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ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL SAFEGUARDS, AND

PLANNING IN PANCHAYATI RAJ INSTITUTIONS:


CAPACITY ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT PLANS
(CNTR/ MSPWB/ SRD/ GMC/ 2009/ 3325)

VOLUME – I: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL


SAFEGUARDS AND MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK

Submitted to

World Bank
&
Department for International Development (DFID), India

Submitted by

January 2010
CONTENTS

ABBREVIATIONS ............................................................................................................................................. vi
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY................................................................................................................................ E.I

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................ 1


1.1 BACKGROUND .............................................................................................................................................. 1
1.2 PRIs IN WEST BENGAL - SOME IMPORTANT POINTS OF NOTE ............................................................ 1
1.3 THE CURRENT ASSIGNMENT .................................................................................................................... 4
1.3.1 Main Components of the Assignment ....................................................................................................... 4
1.3.2 The Approach and Investigation ............................................................................................................... 5
1.4 STRUCTURE OF THE REPORT ................................................................................................................... 7
1.5 THE DISCLOSURE PROCESS (PLANNED)................................................................................................. 7

CHAPTER 2: ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS ................................................................................................ 8


2.1 ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILE OF WEST BENGAL ................................................................................... 8
2.2 GEOLOGY 9
2.2.1 Hard Rock Formations .............................................................................................................................. 9
2.2.2 Quaternary Formations .............................................................................................................................. 9
2.3 PHYSIOGRAPHIC AND AGRO-CLIMATIC REGIONS OF WEST BENGAL ........................................... 11
2.3.1 Physiographic Regions of West Bengal ................................................................................................... 11
2.3.2 Agro Climatic Zones in West Bengal ..................................................................................................... 15
2.4 ENVIRONMENTAL SETTINGS OF WEST BENGAL.................................................................................. 16
2.4.1 Climate ................................................................................................................................................... 16
2.4.2 Land Use and Land Degradation .............................................................................................................. 22
2.4.3 Ground Water and Exploitation ............................................................................................................... 23
2.4.4 Surface Water Resource and Quality........................................................................................................ 32
2.4.5 Wetlands ................................................................................................................................................. 34
2.4.6 Hydrology and Drainage.......................................................................................................................... 36
2.4.7 Forest Cover............................................................................................................................................ 40
2.4.8 National Parks and Sanctuaries in West Bengal ........................................................................................ 49
2.4.9 Biodiversity ............................................................................................................................................ 52
2.4.10 Agriculture ............................................................................................................................................ 61
2.4.11 Fisheries................................................................................................................................................ 62
2.4.12 Ambient Air Quality.............................................................................................................................. 68
2.4.13 Natural Hazards..................................................................................................................................... 69
2.5 GRAM PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES AND RESULTING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS .......................... 79
2.6 ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORY FRAMEWORK ................................................................................ 90
2.6.1 Environmental Regulatory Review of GP Activities............................................................................... 90
2.6.2 World Bank Environmental Safeguard Policies and It’s Applicability to GP Activities ........................... 95
2.7 REVIEW OF CAPACITY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ....................................................... 97
2.7.1 Capacity of Gram Panchayat ................................................................................................................... 97
2.7.2 Capacity of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Line Departments .............................................................. 104

CHAPTER 3: SOCIAL ASSESSMENT .......................................................................................................... 106


3.1 SOCIO-ECONOMIC PROFILE OF WEST BENGAL ............................................................................... 106
3.2 DEMOGRAPHY ......................................................................................................................................... 106
3.2.1 Population Distribution......................................................................................................................... 106
3.2.2 Literacy and Education ......................................................................................................................... 108
3.2.3 Occupation and Employment ................................................................................................................ 109
3.3 INCOME AND POVERTY ........................................................................................................................ 112
3.3.1 Human Development Indices ................................................................................................................ 112
3.3.2 Income and Poverty.............................................................................................................................. 113
3.3.3 Land Ownership ................................................................................................................................... 116
3.3.4 Migration ............................................................................................................................................ 118
3.4 SCHEDULED TRIBES IN WEST BENGAL............................................................................................... 119
3.4.1 Major Scheduled Tribes ....................................................................................................................... 120
3.4.2 Primitive Tribal Groups ........................................................................................................................ 122
3.4.3 Literacy Among Tribal Groups .............................................................................................................. 123
3.4.4 Occupation Pattern among Scheduled Tribe ........................................................................................... 124

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3.5 CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS IN WEST BENGAL ........................................................................ 126
3.6 GRAM PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES AND RESULTING SOCIAL IMPACTS ........................................... 127
3.7 KEY SOCIAL ISSUES OBSERVED IN GPs VISITED ............................................................................... 132
3.8 ROLE PLAYED BY GPs IN LAND ACQUISITION................................................................................... 135
3.9 SOCIAL SAFEGUARD FRAMEWORK ..................................................................................................... 137
3.9.1 Existing Social Safeguard Policies in the State ...................................................................................... 137
3.9.2 Applicability of World Bank Safeguard Policies ................................................................................... 140
3.9.3 State’s Land Acquisition and Resettlement Policies, Legislation, Regulatory and Administrative
Frameworks ................................................................................................................................................... 141
3.9.4 Implementation of Social Safeguard Policies in West Bengal ................................................................. 142
3.10 ROLE PLAYED BY GPs IN MITIGATING SOCIAL RISKS .................................................................... 144
3.10.1 Type of Social Risks Observed at GP level ......................................................................................... 144
3.10.2 Communities Affected by Social Risks ............................................................................................... 144
3.10.3 Role Played by GP in Mitigating Social Risks ..................................................................................... 145
3.10.4 Effectiveness and Capacities of GP to Mitigate Social Risks ............................................................... 145
3.11 VULNERABLE GROUP DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK .................................................................... 146
3.11.1 Tribal Blocks and GPs ......................................................................................................................... 148
3.11.2 Scope and Key Elements of VGDF ..................................................................................................... 149
3.11.3 Implementation Arrangements for VGDF ........................................................................................... 150
3.11.4 Monitoring Framework under VGDF .................................................................................................. 151

CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK.. Error! Bookmark not


defined.
4.1 THE PROJECT BACKGROUND .................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.2 THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK . Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.3 THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES ............................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.3.1 Screening of Activities ............................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.3.2 Environmental Review of Proposed GP Activities..................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.3.3 Appraisal of Environmental Assessment and Clearances ........................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.4 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR IMPLEMENTING ESMF ................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.4.1 Institutional Roles and Responsibility for ESMF Implementation ................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.5 CAPACITY BUILDING .................................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.5.1 Capacity Building Initiatives Proposed...................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.5.2 Information Education and Communication (IEC) Strategy ........................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.6 MONITORING FRAMEWORK ...................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.7 CONSULTATIONS AND DISCLOSURE PROCESS ...................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.7.1 The Disclosure (Planned).......................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.7.2 Consultations and Disclosure of Sub-Projects at GP .................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.8 TENTATIVE BUDGET FOR ESMF IMPLEMENTATION ............................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.9 DOCUMENTATION AND REPORTING ....................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
4.10 ESMF REVIEW .............................................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.

FORMAT – A: NEGATIVE LIST – ACTIVITIES NOT ALLOWED........................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
FORMAT – B: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL REVIEW FORMAT .............. Error! Bookmark not defined.
FORMAT – C: GUIDELINE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT................ Error! Bookmark not defined.

ANNEXURE 1: LIST OF SAMPLE GPs VISITED FOR PRIMARY STUDY ........ Error! Bookmark not defined.
ANNEXURE 2: PESTICIDES REGISTERED FOR USE IN INDIA ...................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
ANNEXURE 3: PESTICIDES BANNED IN INDIA AND WEST BENGAL.......... Error! Bookmark not defined.
ANNEXURE 4: WHO CLASSIFICATION OF CHEMICAL PESTICIDES ...................................................... 192
ANNEXURE 5: DEFINITIONS ........................................................................................................................ 195
ANNEXURE 6: GP ACTIVITIES AS PER PRDD ACTIVITY MAPPING EXERCISE .................................... 196
ANNEXURE 7: NATIONAL AND STATE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES AND FRAMEWORK FOR
MANAGEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES............................................................... 205
ANNEXURE 8: ARSENIC AFFECTED BLOCKS ................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
ANNEXURE 9: LIST OF CRITICAL AND SEMI CRITICAL BLOCKS IN WEST BENGAL AS PER CGWB
.................................................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.

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ANNEXURE 10: SUMMARY NOTE ON PEER APPRAISAL PROCESS OF GRAM PANCHAYAT PLAN BY
P&RD DEPARTMENT ............................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
ANNEXURE 11: GOVERNMEMT SCHEMES TO BE MONTITORED BY VULNERABLE GROUP
REPRESENTATIVE AT GP LEVEL........................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
ANNEXURE 12: PRIMARY CONSULTATIONS CONDUCTED .......................... Error! Bookmark not defined.

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE (2.1): STRATIGRAPHIC SUCCESSION OF THE ROCK UNITS OF THE EXTRA PENINSULAR
REGION ........................................................................................................................................ 10
TABLE (2.2): AGRO-CLIMATIC ZONES OF WEST BENGAL ......................................................................... 17
TABLE (2.3): CLIMATIC CLASSIFICATION OF WEST BENGAL................................................................... 20
TABLE (2.4): DISTRICTWISE LAND USE STATISTICS OF WEST BENGAL (2007-08) (in hectares) ............. 23
TABLE (2.5): GROUND WATER SITUATION IN DISTRICTS OF WEST BENGAL ........................................ 24
TABLE (2.6): BASIC INFORMATION ON GROUND WATER EXPLORATION/SOURCES ............................ 26
TABLE (2.7): NUMBER OF ‘SEMI-CRITICAL’ AND CRITICAL BLOCKS ..................................................... 27
TABLE (2.8): DISTRICT WISE GROUND WATER QUALITY PROBLEMS .................................................... 28
TABLE (2.9): ARSENIC AFFECTED BLOCKS .................................................................................................. 30
TABLE (2.10): AMOUNT OF SURFACE WATER BY BASINS OF WEST BENGAL ....................................... 33
TABLE (2.11): WETLANDS CLASSIFICATION SCHEME ............................................................................... 34
TABLE (2.12): DISTRICTWISE NO OF WETLANDS ........................................................................................ 36
TABLE (2.13): CATCHMENT AREA OF MAJOR DRAINAGE BASINS OF WEST BENGAL ......................... 36
TABLE (2.14): CLASSIFICATION OF FOREST TYPE IN WEST BENGAL ..................................................... 42
TABLE (2.15): DISTRICT WISE FOREST COVER ............................................................................................ 44
TABLE (2.16): LOSS OF FOREST AND ITS CAUSES....................................................................................... 44
TABLE (2.17): FOREST PROTECTION COMMITTEES IN WEST BENGAL (AS ON 31.03.2007)................... 47
TABLE (2.18): PERFORMANCE OF CONSOLIDATION OF JOINT FOREST MANAGEMENT IN SOUTH
WEST BENGAL AND FPC SHARE RELEASED FROM FINAL HARVEST ............................. 49
TABLE (2.19): LIST OF PROTECTED AREAS IN WEST BENGAL ................................................................. 50
TABLE (2.20): FAUNA OF WEST BENGAL...................................................................................................... 52
TABLE (2.21): ENDEMIC, INSECTS (HEMP SELECTED FAMILIES) ............................................................. 53
TABLE (2.22): MANGROVE FLORA OF THE SUNDARBANS ........................................................................ 54
TABLE (2.23): VARIETALS DIVERSITY OF CEREAL AND NON CEREAL CROPS...................................... 58
TABLE (2.24): SACRED GROVES IN INDIA .................................................................................................... 60
TABLE (2.25): PRODUCTION OF CROPS ......................................................................................................... 61
TABLE (2.26): FISHERY RESOURCES IN WEST BENGAL ............................................................................ 64
TABLE (2.27): SOME COMMERCIAL MARINE/ ESTUARINE FISH OF WEST BENGAL ............................. 65
TABLE (2.28): NATIONAL AMBIENT AIR QUALITY STANDARDS ............................................................. 68
TABLE (2.29): CLIMATIC HAZARD OF WEST BENGAL................................................................................ 69
TABLE (2.30): DAMAGING CYCLONES IN THE WEST BENGAL REGION .................................................. 70
TABLE (2.31): RECORDS OF LARGE FLOODS IN WEST BENGAL DERIVED FROM THE DARTMOUTH
FLOOD OBSERVATORY GLOBAL ARCHIVE OF LARGE FLOOD EVENTS ........................ 71
TABLE (2.32): SELECTED DISTRICT-WISE NUMBER OF PROJECTS, AREA COVERED AND FUND
RELEASED UNDER DPAP IN WEST BENGAL (2004-2005 TO 2006-2007) (Rs. in Lakh)........ 74
TABLE (2.33): HISTORY OF EARTHQUAKES IN THE BENGAL REGION .................................................... 76
TABLE (2.34): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OBSERVED ............ 79
TABLE (2.36): ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORY REVIEW OF GRAM PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES......... 90
TABLE (2.37): WORLD BANK ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARD POLICIES AND IT’S APPLICABILITY TO
GRAM PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES ........................................................................................... 95
TABLE (2.38): CAPACITIES OF GP MEMBERS AND FUNCTIONARIES ....................................................... 99
TABLE (2.39): GRAM PANCHAYAT UPA-SAMITIS ..................................................................................... 104
TABLE (2.40): STHAYEE SAMITIS AT ZILLA PARISHAD AND PANCHAYAT SAMITI ........................... 106
TABLE (2.41): SWOT ANALYSIS OF GRAM PANCHAYAT FOR IMPLEMENTING ESMF ........................ 107
TABLE (3.1): POPULATION DISTRIBUTION IN WEST BENGAL ............................................................... 107
TABLE (3.2): LITERACY AND SEX RATIO IN WEST BENGAL ................................................................... 108
TABLE (3.3): OCCUPATIONAL PATTERN .................................................................................................... 109
TABLE (3.4): WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN WORK FORCE ......................................................................... 110
TABLE (3.5): SECTORAL DISTRIBUTION OF MAIN WORKERS IN WEST BENGAL ................................ 111
TABLE (3.6): DISTRICT WISE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX IN WEST BENGAL ............................... 112

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TABLE (3.7): PER CAPITA INCOME OF WEST BENGAL ............................................................................. 114
TABLE (3.8): DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION BY WEALTH INDEX IN WEST BENGAL, 2005-06 ........ 114
TABLE (3.9): TREND OF POPULATION BELOW THE POVERTY LINE ...................................................... 115
TABLE (3.10): NOMINAL AND REAL MONTHLY PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION EXPENDITURE (MPCE)
OF SELECTED STATES ........................................................................................................... 115

TABLE (3.11): NUMBER & AREA OF OPERATIONAL HOLDINGS BY SIZE GROUP IN DISTRICTS OF
WEST BENGAL ........................................................................................................................ 117
TABLE (3.12): ESTIMATED IRRIGATED AND UNIRRIGATED AREA BY SIZE CLASSES UNDER CROPS
IN WEST BENGAL ................................................................................................................... 118
TABLE (3.13): LANDLESS HOUSEHOLDS .................................................................................................... 118
TABLE (3.14): DISTRIBUTION OF SHEDULED TRIBE POPULATION ........................................................ 119
TABLE (3.15): DISTRIBUTION OF SCHEDULED TRIBE ............................................................................. 120
TABLE (3.16): DESCRIPTION OF THE MAJOR TRIBES IN WEST BENGAL ............................................... 121
TABLE (317): LITERACY AND SEX RATIO IN WEST BENGAL ................................................................. 123
TABLE (3.18): LITERACY RATE AMONG TEN MAJOR TRIBES ................................................................. 124
TABLE (3.19): PROPORTION OF MAIN AND MARGINAL WORKERS AMONG ST POPULATION .......... 124
TABLE (3.20): DISTRIBUTION OF WORKERS IN SCHEDULED TRIBE IN DISTRICTS OF WEST BENGAL
.......................................................................................................................................................................... 125
TABLE (3.21): CATEGORY OF SCHEDULED TRIBE WORKERS ................................................................. 125
TABLE (3.22): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR SOCIAL IMPACTS OBSERVED ............................. 127
TABLE (3.23): GPs REPORTING ORGANISING LAND ON PURCHANSE/ VOLUNTARY DONATION FOR
PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE .................................................................................................. 135
TABLE (3.24): APPLICABILITY OF WORLD BANK SAFEGUARD POLICIES ............................................ 140
TABLE (3.25): LIST OF ITDP BLOCK ............................................................................................................. 148
TABLE (3.26): IMPLEMENTATION ARRANGEMENTS FOR VGDF ............................................................ 150
TABLE (4.1): ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR ESMF IMPLEMENTATION............. Error! Bookmark not
defined.
TABLE (4.2): INDICATIVE TRAINING MODULES ............................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
TABLE (4.3): INDICATIVE BUDGET FOR ESMF................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.

