Hooghly river a distributary of the Ganga River in West Bengal was an important transportation channel in the early history of
Bengal. In its upper reaches the river is generally known as the Bhāgirathi, until it
reaches Hooghly. The river banks hosted several battles towards the start of the
colonial era, including the Battle of Plassey Palashi, as well as earlier wars against Maratha raiders. On eastern bank lie many historic and wealthy towns
like Murshidabad, Jangipur and Ziaganj. In 1974, the Farakka Barrage began diverting water into the Hooghly during the
dry season so as to reduce the silting difficulties at Kolkata's port. Hooghly River is an approximately 260 kilometres long splits from the
Ganges as a canal in Murshidabad District at the Farakka Barrage. The river flows through Murshidabad, Baharampur, south past Katwa, Navadwip, Kalna,
Hooghly District and North 24 Parganas District. It flows past Halisahar, Chunchura, Rishra, Kamarhati and
entering the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah, At Nurpur it enters an old channel of the Ganges and turns south to empty into the Bay of Bengal.
Kolkata was built around Hooghly river where Job Charnock landed here over three centuries ago. Great
cities like London developed around the Thames, . Paris around Siene, Vienna around Danube, Moscow's and Moskva. Alexandria and Cairo
around beautiful river Nile. While rivers continue to be the heart, soul and pride of major cities around the world,
Hooghly lies abused and neglected.
river along the western edge of Kolkata.
The Hooghly river flows
more than 15 kilometres along the western edge of Kolkata between Prinsep Ghat and Bagbazar. But it is only for a short 1.5 km stretch between Babu Ghat and Prinsep Ghat that is open and visible.
In the remaining section, the river is either made out of bounds by hideous rusting warehouses that are housed on its edge, or inexplicably hidden behind a high wall.
The section to the north of Howrah bridge that is dotted with derelict ghats, illegal warehouses and a
crematorium is essentially a vast open toilet zone and appears beyond redemption. There is a possibility of reclaiming the riverfront to the south of the bridge but it remains a picture of despair due to sheer lack of initiative.
In the south of Howrah bridge there are half a dozen ghats with both historical and architectural significance.
The Prinsep Ghat, built in 1843, stands magnificently among the ruins. Rich in Greek and Gothic inlays, the monument was restored by the state public works department in November 2001 and has since
been well-maintained. The Man-O-War jetty that belongs to Indian Navy is properly maintained but has no architectural significance. The most
exquisite of them all Ramchandra Goenka bathing ghat for women lies
in utter neglect. The magnificent edifice with its exquisitely-shaped Islamic dome and gorgeous tiled floor and walls lies uncared for and misused.
The Rajasthani haveli-type dormitory built by Seth Surajmal Jalan Trust on Jagannath Ghat; the corinthian columns at Mutty Seal Ghat, the typically British Rashmoni Ghat with cast iron pillars and timber louvres and the simplicity of Chotelal Ghat are all splendid pieces of architecture but lie in utter neglect. These apart, there are the Gunpat Ray Kalyan (ladies bathing) Ghat, Armenian ferry Ghat, Outram Ghat, Judges Ghat, Pani Ghat and Meen Mangal Ghat.
The stretch of riverfront between Kingsway Babughat and Fairlie Place ferry ghat particularly the Circular Railway track is an open defecation ground all year round, it is worse during Ganga Sagar Mela when thousands of pilgrims turn it into a free-for-all latrine.
Warehouses located along Strand Road
There are four Victorian warehouses located along Strand Road. One of them, the Fairlie warehouse, has been restored by Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) and converted into a Maritime Archives and Heritage Centre.
The entrance to the building is obscure and there is no signage on Strand Road.
The other three warehouses Canning, Clive and Strand remain in decrepit state. Strand Warehouse, which is architecturally the best of the lot, lies in the worst condition. Its top roof has collapsed, baring the interior
structure to elements that will only hasten its degeneration. There have been attempts to chalk out a
renovation blueprint for the warehouses but bureaucratic red tape and scepticism stopped such initiatives.
Country’s first underwater railway network in the
The Calcutta Metro Railway Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding on March 20, 2010 with a consortium formed by Afcons Infrastructure Ltd and Russia’s Transtonnelstroy Limited who
will build the length of the East-West Metro link from central Kolkata (close to the Central Metro station) to Howrah Maidan — the route running under the Hooghly
river bed.Afcons is the infrastructure arm of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group. In the bidding, the consortium bagged a Rs 938-crore deal from Metro, the nodal agency for the Rs 4,676-crore East West Metro project.
The Howrah Maidan-Central stretch will have three stations— Howrah Maidan, Howrah station and Mahakaran (near Writers Buildings) — which will also be constructed by the consortium.
There will also be a station close to the present Central Metro station, but the Indo-Russian partnership will not build that. The plan is to complete the project in 42 months.
At Howrah station, the Metro station will be built underground between platforms 17 and 18.
“This is the first time in India that a transportation tunnel
project is being laid under a river and hence is challenging. The latest technology will be used,” said Ramakrishna V.
