In-migation, Commutation, and Urban Sprawl: A Case Study of Kolkata Metropolitan Area

By Ranjan Basu and Sarbendu Bikash Dhar.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) Metropolitan Area (KMA) has a long history of in-migration at the international and intra-national levels. The nature and trend of such migration streams have changed over time, especially in the colonial and post-colonial phases of India. During the colonial rule in India, the city of Kolkata was developed as a major political, social and cultural center in South Asia. After the Second World War, its past glory started to fade a little, but still, as per population count, it manages to hold the third and ninth rank among the urban agglomerations of India and the world respectively. During the post independent era in India, a large refugee influx from erstwhile East-Pakistan, now Bangladesh, and uneven development of infrastructural facilities in and around the study area have resulted in an unplanned and haphazard urban development. Hence, the process of urban sprawl has become conspicuous in KMA during the last few decades. With rapid development of sub-urban transport facilities and construction of high-rise residential apartments, more and more people are concentrating in the fringe areas rather than the city proper. A dramatic increase in the number of commuters supports this fact. KMA also possesses a rich cultural pluralism, with various international and national ethnic groups residing in specific urban pockets for centuries. The current paper is an attempt to explore the facts behind various migration streams in this metropolis, along with its socio-economic consequences. For this purpose, emphasis was put on the factors responsible for in-migration, the growth of urban population and the flow of commuters in the study area. The study focuses on the nature of differential population growth in the city core under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and its peripheral urban centers within the metropolitan area.

Keywords: Migration, Urban Agglomeration, Urban Sprawl, Commutation

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.59-77. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.698MB).

Prof. Ranjan Basu

Professor of Geography, Department of Geography, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Prof. Ranjan Basu, born 3rd of May, 1953, is a senior member of the faculty of Geography, University of Calcutta. His areas of interest are Environmental Geography, Population Geography and Pedology. He was a student of Presidency College and the University of Calcutta and was placed in first division / class in all public examinations right from school level to post-graduate level. He is engaged in teaching and research in the post-graduate level in different universities of West Bengal, India for more than three decades. He was chairman of the under-graduate and post-graduate studies in geography for several terms and also served as Head of the Department of Geography in the Universities of Burdwan and Calcutta. He has more than 30 publications in different journals, books and monographs. Most of the papers are within his areas of interest. Seven research scholars has successfully completed Ph. D. thesis under his supervision. At present he is Convener of the Ph. D. Committee of Geography. Two major research projects sponsored by University Grants Commission, run by him with other members of the faculty, is on the verge of completion.

Dr Sarbendu Bikash Dhar

Assistant Master in Geography, Hindu School, Kolakta, West Bengal Subordinate Education Service, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Dr. Sarbendu Bikash Dhar, born on 29th June, 1978, has a good academic record, with first division / class marks in all public examinations from school level to post-graduation level. His areas of interest are Environmental Geography and Population Geography. Recently he has been awarded with Ph. D. degree of the University of Calcutta, under the supervision of Prof. Ranjan Basu. The thesis is entitled "Social Impact of Migration in Kolkata Metropolitan Area". He has four research publications in different Indian journals to his credit. At present he is actively engaged in teaching Geography in school level and also in post-doctoral research on human issues in Geography.