Nadia district), Beldanga (Murshidabad district) and Ahmedpur (Birbhum district).

 

4)                 Silk industry.  Mulberry cultivation for sericulture has become highly significant in Malda and the development of silk industry in Murshidabad and other districts is largely based on it.

 

5)                 Other industries.  Other agro-based industries in West Bengal  include rice mills, oil mills, fruit processing industry (mainly in north Bengal), tobacco industry, etc.

 


2.4.     CROPS

 

Major Crops

        

Jute: Jute is one of the very important cash-crops in India and West Bengal has virtually monopolized the cultivation of this crop by accounting for 71.7% of the country’s total production in 2000-2001.  Yield rate of jute increased from 1,310 kgs. per hectare in 1980-81 to 2,182 kgs. per hectare in 2000-01.  Production of jute in West Bengal increased from 4.42 million tones to 7.43 million to 7.43 million tones during the same period.  But unlike other major crops of the state production shows a fluctuating trend from year to year.  There had been a sharp increase of production between 1980-81 to 1985-86 with a rise of 67% but declined in the next 5 years by 25%.  It again increased by 35% in the following 10 years.  These fluctuations are caused by the instability of jute textile industry.

 

Favourable condition for cultivation:  Jute requires an average temperature of more than 25ºC and an average  rainfall of more than 150 cm.  Deep loamy soil and plain land are other favourable physical conditions.  All these are present in greater part of the state.  Presence of jute textile industry in the Hooghly Industrial Region creates a good demand for jute.

        

Producing area: With the exception of hilly areas of the north and plateau margins of the west, jute is cultivated in all places of West Bengal.  Major jute cultivating districts are Hooghly, Nadia, Murshidabad, North 24 Parganas, Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri.

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tea: West Bengal is the 2nd largest tea producing state in India following Assam.  In 2000-01, West Bengal accounted for 21.3% of the country’s total production.  This share has remained more or less unchanged since 1990-91.  The production increased from 133.2 million kgs. in 1980-81 to 180.7 million kgs. in 2000-01.  Yield rate during the same period made an increase from 1,424 kgs. to 1,647 kgs. per hectare.

 

Favourable conditions: Tea cultivation normally does not compete with rice cultivation for location as the required physical conditions are largely different.  Tea requires (i) high rainfall, preferable around 200 cm. in a year, (ii) moderate to high temperature, (iii) sloping ground to avoid inundation, (iv) well-drained and preferably porous soil.  These conditions are found in Darjeeling district and in foothill and other areas of Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts.  Long tradition of tea cultivation, high internal demand and high demand for Darjeeling tea in the international market are other favourable for the development.

 

Producing areas: Mountain slopes of Darjeeling normally below an altitude of 2,000 metres and Terai and Dooars region of north Bengal in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts are the tea producing areas of West Bengal.  More than   ¾ th of the total production of the state come from the Dooars region.

 

2.4.1.           MINERAL RESOURCES

 

West Bengal is not very rich in mineral resources.  Vast alluvial plains in West Bengal has made it a poorly prospecting zone for the development of mineral resources.  Most important mineral resource in the state is coal. Among the non-fuel minerals only fire clay is found in an adequate amount.  Metallic mineral resources are mostly absent or found in meager amount.

 

Outline of West Bengal’s Minerals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Coal

 

West Bengal is presently the 6th largest producer of coal in India.  In 2000-01, it produced 20.09 million tones of coal and accounted for 6% of the country’s total production.

 

In spite of a large production, West Bengal is a coal deficit state due to high demand and the consumption far exceeds the production as indicated below:

 

Year

Production

Consumption

 

Deficit

Power Generation

Steel

Others

Total

 

1994-95

17.24

15.31

5.42

3.67

24.40

-7.16

1997-98

17.89

16.63

3.29

3.56

23.48

-5.56

2000-01

20.09

19.34

4.53

3.82

27.69

-7.60

 

‘-‘ indicates deficit in production which is met by the supply from other states.

[Source: Compiled from different sources]

 

Thermal power generation accounts for the highest proportion of coal consumption in West Bengal.  Consumption of coal by this sector increased from 63% of the total consumption in 1994-95 to 70% of the total in 2000-01.  Steel is the second largest consumer but consumption by this sector declined from 22% to 16% of total consumption of coal in West Bengal during the same period.  Brick-klins are in the category of other major consumers of coal.

 

Major coal-based thermal power stations in West Bengal are Bandel, Santaldih, Mejhia, Durgapur, Waria, Disergarh, Kolaghat, Titagarh, Cossipure, Mulajore, Metiabruj, Budge Budge and Farakka.  Installed capacity of these power project with an installed capacity of 630 mega-watt has recently started commercial production.

 

 

2.4.2.  IMPORTANCE OF COAL IN WEST BENGAL AS A SOURCE OF POWER

 

1.         Development of iron and steel industry.  Early development of iron and steel industry in West Bengal was caused by the availability of coal.  IISCO at Burnpur (near Asansol) which started commercial production in 1919, was developed primarily due to the availability of coal in the Raniganj-Asansol coal belt.  After independence, Durgapur plant was developed during Second Five-year Plan and the location near Raniganj coalfield was a major factor for development.