LIST OF FIGURES

Fig. (1.1): The Overall Schema ............................................................................................................................... 5


Fig. (2.1): Districts of West Bengal ......................................................................................................................... 8
Fig. (2.2): Physical Map of West Bengal ............................................................................................................... 11
Fig. (2.3): Agro Climatic Zones of West Bengal.................................................................................................... 15
Fig. (2.4): Classification of Land Use in West Bengal ........................................................................................... 22
Fig. (2.5): Trend of Land Utilisation in West Bengal ............................................................................................. 22
Fig. (2.6): Ground Water Exploitation Over Time ................................................................................................. 27
Fig. (2.7): Arsenic Affected Blocks of West Bengal .............................................................................................. 31
Fig. (2.8): River Basins Of West Bengal ............................................................................................................... 38
Fig. (2.9): Area Irrigated by Government Canals in West Bengal by District.......................................................... 39
Fig. (2.10): Forest Cover in West Bengal .............................................................................................................. 40
Fig. (2.11): Forest Area Classification................................................................................................................... 41
Fig. (2.12): National Parks and Sancturies in West Bengal .................................................................................... 51
Fig. (2.13): Consumption & Demand of Pesticides in West Bengal........................................................................ 62
Fig. (2.14): Top 10 Fish Producing States (2006-07) ............................................................................................. 63
Fig. (2.15): Top 10 Fish Seed Producing States ..................................................................................................... 63
Fig. (2.16): Trend of Inland Fish Production for Top 10 Fish Producing States (2000-06) ...................................... 64
Fig. (2.17): Progress of Fisheries in West Bengal .................................................................................................. 65
Fig. (2.18): Flooding in West Bengal, July 2007 ................................................................................................... 72
Fig. (2.19): Different Blocks of West Bengal Susceptible to Floods ....................................................................... 73
Fig. (2.20): Seismic Zonation of West Bengal ....................................................................................................... 75
Fig. (2.21): Proportion of GP Reporting Key Activities Under NREGS ................................................................. 89
Fig. (2.22): Proportion of GP Reporting Key Activities Under SFC & TFC ........................................................... 89
Fig. (2.23): Area Within Hodges Line ................................................................................................................... 93
Fig. (2.24): Organisational Structure of GP in West Bengal ................................................................................... 98
Fig. (3.1): Block Wise Distribution of ST Population in West Bengal ................................................................. 120
Fig. (3.2): Key Social Issues Observed In GPs Visited ....................................................................................... 132

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Fig. (4.1): The Environmental Assessment Process .................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.

ABBREVIATIONS

BP Bank Policy (of World Bank)


BPL Below Poverty Line
BRGF Backward Regions Grant Fund
CFC Central Finance Commission
CGWB Central Ground Water Board
CRZ Coastal Regulation Zone
CSS Centrally Sponsored Scheme
DDP District Domestic Product
DPAP Drought Prone Area Programme
DPC District Planning Committee
DPRDO District Panchayat and Rural Development Officers
DPMU District Project Management Unit
EA Executive Assistant
ETC Extension Training Centres
ESMF Environmental and Social Management Framework
FPC Forest Protection Committee
FDC Forest Development Corporation
GDI Gender Development Index
GEC Groundwater Estimation Committee
GO Government Order
GoI Government of India
GoWB Government of West Bengal
GP Gram Panchayat
GPFT Gram Panchayat Facilitation Team
GPMS Gram Panchayat Management System
GS Gram Sansad
GUS Gram Unnayan Samiti
HDI Human Development Index
HTL High Tide Level
IEC Information Education Communication
IMR Infant Mortality Rate
ITDP Integrated Tribal Development Project
IPM Integrated Pest management
ISDP Improved Service Delivery by Panchayats
JFM Joint Forest Management
LSG Local Self Government
LGP Length of Growing Period
LTL Low Tide Level
MMR Maternal Mortality Rate
MoEF Ministry of Environment and Forests
MoPR Ministry of Panchayati Raj
MoRD Ministry of Rural Development
MoU Memorandum of Understanding
MPCE Monthly Per Capita consumption Expenditure
NFHS National Family Health Survey

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 vi
NOC No Objection Certificate
NGO Non Governmental Organisation
NREGS National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
NSSO National Sample Survey Organisation
OP Operational Procedure (of World Bank)
OSR Own Source of Revenue
PA Protected Areas
PHED Public Health Engineering Department
PMGSY Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojana
PRDD Panchayats and Rural Development Department
PRI Panchayati Raj Institution
PS Panchayat Samiti
SC Scheduled Caste
SDP State Domestic Product
SFC State Finance Commission
SIPRD State Institute of Panchayats and Rural Development
SPCB State Pollution Control Board
SRD Strengthening Rural Decentralization (Programme)
ST Scheduled Tribe
SWID State Water Investigation Directorate
TDF Tribal Development Framework
ToR Terms of Reference
TSP Tribal Sub Plan
VFPMC Village Forest Protection and Management Committees
WBSHDR West Bengal State Human Development Report
WHO World Health Organisation
ZP Zilla Parishad

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

The West Bengal Improved Service Delivery by Panchayats (ISDP) project aims to unleash
impeding factors in Gram Panchayats (GPs) service delivery i.e. insufficient funding on which
they have real discretion, to meet their service-delivery mandates and insufficient capacity to
execute their responsibilities effectively. The DFID-funded initiative, Strengthening Rural
Development, which provides enhanced discretionary funding to about 600 GPs and supports to
PRI capacity building, forms the base for this initiative. Building on this foundation, the World
Bank now proposes to introduce the GP fiscal transfer for about 30 percent of GPs in the state
(approximately 1000) across nine districts1, while consolidating and expanding the PRI capacity-
building programme. The objectives of this project is to help support the development of
stronger, better capacitated and performing GPs delivering enhanced local services and
infrastructure. The grant funding will be mixed with other untied GP funds and may be used for
any expenditure related to the construction, operation and maintenance and replacement of local,
publicly-owned assets.

Within its articulated purpose of securing more effective, accountable and pro-poor
decentralization, an analysis of the policies, processes and capacities with respect to
environmental and social safeguards and local planning activities of PRIs, specifically GPs is
being presented in two volumes of the current report. The Volume-I (in hand) has four Chapters.
The Chapter 1 presents the introduction and background, the Chapter-2 presents the
Environmental Ananlysis, Chapter-3 presents the Social Assessment and Chapter-4 presents the
Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF). The Volume-II presents the
assessment of existing planning process at GP level and proposes options for ISDP.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS AND SAFEGUARDS

The State of West Bengal consists of 19 districts, 341 blocks and 3,354 GPs and ranges from
Himalayan region in north to Bay of Bengal in south covering an area of 88,752 sq km and over
80 million population (as per Census 2001). The state is divided into six Agro climatic zones
namely the Northern Hill Zone (2.8 percent of the state's geographical area), Terai-Teesta
Alluvial Zone (14 percent of the state's geographical area), Gangetic Alluvial Zone (19.7 percent
of the state's geographical area), Vindhya Alluvial Zone (14.4 percent of the state's geographical
area), Undulating Red and Lateritic Zone (32 percent of the state's geographical area), and the
Coastal Saline Zone (17.1 percent of the state's geographical area).

Section 2.1 to Section 2.4 of this report illustrates the environmental settings in each of the Agro
climatic zones and presents the key environmental issues with respect to land use, drainage,
climate, ground water and surface water, agriculture and irrigation, forests, wetlands and
biodiversity in each of these zones in detail including the incidences of natural hazards.

An assessment of GP activities and their resulting adverse environmental impacts were also
studied. The primary study in 30 GPs across six districts in different Agro climatic zones viz.
Burdhaman, Cooch Behar, Dakshin Dinajpur, Howrah, Murshidabad and Purulia were conducted

1
The nine districts proposed under ISDP includes Bankura, Birbhum, Burdhaman, Cooch Behar, Dakshin
Dinajpur, Howrah, Nadia, Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur

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to understand the environmental impact of GP activities. Section 2.5 and 2.6 presents the impact
of GP activities on environment and the legal and regulatory framework for the same. Section
2.7 further presents the review of exiting capacities of GP for environmental management.

The major activities undertaken by GP towards public service infrastructure includes


construction, desilting and & re-excavation of pond; construction of village roads and internal
pathways; repair and maintenance of existing village roads; strengthening canal banks; provision
of drinking water through installation of tube wells; construction of sanitary units/ toilets,
construction and repair of buildings (School, Panchayat Office, AWC, Community Centres,
House etc); construction and strengthening of embankment for controlling river bank erosion;
construction of gravel/ concrete roads and culverts; micro irrigation activities; social forestry and
nursery development; land development and other soil moisture conservation activity; re-
excavation of existing field irrigation channels; rain water harvesting and removal of Parthenium
and cleaning of ponds. Most of these were taken up with NREGS funds and the untied funds
received under untied funds.

Of the 30 GPs visited, a set of 30 activities reported under NREGS, the activities reported were
repair of road reported in 60 percent of GPs, re-excavation of ponds in 50 percent of GPs, social
forestry in 43 percent of GPs, construction of earthen roads and land development in 33 percent
of GPs and raising nursery for social forestry in 27 percent of GPs.

Fig. (E.1): Proportion of GP Reporting Key Activities Under NREGS

Source: TARU Primary Study, 2009

Under the State Finance Commission and Twelfth Finance Commission Funds, construction cum
repair of buildings and repair and installation of drinking water tube wells tops the list with 80
percent GPs reporting the same. This is followed by repair of buildings in 57 percent of GPs,
repair of roads in 37 percent of GPs, repair of drains in 33 percent of GPs and construction of
drains in 30 percent of GPs.

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Fig. (E.2): Proportion of GP Reporting Key Activities Under SFC & TFC

Source: TARU Primary Study, 2009

The key environmental concern of the activities undertaken by GPs relates to soil erosion, impact
due to loss of top soil, potential reduction in availability of ground water and surface water for
drinking and irrigation, water pollution, impact of fertiliser and pesticides, impact of poor
hygiene and sanitation and adverse impact on forest and biodiversity. This gets further
accentuated by their location in different Agro climatic condition which already has a range of
these environmental issues.

THE SOCIAL ASSESSMENT AND SAFEGUARDS

The social settings and detailed socio-economic profile including demography, income and
poverty, livelihood situation is different districts, distribution of scheduled tribes and socio-
economic profile is presented in Section 3.1 to 3.5 of this report. Section 3.6 to 3.10 presents
the social impact of activities related to public service infrastructure provision, the regulatory
frame, the role played by GP in land acquision, the potential roles GP can play in mitigating the
adverse impacts, the social safeguard framework and the role played by GPs in mitigating social
risks. The section 3.11 ellaborates the Vulnerability Group Development Framework (VGDF) to
support the social and economic empowerment of vulnerable groups, including Scheduled Tribes,
Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Castes, Minority Groups and Women headed households/ single
women households under the ISDP project.

The key social issues observed during the primary field visit in 30 GPs across six districts viz.
Burdhaman, Cooch Behar, Dakshin Dinajpur, Howrah, Murshidabad and Purulia is presented
below.

Erroneous BPL listing to access various development programmes has been reported by almost
all the GPs as a major issue in ensuring social benefits to the poor and vulnerable. This is
followed by low level of awareness about various provisions of NREGA as reported in 83
percent of the GPs. Low livelihood security from land and lack of employment opportunity and

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 III
low awareness about social protection programme varies across GPs and ranges between 53 to
70 percent.

High rate of migration and trafficking of women and children though reported from 47 percent
and 37 percent GPs respectively, it is largely concentrated in GPs visited in three eastern West
Bengal districts and regionally a much larger issue. Social exclusion and political denial were
also observed in some of the GPs.

Fig. (E.3): Key Social Issues Observed In GPs Visited

Source: TARU Primary Study, 2009

The major social issues emerging from the GP activities are in lines with principles of equity,
principles of social justice and social exclusion based on caste/ community groups and poverty.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL MANAGEMNET FRAMEWORK

The environmental analysis and social assessment informs a range of potential environmental
and social issues that may emerge during the implementation activities by GPs under the ISDP
project. Though the National and State legal and regulatory policies are quite robust and in large
numbers, their implementation at GP level is relatively weak.

The assessment informs invoking of various World Bank safeguard policies with respect to
environment and that includes BP/OP 4.01 on environmental assessment, OP 4.04 on natural
habitat, OP 4.36 on forests and OP 4.11 on physical cultural resources. The OP 4.09 on pest
management does not apply in case of GP activities as they don’t directly distribute or promote
fertiliser or pesticides. Similarly, OP 4.37 does not apply as the check dams made by GPs are
very small with average height below 5-6 meters, and OP 7.50 on international waterways as GP
activities are are quite small and local in nature and hence do not impact international waters.

With respect to World Bank’s social safeguard policies; it triggers BP/OP 4.10 for tribal people
but does not trigger the BP/ OP 4.12 on involuntary resettlement. This is largely as the GP play
no role in land acquisition. As per the current practice land acquisition if at all needed is directly

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 IV
handled by the land acquisition cell at the district headed by the District Collector and where GP
as directed by the Collector plays the role of certification of land owners or liaison for
negotiating on compensation.

Section 4.2 and 4.3 in the report describes the ESMF with the organisational structure for ESMF,
details on environmental assessment including the screening and environmental review of
activities with a list of activities not allowed under this project and activities which can be taken
up but requires mitigation and key mitigation measures for the same. The section 4.4 and 4.5
details out the roles and responsibilities for implementation of ESMF and the capacity building
requirements for each of the institution/ individual involved in implementation of ISDP. The
section 4.6, 4.7 and 4.8 details out the monitoring process, the disclosure planned and the
indicative budget for ESMF implementation.

At the GP level, the Finance and Planning Sub-committee has the overall responsibility for
implementing ESMF in the GP – ensuring that the Environmental Assessment is done for the
draft GP plan, identified mitigation measures are integrated into the final GP plan and are
implemented. This sub-committee will also ensure that the Gram Sansads (GS) have adequate
orientation to the environmental safeguards in the ESMF so that the GS plans are in alignment
with these. The Nirman Sahyak in the GP ensures compliance with the ESMF and will be
responsible for undertaking Environmental Assessment i.e. the Screening (using Format A) and
Environmental Review (using Format B and C). Wherever the Nirman Sahayak’s post is vacant,
the Gram Rozgar Sahayak will be given the responsibility of the same. However, while the
screening may be done by the Nirman Sahayak/ Gram Rojgar Sahayak, for the Environment
Review s/he may need to consult with the relevant GP sub-committee depending on the activity
being assessed: Agriculture and Animal Resources; Education and Public Health; Infrastructure
and Industry. As part of the Peer Appraisal process of GP Plan and activities the Appraisal Team
also appraises the adherence with respect to ESMF along with modifications/ suggestions on
additional mitigation measures and certifies them. It is only after the appraisal and integrating
the measures suggested as per the appraisal; it is placed to the GP Finance and Planning Sub-
Committee for environmental and social clearances as per ESMF. In cases where there is
likelihood of any bigger adverse environmental impact, Nirman Sahayak shall refer the case to
District Coordinator (responsible for ESMF) for him/her to take final call on dropping the
activity or going ahead with necessary mitigation measures (which may be developed in
consultation with respective line departments).

The Finance and Planning Sub-committee will maintain a complete record of the environmental
and social management of the subprojects in their respective GPs. This will include the duly
filled up Environmental Review Formats (ERFs) and signed, and record of the trainings and
capacity building programs attended by the GP elected members and functionaries. This will
include:

 A duly filled and signed Format B and Format C (wherever used). These filled in
Formats shall also be attached to the GP plan.
 A record of orientation/ training programmes attended by various GP staffs and
functionaries
 A duly filled Annexure 11 of schemes accessed by vulnerable groups

These filled Formats will also be included in the tender documents and contracts/ MoU for the
work execution (wherever applicable), ensuring that the contractors are legally bound to
implement the mitigation measures included in the checklists.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 V
The monitoring of ESMF implementation at the GP level will be integrated with the system for
Annual Performance Assessment of the GPs. The Annual Performance Criteria will include
checking compliance with ESMF in planning and in execution through desk review of
documentation. An audit of the ESMF implementation at the GP level will be integrated into
Audit of Quality Assurance on the Annual Performance Assessment which is planned to be done
for 10 percent of the GPs annually.

It is also proposed that similar to the current Peer Appraisal process being used at the GP level in
the SRD GPs during planning, a Peer Audit process for implementation of ESMF shall be
instituted under the ISDP. It is expected that this peer audit of the ESMF under the ISDP is
subsequently built up into a full scale Social Audit, on an annual basis, by the culmination of the
ISDP project.

The integration of ESMF process into planning is presented in the Volume-II of the report where
overall planning framework has been addressed.

The review of the present ESMF will be a continuous process, and on the basis of its
implementation, need for making changes and revisions may arise. The State ISDP Coordinator
will be responsible to review the effectiveness and adequacy of the Framework, and make
changes if necessary, keeping all the stakeholders informed.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 VI
CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

1. 1 BACKGROUND

Since the late 1970s, West Bengal has pursued an alternative approach to rural development
based squarely on institutional reforms, involving land reform and decentralized governance.
Panchayats in West Bengal has charted an impressive course as a reliable vehicle for
decentralisation of authority and functions in the field of rural development. A functioning
three tier systems of local governments (Panchayats) elected every five years was instituted
since 1978, well in advance of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in the early
1990s which mandated such a system throughout India.

The Government of West Bengal (GoWB), in line with its historical accent on promoting
stronger local self government, is in the process of reforming the institutional and fiscal
system for Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in the State with a view to strengthening their
governance and service delivery roles

The DFID-supported Strengthening Rural Decentralization Programme (SRD) was launched


in November 2005 in support to the State Government’s strong commitment to rural
decentralisation and to help upscale the bottom up planning process which is being
implemented by the Panchayats and Rural Development Department (PRDD), GoWB.

The State Government identified further areas in PRI functioning which needed systemic
improvements in quality of governance with wider and better participation, greater
transparency, accountability and responsiveness towards environmental improvement and the
poor for economic development with more equity and social justice. World Bank has shown
interest in this regard to further support the State Government’s effort in strengthening the
PRIs functioning.

The proposed World Bank assisted programme for Improved Service Delivery by Panchayats
(ISDP) is to provide additional support to the ongoing initiatives of the state GoWB for
improving effectiveness of service delivery by three-tier Panchayats in a comprehensive
framework of rural decentralisation with particular focus on GPs as principal units of local
government.

1.2 PRIs IN WEST BENGAL - SOME IMPORTANT POINTS OF NOTE

The State of WB has a long tradition of local self-government (LSG) beginning with the
Chowkidari Panchayats established in 1870 and transiting through District Boards, Local
Boards (at sub-divisional-level) and Union Committees (for a group of villages) introduced
with Bengal Local Self-government Act 1885 and the Bengal Village Self-government Act
1919 that achieved the merger of the Chowkidari Panchayats and the Union Committees at
the village level- an arrangement that lasted till the 1950s. Following the recommendations of
the Balawantrai Mehta Committee (1957), the State passed the West Bengal Panchayat Act
1957 that set-up a two-tier system at the village and Union levels. The West Bengal Zilla
Parishads Act 1963 introduced two other tiers and the contours of a three-tier system (as
continues today, the Zilla Parishad (ZP) at the district level, the Panchayat Samiti (PS) at the
block level and the GP for a cluster of villages) emerged only with the West Bengal
Panchayat Act 1973. The confirming amendment to this was made in 1994 following the
Constitutional 73rd Amendment 1992 (MoPR, GoI, 2007).