Ramanan, the director, transportation, Afcons Infrastructure. “The tunnel under the Hooghly will approximately be 30 metres under the water surface and 15 meters below the river bed,” a Metro official said. “There will be twin tunnels (under the river), which
means two tunnels will be built for trains moving in opposite directions. The tunnels will have connecting passages for maintenance and safety work,” said P. Jayaram, the vice-president of Afcons.
Millennium Park, Kolkata
Millennium Park, Kolkata was developed by the Kolkata Metropolitan
Development Authority (KMDA) on the land of Kolkata Port Trust. In the Park project number of stakeholders involved: as KoPT,
KMDA, railways, public works department (PWD), Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), West Bengal tourism and inland
It was inaugurated on 1st January, 2000
located strategically on the banks of River Hooghly and in the vicinity of BBD
Bagh; The park, on the river front, is an ideal place to enjoy a romantic evening with the splendor of the River
Hooghly presenting a majestic backdrop and a major tourist attraction of the
city. The sunsets at the park are its special features with the golden hue of the setting sun creating your personal backdrop. The sight of the Howrah Bridge laying aside the
park adds the glamour to the marvelous setting. Millennium Park is quite different from other amusement parks in the city.
In the Millennium Park project number of stakeholders involved: as KoPT, KMDA, railways, public works department (PWD), Kolkata
Municipal Corporation (KMC), West Bengal tourism and inland waterways authority.
Pollution in Hooghly River
An investigation was conducted from 2001 to 2005 for determining the residual concentration of five pesticides, viz.,
total-HCH, total-DDT, total-Endosulfan, Dimethoate and Malathion in fish samples collected from various points of the river
Ganga. Fish samples were analyzed for pesticide residues using standard laboratory procedures by GC method. It was found that total-HCH concentration remains
above the MRL values for maximum number of times in comparison to four other pesticides. The pesticide contamination to fish may be due to
indiscriminate discharge of polluted and untreated sewage-sludge to the river. The pesticide contents in some places are alarming.
Millennium Park, Kolkata. The sight of the Howrah Bridge laying aside the
Hooghly river is congested with solid waste and effluents.
The Hooghly river is a lifeline for the people of
West Bengal. It was a main trade route in the past and through this river
the East India company sailed in to Bengal and established their trade settlement.
Not only the British India, but. people from other countries like French, Dutch, Portuguese, etc. all had
their trade settlement by the banks of this river.
Hooghly river provides supply of water to the plain of West Bengal for
irrigation, drinking water and industry consumption. The river is
the major transport system in the region with a huge traffic flow. The fish from the river are important to
the local economy. The main port is the Calcutta Port, once it was the biggest port of India.
The modern container port of Haldia, on the intersection of lower Hooghly and Haldi River, now carries much of the region's maritime trade.
Hooghly river valley was once the most important industrial area of erstwhile state of Bengal. Most of the Jute mills are on the banks of Hooghly
A team of experts, led by architect and planner Partha Ranjan Das, researched riverfront developments at London, Birmingham, Paris, Marseilles, Shanghai and Osaka to
made suggestions. The suggestions at the end of the study was to improve visibility of the river by pulling down defunct godowns and walls and
development of urban interaction centres like open-air theatres, food courts and waterside cafes that require minimum intervention. He made presentations to all stakeholders, including chief minister Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee. But their efforts yielded no result. The only worthwhile attempt to make the river accessible was the development of Millennium Park along a
kilometre-long stretch by Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA).
Some projects like the rejuvenation of Armenian Ghat Street or Strand Bank Road and development of a flower market to replace the thatched
stalls on either side of a slushy, stinking lane along the river bank have been stuck on the drawing board for ages.
A stretch of the riverbank, next to the Man-O-War Jetty that was beautified by
KMDA, is now in a shambles. The entire stone pathway has been dug up to lay a pipeline for carrying water from the Hooghly to Fort William. Three other Millennium Parks, developed by KMC alongside Babu
Ghat, lie unknown and unused, obscured from public view by the bus terminus.
Next to Outram Ghat, a two-level Viewer's Gallery owned and maintained by KoPT provides a panoramic view of the river, but lies shut. Close by is the Gwalior
Monument, a beautiful blend of Islamic and European architecture that was restored by PWD in 2000. It is still well kept but beyond public access.
The West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) finally seems to have
awakened to the potential of river tourism. With a Rs 130-crore fund for river cruise development, the WBTDC is going full hog to tap the potential of the
River Hooghly , much in tune with the Nile in Egypt. Foreign investors have also shown
keen interest in the river transport system of the state. By the end of September, UK-based Transindus, which
conducts specialty tours across the world, is all set to launch a 56-passenger cruise from Kolkata to Varanasi.
Bridges over the Hooghly at Kolkata
Howrah Bridge, Vidyasagar Setu, Vivekananda Setu, Nivedita Setu (second Vivekananda Bridge), Jubilee Bridge and Iswar Gupta Setu.
Along the e riverfront, there are only two restaurants,
the Prinsep restaurant, oppose Calcutta Swimming Club, and Scoop, earlier called Gay restaurant.
The Times of India
The Telegraph Calcutta
The Ministry of Tourism, West Bengal