 

2.         Development of other industries.  Development of industrial base is primarily dependent on the availability of power.  Availability of coal in Raniganj coalfield has promoted the early development of industries in this state.  Durgapur-Assansol industrial region largely includes heavy industries which are based on coal and engineering industries which are based on steel and also on coal as a source of power.  In recent years, rapid improvement of power generation has encouraged the development of industrial and commercial activities in the state.

 

3.         Power generation. Rapid progress in the generation of thermal power has made a very important contribution to the economic development of the state.  Installed power generation capacity in 1950-61 was less than 600 mega-watt.  At present, it is nearly 7,000 megawatt.

 

2.5.   INDUSTRIES

 

Industrial development in West Bengal dates back to the latter part of 19th century when jute mills were set up along two sides of river Hooghly. These were followed by engineering, iron and steel, cotton textile, chemicals and other industries.  At present, important large scale industries in West Bengal include   (i) jute textile, (ii) iron and steel, (iii) engineering, (iv) petroleum refining, (v) chemicals, (vi) paper, (vii) cotton textile, (viii) leather and (ix) tea industry.

 

2.5.1.  FAVOURABLE FACTOR FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDUSTRIES IN WEST BENGAL

 

1.         Availability of raw materials.  Two kinds of primary raw material are important in West Bengal for the development of industries.

 

(i)         West Bengal is noted for its rich agricultural base.  Some of the agricultural crops produced in West Bengal act as raw materials for industries.  Of these, jute is most important which is the basis for the development of jute textile industry in the state.  Other crops include tea (for tea industry), sugarcane (for sugar industry) and mulberry cultivation (for sericulture promoting silk industry).

 

(ii)        Mineral resources form the secondary category of raw material for the development of industries.  Production of mineral resources in the state is not considered to be very significant but some of these have promoted the localization of industries.  Most of these industries are in the small scale.  For example, availability of china clay has promoted the development of potteries in Bankura and Purulia districts.  Fire clay is found in the coalfield areas of Raniganj and it has promoted the manufacturing of refractory bricks which are highly heat resistant.

 

Among the large scale industries, iron and steel industry in Burnpur initially started by using iron-stone deposits of Raniganj, but the deposit was soon exhausted.

        

2.         Availability of power.  Coal is the most important power resource in West Bengal.  The state is presently the 6th largest producer of coal in India and in 2000-01, it accounted for 6% of the country’s total production.  Raniganj is the main coal mining area of the state.  Early development of the iron and steel industry in West Bengal took place due to the availability of high quality coal in Raniganj which is used both as a source of power as well as raw material.  Total generation of power in the state at the end of 1998 was 6,441 mega-watt and 98% of it came from coal-based thermal power stations.  Major thermal power stations are Bandel, Santaldih, Kolaghat, Farakka and recently commissioned Bakreswar.  Recent developments of hydropower in north Bengal would encourage the development of industrial activities in the region.

 

West Bengal is presently designated as a power-surplus state and this condition is likely to promote further industrial growth.

 

3.         Transport development.  Landform in West Bengal does not create any obstacle for the development of surface transport except in the hills of Darjeeling district.  West Bengal is linked with other states both by roadways and railways.  Total length of all types of roads in West Bengal (as on 31-03-2000) is 80,433 km.  Of these, 17,472 km. of roads, are maintained by the Public Works Department (P.W.D.) of Government of West Bengal.  Road density in the state is 0.91 km. of road per sq. km. of area, which is much higher than the national average of 0.59 km.  Total route km. of railways in West Bengal (as on 31-03-2001)  is 3,102 km. with 1,073 railway stations.  All the districts of West Bengal are connected by a dense network of roads and also by railways.  These ensure easy movement of raw materials to the industrial centers and finished products from the industrial centers to the market areas.

 

            Waterways also play an important role in the development of industries in southern parts of West Bengal.  Navigability of river Hooghly was one of the most important factors for the early development of industries on the two sides of river Hooghly.

 

4.         Port facilities.  Kolkata port is regarded as a gateway to eastern India and it is one of the most important ports in the country.  The port facilitates, the import of raw materials and machinery and the export of finished products. Haldia port in Midnapore district is also a major and it has been developed to reduce the pressure on Kolkata port.  Port facility at Haldia has promoted the development of Haldia industrial region.

 

5.         Supply of labour.  West Bengal is the most densely populated state in India.  As a result, there is no dearth in the availability of labour force for the development of industries.  Besides, this, number of educated manpower is significantly high which is another advantage for the development of industries.

 

6.         Growing market in the rural areas.  Presence of a rich agricultural base, increase in foodgrains production and land reform measures have increased the purchasing power in the rural areas.  As a result, there is a growth of market in the rural areas for the consumer goods industries.  This is a motivating factor for the development of industries in the state.

 

7.         Climatic conditions.  Climate of West Bengal is dominated by tropical humid or sub-humid type of climate.  This type of climate is suitable for the development of industries and urban settlements.

 

8.         Government policies.  State Government has set up West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) to promote industrial development in the state.  The state Government also established West Bengal Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (WBIDFC) in May, 1997, for providing financial assistance for implementation of infrastructure projects in the state. These infrastructures development would facilitate the development of industries.