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 1
PRIs- An Overview: Currently, WB has 18 ZPs, 341 PSs and 3,354 GPs. The number of
elected representatives at the district, block and GP level is 721, 8,483 and 49,545
respectively. About 30 percent of these representatives are from the Scheduled Caste (SC), 7
percent from the Scheduled Tribe (ST) and about 35 percent are women. The State has some
of the largest GPs in the country and, on an average, a GP includes 11 revenue villages and
13 Gram Sansads (GSs, consisting of all electors within a GP constituency).

The State has a legislated system of Standing Committees at each level. While there 10
Standing Committees envisaged at the district and block level2, there are five envisaged at the
GP level3. These Standing Committees are reported to have wide-ranging powers including
for preparation of proposals for scheme execution within available budgetary provisions;
ensuring that their views are considered before sanction (if the GP/ PS/ ZP) have delegated
such a role to them; and, calling for information and inspection of immovable properties of
the GP/ PS/ ZP or any work in progress (MoPR, GoI, 2007).

Powers and Duties of the GP: As per the West Bengal Panchayat Act 1973, GPs, ‘in order
to achieve economic development and secure social justice for all,’ is expected to (under its
‘obligatory duties’) prepare annual and five year development plans, implement schemes for
economic development and social justice and provide for, among others, sanitation,
conservancy, drainage and prevention of public nuisance; curative and preventive measures
in respect of contagious diseases; supply of drinking water and cleansing and disinfection of
water supply sources; and, management and care of public tanks and common grazing
grounds. Further, the discretionary duties of the GP (as assigned by the GoWB) are in respect
of, among others, irrigation (including minor irrigation, water management and watershed
development); rehabilitation of displaced persons; and, filling up of insanitary depressions
and reclaiming of unhealthy localities; In addition, the GPs have select powers for
maintaining sanitary conditions and protecting water sources. (Note that this description
focuses mainly on those that have a direct import for the task and there are several others not
included for brevity sake.)

Gram Sansad (GS) and Gram Unnayan Samiti (GUS): In addition to the ZPs, PSs, GPs
and the Standing Committees, there are two other ‘entities’ that are important at the village-
level: the GS and the GUS.

The GS comprises the electors in the GP and has been given special powers, including those
for ‘identification of schemes as well as beneficiaries that are required to be taken on priority
basis for economic development.’ The GP cannot ‘omit or refuse to act upon any
recommendation of a GS relating to prioritization of any list of beneficiaries or schemes or
programmes so far as it relates to the area of the GS and the GS can record its objection to
any action of the Pradhan or any other member of the GP for failure to implement any
development scheme properly or without active participation of the people.’ The GSs are to

2
These include Standing Committees for Agriculture, Irrigation and Cooperation; Education, Culture,
Information and Sports; Finance, Establishment, Development and Planning; Fisheries and Animal Husbandry;
Food and Civil Supplies; Forest, Land and Land Reform; Public Health and Environment; Public Works and
Transport; Small Industries, Power and Non-conventional Energy; and, Women and Child Development, Social
Welfare, Relief and Rehabilitation.
3
These include Standing Committees for Agriculture and Animal Resources; Cottage Industries and
Infrastructure; Education and Public Health; Finance and Planning; and, Women, Child Welfare and Social
Welfare.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 2
meet twice a year and data suggests that most GSs met as envisaged with attendance of about
10 percent.

The GS is to constitute the GUS ‘having jurisdiction over its area... comprising elected
member or members to the GP from the GS, the opposition candidate obtaining second
highest vote in the last GP election, three representatives of NGOs/ CBOs, three
representatives of active SHGs with at least two members from women-led SHGs, one
serving or retired Government employee, one serving or retired teacher (all being voters of
the area, i.e., members of the GS), and another 10 members or 1 percent of the total number
of members of (the) GS whichever shall be higher.’ The GUS ‘shall be responsible for
ensuring active participation of people in implementation and equitable distribution of
benefits of rural development programmes within its jurisdiction;’ accountable for its
functions and decisions to the GS... and may... constitute such number of functional
committees as may be required’; and, has the ‘responsibility of ensuring active participation
of the people in implementation, maintenance and equitable distribution of benefits with
respect to such subjects as may be prescribed.’ Recently, the GUSs have been entrusted the
task of preparing village-level plans of the GS, which shall be the basis of the GP Plan and
also be implemented by the GS.

Status of Devolution: A Study undertaken by the MoPR, GoI, 2007 suggests the following:

 With necessary amendment to the West Bengal Panchayat Act 1973, the State has
devolved all 29 functions included in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution to the
PRIs. This transfer of functions has been further deepened with the Activity Mapping
exercise for 26 subjects.

 For devolution of functionaries, the State Government has initiated measures to build a
cadre for PRIs.

 As far as devolution of finances go, GPs have been assigned the powers to collect
appropriate taxes, tolls, duties and fees, State Finance Commissions (SFCs) have been
constituted, their recommendations largely accepted and the audit of PRIs is regular.
Notably, the Examiner of Local Accounts (ELA), the statutory auditors for PRIs in the
State, have audited most GP and ZP-level accounts as on date even though the progress
vis-à-vis the PSs has been slower.

State-level Administrative Arrangements: At the State-level, the PRDD has different cells
for audit and accounts; budgeting4; community convergent action (CCA)5; headquarter and
other establishment; law, vigilance and public grievance; PRI policy; poverty alleviation6;

4
In addition to the budgeting function, the Budget Cell also deals with the National Old Age Pension Scheme
(NOAPS) and the National Family Benefit Scheme (NBFS), which are components of the National Social
Assistance Programme (NSAP).
5
Among the programmes it manages are Hariyali (earlier the Drought Prone Area Programme- DPAP), the
Integrated Watershed Development Programme (IWDP) and the Watershed Development Programmes (WDPs)
supported by the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD).
6
The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) has been entrusted to this Cell.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 3
public health7; rural housing8; rural infrastructure development9; self-employment and
women’s development10; social development11; and, training and NGOs.

A Directorate supervises the functioning of the PRIs at the field-level and schemes
supervised by the District Panchayat and Rural Development Officers (DPRDOs) are
monitored by it. Further, the Directorate has responsibility for training all GP-level
employees and elected representatives which are conducted by the Extension Training
Centres (ETCs) and by the DPRDOs.

1.3 THE CURRENT ASSIGNMENT

Within its articulated purpose of securing more effective, accountable and pro-poor
decentralization, the SRD provides technical support to design and implement aspects of
reform initiatives contemplated by the GoWB. In this instance, the SRD seeks to support ‘an
analysis of the policies, processes and capacities with respect to environmental and social
safeguards and local planning activities of PRIs, specifically GPs, and, based on this, design
appropriate safeguards aimed at enhancing (the) environmental and social sustainability and
strengthening planning activities at the GP level.’

1.3.1 Main Components of the Assignment

This assignment envisages examining the three main components as mentioned below and
design appropriate safeguard frameworks:

 Component I: Environmental safeguards. This involves an analysis of environmental


vulnerability and impacts of actual and potential Panchayat activities, an assessment
of existing capacity and the design of appropriate safeguard measures for
environmental management for GPs.

 Component II: Social safeguards. This involves understanding the socio-economic


and cultural profile of communities in the State of West Bengal and identification of
social safeguard measures for GPs.

 Component III: Planning: This involves understanding the present practices and
efficacy of the planning processes undertaken at the GP level and identifying areas for
improvement.

7
The Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) is one of the key initiatives it anchors.
8
The Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) comes under the purview of this Cell.
9
The two major initiatives managed by this Cell are the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and
the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) of NABARD.
10
The Swarna Jayanti Gramin Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) is the key programme under it.
11
This Cell deals with the Sishu Shiksha Karmasuchi (SSK, promotion of a community-managed elementary
education system) and the Provident Fund for the Landless Agricultural Laborers (PROFLAL).

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1.3.2 The Approach and Investigation

The review of secondary information was undertaken with respect to environmental


conditions, social and socio-economic situations and process of planning for which was
further verified with primary field investigation in 30 GPs across six districts in different
Agro Climatic Zones (Refer Appendix I for list of Sample GPs). Of the 30 GPs visited, 8
GPs were peri-urban GPs. The research issues identified, approach and investigations for
each of the components are detailed in the section below.

The Overall Schema

The overall schema of the assignment is presented in figure (1.1) below. The outputs from
each of three study components are further discussed in the consultation workshop to elicit
comments and inputs from key stakeholders including representatives of Panchayat
institutions, representatives from PRDD, and representatives of relevant line departments
(e.g. Departments of Agriculture, Forests, Animal Husbandry, and Minor Irrigation etc.), and
representatives from NGOs/ CBOs, and research institutions.

Fig. (1.1): The Overall Schema

Overall Task Objective


Analyze policies, processes and capacities with respect to environmental and social safeguards and local
planning activities of GPs
Design appropriate safeguards aimed at enhancing environmental and social sustainability and
strengthening planning activities at GP level

C1. Environmental Safeguards C2. Social Safeguards C3. Planning

Simple, practical EMF Simple, practical SMF


 Develop understanding of
 Ensuring legal, regulatory  Providing socio-cultural
present planning practices,
requirements profile of communities
their efficacy
 Specifying arrangements for  Identifying safeguard
 Identify areas for
GPs to be pro-active measures for GPs for donor
improvement
 Enabling monitoring of support
potential impacts

Process, Participation,
1.1 Diagnostic Review 2.1 Social Assessment 3.1
Capacity Assessment
Safeguard Frame and Analysis and
1.2 GP Activities Review 2.2 3.2
Capacity Review Recommendation
1.3 Regulatory Review
1.4 Capacity Review
ESMF Design

Consultations of Outputs

Finalization of Outputs

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 5
Component # 1: Environmental Safeguards

The study of environmental safeguards and developing of Environmental Managemnt


Framework (EMF) involved conducting diagnostic review of environmental conditions and
review of environmental regulatory framework in the state, followed by field visits to 30 GPs
(covering 60 Gram Sansads) across six districts in different Agro-climatic zones to review of
the GP activities and possible environmental impacts. At GP/ GS level it involved site visits
to a sample of GP/ GS activities along with detailed conbsultations with community and GP
functionaries to understand their impacts. The key research issues identified included:

 The key environmental issues in each of the agro-climatic zones in WB and factors
accentuating them?
 Existing laws, regulations and policies of the GoI, GoWB and donors for
environmental management of local conditions. Specific powers and duties of the
GPs for responding to environmental issues?
 GP activities that have a bearing on these environmental issues (either in terms of
aggravating these or addressing them)? Specific programmatic windows in which
these activities are being undertaken and the identification of other agencies
(including but not confined to PSs and ZPs) involved and the specific roles being
played by them?
 Existing awareness levels and capacities within the PRIs at various levels (including
the GUSs and Standing Committees) to respond to the environmental issues emerging
from GP actions and the identifiable capacity building needs?

This was further substantiated with consultations with various line departments including
Agriculture, Forest, Minor Irrigation, Animal Husbandry etc and PRDD staffs at district and
block level and also discussions with some select members of Zila Parishad and Panchayat
Samiti.

Component # 2: Social Safeguards

The study of social safeguards included conducting social assessment for developing a better
understanding of socio-economic and cultural profile of communities in West Bengal and
identifying the social safeguard measures. It also involved an assessment of social safeguard
framework and capacities of West Bengal GPs by field visit and consultations with
community various groups (especially the poor and marginalised) in 30 GPs (covering 60
GSs) across six districts in different socio-cultural zones. The key research issues identified
included:

 Key social issues in each of the agro-climatic zones (and socio-cultural zones) in
West Bengal. How do PRIs, especially GPs, represent various poor and vulnerable
groups and respond to them (in terms of both actions and accountability and
transparency mechanisms envisaged) and their aspirations and expectations?
 Existing laws, regulations and policies of the GoI, GoWB and donors for management
of land acquisition. The specific powers and duties of the GPs for land acquisition.
 Specific programmatic windows in which land acquisition activities are being
undertaken. Other agencies (including but not confined to PSs and ZPs) involved and
specific roles being played by them. The process being followed and to the extent is
this consistent with what is envisaged and/ or needed?

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 6
 Existing awareness levels and capacities within the PRIs at various levels (including
the GUSs and Standing Committees) to respond to land acquisition issues and the
identifiable capacity building needs.

This was further substantiated by having interactions and consultations with various line
departments including the DRDC cell, the NREGA nodal officer, DPRDO and other PRDD
staffs at district and blocks level and also discussions with some select members of Zila
Parishad and Panchayat Samiti.

Component # 3: Planning

The Planning Component’s of this report aims to present a ‘deeper understanding of the
present practices and efficacy of the planning processes undertaken at the Gram Panchayat
(GP) level in the State of West Bengal and identify areas for improvement.’ This included an
‘in-depth assessment of the planning processes, including participatory processes and
capacities in GPs’ and also identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the current planning
process and recommends areas for improvement. The key research issues identified for the
assessment included:

 Sources of funds for the GP for the last-three years (donor and programmatic
window-wise), how have these been utilized and to what extent are the sources and
uses consistent with what was envisaged?
 The planning process and steps followed for the development of the annual and five
year plans at the GP-level? What are the specific roles that are played by PRDD
functionaries, the GS and the GUS, including in terms of supervision, oversight and
feedback and contribution to the identification, analysis and prioritization of potential
interventions? What are the major challenges experienced in this process (especially
the capacity constraints)?
 How consistent is the entire set of planning steps and roles adopted by various
stakeholders with what is envisaged in terms of both stakeholder roles as well as the
transparency and accountability mechanisms envisaged?

1.4 STRUCTURE OF THE REPORT

The report is divided in two volumes. The Volume-I (in hand) has four Chapters of the
report. The Chapter 1 presents the introduction and background, the Chapter-2 presents the
Environmental Assessment, Chapter-3 presents the Social Assessment and Chapter-4 presents
the Environmental and Social Management Framework. The Volume-II, presents the
Planning Assessment and Framework.

1.5 THE DISCLOSURE PROCESS (PLANNED)

The draft ESMF will be put through a further round of consultations with the key
stakeholders through (a) a consultation workshop and (b) disclosure of the document. A one-
day workshop to elicit comments and inputs from key stakeholders including representatives
of PRIs, representatives from PRDD, and representatives of relevant line departments (e.g.
Departments of Agriculture, Forests, Animal Husbandry, and Minor Irrigation etc.), and
representatives from NGOs/ CBOs, etc., will be organized. The executive summary of the
ESMF along with the assessment tools will be translated in Bengali and circulated to all

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 7
district-level PRI offices and district collectors' offices for further dissemination, information
and feedback. The document will also be available on the website of the PRDD. The ESMF
will be suitably revised following these consultation processes. The Annexure of this report
will have further details of the consultation process (report on consultation workshop,
summary of feedback received, clipping of newspaper announcement, etc.).

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CHAPTER 2

ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS
CHAPTER 2: ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS

2.1 ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILE OF WEST BENGAL

West Bengal is the only State in India which extends from the snowy peaks Himalayan
ranges in the North to the Bay of Bengal in the South. The state shows significant diversity in
terms of environmental settings and agro climatic zone profile of the area. The state distinctly
exhibits diverse ecosystems, geology and physiography. This section attempts to capture the
major environmental setting and agro climatic zones detail as well as key issues in the state of
West Bengal.

Fig. (2.1): Districts of West Bengal

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2.2 GEOLOGY

The State of West Bengal consists of 19 districts and 340 blocks and ranges from Himalayan
region in north to Bay of Bengal in south. The total coverage area of the state is 88,752 sq km
and the entire area falls under major river basins. Out of this total area, 73,858 sq.km. is
occupied by the unconsolidated sedimentary deposits of the Quaternary period. Hard rocks
ranging in age from the Precambrian to the Tertiary periods, which are decidedly older than
the sedimentary formations forms the remaining area.

2.2.1 Hard Rock Formations

The terrain formed of hard rocks can be broadly divided into two distinct regions:

i. Extra peninsular mountain-terrain of the Darjeeling Himalayas in the north, and


ii. Peninsular tract comprising a rolling topography in the south west covering parts of
Purulia, Bankura, Medinipur, Birbhum and Burdhaman districts.

Darjeeling Himalayas:

In the Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri Districts, the Pre-Cambrian are represented by the Darjeeling
Gneiss, Lingtse Gneiss and Daling group of rocks. The Gondwana rocks occur in Jalpaiguri
and Darjeeling districts of the south of the Darjeeling Himalayas. A belt of alluvial detritus of
Tertiary age occurs in the Terai region of the northern part of Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling
districts. This is known as Siwalik group of rocks consisting of coarse, hard, sandstone,
siltstone, slate and conglomerate.

Extended Peninsular Region

The Pre-Cambrian in the Peninsular West Bengal are mostly exposed in Purulia district and
also along the western margins of Bankura, Medinipur and Birbhum districts. There are also
extensive exposures of Gondwana rock formations in the districts of Burdhaman, Purulia,
Bankura and Birbhum.

2.2.2 Quaternary Formations

The Quaternary deposits can once again be conveniently grouped into two; the first zone in
northern part of West Bengal and the other zone covers the southern parts of the state.

