The Ganges and its numerous distributaries
have resulted in some of the most fertile regions in the world.
Agriculture is the mainstay for about 70% of the population. The
land usage in West Bengal is as follows - arable land:
62.8% (55,414 sq.km); forests 13.38%; the rest is for other
West Bengal has 18 districts and Calcutta serves
as the state capital. There are over 23 towns with a population
of over 100,000. The largest cities are Calcutta, Howrah, Asansol,
Durgapur and Siliguri. Other important towns include Darjeeling,
Kharagpur and Haldia. Calcutta is amongst the largest metropolitan
regions in the world.
The state has international boundaries with Bangladesh, Bhutan and
Nepal. The Indian states sharing boundaries with West Bengal are
Orissa, Bihar, Sikkim and Assam.
West Bengal has large reserves of coal in the Ranigunj
coal belt region. Other minerals include dolomite, limestone
and china clay.
West Bengal is rich in flora and fauna and has a
diverse ecosystems because of its varying terrain from the high
altitudes to the sea level plains. Protected forests cover 4% of
the state area. There are 15 Wildlife Sanctuaries, 5 National Parks
and 2 Tiger Reserves. The Sunderban, in south Bengal, is home to
the famous Tiger Project - a conservatory effort to save the Bengal
tigers from extinction. It is an UNESCO world heritage site. Another
similar project exists in Buxa in north Bengal. Wildlife includes
the Indian one horned rhinoceros, Indian elephants, deer, bison,
leopards, gaur, crocodiles and others. The state is also rich in
bird life, migratory birds come to the state during the winter.
The climate of Bengal varies according to the location.
It's cooler in the northern mountains than in the southern
plains. Summers and winters can be extreme in the mid plains. Winters
are cold in the mountain regions. The summer months are from March
to June. The monsoon season lasts from June to September and brings
heavy rain. The monsoons bring respite to the parched plains but
they often cause floods and landslides. However the importance of
the monsoons cannot be overemphasized in the Indian context. The
economy of the whole nation is dependent to a great extent on the
monsoon rains. A good monsoon means a bountiful harvest in the coming
months. The winter months are from October to February. The winter
months are generally pleasant in the southern part of the state.
Snowfall is limited to the Himalayan regions.
Summer temperatures - 24C to 40C
Winter temperatures - 7C to 26C
The industrialized Calcutta and Durgapur regions
have high levels of pollution compared to other parts of the state.
However awareness about the environment is on the rise. The government,
the judiciary and NGOs are playing a positive role in this respect.
Potential natural calamities include floods and cyclones
||1991 census : 68,077,965
|1998 estimates :78.1million.
||767 per sq. km.
|Birth Rate (per 1000)
||22.8 (1996 est.)
|Death Rate (per 1000)
||7.8 (1996 est.)
|Infant Mortality Rate (per 1000):
||55 (1996 est)
89,000 sq km
Coal and china clay, Rock Phosphate,Limestone, Dolomite, Granite.
Engineering, automobiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, aluminum,
cotton textiles, tea, paper, glass leather,Bonemeal, bicycle, dairy
& poultry, timber Processing.
Name and number of Districts
19 Districts - Bankura, Bardhaman, Birbhum, Coochbehar,
Darjeeling, Dinajpur (N), Dinajpur (S), Hooghly, Howrah, Jalpaiguri,
Kolkata , Malda, Midnapore East, Midnapore West, Murshidabad, Nadia,
24 Parganas (N), 24 Parganas (S).
767 person per sq.km.
July to September
Rice, Wheat, Jute, Tea, Potato, Sugarcane, Pulses, Oilseeds, Forest
Products, Betel Leaf.
Mango, Pineapple, Banana, Papaya, Orange, Guava, Water Melon
Chemicals, Coal, Cotton Textiles, Jute, Paper, Tea, Heavy and Light
Engineering, Leather & Footwear, Liquor, Locomotive, Petrochemicals,
Pharmaceuticals, Electricals and Electronics, Software