 

2.5.2.  JUTE TEXTILE INDUSTRY

 

1.         Growth and present position.  West Bengal is the pioneer and till now most important state in the country for the manufacturing of jute textiles.  First jute mill was set up in 1859 at Rishra near Kolkata.  Since then a number of mills were established in and around Kolkata and the production was increased rapidly.  India became world leader in the production of jute textiles due to the development of the industry in West Bengal.  But during the post-independence period, the performance has not been found to be encouraging.  Total number of mills have been declined and production has remained more or less stagnant during last 20 years.

 

            At present there are 81 jute mills in West Bengal (including non-operating jute mills).  In 2000-01, total production of jute textiles in West Bengal was 1.39 million tones.  The products comprised Hessian, sacking and others.  Of these, sacking material accounted for 58% of the total production.

 

2.         Location pattern.  Jute textile industry in West Bengal is predominantly concentrated on the top banks of river Hooghly near Kolkata.  Major centers of production are Naihati, Bhatpara, Titagarh and Kamarhati in North 24 Parganas district; Bansberia, Baidyabati, Rishra and Sreerampore in Hooghly district; Salkia, Howrah and Uluberia in Howrah district and Budge Budge in South 24 Parganas district.  Major factors for the development of jute textile industry in these centers are (i) navigability of river Hooghly offering the cheapest mode of transport, (ii) presence of Kolkata port facilitating the export of jute goods, (iii) cultivation of jute in the adjoining areas and (iv) availability of power and other infrastructure facilities.

 

        

2.5.3.           ENGINEERING INDUSTRY

 

West Bengal is one of the leading states in the production of engineering goods and export of engineering goods from West Bengal is highly significant.  Major engineering industries include machine tools, textile machinery, transport equipment, railway engine, wagon manufacturing, precision engineering goods, ship building, etc.

 

Favorable factors for the development of engineering industries in West Bengal may be mentioned as follows:

 

1.      Development of engineering industries mainly depends on the skill varieties.  Skilled labours are adequately available in different urban areas.

 

2.      Presence of Kolkata port and later the development of Haldia port have facilitated the import of raw materials (as and when necessary) and export of finished engineering goods.

 

3.      Availability of power resource is an advantage for the growth of engineering industries in this state.  West Bengal is now regarded as a power surplus state.

         

4.      Iron and steel plants in Durgapur and Burnpur, mini steel plants (mainly rolling mills) and aluminum plants supply the necessary raw materials for the engineering industries.

 

5.      Presence of market for different engineering goods is another favorable factor for the development of these industries.

 

Locational patterns of engineering industries show the agglomeration of these industries primarily in two places – Hooghly industrial region in an around Kolkata and Durgapur-Asansol industrial region.  Some of the important centers are Hind Motor (automobile industry), Garden Reach (ship building and repairing), Belghoria (textile machinery), Chittaranjan (railway engine), Kolkata (precision engineering), Durgapur (heavy machinery), etc.  Haldia is expected to grow as an important centre for engineering industries in near future.

 

 

2.5.4.           IRON AND STEEL INDUSTRY

 

West Bengal possesses two out of seven integrated iron and steel plants in India.  These are Indian Iron and Steel Co. (IISCO) in Burnpur near Asansol and Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) in Durgapur, both of which are located in Burdwan district.  IISCO in Burnpur is the second oldest steel plant in India after TISCO in Jamshedpur.  It was set up under private sector and started production in 1918.  The steel plant was nationalized at a much later date in 1972.  It is located at the heart of the Raniganj-Asansol coalfield area and hence, it may be described as a coal-based location.  Initially the steel plant obtained iron ore from the iron ore deposit in Raniganj, but it was soon exhausted.  At present, iron ore comes from Gua in Jharkhand.  Types of production include steel rods and structural bars.  The steel plant has not yet undergone modernization and as a result capacity utilization is the lowest in the country.

 

Durgapur steel plant was developed during 2nd Five-year Plan under public sector.  The location of the plant is on the bank of river Damodar at a distance of 160 km. from Kolkata.  The most important locational advantage is its nearness to Raniganj coalfield.  Iron ore is brought from Noamundi in Jharkhand.  This steel plant has specialized in the production of railway items like wheels, axles, sleepers, etc.  Capacity utilization is being increased with the modernization of the steel plant.

 

Total production of finished steel in West Bengal increased from 1.03 million tones in 1991-92 to 1.40 million tones in 1999-2000.

 

 

2.5.5.  CHEMICAL INDUSTRY

 

Chemical industry in West Bengal may be divided into different categories.  Major categories include (i) heavy chemicals, (ii) petrochemicals, (iii) medicines, (iv) pesticides, (v) soaps and detergents, (vi) cosmetics and (vii) chemical fertilizer.

 

(i)         Heavy chemical industry in West Bengal primarily includes sulphuric acid.  Production of Sulphuric acid in West Bengal is mostly concentrated in the Hooghly industrial region of West Bengal.  At present there are more than 30 sulphuric  acid producing units in West Bengal, many of which are small scale units.  Chlorine is another important heavy chemical produced in West Bengal.