North Bengal Formations

The quaternary formations in the northern part of West Bengal occur just south of the Siwalik
Group rocks. The formations are constituted of boulders, gravels, pebbles, sands and silts in
the higher reaches forming alluvial fans and fluvial depositional terrace. In the lower reaches
fluvial terraces of flood plain faces consisting mainly of sands, silts and clays are dominant.
Aggregates of boulders, pebbles and fine clastics exist on the levelled hill tops in a few areas
like Gorubathan, Buxaduar, Jaldhaka and in Kalimpong areas. A generalised stratigraphic
succession of the rock units of the Extra Peninsular region is given below:

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TABLE (2.1): STRATIGRAPHIC SUCCESSION OF THE ROCK UNITS
OF THE EXTRA PENINSULAR REGION
Present - day flood plain
Quaternary
deposits
Baikunthapur/Shangaon
Boulders, gravels
Formation
Chalsa Formation pebbles, sands and silts
Matiali Formation
Thaljhora formation
Samsing Formation
Unconformity
Siltstones, coarse grained sandstone and
Tertiary Siwalik Group conglomerates with interbands of impure
stale and calcareous materials.
Main Boundary Thrust
Feldspathic and micaceous quartzite
Permo- Gondwana Damuda sandstone, carbonaceous slates with seams
of coal
Carboniferous Super group Talcher Pebble and boulder bed
Tectonic contact
Daling Group Buxa Formation Dolostone, Cherts and variegated slates
Ortho proto-quartzite, variegated slates and
Reyang Formation
phyllites
Gorubathan Formation Green slate with meta-volcanics
Lingtse Gneiss Sheared sticky Prophysitic biotite gneiss
Golden/silvery mica schist, garret
Darjeeling Gneiss stanrolite, kyanite and sillimanite bearing
schist and gneisses and migmetitic gneiss
Central Crystalline Thrust
Calc gneiss, Calc granite, Angen gneiss &
Older Chungthan Formation
marble; silimanite gneiss; graphite schist
Banded gneiss, Angen gneiss, stricky
Proterozoic Kanchanjungha Formation gneiss, migmatites, etc. with granite, aplite
and pegmatite
Source: State of Environment, 1998

Quaternary Formations of Southern West Bengal

The Quaternary terrain of Peninsular West Bengal may be divided into the following
geographical domains:
i. The area extending from Ganga flood plain in the north to Bay of Bengal in the south,
and bounded by the Bhagirathi River in the west up to Indo - Bangladesh border in the
east, including parts of Murshidabad, Nadia, 24-Parganas districts.
ii. The high plains of Hooghly, Bankura, Medinipur, Burdhaman and Birbhum districts
adjoining the peninsular mass sloping towards the course of the Bhagirathi-Hooghly
river system.
iii. The high plains to the east of the Mahananda river in Dinajpur and Malda districts
sloping towards the Ganga-Padma river course.

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2.3 PHYSIOGRAPHIC AND AGRO-CLIMATIC REGIONS OF WEST BENGAL

2.3.1 Physiographic Regions of West Bengal

The West Bengal is sub-divided into 12 physiographic zones. Six out of the twelve
physiographic zones of West Fig. (2.2): Physical Map of West Bengal
Bengal are located in the north of
the Ganges-Padma river and
together constitute a single system
by virtue of their origin within a
common tectonic framework and
forms the part of extra peninsular
region of the north (covering
districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri
and West Cooch Behar). They
include (a) the Mountains zone,
(b) the Piedmont Plains, (c) the
Dilluvial Plains, (d) the Riverine
Plains,(e) the Tal Lowland, and
(f) the Barhind Upland.

Another six physiographic zones


are also discernible in the southern
West Bengal and forms the part of
Peninsular mass of the
southwest (covering districts of
Purulia, western part of the
Burdhaman district and northern
part of Bankura district) and
includes (g) the Ayodhya Plateau,
(h) the Purulia High Plain, (i) the
Rarh Upland; and the Alluvial
and deltaic plains of south and
east (covering rest of the districts)
which includes (j) the Riverine
Delta, (k) the Marine-Riverine
Delta, and (l) the Active Marine
Delta.

The Mountains zone starts within a very short distance from the Bengal plains, the
mountains attain heights above 18,000 ft or more and hence the dip of the sedimentary rocks
are extremely steep, exposed as these are more on the southern flanks of the tract than
elsewhere. This area is largely covered by forests, tea gardens and rice fields. Due to
population growth and persistent unemployment in the tea estates, more and more land is
being used for terraced rice cultivation. Deforestation is also causing environmental problems
by stimulating soil erosion as the thin soil covers are subjected to extensive erosion. The
steep dip of the sedimentary rocks adds to the problem by causing frequent landslides during
the rainy seasons. Though the tea gardens do not generally contribute to soil erosion if the
tree covers in the gullies and upper slopes are preserved. However, the terraced rice fields on
the mountain slopes, by virtue of storing water, accentuates seepage, which, coupled with

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underlying beds having high clay content, contribute to landslides. During high floods, due to
the steep gradient of the river channels, boulders, pebbles and sand are carried downstream
along with large trees. As a result, partial channel choking takes place to force the streams to
widen their channels with wider meander curves which further aggravates the situation.

Piedmont Fans (Terrai): After leaving the mountains, due to sudden fall in gradient, the
rivers channels flare out and deposit the transported materials in the form of fans at the foot
of the hills and form a relatively narrow zone along the piedmont facing the Bengal plains.
The debris came in successive stages and commonly referred to as the Terrai. Once it was
completely covered with natural forests with grasses in the river channels. But from the
middle of the last century, the forests are getting cleared to make room for the development
of tea gardens and for expansion of agricultural land in tune with population growth.
Terraced agricultural farms are gradually invading the steeper slopes of the valleys and
altering the orientation of surface run off. The natural forests have been largely replaced by
economic forests with limited number of species under the care of the State Forest
Department.

Dilluvial Plains: Several rivers are actively building up this zone towards the southern front
of the northern zone with materials eroded from the Piedmont Fans (Terrai) as well as from
the Mountains. These plains are the most recent examples of gigantic fans of low relief, but
subjected to flooding. The river channels are yet to establish themselves as meander loops are
often cut off when the magnitude of floods become exceptionally large. The contributory
factors in shifts in river channel are the exceptionally high sediment loads, causing channel
choking and widening of the meanders, and the mobile nature of the basement complex. This
zone is largely under tea bushes and rice fields. The valley crests are generally under forests
in the control of the State Forest Department. Expansion in the area under agriculture
through removal of forest cover is considered to be a major contributory factor for soil
erosion. The other factor behind soil erosion is the practice of harvesting the pebbles and
boulders from the river bed for use as construction materials. Unregulated excavation of
stones close to the bank causes stream bank erosion to sustain the processes of channel
widening and formation of new shoals within the bed of rivers.

The Northern Riverine Plain: To the south of the Dilluvial Plains extends the true riverine
plain. In the southern part of the state, the riverine plain developed as deltas by pushing out
sea water from the shallow continental shelf. However, the northern riverine plain had
formed by filling in a shallow inland water body. Large swamps had thus formed, into which
were deposited the finer alluvial materials brought primarily from the Dilluvial plains. The
entire zone is extensively cultivated for rice in the depressions and jute on higher ground and
prone to flooding from river Teesta.

The Tal Lowlands: This low land is commonly referred to in geographical literature as the
Tal which is caused by rivers started formations to drain out water before filling the area.
Hence, between the streams the depressions are left with water bodies. Practically the whole
of the southern part of the District of West Dinajpur and the western part of the District of
Malda falls in this physiographic zone. The beds of these depressions are formed of clay of
great depth overlain by variable thickness of river borne silts. The thick clay beds restrict
percolation of surface water and also restrict ground water exploitation. Depending mainly on
the monsoon rains, the Tal lowland is used for raising rice in the depressions and jute on the
relatively higher ground.

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The Barhind Upland: This zone covers a small area in the eastern part of the District of
Malda. In spite of clay content, this upland suffers from quick run off and percolation of
water. Ground water endowment is also poor. Hence, from the Mahananda gravity-flow
irrigation canals, water is pumped on to the surface of this zone.

The Ayodhya Plateau: In the south-western corner of the District of Purulia the block of
highlands known commonly as the Baghmundi Hills or Ayodhya Pahar. This constitutes a
distinct physiographic zone and has been named as the Ayodhya Plateau. It is an outlier of
the Ranchi Plateau of south Bihar and is formed of similar geology of granite, gneiss and
schists. The Subarnarekha River, flowing from north to south in this tract, has cut its valley
to the west and has separated the Ayodhya Plateau from the Ranchi Plateau. The top of the
plateau is undulating in nature formed of oxidised ferralitic soil. It is prone to rapid erosion
following deforestation. During rainy season, many waterfalls are seen, which completely dry
up soon afterwards. All around the base of this plateau, the eroded materials have formed
talus with relatively rich contents of water. On the plateau top, the resident population pursue
rain-fed agriculture, where groundwater endowment is very poor indeed.

The Purulia High Plain: Excluding the Ayodhya plateau, the rest of the District of Purulia
can be described as high plain sloping eastward. It is an eastern extension of the Deccan
Shield. It is composed of ancient metamorphic rocks like gneiss, schists and many varieties of
phyllites. The topography is undulating in nature where the valley crests extend as spurs,
becoming narrower while losing heights as the river valleys widen concurrently eastward.
The rocks are highly fractured and jointed. Along these joints and fractures some amount of
ground water are found. Otherwise, surface run off is the major source of consumable water.
The major part of this zone was once under forests, which got largely reduced with expansion
of area under cultivation to support population growth. In the recent decades, the valley crests
are getting planted with trees. The otherwise exposed surfaces are subjected to gully erosion.
The soil is oxidised, very porous and friable.

The Rarh Upland: To the east of the Purulia High Plain extends the Rarh Upland formed of
ferralitic soils. After the fluvial-marine deposits were laid and the sea finally moved away,
fluctuating ground water table coupled with rain and dry weather conditions have led to the
formation of lateritic patches in many parts of this zone. However, once brought under the
plough, these lose their lateritic properties and tend to support limonitic soils because of
accentuation of the leaching processes. The Rarh Upland is undulating in character subjected
to extensive soil erosion. Although the soil is friable and porous, runoff is dominant over
percolation and hence groundwater endowment is poor. This zone was once thickly forested.
It is still containing a large share of the forest lands of West Bengal. However, like in all
other places, the expansion of area under agriculture has reduced the forest cover.

The Riverine Delta: Towards the earlier sea-face of the Rarh Upland extend a distinct
physiographic zone formed of many deltas. In the north-east, covering the eastern part of the
District of Murshidabad, is located the largest delta formed by the Ganges river. This delta
extends southward upto the border zone of the Districts of Nadia and North 24-Parganas. To
the south-west of the Ganges delta, primarily in the eastern Burdhaman District and northern
Hooghly District, had formed another large delta with the materials carried by the Ajoy and
the Damodar rivers. Further to the south-west, the Kansabati River had formed its delta
primarily in the District of Medinipur. Further south, also within Medinipur District, a delta
was built by the Subarnarekha River.

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The processes of alluviation through riverine deposits pushed away the sea front from a
shallow off-shore zone. As the deltas merged, some tracts between them escaped alluviation.
These are now found to contain some of the flood prone zones of this physiographic division.
Khanakul and Ghatal of respectively the Hugli and Medinipur Districts is one such region
between the Damodar and Kansabati deltas. But more conspicuous example of unfilled parts
is given by the wetlands of eastern Birbhum and western Murshidabad Districts. Hijal Bil and
Langalhata Bil are the more well known examples of such wetlands. These bils remained cut-
off from the Ganges delta because of the formation of alluvial levee along the right bank of
the Bhagirathi River. It obstructed passage of water brought by the streams of the Mayurakshi
system towards the east.

The entire area is extensively cultivated. Apart from surface water, the agricultural fields use
the richly endowed ground water of this physiographic zone. The Ganges and the Damodar
deltas have richer endowments of ground water than the deltas of either the Kansabati or the
Subarnarekha. The Ganges delta has the thickest section of alluvium and acts as a passage for
sub-terrainian flow of water of the entire Ganges valley of north India. Below the Damodar
delta extends the Gondwana rift valley to guide the sub-terrainian flow of the entire
catchment area. The deltas of the Kansabati and the Subarnarekha, on the other hand, are
formed of alluvium of shallow depth overlying the ferralitic formations.

The Marine-riverine Delta: While the physiographic zone of riverine delta was gradually
advancing upon the shallow continental shelf, due to deep seated movements of the basement
complex in the sub-recent geological period, the sea receded southwards. As a result, a large
area as plain land of very low altitude covered with fine clay of variable thickness and
subjected to tidal ingresses got expose, formed of sediments brought by the tides and the
rivers. The tracts between the river channels continued to contain brackish water wetlands
until filled up by sediments arriving through the collapse of the natural levees. Such collapses
take place periodically as the channel beds rise due to confined sedimentation. Man made
flood jacketing embankments laid close to the tidal channels also collapse periodically with
every reduction of the channel cross section. The inflowing sediments through the collapsed
structures fill up the depressions containing the brackish water wetlands. This process is now
manifesting with many parts of the East Calcutta Wetland. Some parts of this wetland are still
preserved to raise fish but are gradually changing their brackish nature.

The Marine Delta: In the southern part of the District of South 24-Parganas, this zone is
formed of inter-lacing tidal channels. The source of sedimentation is the tidal influx, which is
scouring the shallow continental shelf. On the sea face, sand dunes have formed by aeolian
actions. Under normal circumstance, the sediments get deposited between the inter-lacing
river channels. But this condition has been largely altered by human action. To expand
agriculture on this newly forming land mass, embankments have been created along the
banks of the channels to prevent incursions of saline tidal water. These embankments enclose
a tract to permit cultivation of rice with the help of rain water. As a result, features of the
geomorphic processes have been altered.

Rains constitute the major source of potable water in this region. The non-saline aquifers
occur at great depth, which is expensive to tap for the generally poor farmers. Shallow tube-
wells accelerate the penetration of saline prisms into the so exploited sweet water aquifers.
Most parts of this zone have been brought under agriculture by destroying the mangrove
vegetation. In the south-eastern part of this zone, some of the mangroves have been
preserved, which has been declared as a Bio-sphere Reserve and is used for preserving tigers.

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2.3.2 Agro Climatic Zones in West Bengal

India has been divided into 15 agro-climatic regions, which are further subdivided into zones
on the basis of soil, topography, climate and cropping pattern. Thus on the basis of landform,
hydrology, soil combinations, climatic condition conditions such as rainfall, temperature,
humidity, altitude, West Bengal is broadly divided into six agro-climatic zones, which fall
within three Agro-climatic regions of the country, as classified by the Planning Commission,
Government of India.

West Bengal is the only State in India which extends from the snowy peaks Himalayan
ranges in the North to the Bay of Bengal in the South. Hence, given the varied topography
and land and water situation it induces diverse climatic conditions. The South facing slopes
of the Himalayas receive very heavy rainfall in some places exceeding 3,500 mm, whereas in
some areas of the relatively drier western districts of the State the average annual rainfall
marginally exceeds 1,200 mm. The western districts of the State suffer from frequent ‘heat
wave’ in summer months when maximum temperature going upto 45oC, whereas the northern
hilly region comes under the grip of intense cold during winter months. The coastal areas of
the State experience fierce cyclonic storms during pre and post monsoon periods. Droughts of
different intensity are common in some areas while floods have become almost regular
phenomena in other areas of the state.

Agro-climatic zone represents the


geographical areas with varied soil, Fig. (2.3): Agro Climatic Zones of West Bengal
physiographic condition, length of
growing period (LGP) and
bioclimatic parameters. Based on
these parameters, the State has been
divided into 6 agro-climatic zones
which are as follows:

(1) The Northern Hill Zone (2.8%


of the state's geographical area)
(2) Terai-Teesta Alluvial Zone
(14% of the state's geographical
area)
(3) Gangetic Alluvial Zone (19.7%
of the state's geographical area)
(4) Vindhya Alluvial Zone (14.4%
of the state's geographical area)
(5) Undulating Red and Lateritic
Zone (32% of the state's
geographical area), and
(6) Coastal Saline Zone (17.1% of
the state's geographical area)

The brief description of each of


these six zones is shown in Table
(2.3).

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2.4 ENVIRONMENTAL SETTINGS OF WEST BENGAL

The state of West Bengal is primarily composed of plain land. However, if the entire
landform from north to south and east to west is observed, variations are considerable. In the
north is located the southern flank of the Himalayan mountain system. In the west there exists
a topography that is only an eastern extension of the Deccan plateau complex. The eastern
part of the southern West Bengal is a part of the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta, which is the
largest unit of landmass of its type in the whole world.

2.4.1 Climate

West Bengal experiences tropical monsoon type of climate. The features of climate vary
across the different parts of the state. The variation in temperature shows that different
physiographic influence the variation of both maximum and minimum temperature. The
maximum temperature reaches 44 degree Celsius in summer in the western part of the state
whereas, in the winter the temperature goes down below zero in the northern part of the state.

Annual rainfall is higher in the mountain region in the north of the state. The northern
districts of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri usually record a rainfall of 400-532 cms, the drier region
of western districts of Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum record a rainfall of 130 cms. Most of the
rain comes during the summer months, i.e. from June to September.

Climatic Zones

The state of west Bengal is classified under five climatic zones namely: (1) Humid on the
northern mountain slope and Humid coastal area, (2) Super humid Terai and the southern
Montana slope, (3) Semi-humid north and south, (4) Sub-humid east and west, (5) Humid
coastal area. These zones have been classified on the basis of mean annual rainfall, mean
annual range of temperature, evapo-transpiration and mean annual humidity. Table (2.3)
presents the details of the system and the area of the state that can be grouped under each,
showing vegetation types and recorded natural hazards.