 

(ii)        Development of petrochemical industry in West Bengal is a recent phenomenon.  Biggest project which has been implemented in the state is Haldia Petrochemicals in West Bengal. It has started production from 02-04-2000. Products of this petrochemical complex mainly include ethylene and propylene which are used as raw materials for other petrochemicals.  These two are obtained by cracking naptha, which is imported.  Industries which use the products of Haldia Petrochemicals are known as downstream industries.  The end products of these industries include plastics, polythene, benzene etc.

 

(iii)       There are several drugs and pharmaceutical manufacturing units in the state most of which are located in and around Kolkata.

 

(iv)       Manufacturing of pesticides is important in the state due to the growing demand from the agricultural sector.

 

(v)        Soaps and detergents have high demand in the urban areas and as a result several manufacturing units have been developed in the urban and metropolitan areas of south Bengal.  A big project has been taken up in Haldia by Hindustan Lever Ltd., for the manufacturing of detergent that is under implementation.

 

(vi)       Cosmetics industry is primarily developed in Kolkata metropolitan region.  But some of the old cosmetic manufacturing companies have become sick due to several reasons.  Recently cosmetic manufacturing has been developed in Durgapur by using the by-products of coal.

 

(vii)      Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Ltd. has two nitrogenous fertilizer producing units in West Bengal.  These are located in Durgapur and Haldia.  At present, Haldia unit is closed.  Two major centers of the production of phosphoric fertilizer are Khardah and Rishra both of which are located near Kolkata.  Hindustan Lever Ltd. (HLL) has set up a phosphoric fertilizer plant at Haldia.

 

Besides, there are other categories, which include paints and varnishes, bleaching powder, hydrochloric acid, etc.

 

Some of the favorable factors for the development of chemical industry in West Bengal are (i) presence of a large market, (ii) availability of skilled workers, (iii) presence of Kolkata and Haldia ports facilitating import of raw materials,  (iv) availability of raw materials from the by-products of coke ovens of the steel plants  and (v) infrastructure facilities.

 

Public sector has an important role to play in the development of chemical industry in the state.  Activities of some of the public sector enterprises for chemical industry may be mentioned as follows:

 

1.         The Eastern Distilleries and Chemicals Ltd. manufacture rectified spirit and industrial alcohol.

 

2.         Durgapur Chemicals Ltd. produces soda lye, liquid chlorine, synthetic phenol, etc.

 

3.         Gluconate Health manufacture drugs, particularly life-saving drugs like pethidine and sibanate.

 

4.         West Bengal Chemical Industries manufacture chemicals for pharmaceuticals and other industries.

 

5.         Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation manufacture nitrogenous fertilizer at Durgapur.

 

2.5.6.   PAPER INDUSTRY

 

Manufacturing of paper in India started in West Bengal.  So, it is the pioneer in paper production in India.  Following Maharashtra, it is now the 2nd largest state in India on the basis of production capacity (about 1/5th of the country’s total).

 

Favourable factors for the development of paper industry may be mentioned as follows:

 

1.                  Initially the raw material was sabai grass which was brought from Uttar Pradesh and Nepal.  Later bamboo was introduced as raw material which is in abundance in West Bengal and also in north-eastern India.

 

2.         Huge amount of waste paper is collected regularly in Kolkata and  from surrounding urban areas.  These waste papers are also recycled in the paper industry as raw material.

 

3.         Adequate supply of water is needed for paper industry.  Paper mills located on the banks of river Hooghly have the advantage of the availability of water from the river.

 

4.         River Hooghly provides the cheap water transport facility.

 

5.         Kolkata is a big market for different varieties of paper and this is a favorable conditioin for the development of paper industry.

 

6.         Consumption of power in paper industry is significantly high.  Requirement of power is equivalent to four tones of coal per tonne of paper.  Initially coal from Raniganj was used as fuel.  Later, the industry began to use electricity generated by thermal power stations.

 

Present location pattern shows that there are five large paper mills in West Bengal.  These are located at (i) Titagarh (Titagarh Paper Mills Ltd.),  (ii) Naihati (Indian Paper Pulp Co. Ltd.), (iii) Dakshineswar (WIMCO Paper Mills Ltd.), (iv) Triveni (Triveni tissues Ltd.) and (v) Raniganj (Bengal Paper Mills Ltd.).  West Bengal accounts for 1/5th of the total production capacity of paper in India.

 

Paper industry in West Bengal has a good prospect for future growth due to the following reasons:

 

1.         Kolkata is the focal point of all commercial activities in eastern India.  It ensures the presence of a stable market for paper.

 

2.         There is a steady growth in the literacy rate of West Bengal that causes the increasing demand for paper (mainly writing paper).

 

3.         Growing printing and publishing industry is an advantageous factor for the development of paper industry.

 

4.         Adequate availability of power is another advantage for the development of paper industry.

 

 

2.5.7.   LEATHER INDUSTRY

 

Leather industry occupies an important position in the industrial economy of the state.  West Bengal is the highest foreign exchange earner from the export of finished leather goods among all the states in India.  The state accounts for 15% of the total production of leather and leather products of India.