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TABLE (2.2): AGRO-CLIMATIC ZONES OF WEST BENGAL
Physiographic Zone and Major Environmental
Zone Climate Soil pH Brief Description
Districts Covered Hazards
Northern Hill Sub-tropical Mainly refers to Mountain Acidic Top hill section is mostly under forest, midhill section is generally  Extensive soil erosion due
humid with physiographic zone. occupied by tea plantations and patchy agricultural cultivation on to deforestation.
rainfall varying narrow terraces. Cultivation on table top bench terraces extends down  Frequent landslides during
from 2500-3500 Darjeeling (excluding from midhill upto the valley. the rainy seasons
mm Siliguri sub-division) and  Flash flooding
the northern fringe of Soils on steep hill slopes are shallow with poor water retention
Maximum and Jalpaiguri. Total area capacity and excessively drained with high potential for erosion. Soils
minimum falling under this zone is of foothill slopes and valleys are moderately deep and well drained
temperature is approximately 2,42,779 ha with moderate erosion. About 30 per cent of the land in this region is
19.5ºC and 4.8ºC available for cultivation with limited scope of land extension.
(annual)
Agriculture of this region is grossly rainfed. Despite of moderately
good soil fertility, crop yields are poor due to soil acidity, high runoff
and limiting soil depth.
Terai- Teesta Hot, moist, Sub- Refers to Piedmont Fans Moderate The zone is composed of a strip of high terraces of older alluvium in  Due to extensive
Alluvial humid with (Terai) and Dilluvial to strongly the north followed by extensive recent alluvium flood plains of rivers, floodplains of many rivers,
rainfall between Plains physiographic acidic namely Teesta, Mahananda, Jaldhaka, Torsa. About 20 per cent of the the external drainage is
2000 to 3000 zones. land is prone to inundation and water logging. Coarse sands are free and large portion is
mm deported on cultivated and cultivable lands making them almost flood prone
Alluvial plain of Jalpaiguri barren for a few years.  Severe Flooding and water
Maximum and and Cooch Behar, Siliguri logging in some areas
minimum subdivision of Darjeeling Soil is deep, fine to medium in texture, turn lighter with depth, and  Extensive soil erosion.
temperature and Islampur sub-division contain moderate level of organic matter without appreciable Factor behind soil erosion
32.3ºC and of North Dinajpur mineralization. pH range from highly acidic to alkaline. The soil is is largely due to practice of
12.8ºC (annual) low in nutrients such as Phosphate, Potash, and some other important harvesting pebbles and
micro nutrients. A large portion of the zone is flood prone. boulders from the river bed
for construction.
Agriculture of the region is mostly rainfed, pre-kharif and kharif
seasons being exhaustively used. Rabi season is utilised in patches
availing reside moisture, water from tanck, beels, wells, tube wells,
and irrigation from Teesta irrigation project.

Groundwater potential is high and aquifer character unconfined. With


high development of ground water irrigation, a large area has been

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TABLE (2.2): AGRO-CLIMATIC ZONES OF WEST BENGAL
Physiographic Zone and Major Environmental
Zone Climate Soil pH Brief Description
Districts Covered Hazards
brought under multiple cropping and high yielding varieties of cereals
are being grown in all seasons.
Gangetic Tropical humid Refers to Northern riverine Mostly This zone is composed of alluvium carried by river Ganga and its  Overuse of groundwater
Alluvial with rainfall plains, Tal lands and Neutral tributaries and can be broadly classified into Ganga upland with resources
between 1350 to Barhind upland relatively matured alluvial soil, Ganga flat land with matured soil and
1650 mm physiographic zones Gang upland with relatively receiving fresh-alluvium recurrently.  Occasional Flooding due to
heavy precipitation
Maximum and Nadia and parts of Soil is very deep, fine to medium in texture, neutral to mildly alkaline
minimum Burdhaman, Dakshin high, NP (Nitrogen-Phosphorous) status medium to medium low and
temperature Dinajpur, Hooghly, Malda, potash status medium to high, external drainage is medium to slow
35ºC and 15.6ºC Murshidabad and North and internal drainage is moderate.
(annual) and South 24 Parganas
Irrigation system such as deep and shallow tube wells, river lift
irrigation, and other pumping system has helped in intensive multi
crop approach in the zone. However, the extensive withdrawal of
groundwater has lead to overuse of groundwater resources.

The total area covered within this zone is approximately 15,30,415 ha


Vindhya Hot moist sub- Refers to Riverine delta Acidic to The zone is broadly composed of almost level to gently sloping old  Wherever soil is red and
Alluvial humid type with and Marine-riverine delta neutral terraces of original Vindhiya rivers. laterite, it is more towards
rainfall between physiographic zones acidic
1500-2000 mm Soils here are generally deep and texture is medium fine and mostly
Western parts of acidic in soil reaction. pH of the soil increases with depth. The soil of  Occasional Flooding and
Maximum and Murshidabad and the zone is more akin to Vindhiya Alluvial Zone, however, eastern water logging due to heavy
minimum Hooghly, eastern parts of fringe of Malda district and some sporadic areas of Dinajpur are of red precipitation
temperature Birbhum and Bankura, and laterite soil. The soil has organic matter and phosphate and
35.37ºC and central parts of moderate potash.
15.16ºC (annual) Burdhaman and Medinipur
and northern parts of Groundwater is at a depth. Major part of the region harvests more than
Howrah one crop utilising canal irrigation from river lift pumps as well as tube
wells for groundwater.

About 10 per cent of the area is susceptible to flooding caused by


impeded drainage and river overflows during rainy season. Rice is the

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TABLE (2.2): AGRO-CLIMATIC ZONES OF WEST BENGAL
Physiographic Zone and Major Environmental
Zone Climate Soil pH Brief Description
Districts Covered Hazards
major crop. In addition, some of the best potato growing land in all of
India is located in this region. In addition to groundwater usage, the
area is also irrigated by water from three major river valley projects
flows through this area.

The total area covered under this zone is approximately 17,53,757 ha


Coastal Saline Moist, sub- Mainly refers to the Saline (pH The zone is primarily low lying, drainage congested delta flat facing  Imperfectly to poorly
humid having Marine Delta 7 to 8.5) Bay of Bengal. Large section of this region is chronically affected by drained with moderate to
rainfall between physiographic zone saline seawater intrusion through tidal inflow. very high salinity hazards
1600-1800 mm  Cyclone and Storm surge -
Soil is fine textured with varying grades of soil salinity, which frequent incantation of the
Maximum and Howrah and Medinipur; increases with depth. It is internally poor to imperfectly drain whereas, low lying areas. Damage to
minimum Southern portions of North external drainage is very slow. property and loss of lives
temperature and South 24 Parganas.
37ºC and 22.7ºC The soil has significant presence of Magnesium and Potassium content
(annual) makes soil become hard, dry and non-porous when wet impeding
drainage. Groundwater is not economically tapable as, neither deep
nor shallow tube wells are viable. As a result, this is primarily a mono-
cropped area (rice).

The total area of this zone is approximately 14,56,879 ha.


Undulating Hot moist sub- Mainly refers to Ayodhya Upland The region is primarily undulating with mounds and valleys and  The soil is prone to erosion
Red and humid and hot plateau, Purulia high soils prone exhibiting different grades of laterisation process in soil formation. or runoff
Lateritic dry sub-humid plains and Rarh upland to acidity
with rainfall physiographic zones. In some areas of this region, upland soils are prone to acidity and poor  Groundwater is deep and
ranging from in organic matter. The lands in lower situations are fertile whereas easily leach iron and other
1100-1400 mm Part of the Gangetic Plain those in higher situations are deficient in available plant nutrients and material while receding
covering the districts of susceptible to erosion hazards. Due to poor rainwater retention
Maximum and Malda (small pockets), capacity, there is severe runoff and soil loss in upland situations.  Frequent drought, heat
minimum West Dinajpur and wave during summer
temperature western parts of Agriculture of the region is mostly rain dependent. Groundwater is not months
27ºC and 14.8ºC Burdhaman, Birbhum, easily and economically tapable. Rice is the major crop.
(annual) Bankura, Purulia and
Medinipur The total area of this zone is approximately 24,84,244 ha.

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TABLE (2.3): CLIMATIC CLASSIFICATION OF WEST BENGAL
Mean annual Mean annual
Mean annual range of Mean annual relative Characteristic natural Climatic hazards in
Climate Types Range
rainfall in mm temperature PPT in mm humidity in vegetation the region
in oC %
Super humid Above 3000 Above 2000
Heavy rain causes
Super humid Evergreen and semi South facing Himalayan slope
landslides and
mountain southern Above 3500 10 - 13 Above 2000 Above 75 evergreen sub tropical of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri
disruption of
slope wet hill forest District
communication
Heavy rain may cause Plain section of Darjeeling
Forest - Moist Sal
Super humid terai 3000-3500 10 - 13 Above 2000 70-75 flashing of river and Jalpaiguri and almost whole of
Bearing forest
floods Koch Behar
Humid 1800-3000 200 - 2500
Heavy rain causes land
Northern side of Ghoom ridge
slide and disruption of
Humid mountain Mountain wet temperate covering Rangit and Tista
1800 - 3000 10 - 13 200 - 2500 Above 75 communication. less
northern slope forest Valley in the northern portion
frequent than 1a.
of Darjeeling District.
Winter rain and snow.
Whole of West Dinajpur upto
Occasional flood due Balurghat in the south,
Humid interior 1800 - 3000 10 - 13 200 - 2500 70 - 75 Cleared for cultivation
to heavy precipitation. excluding north western part
of Raigunj sub division
Storm surge - frequent
incantation of the low Along the southern part of the
Humid coastal 1800 - 3000 < 10 200 - 2500 Above 75 Tidal forest lying areas. Damage to state covering coastal areas of
property and loss of Medinipur and 24 Pargana(s)
lives
Northern part of Malda and
Occasional thunder
Topical Moist Deciduous southern part of West Dinajpur
Semi humid 1500 - 1800 10 - 13 0-200 70 - 75 storms during pre
forest comprises Semi humid North
monsoon months.
while Central Medinipur,

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TABLE (2.3): CLIMATIC CLASSIFICATION OF WEST BENGAL
Mean annual Mean annual
Mean annual range of Mean annual relative Characteristic natural Climatic hazards in
Climate Types Range
rainfall in mm temperature PPT in mm humidity in vegetation the region
in oC %
southern Nadia, northern 24
Parganas, Hooghly and almost
whole of Horah, excluding its
southern tip forms the Semi
humid South
Sub humid east Below 1500 10 - 13 P is almost equal 65 - 70 Cleared for cultivation Occasional drought Northern half of Nadia, eastern
to PE or slightly, part of Burdhaman, whole of
greater but not Murshidabad, and Southern
more than 60 part of Malda.
mm.
Sub humid west Below 1500 More than 13 P is less than PE Less than 65 Tropical dry deciduous Frequent drought, heat Northern Medinipur, whole of
(in dry forest, scrub and thorny wave during summer Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum
season) bushes. months. and western Burdhaman.
Source: State of Environment, 1998

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2.4.2 Land Use and Land Degradation

Fig. (2.4): Classification of Land Use in West Bengal According to the land use
classification of the state, 66
percent of land is being used for
agriculture purposes. Presently,
61 percent is occupied by
agriculture and 3.6 percent under
current fallow. As shown in Fig.
(2.4), the forest covers 13.5
percent of the land, whereas 20.5
percent of the area is not
available for cultivation due to
urban and rural settlements,
industrial setup, and
infrastructure etc.

Source: Economic Review, 2008-09, GoWB

Agriculture is the major land use of West Bengal followed by the non agricultural use. The
use of agricultural land has gone through a significant process of reforms, which helped in
redistribution of vested
land through ‘Operation Fig. (2.5): Trend of Land Utilisation in West Bengal
Barga’ in late 1970s.
However lack of no
concrete policy on the
overall land use in the state,
there is an unplanned land
use that has led to loss of
agriculture land for
industrial set up and urban
expansion. As shown in
Fig. (2.5), the Net Sown
Area has come down from
62.8 percent in the year
1995-96 to 60.9 percent in
2007-08 while the non
agricultural use has
Source: Economic Review, 2008-09, GoWB; ENDEV, 2008
increased from 18.9 percent
in 1995-96 to 20.3 percent in 2007-08.

The Districts of 24-Pargans (S) (44.9%), Darjeeling (38.3 percent) and Jalpaiguri (28.7
percent) has the maximum forest area coverage out of the total area as shown in Table (2.4).
Howrah has the maximum coverage under non agricultural use followed by 24-Parganas (N).
Both Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur have the maximum agricultural land coverage. Purulia and
Malda show a high coverage under Fallow land.

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TABLE (2.4): DISTRICTWISE LAND USE STATISTICS OF WEST BENGAL
(2007-08) (in hectares)
S.No District Reporting Forest Area Under Non Current Net Area Others
Area Area Agricultural Use Fallow
1 Burdhaman 698,762 3.0% 29.5% 1.1% 64.7% 1.7%
2 Birbhum 451,118 3.5% 21.5% 2.7% 70.6% 1.7%
3 Bankura 687,998 21.6% 21.5% 5.4% 50.2% 1.2%
4 Medinipur (East) 396,594 0.2% 24.4% 0.7% 73.8% 0.9%
5 Medinipur (West) 928,581 18.5% 17.0% 2.0% 60.2% 2.3%
6 Howrah 138,676 0.0% 36.9% 2.9% 58.2% 1.9%
7 Hooghly 313,379 0.2% 28.4% 0.1% 70.2% 1.1%
8 24-Parganas(North) 386,524 0.0% 31.5% 0.5% 67.1% 0.9%
9 24-Parganas(South) 948,710 44.9% 14.6% 0.9% 39.2% 0.4%
10 Nadia 390,655 0.3% 22.6% 1.5% 74.0% 1.5%
11 Murshidabad 532,499 0.1% 24.0% 0.1% 74.9% 0.9%
12 Uttar Dinajpur 312,466 0.2% 10.2% 0.1% 88.6% 1.0%
13 Dakshin Dinajpur 221,909 0.4% 14.2% 1.0% 83.2% 1.1%
14 Malda 370,862 0.5% 23.7% 17.7% 56.7% 1.4%
15 Jalpaiguri 622,700 28.7% 13.6% 2.4% 53.7% 1.5%
16 Darjeeling 325,469 38.3% 11.4% 3.7% 43.2% 3.3%
17 Cooch Behar 331,565 1.3% 20.1% 0.4% 74.8% 3.3%
18 Purulia 625,646 12.0% 16.0% 18.4% 50.0% 3.6%
West Bengal 8,684,113 13.5% 20.3% 3.6% 61.0% 1.6%
Source: Economic Review, 2008-09

Land degradation is defined as decline in soil’s productivity, deterioration in vegetative


cover, qualitative and quantitative decline of water resources, degradation of soils and
pollution of air. West Bengal is affected by water erosion, salinity and alkalinity of land
degradation across all its districts. Water erosion is the biggest source of land degradation and
has affected significant cultivable land in the districts of Cooch Behar, South Dinajpur,
Murshidabad, Howrah and Burdhaman.

2.4.3 Ground Water and Exploitation

Rainfall is the main source of water in West Bengal with a part of it returning back to the
atmosphere, another part running as surface run off and the remaining part percolating to
form the groundwater aquifers. West Bengal is well endowed with groundwater resources.
The state can be divided into two hydro-geological units namely fissured hard rocks & porous
alluvial formations. Fissured formation includes crystalline, metasedimentary and volcanic
rocks. The yield of wells tapping fractured zones varies from 10-20 m3/hr. Two third of the
State is underlain by alluvial sediments mainly deposited by Ganga & Brahmaputra rivers.

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On the basis of physiographic features and geologic set-up, the state of West Bengal is
broadly classified into three distinct groundwater-bearing zones12 as following:

 Himalayan and Sub-Himalayan zones of Darjeeling and parts of the Jalpaiguri and
Cooch Behar districts lying in the north,
 Crystalline or compact rocky uplands of Purulia and the western fringes of Bankura,
Birbhum, Burdhaman and Medinipur districts including marginal lateritic tracts, and
 The low lying alluvial plains of the northern, central and southern parts of the state
encompassed within the districts of Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, West Dinajpur, Malda,
Murshidabad, Nadia, Hugli, Howrah, the eastern parts of Burdhaman, Bankura and
Medinipur, and 24-Parganas.

TABLE (2.5): GROUND WATER SITUATION IN DISTRICTS OF WEST BENGAL


Formation District Findings Remarks/
Recommendations
Consolidated/ Purulia, Ground water occurs in : In this water scarce
Semi consolidated/ Bankura, i) Weathered residuum within 10mbgl. area, topographic lows,
Hard Crystalline Medinipur, ii) Fractures within 65mbgl having zone of intersection of
rocks Burdhaman, discharge within 20 m3/hr. regionally extended
Birbhum joints & fractures (to be
identified by resistivity
survey) are the suitable
locales for ground
water development
through dug and dug-
cum-bore wells.
Gondwana Purulia, Ground water occurs in the fractured zone Bore wells within
Sandstone Burdhaman, within 100mbgl generally discharging 10 100m depth is found
Birbhum m3/hr with maximum discharge of 22m3/hr. suitable. Location of
the well site should be
pinpointed after
detailed geophysical
survey.
Unconsolidated Darjeeling, Ground water occurs both under Ground water can be
/Recent Alluvium Jalpaiguri, unconfined & confined condition within utilised through heavy-
Cooch Behar, the explored depth of maximum 600mbgl. duty tube wells within
Uttar Dinajpur, Aquifers are fairly thick & regionally 120mbgl & shallow
Dakshin Dinajpur, extensive with large yield prospect of tube wells within
Malda, about 150m3/hr. 60mbgl. In arsenic
Murshidabad, In Birbhum and Bankura districts aquifers infested area
Nadia, beyond 136 mbgl upto the drilled depth of development of shallow
North 24 Parganas, 350mbgl in the Tertiary formation are aquifers should be
Hugli, found under auto flow condition. avoided.
Howrah,
Medinipur, The occurrence of Arsenic in ground water
Burdhaman, in the depth span of 20-80 mbgl restricted
Bankura, mainly in the eastern part of Bhagirathi
Birbhum river has posed a serious problem. In view
of the situation exploration work has been
undertaken in the arsenic infested areas &
arsenic free deeper aquifers could be

12
State of Environment Report: Department of Environment: Government of West Bengal

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TABLE (2.5): GROUND WATER SITUATION IN DISTRICTS OF WEST BENGAL
Formation District Findings Remarks/
Recommendations
identified beneath a thick clay bed in Nadia
district.
Coastal areas/ Fresh ground water bearing aquifer
North 24 Parganas, occurring in varying depth ranges within
South 24 Parganas, 180-360mbglwithin the drilled depth of
Medinipur, Howrah 600mbgl have been established. The fresh
group of aquifers are sandwiched between
saline/brackish aquifer. The top
saline/brackish aquifer lies within the
depth span of 20-180m with maximum
depth of 320mbgl in the extreme south.
Suitably constructed tube well tapping 35m
cumulative thickness can yield 100-
150m3/hr. Shallow fresh water aquifers
occur in present day dunes in Digha-
Ramnagar area of Medinipur dist. down to
the depth of 9 mbgl & in levee deposit
within 50mbgl in Baruipur -Sonarpur-
Bhangar-Caning tract in South 24
Parganas. High Concentration of As in
ground water is reported in this levee
deposit.
Older Alluvium Bhabar zone/ parts In the sub-montane zone of Himalaya the
of Darjeeling & sediments consist of unassorted materials
Jalpaiguri varying from boulders to sand of various
grades. The aquifers are having deep water
table & are characterised by high seasonal
variations of water level to the tune of 10-
12m. Recent exploration identified the
potential granular zones within the depth
range of 150mbgl capable of yielding upto
68m3/hr.
Barind Tract/ parts Ground water under semi-confined to
of Malda, Dakshin confined condition below a blanket of
Dinajpur about 60m thick clay bed. Saturated
granular zone of discontinuous nature
generally occurs in the depth span of 65-
110m, which is capable of yielding upto
50m3/hr.