 

Bata Shoe Company in Batanagar near Kolkata is the most famous shoe manufacturing company in India.  But leather industry in West Bengal primarily consists of small scale industrial units.  Total number of small scale units engaged in the manufacture of leather and leather products is more than 20,000 providing employment to more than 2 lakh persons.  Most of these units are located in and around Kolkata.

 

The ‘Charmaja’ outlets under West Bengal State Leather Industrial Development Corporation provide marketing facilities for the products of small scale leather units in the state.

 

The construction of leather complex with modern effluent treatment plant and other modern facilities near Kolkata is going to boost the leather industry of the state in future.  Most of the existing tanneries in Kolkata will be relocated very soon in this complex.

 

 

2.5.8.    TEA INDUSTRY

 

2.5.8.1. IMPORTANCE

 

Tea industry plays an important role in the economy of West Bengal in the following ways:

 

1.         Tea industry generates employment in different ways that include production, processing and distribution.  Average daily employment in the tea plantations of north Bengal is around 260 thousands.

 

2.         Tea is one of the most important commodities for export from West Bengal.  Total value of tea export from West Bengal increased from Rs. 626.27 crore in 1985-86 to Rs. 2,302 crore in 1998-99.

 

3.         Kolkata port is the biggest tea-handling port in India.  Export of tea from Kolkata has generated export-related economic functions like storage facility, commercial services, etc.

 

4.         Kolkata is also the biggest tea auction market in India.  It has promoted tea trading activities.

        

5.         Tea industry has promoted other economic activities like manufacturing of tea chests (Wooden box for tea packing), development of transport, setting up of tea trading companies, etc.

 

2.5.8.2. GROWTH OF TEA INDUSTRY AND PRESENT SITUATION

 

The plantation in West Bengal developed during late 19th century by the European planters.  Early success of tea plantation encouraged rapid growth of tea plantations in the northern districts of West Bengal.  Darjeeling district became important for the production of world famous Darjeeling tea, which still obtains the highest price in the world tea auction in London.  After independence, tea industry in the state continued to grow, although some of the garden became sick due to improper management and over exploitation.

 

Total production of tea in West Bengal increased from 133.19 million kgs. in 1980 to 180.72 million kgs. in 2000.  During the same period, total number of tea estates (large tea gardens) remained unchanged at 306.  West Bengal is the 2nd largest tea producing state in India following Assam and accounted for 21.3% of the country’s total production in 2000.

 

2.5.8.3. CAUSES OF GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

 

1.         Tea plantations require humid climate, acidic soils with significant iron content and rolling land to avoid stagnation of water.  These conditions are found in Dooars and Terai regions of north Bengal which have facilitated the development of tea plantations.

 

2.         Tea plantations were originally developed in those areas which were not suitable for rice or other food-grains cultivation.  These areas are more commonly found in the northern districts of West Bengal.

 

3.         Industrial development in north Bengal is poor.  For this reason cheap laborers are easily available in the early period.  Laborers used to come from the tribal and other backward areas of Bihar.

 

4.         Early development of Kolkata port has facilitated the export of tea produced in this region.  Kolkata is well connected with tea producing areas both by railways and roadways.

 

5.         Presence of forest in north Bengal is favorable for the making of packing box for tea.

 

6.         Kolkata metropolitan region is a very big market for tea.  This is a favorable condition for the development of tea industry in the State.

 


2.5.8.4. PROBLEMS OF TEA INDUSTRY AND FUTURE PROSPECT

 

Tea industry in West Bengal faces several problems which may be mentioned as follows:

 

1.         Nearly half of the total area under tea cultivation in the state comprises tea bushes which are over 50 years old.  Neglect in the replanting of tea bushes has resulted into low productivity.

 

2.         Lack of replanting and lack of proper management have resulted in a number of tea gardens in the state turning sick.

 

3.         Increasing cost of production results into increasing prices.  This situation adversely affects export opportunities, as the international market is highly competitive.  This is more significant in case of Darjeeling variety of tea.

 

4.         In some cases short-term profit motivation results into over exploitation of tea gardens which adversely affects long-term prospect.

 

In spite of several problems, tea industry in West Bengal has a good prospect in future.  Greatest strength of the industry is the growing demand for tea in the domestic market.  Efforts have been made to establish new tea gardens and to expand the existing tea gardens with government support.  Many new tea gardens, most of which are small, have been set up in Cooch Behar, Uttar Dinajpur, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts.  Efforts are also made to start tea cultivation in non-traditional areas.  In the Ayodhya hills in Purulia, under a pilot project, tea bushes have been successfully planted in 8.15 acres of land.

 

2.6.   HOOGHLY INDUSTRIAL REGION

 

2.6.1. LOCATION

 

Hooghly idustrial region is located on the banks of  the river Hooghly in and around Kolkata.  On the left bank it is extended from Kalyani in the north to Birlapur in the south.  On the right bank it is extended from Tribeni in the north to Uluberia in the south.  Total north-south extension of this region is more than 70 km. and total east-west extension is between 5 km. to 7 km.  This region covers parts of Kolkata, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Hooghly and Howrah districts.

 

2.6.2. FAVOURABLE FACTORS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT

 

(i)         Site condition.  Hooghly industrial region is located on the deltaic land-form of West Bengal.  Industrial areas are mainly found on the natural levees (elevated river banks caused by the deposition) which are free from water logging.

 

(ii)        Historical factor.  East India Company of Great Britain first settled in Kolkata and started their business activities.  Later, British rulers set up their base in Kolkata and till 1911 it was the capital of India.  It encouraged the British merchants to develop industries in this region.

 

(iii)       Port facility.  Colonial economy thrived on the export of raw materials and later  the export of finished products.  Port facility was developed in Kolkata at an early period and as a result it became the collection center of raw material like jute.  This facilitated the development of jute textile industry in this region.  Later, engineering industry was developed due to the advantage of importing machinery and exporting finished engineering goods through Kolkata port.

 

(iv)       Water transport facility.  Navigability of river Hooghly has been considered as a great advantage for the development of industries on the two banks of the river.  Bulk goods like raw jute and others can be brought to the factories and finished goods can be sent to Kolkata by using water transport facility.

 

(v)        Supply of raw material.  Raw jute, the basis of the most important jute textile industry, is cultivated in the nearby areas.  Previously, the raw jute was brought from the erstwhile East Bengal (now Bangladesh) through the river routes.  Raw material for paper industry like bamboo is available in south Bengal and huge amount of waste papers is collected from Kolkata city and suburban areas.

 

(vi)       Densely populated delta region is a large source of Labour for the industries and other related economic activities.  Laborers have also migrated from Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.

 

(vii)      Availability of power.  Industrial development in this region started by using coal from Raniganj coalfield.  At present, power supply in this region comes from thermal power generating stations developed in Bandel, cossipore, Mulajore and Budge Budge.  Part of the generation and the distribution of power are undertaken by Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC).  Adequate availability of power is favorable not only for the present industries but also for future growth.

 


2.6.2.           INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITIES

 

(i)         Jute textile industry.  Hooghly industrial region is pioneer in the development of jute textile industry in India.  Industrial development in this region started with jute textiles.  Availability of raw material from the adjoining districts and also from Assam and Bangladesh, cheap water transport facility through river Hooghly, port facility in Calcutta, cheap Labour, etc. are the important factors for the concentration of this industry in the Hooghly industrial region. On the left bank of the river the major centers of jute manufacturing are Naihati, Bhatpara, Titagarh, Kamarhati and Budge Budge.  On the right bank the major centers are Bansberia, Baidyabati, Rishra, Sreerampore, Salkia, Howrah and Uluberia.

 

(ii)        Engineering industry.  Decline of jute textiles has made engineering as the most important type of industry of Hooghly industrial region in recent years.  But unlike jute, this industry varies most widely from a very humble small scale type of highly modernized capital-intensive types of operation.  On the basis of the production pattern, factories are categorized into four types: (i) re-rolling mills producing various iron and steel products in conformity with the specifications of locomotives and different structural items, (ii) forging and casting plants most of which are located in Howrah, (iii) modern and capital-intensive industrial machinery manufacturing industry like TEXMACO in Belghoria and Britannia Engineering in Kolkata (Taratala area) and (iv) others which include precision engineering (National Instruments in Jadavpur), ship-building (Garden Reach, etc.)

 

(iii)       Cotton textile industry.  This industry was developed in the Hooghly industrial region after the 1st World War.  Most important factor for the development was the rapid growth of market in eastern India.  But after independence there was a gradual decline of the industry for various reasons.  At present there are 20 cotton textile mills operating in this region.  Major centers of production are Panihati, Sodepur, Belghoria, New Barackpur, Rishra, Sreerampore and Uluberia.

 

(iv)       Chemical industry.  Major chemical products manufactured in the Hooghly industrial region are sulphuric acid, paints, alkali, soaps and detergents, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, etc.  Many of theses are manufactured under small scale, but some are big and capital intensive units.

 

(v)       Paper industry.  Four out of five large paper mills in West Bengal are located in this region.  These centers are Titagarh, Naihati, Dakshineswar and Triveni.

 

(vi)      Other industries.  These include leather, tea packaging, food processing, plastics etc.

 

 

2.6.4.   MAJOR PROBLEMS OF THE HOOGHLY INDUSTRIAL REGION

 

(i)         Siltation of river Hooghly:.  Rapid silting of river Hooghly has caused enormous problems for the water transport system.  It has also adversely affected Calcutta port and big ships cannot reach Kolkata any more.  So, siltation of the river has not only affected movement of goods along the rivers, it has also affected import of raw materials and export of finished products.

 

(ii)        Obsolete machinery.  This problem is particularly acute in jute and cotton textile industries as many of the manufacturing units are old and required changes have not been made.  Use of obsolete machinery has resulted into low level of production efficiency and high cost of production.

 

(iii)       Poor industrial relations.  Lack of co-ordination between labour and management, labour unrest, industrial disputes and in some cases, lack of discipline have resulted into loss of man-days and decline in production.

        

(iv)       Transport bottleneck.:  Hooghly industrial region is a narrow north-south elongated corridor.  It results into the movement of road transport through a restricted space, causing reduction of speed and frequent bottlenecks.  This affects supply schedule of input material  and the delivery of outputs.