Lateritic Terrain/ The maximum thickness of older alluvium


parts of Birbhum, is within 50m, which is capped by laterites.
Burdhaman, Individual aquifer in older alluvium is of
Bankura, Medinipur, limited thickness and discontinuous in
Murshidabad nature has poor yield prospect. Recent
exploration in the tract has indicated the
presence of unconsolidated to semi
consolidated Tertiary gravel & sand stone,
porous in nature, within depth zone of 100-
140mbgl.which has the yield prospect of
180m3/hr.
Source: CGWB at http://www.cgwber.nic.in/westbengal.htm
(Mgbl – Metres Below Ground Level)

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Groundwater in the western part of the state generally occurs in the confined state in the
deeper older sediments. These older sediments extend laterally as well as in thickness
southwards in the deltaic part of the Bengal Basin. In the eastern region of Chotanagpur
Plateau, groundwater occurs in the fractured and weathered potions of the older rocks and in
minor channel filled sediments of some streams. The northern parts of the state primarily in
the Brahmaputra basin is characterised by extensive unconfined aquifers of the quaternary
age. In the upper flood plain zone of the Bhagirathi River and in a narrow sector of the
Damodar basin of groundwater occurs in an unconfined conditions. These aquifer gradually
merge into semi-confined state as these extend southward in the moribund delta. In the delta
and coastal tracts aquifers are in early quaternary or late tertiary sediments and generally lie
below 200m under blanket of widespread at the top of the sedimentary column and are under
unconfined condition.

Based on the yield prospects, the state can be divided into three following parts:

 Areas of prolific ground water resources (yield is more than 150m3/hr): Jalpaiguri,
Cooch Behar, Medinipur, North and South 24- Parganas districts
 Areas with moderate yield (yield between 50-150m3/hr): Comprising part of Malda,
Uttar & Dakshin Dinajpur, western part of Murshidabad, marginal tract of Birbhum,
Burdhaman, Bankura and Medinipur districts
 Areas with limited yield prospect (yield less than 503/hr): Extreme marginal tracts of
Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia

TABLE (2.6): BASIC INFORMATION ON GROUND WATER


EXPLORATION/SOURCES
Dynamic Resources
Annual Replenishable Ground water Resource 30.36 BCM
Net Annual Ground Water Availability 27.46 BCM
Annual Ground Water Draft 11.65 BCM
Stage of Ground Water Development 42 %
Developmental Monitoring
Over Exploited NIL
Critical 1 Block
Semi- critical 37 Blocks
Exploratory Tube wells Constructed (as on
413
31.03.2009)
No. of ground water observation wells 909
Ground Water User Maps 18 districts
Source: http://cgwb.gov.in

According to the Groundwater Estimation Committee (GEC) 1997 norms, out of 341 Blocks
spread over 19 districts, only one blocks fall under ‘Critical’ category and 37 blocks fall
under ‘Semi-Critical’ category. The district wise number of ‘Critical’ and ‘Semi-critical’
blocks is presented in the Table (2.7) below.

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TABLE (2.7): NUMBER OF ‘SEMI-CRITICAL’ AND CRITICAL
BLOCKS
No. of ‘Semi-Critical’ No. of ‘Critical’
Sl.No. District
Blocks Blocks
1 Burdhaman 6
2 Birbhum 4
3 Hugli 2
4 Malda 2
5 Murshidabad 15
6 Nadia 6 1
7 West Medinipur 1
8 East Medinipur 1
Total 37 1
Source: ENDEV, 2008

Status of Groundwater Exploration

Out of 341 Development Blocks in the State, 58 Blocks in 24-Parganas, Medinipur and
Howrah fall in confined aquifer areas and 8 are in hilly terrain in Darjeeling district. Out of
the remaining 275 blocks, resource-evaluation has been completed by 1990-91 in respect of
261 blocks, leaving 9 coal belt blocks of Burdhaman and 5 of Howrah where groundwater
exploitation has been negligible.

The following figure (2.6) clearly shows the increase in the increase in Gross Irrigation
Potential created over the period from 1986 to 2001. While the Culturable Command Area
increased by 20 percent, the potential created was approximately 31 percent.

Fig. (2.6): Ground Water Exploitation Over Time

Source: Report of the Third Minor Irrigation Census( 2003), GoWB


Note: CCA- Culturable Command Area. GCA- Gross Irrigation Potential Created.
DW-Dug-well, STW-Shallow Tubewell, DTW- Deep Tubewell, SF- Surface Flow
Scheme, SL-Surface Lift Scheme.

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Groundwater Quality

Ground water in the northern district of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Koch Behar in the
Brahmaputra basin is less mineralised with the specific conductance values ranging from 100
to 600 micromhos/cm at 25o C and Cl values less than 200 mg/l in majority of water samples.
In hard rock terrain of Bankura, Birbhum and Purulia districts, it is similarly less mineralised
and specific conductance values range between 150 and 1000 micromhos/cm at 25o C and Cl
values vary from 20-150 mg/l. In South 24-Parganas, Medinipur and Howrah district specific
conductance of ground water from deeper aquifers ranges between 1000-2000 micromhos/cm
at 25o C and Cl values varies from 50 to 300 mg/l. In the rest of the state, mineralisation of
ground water lies in between the two extreme limits of Northern and Southern districts. Thus
the important chemical types of water in the state are Ca-Mg-HCO3 type for low mineralised
water, Na-HCO3 type in South 24 Paraganas district and Ca-Mg-Cl type in Calcutta and some
isolated pockets.

In the coastal tracts of Medinipur, South 24 Parganas and Howrah districts lying in the active
delta of the Ganga-Bhagirathi river system ground water is, in general, high in chloride
content in upper aquifers (in Subarnarekha basin 8-100 m, in Haldia area, Kasai Basin 40-115
m, in South 24 Parganas and Howrah districts 20-150 m depth range), and specific
conductance also records a higher value (above 1500 micromhos/cm at 25o C. However,
aquifers occurring in the depth span of 115-350 m in South 24-Parganas district are relatively
fresher and chloride content of ground water is within permissible limit. A high concentration
of chloride in ground water in these upper aquifers is probably related to the sub-marine and
estuarine environment in which the sediments were deposited as also owing to sea water
intrusion owing to proximity to the sea and tidal influence.

In the northern part of the state, ground water is very fresh being generally below 500
micromhos/cm at 25o C. Likewise in the western part of the state comprising Bankura,
Purulia, Birbhum and parts of the Burdhaman and Medinipur districts ground water is fresh
with conductance being below 1000 micromhos/cm being essentially a recharge area.
Specific conductance values the fresh water group of aquifers are higher in the southern part
of the state lying in the coastal tract and its adjoining areas. Broadly speaking in the entire
state of West Bengal except the coastal and deltaic part quality of water is in general suitable
for drinking, irrigation and industrial purposes as specific conductance values are well within
permissible limits.

In the upper aquifers of coastal area, it indicates that the iso-conductance contour values
increase towards south-east direction. In north western part the value is 5000 micromhos/cm
and in south eastern part the value becomes 20,000 micromhos/cm. The water is in general
not suitable for drinking, irrigation and industrial purposes. This type of water may be used
for pisciculture for prawn cultivation particularly, brackish ground water may be used for
raising some salt tolerant crops.

TABLE (2.8): DISTRICT WISE GROUND WATER QUALITY PROBLEMS


Contaminants Districts affected (in part)
Salinity (EC > 3000
Howrah, Medinipur, S- 24 Parganas,
µS/cm at 25 ° C)
Bankura, Burdhaman, Birbhum, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, Nadia, Purulia, Uttar
Fluoride (>1.5 mg/l)
Dinajpur

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TABLE (2.8): DISTRICT WISE GROUND WATER QUALITY PROBLEMS
Contaminants Districts affected (in part)
Chloride (> 1000 mg/l) S-24 Parganas, Howrah
Bankura, Burdhaman, Birbhum, Dakshin Dinajpur, E. Medinipur, Howrah,
Iron (>1.0 mg/l) Hugli, Jalpaiguri, Kolkata, Murshidabad, N-24praganna, Nadia, S-24pragannas,
Uttar Dinajpur, West Medinipur
Nitrate (>45 mg/l) Bankura, Burdhaman
Burdhaman, Hooghly, Howrah, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, North 24 Parganas,
Arsenic (>0.05 mg/l )
South 24 Parganas
Source: http://cgwb.gov.in

Arsenic Contamination of Groundwater

The ever-increasing exploitation of ground-water has already brought forth the problem of
arsenic poisoning in 79 administrative blocks belonging to eight districts of lower Gangetic
plain, where occurrence of arsenic beyond permissible limit (i.e. more than 0.05 to 3.24mg/l)
in ground water are mostly confined to shallow aquifer zones within 20-100 feet below
ground level. About 26 million people are now at risk and even the city of Kolkata is not out
of the danger zone. There are conflicting views about the possible cause of this menace. A
group scientist opines that arsenic is released by the oxidation of pyrite or arsenopyrite
following the lowering of ground water table. The other view is that arsenic is released due
to desorption from or reductive dissolution of ferric oxyhydroxides in reducing aquifer
environment (KMPC,2006). However, there is consensus among the scientists that the
challenge should be met by using surface water as far as possible. The recharging of ground-
water by rain water harvesting seems to be the best option. The ground-water in Nalhati and
Rampurhat blocks of Birbhum district, on the other hand, was found contaminated with
fluoride. While the maximum permissible limit of fluoride in ground water is recommended
to be 1.50mg/l, water quality in large parts of Birbhum is reportedly alarming (CGWB,
2001).

The arsenic contamination problem in ground water in West Bengal has been reported from
time to time since 1978. A systematic study undertaken by the School of Environmental
Studies and School of Water Resources Engineering, Jadavpur University has shown the
presence of arsenic above maximum permissible limit of 0.05 mg / l in ground water and
clinical manifestations of arsenic contamination in six districts of West Bengal viz 24
Parganas (North & South), Murshidabad, Nadia, Burdhaman and Malda. The total affected
area in these districts is about 34000 sq km (38.4 % of the area of West Bengal) having a total
population of 30 million (44.4% of the total population of West Bengal). The study also
reveals that at least 125000 people are showing clinical manifestation of arsenic poisoning in
242 wards / villages and at least 600000 people are prone to drinking arsenic contaminated
water out of compulsion.

Arsenic at concentration above 0.05 mg/l (which is much higher than the WHO permissible
limit of 0.01 mg/l) in tube well waters has been reported in parts of 79 blocks, 11
municipalities, 18 non-municipal urban areas across 8 districts of West Bengal.
(PHED,2004). This includes Malda (7 blocks), Murshidabad (19 blocks), Nadia (17 blocks
and 3 municipalities), Burdhaman (5 blocks), Hugli (1 block), Howrah (2 blocks and 1
municipality), North 24 Parganas (19 blocks and 7 municipalities) and South 24 Parganas (9

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 29
blocks). Another 31 blocks and three districts have Arsenic concentration above the WHO
permissible limit of 0.01 mg/l. A total of 28.7 million out of total state population of 80.2
million are at risk (PHED, 2004).

TABLE (2.9): ARSENIC AFFECTED BLOCKS


Sl. No. Blocks Sl. No. Blocks Sl. No. Blocks
District : MALDAH District : NADIA 54 Gaighata
1 Manikchak 27 Karimpur-I 55 Rajarhat
2 English Bazar 28 Karimpur-II 56 Amdanga
3 Kaliachak-I 29 Tehatta-I 57 Bagda
4 Kaliachak-II 30 Tehatta-II 58 Bongaon
5 Kaliachak-III 31 Kaliganj 59 Haroa
6 Ratua-I 32 Nakashipara 60 Hasnabad
7 Ratua-II 33 Nabadwip 61 Barrackpur-I
District : MURSHIDABAD 34 Hanskhali 62 Barrackpur-II
8 Raninagar-I 35 Krishnaganj District : SOUTH 24 PARGANAS
9 Raninagar-II 36 Haringhata 63 Baruipur
10 Domkal 37 Chakdaha 64 Sonarpur
11 Nawda 38 Santipur 65 Bhangar-I
12 Jalangi 39 Chapra 66 Bhangar-II
13 Hariharpara 40 Ranaghat-I 67 Budge Budge-II
14 Beldanga-I 41 Ranaghat-II 68 Bishnupur-I
15 Suti-I 42 Krishnanagar – I 69 Bishnupur-II
16 Suti-II 43 Krishnanagar – II 70 Jaynagar-I
17 Bhagawangola-I District : NORTH 24-PARAGANAS 71 Magrahat-II
18 Bhagawangola-II 44 Habra-I District : BARDDHMAN
19 Berhampur 45 Habra-II 72 Purbasthali - I
20 Raghunathganj-II 46 Barasar-I 73 Purbasthali - II
21 Murshidabad-Jiaganj 47 Barasat-II 74 Katwa-I
22 Farakka 48 Deganga 75 Katwa-II
23 Samserganj 49 Basirhat-I 76 Kalna-II
24 Lalgola 50 Basirhat-II District : HOWRAH
25 Beldanga-II 51 Swarupnagar 77 Uluberia-II
26 Raghunathganj-I 52 Sandeshkhali-II 78 Shyampur-II
53 Baduria District : HUGLI
79 Balagarh
Source: PHED, GoWB. Available at http://www.wbphed.gov.in/Static_pages/back_ground.html

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 30
Fig. (2.7): Arsenic Affected Blocks of West Bengal

Source: PHED, GoWB. Available at http://www.wbphed.gov.in/Static_pages/back_ground.html

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 31
Within arseniferous areas, maximum arsenic content occurs in ground water in the 20-60 m
range from <0.01 mg/l upto a max of 2.0 mg/l. However Chakrabarti et. al (1993) reported
higher level of arsenic contamination ranging between 21.85 mg/l to 125 mg / l between
79m-85m depth. On the other hand, tube wells tapping aquifers below 60m give practically
arsenic free water, with a few exceptions. Upto 20m depth ground water has been found to
contain normal concentration of arsenic. It has been thus established beyond doubt that only
the water of the intermediate aquifer is contaminated with arsenic. The sporadic occurrence
of arsenic in the lowest zone i.e., deepest aquifer is attributable to absence of clay partition in
between the second and third aquifers which has resulted in seepage.

Iron Contamination

Large pockets in West Bengal have iron content of more than 1.0mg/l. In parts of Kolkata,
Howrah, Hugli and Malda the concentration is more than 2.0 mg/l while in the districts of
Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri situated in the Himalayan foothills the concentration is more than
3.0mg/l. It has also been observed that places where arsenic concentration is high, iron
concentration is also very high. At certain places where the arsenic concentration is high the
concentration of iron exceeds 10mg/l (ENDEV, 2008).

Fluoride Contamination

According to the State Water Investigation Directorate (SWID), about 300 people from the
village of Nasipur (with a population of about 2000) in Birbhum, have been paralysed after
drinking water contaminated with fluoride. According to media report, the local residents
claim that the number is more than 1200. Fluoride was discovered in the drinking water
sources of the village about six months ago. WID investigations have proved that the fluoride
content in Nasipur’s water is 14 ppm, against the permissible limit of 1 to 1.5 ppm. Fluoride
has also been found in the water of adjacent villages as well.

Funds were generated to construct a pipeline to fetch potable water (with permissible fluoride
content) from a lake 20 km away. The SWID has installed nine taps in the village, linked to
the pipeline. But due to lack of electricity the pumps installed to draw the water out of the
lake cannot be run. the villagers are therefore left with no option but to drink the
contaminated water, till electricity is made available to supply piped water from surface
system.

Also concentration of Fluoride above 1.0 mg/l has been reported from parts of Cooch Behar,
Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, Hugli, East Medinipur, West
Medinipur, Bankura, Purulia, Burdhaman, Birbhum and South 24 Parganas. The population
exposed to fluoride contamination is about 6.34 million people across 1073 villages (PHED,
2004).

2.4.4 Surface Water Resource and Quality

About 13.29 mham (million hectare meter) of surface water is available in West Bengal. Out
of the total quantity only 5.31 mham is utilisable for various purposes such as agriculture,
industrial, domestic, etc. Increase in population, rapid urbanisation as, per capita water
requirement in urban area is more (200 litre/day) than rural area (70 litre/day), demand of
water for power production, increase in industries etc has increased significant demand of
surface water. Apart from rivers, the state has a total of 5.45 Lakh hectare of inland water

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 32
resources which includes a large number of ponds (mainly private), reservoir, lakes etc. The
amount of surface water by river basins in West Bengal is shown in Table (2.10).

Since most of the rivers are dependent on rain, a poor monsoon adds to the woes of water
scarcity in the state especially during summer season. Also the surface water bodies are
impacted due to pollution from the process of urbanisation, industrialisation, agricultural
runoff, improper sanitation, religious and other practices etc. Ponds in villages are mainly
polluted due to open defecation by people, disposal of domestic wastewater and solid waste,
flood etc.