 

        

2.6.5.   PROBLEM-SOLVING MEASURES

 

(i)         Farakka barrage has been constructed to increase the navigability of river Hooghly.  Recently water-sharing agreement with Bangladesh has ensured higher water discharge through the river.

 

(ii)        Development of Haldia port has reduced the pressure on Kolkata port and the latter is specializing more and more on the movement of container cargo.

 

(iii)       Power supply to the industrial units has been ensured by the presence of the thermal power stations like Bandel, Kolaghat, Mulajore, Budge Budge etc.

 

(iv)       Efforts are made by the government to bring new industries during the post-liberalisation period.

 

(v)        Kolkata Mega-city project is expected to boost the infrastructure facilities for the development of industries.

 

2.7.       DURGAPUR-RANIGANJ-ASANSOL INDUSTRIAL REGION

 

2.7.1.   LOCATION

 

This industrial region is located in the western part of Burdwan district at the north of river Damodar.  It extends from Durgapur through Raniganj and Asansol to Chittaranjan for a distance of more than 70 km.  Industries are primarily concentrated near the Grand Trunk Road.

 

 

2.7.2.   FAVOURABLE FACTORS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT

 

(i)         Availability of coal.  Raniganj coalfield which extends upto Asansol is one of the major coal producing regions of India.  Availability of coal is the basis for the development of iron and steel industries and other power consuming industries.  Durgapur-Raniganj-Asansol industrial region is primarily identified as a coal-based industrial region.  Jharia coalfield in Jaharkhand, which produces prime quality coking coal, is located not far from this region.

 

(ii)        Transport facilities.  This region is connected with Kolkata and other parts of the country both by railway and roadway.

 

(iii)       Connectivity with Kolkata.  Direct connectivity with Kolkata port and market is a favorable factor for the development of this industrial region.  Durgapur is located at a distance of 160 km. from Kolkata and Asansol is located at a distance of 210 km.  Direct connectivity with Kolkata is provided by the rail transport to Eastern Railway and by the road transport through Grand Trunk Road.

 

(iv)      Other factors.  Other favorable factors include power supply from D.P.L. thermal power project, availability of cheap Labour force and supply of water for industries from river Damodar.

 

 

2.7.3.   MAJOR INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITIES

 

(i)         Iron and steel industry.  Iron and steel industry is the focus of all other industrial activities in this region.  Both the iron and steel plants of the state are located in this region.  (a) Indian Iron and Steel Company (IISCO) set up its steel plant at Burnpur near Asansol which started production in 1918.  It is the second oldest steel plant in India after TISCO in Jamshedpur.  The steel plant is located at the heart of the Raniganj-Asansol coalfield area.  Initially the steel plant was based on Raniganj iron stone deposits but these were soon exhausted and now the iron ore is brought  from Gua which is located at a distance of more than  300 km.  (b) Durgapur Steel Plant was set up during 2nd Five-year plan as a public sector unit under Steel Authority of India Ltd., (SAIL).  It is located on the bank of river Damodar at a distance of 160 km. from Kolkata.  Coal comes from nearby Raniganj coalfield but the iron ore comes from the distant iron orefield at Noamundi in Jaharkhand.  This steel plant has specialized in the production of railway wheels, axels, sleepers and light structural items for various purposes.

 

 

2.7.4.  DURGAPUR IS KNOWN AS RUHR OF INDIA DUE TO FOLLOWING REASONS

 

(a)       Ruhr industrial region is located in the Ruhr valley coalfield.  Similarly, Durgapur is located near the Raniganj coalfield area of Damodar valley region.

 

(b)       In both the places, iron and steel industry is the most important type of industry.  Development of other industries is based on iron and steel industry.

 

(c)               In both the places, concentration of heavy industry is a significant  feature.

 

(d)               In both the places, iron ores are not available locally.

 

Other industries. Other important industries include (a) railway engine manufacturing in Chittaranjan, (b) aluminium industry in Anupnagar near Asansol, (c) bicycle manufacturing in Asansol, (d) alloy steel plant in Durgpaur, (e) manufacturing of mining equipments (Mining and Machinery Manufacturing  Corporation) in Durgapur, (f) cement plant in Durgapur, (g) fertilizer factory in Durgapur, (h) paper mill in Raniganj etc.  Besides these, there are many small and medium scale engineering and other industries.

 

 

2.7.5.  MAJOR PROBLEMS

 

Major problems of the Asansol-Durgpur industrial region may be listed as follows:

 

(i)         Performance of iron and steel industry, which is considered to be the core industry of the region is not satisfactory.  Burnpur steel plant has the lowest capacity utilization in the country and Durgapur steel plant is not faring very well either.  This has resulted into the poor growth of those industries which are based on steel.

 

(ii)        Transportation of coal from the coal mines to the industries (mainly iron and  steel industry) sometimes becomes a problem due to transport bottleneck.

 

(iii)       The region is dominated by heavy and capital goods industries.   Demand for these goods in recent years is more or less stagnant.

 

(iv)       Infrastructure facilities are not adequate to meet the requirements of the industries.