TABLE (2.10): AMOUNT OF SURFACE WATER BY BASINS OF


WEST BENGAL
Surface Water
Basin Sub-basin % of Total
(MCM)
Ganges 61532 46.30
Left Bank Tributaries 14855 11.18
Mahananda 13334 10.03
Punarbhaba 1034 0.78
Atrai 487 0.37
South Bengal Distributaries 21279 16.01
Jalangi 3707 2.79
Bhagirathi 13643 10.26
Tidal Rivers 3929 2.96
Right Bank Tributaries 25398 19.11
Pagla-Bansloi 591 0.44
Brahmani-Dwarka 1957 1.47
Mayurakshi 2590 1.95
Ajoy 2509 1.89
Damodar 8924 6.71
Darakeswar 3330 2.51
Silabati 2068 1.56
Kangsabati 3233 2.43
Kaliaghai 818 0.62
Rupnarain 1188 0.89
Haldi 327 0.25
Rasulpur 401 0.30
Pichabhanga 462 0.35
Brahmaputra 52063 39.17
Sankosh 1365 1.03
Raidak 6666 5.02
Torsa 11908 8.96
Teesta 32124 24.17
Subarnarekha &
Subarnarekha 3645 2.74
Dolong
Total 132905 100.00
Source: http://cgwb.gov.in

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Pollution

The cities in the state located on the river bank are the main cause of pollution of the river
due to their untreated sewage entering into the rivers. Also untreated industrial effluents
containing high amount of toxic materials are discharged into the water bodies mainly rivers.
The chemicals fertilisers and pesticides used in agricultural field are highly toxic in nature
and can remain in soil and water for a long period. During monsoon, the runoffs from such
areas significantly contribute to the chemical pollution load in the surface water bodies. Also
religious rituals such as immersion of idols, which contain toxic colours and chemicals into
rivers, add to the pollution load in the water in rivers.

There are number of mines in the catchments area or rivers like Damodar and Subarnarekha.
Due to mining resource found in the area, lots of industrial activity takes place in the
Damodar river basin. Pollutants from mining in form of runoff, mining tailing etc and
industrial pollutants are impacting the water quality of the river.

2.4.5 Wetlands

Wetlands are defined as lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where
the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water (Mitch
and Gosselink, 1986). The value of the world's wetlands is increasingly receiving due
attention as they contribute to a healthy environment in many ways. They retain water during
dry periods, thus keeping the water table high and relatively stable. During periods of
flooding, they mitigate floods and trap suspended solids and attached nutrients. Thus, streams
flowing into lakes by way of wetland areas will transport fewer suspended solids and
nutrients to the lakes than if they flow directly into the lakes. As with any natural habitat,
wetlands are important in supporting species diversity and have a complex of wetland values.
The following Table (2.11) shows the classification schemes of Wetlands.

TABLE (2.11):WETLANDS CLASSIFICATION SCHEME


Inland Wetlands
Lakes/Ponds
Ox-bow lakes/ Cut-off meanders
1. Natural Waterlogged (Seasonal)
Playas
Swamp/marsh
Reservoirs
Tanks
2. Man-made Waterlogged
Abandoned quarries
Ash pond/cooling pond
Coastal Wetlands
Estuary
Lagoon
Creek
Backwater (Kayal)
Bay
1. Natural
Tidal flat/Split/Bar
Coral reef
Rocky coast
Mangroove forest
Salt marsh/marsh vegetation

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TABLE (2.11):WETLANDS CLASSIFICATION SCHEME
Other vegetation
Salt pans
2. Man-made
Aquaculture
Source: http://www.wetlandsofindia.org

West Bengal has 3,44,527 ha of wetland area including 54 natural and 9 manmade wetlands
of more than 100 ha, which is about 8.5 percent of the total wetland area in India. Also there
are numerous small water bodies including ponds, puddles etc. Wetland is one of the most
valuable natural ecosystems and includes estuaries, flood-plains, marshes, rivers, lakes, ponds
etc.

According to physiography and hydrology, wetlands of West Bengal can be divided into four
regions. These are:

 Wetlands of the Gangetic alluvial plains: These are mainly confined to alluvial plains
of lower Gangetic delta of West Bengal. Water bodies in this region can be divided
into four categories depending upon physico-chemical parameters, viz.,
oligotrophic, mesotrophic, eutrophic, and brackish. This also includes trans-
boundary wetlands like Bhutnir Char, Bhatia beel in the district of Malda, temporary
cyclical wetlands like Borti beel, Nangla beel and Balli beel of the North 24-
Parganas. Wetlands of the Nadia, Murshidabad, 24-Parganas (South), Howrah,
Hugli and Burdhaman district fall in this section.

 Coastal Wetlands: Coastal Wetlands of West Bengal are mostly saline in nature.
Active deltas in the coastal regions form the world’s largest mangrove region – the
Sundarbans – having a very wide spectrum of biological diversity.

 Wetlands of the semi-arid regions or the Rarh region: Most of the water bodies in this
region are of man-made and perennial reservoir type. All these water bodies are rain
fed (annual average rainfall is about 1300 mm) and remain saturated during monsoon
to winter months. However, they get dried up in summer.

 Wetlands of the North Bengal: Geographically, North Bengal can broadly be divided
into Terai and Duars. Water bodies of the Terai and the Duars are distinctly different
in their hydrology and physiography. Water-bodies of the Duars region include hilly
streams (locally called jhora), rivers and few perennial and seasonal lakes and
reservoirs mainly distributed in Darjeeling district. The Terai region consists of
marshes, backwater wetlands and several other man-made ponds, ditches, lake, dighi
etc. distributed in Jalpaiguri, Koch Bihar, Dinajpur North and Dinajpur South.

As per Wetland Management and Ecological Design (IWMED), Department of Environment


(DoE), Government of West Bengal, Natural wetlands are grouped as seasonal waterlogged
type (in Medinipur District), cut-off meander type (in Cooch Behar), marsh and swamps (in
West Dinajpur), and oxbow type lakes (in Nadia). Major man made wetlands are reservoir (in
Bankura), tanks (in Purulia), man-made water logged type (in Birbhum), abandoned quarries
(in Burdhaman) and ash ponds/cooling ponds (in Murshidabad and Medinipur Districts).

The number of wetlands in the districts is listed in the table. The list has been prepared by
The Forest Department of West Bengal and IWMED.

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TABLE (2.12): DISTRICTWISE NO OF
WETLANDS
S No. District No. of Wetlands
1 Cooch Behar 17
2 Darjeeling 1
3 Jalpaiguri 7
4 North and South Dinajpur 36
5 Malda 30
6 Murshidabad 36
7 Nadia 53
8 Medinipur 68
9 Hooghly 26
10 Howrah 21
11 Burdhaman 72
12 North and South 24 Parganas 26
13 Bankura 53
14 Birbhum 15
15 Medinipur 20
Source: IWMED

2.4.6 Hydrology and Drainage

West Bengal is a land of rivers. Some of these are the tributaries and the others are the
distributaries. By such connectivities, the rivers of West Bengal can be said to constitute three
major river systems, namely, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Subarnarekha. Amongst
these, the Subarnarekha meets the Bay of Bengal independent of the two others. The Ganges
and the Brahmaputra join each other in Bangladesh to form the largest delta of the world
before meeting the Bay of Bengal. Table (2.7) shows the catchment areas under some of the
major streams and estimates on their surface run off respectively.

The Drainage Systems

It may be noticed that the Ganges drainage system covers most part of West Bengal. In the
north eastern part of West Bengal, some rivers are not parts of the Ganges basin. These join
the Brahmaputra drainage system. The Subarnarekha drainage basin has the smallest
catchment area within West Bengal.

TABLE (2.13): CATCHMENT AREA OF MAJOR DRAINAGE BASINS OF


WEST BENGAL
Basins Sub-basins Area (sq. km) Location by Districts
Ganges Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Koch Behar, West
Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum,
74,720
Nadia, Burdhaman, Hugli, Howrah, Purulia,
Medinipur & 24-Parganas
Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Koch Behar,
Mahananda & Atrai 11,100
W.Dinajpur & Malda
Bagmari & Pagla 1,250 Murshidabad & Birbhum
Jalangi 5.640 Murshidabad & Nadia

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TABLE (2.13): CATCHMENT AREA OF MAJOR DRAINAGE BASINS OF
WEST BENGAL
Basins Sub-basins Area (sq. km) Location by Districts
Mayurakshi & Babla 5,470 Birbhum, Murshidabad & Burdhaman
Ajoy 2,490 Birbhum, Murshidabad & Burdhaman
Damodar 5,250 Purulia, Burdhaman, Hugli & Howrah
Khari & Ghia 5,400 Burdhaman & Hugli
Rupnaraian 10,930 Purulia, Bankura, Medinipur & Howrah
Haldi 8,920 Medinipur
Rasulpur 2,620 Medinipur
Tidal Rivers 15,650 Medinipur & 24-Parganas
Brahmaputra 10,670 Jalpaiguri & Koch Behar
Raidak II & Sankosh 440 Jalpaiguri & Koch Behar
Raidak I & Torsa 3,340 Jalpaiguri & Koch Behar
Jaldhaka 3,730 Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri & Koch Behar
Teesta 3.160 Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri & Koch Behar
Subarnarekha 3,170 Purulia & Medinipur
Subarnarekha &
3,170 Purulia & Medinipur
Dolong
Source: State of Environment, 1998

The Brahmaputra Drainage System

The major rivers, like Sankosh, Raidak, Torsa and Jaldhaka, really act as tributaries to the
Teesta river. These originate in the Himalayan mountain zone or in the Piedmont fans. Within
the mountain zone, these offer opportunities for generation of hydro-electricity. Amongst all
these, the potential in the Jaldhaka has been exploited to some extent. In addition, there are
many smaller streams which originate from the piedmont fans and the diluvial plains, like the
Chel, Mal, Dharla, Karla, etc., which join one or the other major streams as tributaries. It
drains some 39% of surface water of the State.

The Brahmaputra drainage system has 39 percent of total surface runoff. The Teesta is the
main river in this region. Districts of Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, and Darjeeling come in this
region. The riverine plane gradient of landform decreases sharply and the sedimentation rate
increase. Sediments, gravels, pebbles, and boulders choke the river basins and make flood
prone. Activities such as exploitation of boulders for construction purpose, deforestation due
to agriculture purpose are some of the main causes of instability of Brahmaputra drainage
system.

For a variable distance from their points of origin, especially within the mountain and the
piedmont fans, all the streams are swift flowing. With every cloud burst, their channels get
full to the brim without causing floods in the valleys. However, after reaching the diluvial
plains and the riverine plains, these cause considerable flooding. The flood waters return back
to their respective channels.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 37
Fig. (2.8): River Basins Of West Bengal
Name of sub Basin
1. Sankosh River Basin
2. Raidak River Sub Basin
3. Torsha River Sub Basin
4. Jaldhaka River Sub Basin
5. Teesta River Sub Basin
6. Mahananda River Sub Basin
7. Punarbhaba River Sub Basin
8. Atrai River Sub Basin
9. Pagla Bansloi Sub Basin
10. Brahmani-Dwarka Sub Basin
11. Mayurakshi River Sub Basin
12. Ajoy River Sub Basin
13. Damodar River Sub Basin
14. Darakeswar River Sub Basin
15. Silabati River Sub Basin
16. Kangsabati River Sub Basin
17. Kaliaghai River Sub Basin
18. Jalangi River Sub Basin
19. Churni River Sub Basin
20. Bhagirathi-Hooghly Sub Basin
21. Rupnarayan River Sub Basin
22. Subarnarekha River Basin
23. 24 Parganas & Calcutta Part
Drainage Basin
24. Pichabhange Drainage Basin
25. Rasulpur Drainage Basin
26. Haldi Drainage Basin

Source: http://cgwb.gov.in

However, the late monsoon floods are slow to recede as the channel of the Brahmaputra
remains full to the brim. During floods, considerable amount of sandy debris get deposited in
the adjoining plains. Farming on the so affected land remains suspended for a few years.

The channels of these rivers within the piedmont fans and diluvial plains contain boulders of
many sizes. These are exploited for construction purposes. Unregulated excavation of
boulders from the river bed often causes stream bank erosion and consequent channel
widening and shoal formation. The shoals get covered by grasses to invite animal husbandry.
At subsequent periods, trees invade the shoals. This invites deforestation as action preceding
farming. For all these reasons, the Brahmaputra drainage system remains unstable.

The Ganges Drainage Basin

The features of the Ganges drainage basin are indeed complex. It drains some 46% of surface
water of the State. Amongst the left bank tributaries, the Mahananda is the most important
stream. It originates from the southern flank of the Himalayan mountain zone. Unlike the

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 38
Teesta river, its channel has remained stable. The sediments carried by it are filling up the Tal
lowland. Other streams originating from north Bengal meet the Padma river, the name given
to the Ganges downstream of Farakka, in Bangladesh as left bank tributaries.

Downstream of Farakka, the Ganges-Padma River has thrown several left Bank distributaries.
Amongst these, the Bhagirathi is the major one. Many of these distributaries join each other
in the eastern part of south Bengal. In the extreme south, the rivers are tidal in character.
These are now filling up the depressions in the transition zone between riverine and tidal
delta. Due to low gradient, stagnation of water is a frequent problem in the monsoon months.

The left bank tributaries, the south Bengal distributaries and the right bank tributaries
respectively drain 11.18%, 16.01% and 19.11% of the total surface run off of the State.

The Subarnarekha Drainage Basin

It originates in the Deccan shield, but flows directly into the sea. Within west Bengal, its
catchment area is the smallest accounting for only 2.74 percent of the total surface run off of
the State. The Dolong River is its only major tributary within West Bengal. Purulia and West
Medinipur districts fall in this region.

The Subarnarekha is experiencing lateral shift towards south-west. It is also a flood prone
river. The flood water passes from the left bank through the southern part of Medinipur
District.

A large number Fig. (2.9): Area Irrigated by Government Canals in West Bengal by
of canal projects District (in hectares)
have come up to
harness the
waters of these
rivers for
agricultural
purposes. These
projects also
help meet the
domestic and
industrial water
requirement in
the state.

Source: Economic Review, 2008-09

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 39
2.4.7 Forest Cover

Forests of three distinct areas exist in the state. These are the forests of the north which
include the mountain temperate forests and the tropical forests of the Duars, the deciduous
forests of the plateau fringe and the mangrove forests of Sunderbans. Of these the northern
forests are the most important. The Hooghly river estuary that covers the entire southern
portion, nearly a fourth of the total area of twenty four Parganas district consist of the
remarkable tropical forest called the Sunderbans. The major portion of this forest is located in
the adjoining Bangladesh district of Khulna and Barisal. The Sunderbans are abound in royal
Bengal tiger, leopard, rhinoceros, wild hog, deer, monkeys, python, different species of
Cobra and other snakes and many varieties of birds. The rivers are abounding in Crocodile,
shark and many kinds of fish. This area is called the Moribund Delta.

Fig. (2.10): Forest Cover in West Bengal

Source: State of the Forest Report, 2005. Ministry of Environment and Forest, GoI

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Total recorded forest land in the state is 11,879 sq km, representing 13.7% of state
geographical area. Out of total forest area, 7,054 sq km is Reserved Forest, 3,772 sq km is
Protected Forest and 1,053 sq km is Unclassified State Forest. The forest in the state is
distributed over four regions as Northern Hill and Sub montane tract, Southern mangrove
forests in the Gangetic delta, Sal Coppic forest in the laterite soil in the south west,
Freshwater swamps in Malda and West Dinajpur.

Fig. (2.11): Forest Area Classification

Source: State of Forest Report, 2001: MoEF, GoI

Seven categories of forests based on plant species, temperature, soil, moisture, altitude and
other climatic factors are recognised in the state. Characteristics of each of the forest type are
given in the Table (2.14).

Out of the total share of forest i.e.15.38 percent of geographical area, the dense forest in the
state account for 7.2 percent and the open forest account for 4.9 percent. Six out of nineteen
districts covers over 90 percent of the forest area in West Bengal. The district wise cover of
forest area is presented in the Table (2.15).