 

 

2.7.6.   PROBLEM-SOLVING MEASURES

 

Following measures may be adopted to solve the problems of this industrial region.

 

(i)         Modernisation programme is necessary for the steel plants to increase the production efficiency and to reduce the cost of production.

 

(ii)        Road networks can be expanded and more railway wagons are necessary to improve the movement of goods.

 

(iii)       Fresh investments are necessary for setting up modern consumer goods and capital goods industries.

 

(iv)       Emphasis should be given to improve road conditions, telecommunications and other infrastructure facilities.

 

 

2.8.      HALDIA INDUSTRIAL REGION

 

2.8.1.   LOCATION

 

Haldia is located in East Midnapore district of West Bengal at a distance of about 100 km. from Kolkata.  The port and township of Haldia is located on the right bank of river Hooghly at the confluence of river Haldi with the river Hooghly.  The industrial region has been developed with the port as the focal point.  The industrial region is under the jurisdiction of Haldia Development  Authority with a total area of more than 300 sq. km.

 

 

2.8.2.  FAVOURABLE  FACTORS  FOR THE DEVELOPMENT

 

(i)         Port facility.  Development of port facility at Haldia is the most important factor for the development of Haldia industrial region.  Officially Haldia is not a separate port.  It is under the administration of Calcutta Port Trust and hence, it is mentioned as Haldia Dock Complex.  Harbour of this dock complex is wide and can accommodate more ships than Calcutta port.  Depth of water is around 10 metres which is highly suitable for the big ships.

 

(ii)        Transport network.  Haldia industrial region is served by all the three modes of surface transport, namely road, rail and water.  National highway (NH 41) connects Haldia with national highway joining Kolkata with Surat (NH 6).  Panskura-Haldia electrified rail rout is highly suitable for daily commuters.  Recently, Shalimar (near Howrah)-Haldia Inter-city Express has been introduced.  Fast water transport service (Catamaran service) makes it possible to reach Haldia from Kolkata within 2 ½ hours.  Transport connectivity with Kolkata and its hinterland is a major one for the development of Haldia industrial region.

 

(iii)       Supply of power.  Development of Kolaghat thermal power station has ensured the necessary supply of power to this industrial region.

 

(iv)       Supply of Labour.  Availability of labour force from the nearby densely populated areas of East and West Midnapore district, is a favorable factor for industrial development.  Skilled laborers are also drawn from other parts of south Bengal and from Orissa.

 

(v)       Supply of land.  Haldia is a newly developing area.  As a result, plenty of vacant land is available for the setting up of large scale industrial units.  Land rent is much cheaper than the Hooghly industrial region which is another advantage for setting up new industries in Haldia.

 

(vi)       Government support.  West Bengal state government has taken up an active role in the development of industries in Haldia in different ways.  These include special monitoring cells for giving approval to the project proposals,  arrangement of loan through West Bengal Finance Corporation, development of infrastructure facilities to facilitate industrial growth, etc.

 

 

2.8.3.  MAJOR INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITIES

 

(i)                 Haldia petrochemicals project.  Haldia petrochemicals project is the largest industrial project of this region.  The Rs. 6,000 core project has been completed.  Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd. is a joint venture project of West Bengal government with the participation of private sector.  It is basically a naptha cracking plant and it feeds ethylene, propylene and other chemical derivatives are used for further processing.  The end products are polythelene, polypropylene, benzene and butadiene.  But more importantly this project will have tremendous cascading effect on numerous other industries.  Haldia petrochemicals has started production with effect from 02-04-2000.

 

(ii)               Petroleum refining.  Haldia refinery was set up in 1969 by Indian Oil Corporation.  Presently capacity of this refinery is 3.75 million tones.  This refinery is mainly based on imported crude oil and for this purpose, separate oil jetty has been developed at Haldia dock.  The refinery yields both fuel and non-fuel products.

 

(iii)             Fertilizer industry.  There is big nitrogenous fertilizer plant in Haldia which is owned by Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation.  This is one of the two nitrogenous fertilizer plants in West Bengal, another being located in Durgapur.  But presently, the plant is closed.  Hindustan Lever has set up a phosphatic fertilizer plant.

 

(iv)             Other industries.  Other existing industries include pesticides manufacturing by Shaw Wallace, battery manufacturing by Exide India Ltd. etc.  Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation has set up a chemical plant based on Haldia petrochemicals and it has started commercial production.  South Asian Petrochem Ltd. has set up a plant for producing plastic bottles and other products.  Besides these, there are several small scale industries.

 

2.8.4.  UP COMING INDUSTRIES

 

Important industries which are coming up in the Haldia industrial region may be listed as follows:

 

(a)       SHAMON Ispat Limited will be manufacturing cold coils with an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes.

 

(b)        Haldia Carryon and Construction is setting up a downstream petrochemicals project.

 

(c)        A big project has been implemented in Haldia by Hindustan Lever Limited for the manufacturing of detergents.

 

(d)       Praxair is setting up a nitrogen plant at Haldia mainly to meet the requirement of Haldia petrochemicals.

 

(e)        Paharpur group is planning to set up a fertilizer plant.

 

Besides, many subsidiary industries in small and medium scale are expected to come up in this region.