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TABLE (2.14): CLASSIFICATION OF FOREST TYPE IN WEST BENGAL
Forest Type Location Sites Area Species
Bagdogra range of Kurseong division,
Khutimari areas of Jalpaiguri division,
Northern Tropical Wet Plains of North Bengal Sal, Nageshwar, Jam, Kainjal, Lator, Malagiri, Lali &
Damanpur, Cheko, Gadadhar, 167 sq.km.
Evergreen Forests upto 150 m. altitude. Canes.
Rajabhatkhawa, Rydak of Buxa Tiger
Reserve.
Northern Sub-Tropical
North Bengal Sumbong, Peshok, Buxaduar 25 sq.km. Champ, Panisaj, Gokul, Angare .
Semi-Evergreen Forests
The most important forests of the State are in this sub-
montane belt consisting of Sal with Champ, Chilauni,
Chikrassi, Gamar, Lali, Lasune, Panisaj, Paccasaj
interspresed with riverian forests of Khair, Sissoo,
Simul, Toon etc. representing succession from riverian
to climax sal.
North India Moist
North Bengal Almost entire duars and terai area 1757 sq.km.
Deciduous Forests
The changes of vegetation that occur with increasing
altitude in the Himalayas are similar to those that take
place as one travels from tropics to the poles. The
proportion of Sal gradually dwindles, stopping short of
Damuda rocks (2500 ft.) which are remains of
Gondwana sand stones and are unsuitable for Sal.
Important species are : Goran ( Ceriops roxburghiana ),
Littoral & Swamp Forests - The tidal mangrove forests of Ganga- Gnewa ( Excoecaria agallocha ), Sundari ( Heritiera
4263 sq.km.
The Mangroves Brahmaputra delta (Sunderbans): minor ), Baen ( Avicennia officinalis ), Dhundal ( Carpa
obovata )
Littoral & Swamp Forests- SWAMPS OF
Location : Malda & Dinajpur (N & S) 20 sq.km. Hijal ( Barringtonia acuteangula )
Tropical Seasonal Barringtonia.
Northern Tropical Dry Sal ( Shorea robusta ), Peasal ( Pterocarpus marsupium
Deciduous Forests ), Kend ( Diospyros melanoxylon ), Mahul ( Madhuka
Bankura, Purulia,
latifolia ), Kusum ( Schleichera trijuga ), Karam ( Adina
Medinipur, Birbhum, 4527 sq.km.
cordifolia ), Asan ( Terminalia tomentosa ), Bahera (
Burdwan
T.belerica ), Rahara ( Soyamida febrifuga ), Dhaw (
Anogeissus latifolia ).
Northern Sub-Tropical North Bengal hills Sim, Upper Sumbong , Upper Reyong , Chilouni, Panisaj, Gokul, Sour, Utis, Mauwa, Tarsing.
800 sq.km.
Broad-Leaved Wet Hill 300m-1650m altitude. Forests blocks of Majua, Lower Babukhola,

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TABLE (2.14): CLASSIFICATION OF FOREST TYPE IN WEST BENGAL
Forest Type Location Sites Area Species
Forests Phuguri, Bunklong, Khairbani, Mana, Sittong The species commonly found are Mowa, Chilaune,
Numbong, Setikhola, Shivakhola, Mirik, Katus, Panisaj, Lampate, Phaleado, Saur, Tarsing,
Paglajhora, Kuhi and Latpanchar Angare, Melo Kapasi, Utis, Toon and Malagiri along
with Kutmero, Jhingni, Lek Chilaune, Malata, Thali,
Kawla etc. Climbers and epiphytes are common here.
Choyabans and tree Ferns occur locally.
Kawla, Lkhar, Pipli, Oaks (buk & phalat), Rani champ,
Abies densa, Tsuga brunoniana , Acer spp. The principal
Selimbong, Kankibong, Little Rangit, species found here are Pipli( Bucklandia populnea ),
North Bengal hills Lopchu, Mahaldiram, Chattakpur, Utis, Saur, Katus, Kapasi, Arkula, Mowa, Khankpa,
Northern Montane Wet
1650m- Dhobijhora, Upper Babukhola , Phuguri, 150 sq.km. Sinkoli, Buk, Phalant, Champ, Kawla, Malta, Magnolia,
Temperate Forests
3000m.altitude. Paglajhora and Lower Babukhola forest Latasaea and Machilus spp. along with Jhigni, Chiwri,
blocks Araliaceous, spp. Ilex spp., Thali and Kharane, The
ground flora includes Kimbu, Kagate, Asare, Thotne,
Chuletro, Maling, Lycopodium, Basak and Chirata.
The species commonly found are Mowa, Chilaune,
Katus, Panisaj, Lampate, Phaleado, Saur, Tarsing,
Angare, Melo Kapasi, Utis, Toon, and Malagiri along
with Kutmero Jhigni, Lek Chilaune, Malata, Thali,
East Himalayan Moist North Bengal hills Kawla etc. Climbers and epiphytes are common here.
Rimbik 150 sq.km.
Temperate Forests 1500m-1800m. Choyabans and tree Ferns occur locally. This type of
forests are met within the forest blocks of Majua, Lower
Babukhola , Phuguri, Bunklong, Khairbani, Mana,
Sittong Numbong, Setikhola. Shivakhola, Mirik,
Paglajhora, Kuhi and Latpanchar.
Important spp. are Putli, Lekh Kapasi, Lekh Pipli,
Kapasi, Arupate, Sindure Katus (Castanopsis sp.) , Yew
North Bengal hills
Sub-Alipine Forests Sandakpu, Sabarkum, Phalut 20sq.km. (Taxus bacata) , Tsuga brunoniana , Abies densa ,
3000m-3700m
Junipers, Birch (Betula utilis) , Rhododendrons, Salix,
Berberis, Maling bamboo.
Source: http://westbengalforest.gov.in

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TABLE (2.15): DISTRICT WISE FOREST COVER
Forest Cover
Sl. Geographical Percentage
District Moderately Open
No. Area (Sqkm) Very Dense Total Forest Forest
Dense Forest
1 Bankura 6,882 101 295 584 980 14.24%
2 Birbhum 4,545 0 16 43 59 1.30%
3 Burdhaman 7,024 16 74 135 225 3.20%
4 Cooch Behar 3,387 0 25 62 87 2.57%
Dakshin
5 2,219 0 2 13 15 0.68%
Dinajpur
6 Darjeeling 3,149 472 893 856 2,221 70.53%
7 Hooghly 3,149 0 2 68 70 2.22%
8 Howrah 1,467 0 5 75 80 5.45%
9 Jalpaiguri 6,227 607 566 1,220 2,393 38.43%
10 Kolkata 104 0 0 0 0 0
11 Malda 3,733 0 59 49 108 2.89%
Medinipur
12 14,081 186 573 1,814 2,573 18.27%
(East and West)
13 Murshidabad 5,324 0 25 61 86 1.62%
14 Nadia 3,927 1 26 78 105 2.67%
15 Purulia 6,259 34 234 496 764 12.21%
16 Uttar Dinajpur 3,140 0 4 161 165 5.25%
24-Parganas
17 3,997 16 36 75 127 3.10%
(N)
24-Parganas
18 10,159 870 907 508 2,285 22.94%
(S)
Total 88,752 2,303 3,742 6,298 12,343 13.91%
Source: GoWB, 2008 (c)

Major threat to forests is reported from North Bengal and parts of Sundarbans. While the
overall increase may be admirable, the less of prime forest cover in these two areas have
caused serious concerns. The loss of forest and its causes has been presented in the table
below:

TABLE (2.16): LOSS OF FOREST AND ITS CAUSES


Item Loss suffered Causes
A. GOVT. FOREST LAND
(i) Loss caused by Govt. policy / action related.
a) Habitat loss, habitat 1660 ha. since 1980. Permission granted by Forest Deptt. for
degradation and fragmentation irrigation, road, army, hydel and transmission
due to diversion of forest land line projects.
for non-forest purposes.
(b) Biodiversity loss due to Teak plantation in North Bengal foot Forest Deptt. practice of Monoculture plantation
exotic tree monoculture. hills & plains = 25,980 ha. in North Bengal hills and plains after clear

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 44
TABLE (2.16): LOSS OF FOREST AND ITS CAUSES
Item Loss suffered Causes
Conifer plantations in North Bengal felling high forest consisting of broad leaved
hills = 11,600 ha. species mix. Eucalyptus and Acacia
Eucalyptus + Acacia auriculiformis anriculiformis plantation (in pure block
plantation in south western Bengal plantation) on blank and degraded sites in south
2,59,000 ha.~ 3 lakh ha. western and central Bengal.
(c) Habitat loss due to induced Landslide affected areas in North About 30% of the landslide affected areas in
landslide / soil erosion. Bengal hills = 290 sq. km. Areas North Bengal hills are due to normal erosion
affected by sheet and gully erosion in processes. Balance are subjected to accelerated
south western Bengal = 7500 sq. km. erosive processes due to faulty land use policy,
deforestation and dearth of proper water
disposal systems. Erosion in south western
Bengal is due to bad land use in the uplands,
poor watershed management, deforestation etc.
(d) Habitat loss due to Grassland habitat in Jaldapara Flood control embankment constructed along
construction of flood control Sanctuary = 5000 ha. the right bank of Torsa river had resulted in loss
embankment of seasonal flood water flow through prime
rhino habitat in Jaldapara Sanctuary. This has
caused elimination of a preferred habitat for the
ungulates and associated species.
(ii) Loss caused by Industry policy / action related.
(a) Biodiversity loss due to fuel 1.2 million m3 fuel wood and 2000 There are 202 tea gardens in the plains and 72
wood and fodder removal. tonne green fodder are removed from in the hills of North Bengal. About 60% of
hills and plain forests of North Bengal these are abutting forest lands. 2 lakh labour
by tea garden labourers annually. Also force of the tea industry plunder neighbourhood
expansion of tea gardens in the past forest for fuel wood and fodder due to inaction
caused severe fragmentation in Duars by the industry concerned to provide
region. alternatives.
iii) Loss caused by Unorganised population action related.
(a) Tree felling. There are on an average 7,000 detected Forest and fringe dwelling poor people are
illegal tree felling cases per annum with engaged by wood-based industries and mafia
seizure of 10,000 m3 timber. An equal groups with inter-state and international
number goes undetected. Therefore linkages for illegal tree fellings at huge profits.
annual loss is 20,000 m3 timber mainly Poor staffing and infrastructural facilities of FD
from North Bengal forests. and dearth of local level participatory initiative
coupled with lack of inter-state and across the
border co-ordination mechanism with line
departments have exacerbated the problems.
(b) Fuel wood removal. 5 million m3 fuel wood in green form is Non-monetised fuel wood collection from the
removed from the forest every year by forest has become a custom and tradition in
villagers – about 60% of this in south rural areas fringing forest lands. This resource
western Bengal and balance in North drain has become alarming due to upsurge in
Bengal. population growth and lack of cheap alternative
at local levels. Social Forestry endeavours from
1987 outside forest lands have not made any
dent in the situation due to perception of farm
forestry as an income generation enterprise
from poles and pulpwood and not as a means to
obtain fuel wood from outside forest lands.
(c) Cattle grazing. 2/3rd of the state forest i.e. about 8,900 Lack of grazing policy, loss of traditional
sq. km. are visited by 7 million cattle common lands, uneconomic returns for
annually, causing severe damage to development of pasture, retention of
10,000 ha. forest area every year. unproductive cattle for slaughter, uncontrolled
cattle trade across the border.
(d) Encroachment 143 sq. km. forest land is under Land hunger, lack of consolidation efforts for
encroachment. forest lands.
(e) Unregulated NTFP removal. Excessive collection of leaves, fruits, Products are so diverse and collectors are so
seeds, roots, climbers etc. as NTFP many that regulation and control is not possible

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 45
TABLE (2.16): LOSS OF FOREST AND ITS CAUSES
Item Loss suffered Causes
without regulatory measures and through govt. intervention.
potential loss of biodiversity.
(f) Weed infestation. 550 sq. km. forest lands comprised Creating openings without biological safeguards
mostly of plantation areas and riverain against weed infestation – particularly by
tracts are affected by pernicious weed woody species like Lantane etc.
infestation – smothering natural
regeneration, and hindering seed
dispersal.
B. NON-FOREST LAND
i) Loss caused Govt. policy / action related
(a) Encouragement of high 2500ha. used for growing high yielding Campaign for grow more food.
yielding agricultural crops. variety of paddy, wheat and potato.
This has the potential of extinction of
indigenous varieties of paddy, wheat &
potato.
(b) Coastal lands diverted for 230ha. foreshore land on Digha beach Tourism development in unplanned manner
tourism. utilized for construction of hotels and
other tourist facilities.
ii) Loss caused by Unorganised sector action related.
(i) Conversion of common lands 65,000 ha. village common lands, Land hunger, economic pursuits, promotion of
and wastelands. earlier used for pasture and 2,20,000 social forestry.
ha. wastelands, earlier used for fuel
wood / fodder collection have been
converted for agriculture / tree farming.
Source: Adapted from West Bengal Biodiversity Action Plan 2008, GoWB

Joint Forest Management

The State of West Bengal pioneered the Joint Forest Management (JFM) in Arabari of
Midnapore district in 1971. Management of Forests in the State has been largely directed
towards Joint Forest Management (JFM) post the government resolution of 1989. There are
4.096 JFM Committees managing about 0.63 million ha of forest area as on March 2005,
which is about 53 percent of the forest area of the state. More than 0.48 million families are
involved in this programme, of which around 0.11 million families belongs to the schedule
Tribes13.

Joint Forest Management (JFM) is a concept of developing partnerships between fringe forest
user groups and the Forest Department (FD) on the basis of mutual trust and jointly defined
roles and responsibilities with regard to forest protection and development. In JFM, the user
(local communities) and the owner (Government) manage the resource and share the cost
equally; however it is difficult to generalize the JFM concept and approach in the light of
variations across the nation with respect to geography, resource base, socio-economic status,
cultural diversity and pressures on forests.

As an adaptive social process it is striving to create sufficient future forest production


opportunity to satisfy potentially competitive/conflicting interests that would diminish the
forest if left unresolved. The challenge with JFM has thus been to develop social processes

13
State of Forest Report, 2005

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 46
that recognize, accommodate, and respond more effectively to diverse and dynamic
perspectives of what the forest is about and should be.

Formation of Protection Committees: Forest Protection Committees in West Bengal are


constituted with membership coming from each of the households. An executive committee of
six people is formed, two of whom are representatives from the village panchayat. The forester
holds the position of Member Secretary. The Village Forest Protection and Management
Committees (VFPMCs)14, in Bihar, are similarly made up of one member from each
household. Again, an executive committee is established which is made of fifteen to eighteen
people including the elected and defeated Mukhiya (the Panchayat leader), the Sarpanch, the
village religious leader, a local school teacher, four members from the schedule- caste/ tribe
and also, three to five women. The forester holds the position of Member Secretary to the
Executive Board. The forest guard is a specially invited member, and is expected to attend
committees’ monthly meetings. Table (2.17) shows the number of FPCs in West Bengal.

TABLE (2.17): FOREST PROTECTION COMMITTEES IN WEST BENGAL (AS


ON 31.03.2007)
Area No. of Members
Total No.
Division Protected
of F.P.C. Male Female Total S.C. S.T. Others Total
(ha.)
Darjeeling 69 13497 3673 412 4085 133 945 3007 4085

Kalimpong 63 26429 3582 195 3777 204 874 2699 3777

Kurseong 43 12731 2315 250 2565 410 769 1386 2565

Jalpaiguri 63 20248 16169 309 16478 5525 3479 7474 16478

Baikunthapur 68 10514 7315 306 7621 5846 647 1128 7621

Cooch Behar 25 6682 3738 171 3909 708 1958 1243 3909

Cooch Behar SF 23 3624 1460 43 1503 839 224 440 1503

B.T.R.(E) 17 9285 3340 103 3443 1548 1334 561 3443

B.T.R.(W) 24 15695 2557 1657 4214 734 2759 721 4214

E. Midnapur 362 44148 48038 2801 50839 10131 9186 31522 50839

West Midnapur 474 52179 38254 2449 40703 9135 14906 16662 40703

Kharagpur SF 100 13286 18015 1293 19308 4736 4406 10166 19308

Rupnarayan P&S 231 27790 27662 1508 29170 7033 8199 13938 29170

Bankura(N) 547 43613 138990 5400 144390 57304 21494 65592 144390

Bankura(S) 598 43499 52568 4229 56797 13357 18047 25393 56797

Panchet SC 227 28119 26679 1550 28229 10757 4653 12819 28229

Purulia 210 29833 20584 838 21422 6939 5956 8527 21422

Kangsa.SC-I 245 17426 23639 869 24508 5707 8070 10731 24508

Kangsa.SC-II 305 26115 29561 569 30130 10899 4293 14938 30130

14
The Forest Protection Committees are called by various names in different provinces of India.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 47
TABLE (2.17): FOREST PROTECTION COMMITTEES IN WEST BENGAL (AS
ON 31.03.2007)
Area No. of Members
Total No.
Division Protected
of F.P.C. Male Female Total S.C. S.T. Others Total
(ha.)
Burdhman 68 17758 16965 2626 19591 8505 4825 6261 19591

Durgapur SF 26 2757 2006 212 2218 604 715 899 2218

Birbhum 167 9503 11761 280 12041 4207 4050 3784 12041

24-Pgs.(S) 40 43734 12383 12281 24664 13185 517 10962

S.T.R. 11 12844 3958 107 4065 3642 254 169 4065

Siliguri SF 1 57 220 1 221 0 156 65 221

Malda 11 220 830 279 1109 420 528 161 1109

Raigunj SF 22 510 1637 73 1710 876 430 404 2004

Howrah SF 4 191 815 319 1134 537 238 359 1134

Darjeeling SF * 34 8867 1268 117 1385 112 504 769 1385

Nadia-Msd. 6 594 958 15 973 402 200 371 973

TOTAL 4084 541752 520940 41262 562202 184435 124616 253151 562202

Source: http://westbengalforest.gov.in

Distribution of Harvest Proceeds under JFM in West Bengal

Once a Forest Protection Committee, has completed its mandatory 5 years of since formal
registration, an area is to be identified by the Forest Department (FD) and notified to the Forest
Development Corporation (FDC) for harvesting. The FDC then sanctions a loan to the FD
which pays wages for the FPC members for carrying out the felling (who are entitled to be
employed for the purpose), logging and transport to sale-depots.

Once the sale is done (through auction, tender, negotiations or to patron institutions like Coal
India Limited, etc.), the cost of harvesting is subtracted from the gross sale value. Of this 25
percent is paid to the concerned Forest Protection Committee. Of the balance amount, now,
10 percent is deducted by the FDC as service charges. Of the remaining amount a further 10
percent is further deducted by the FDC as interest on working capital and establishment
charge. The balance amount is then paid, as royalty, to the forest department.

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TABLE (2.18): PERFORMANCE OF CONSOLIDATION OF JOINT FOREST
MANAGEMENT IN SOUTH WEST BENGAL AND FPC SHARE
RELEASED FROM FINAL HARVEST
Felling Year
Particulars
1998-99 1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005 2005-06 2006-07
No. of FPC 339 445 424 520 1,454 1,454 1,510 1,944 1,967
No.of
35,530 50,989 56,479 45,662 45,662 51,047 60,150 56,979 57,864
Beneficiary

Area felled Sal Pltn Sal Pltn Sal Pltn Sal Pltn Sal Pltn. Sal Pltn. Sal Pltn. Sal Pltn. Sal Pltn
(Ha) 2065 1893 2902 3632 3632 3076 3632 2945 3626 2691 3870 3266 3980 3814 4790 4111 4750 4248

F.P.C. Share
released (Rs. 2.87 4.02 4.56 5.8 4.30 5.49 5.09 5.92 6.35
In crores)
F.P.C. Share
per capita 807 788 806 1,270 942 1,075 846 1039 1,097
(Rs.)
Source: http://westbengalforest.gov.in

The forest report of West Bengal reveals that the overexploitation of trees for timber was so
severe that thousand and thousand hectares of forest lands in the south West Bengal except
Sundarban were almost treated as bare plain land, when the JFM was established; but such
lands are almost secured after JFM programme (SFR, 2000:47). Government revenue from
the degraded forest was almost nil when the JFM was established, but it has significantly
increased after JFM (Das & Sarkar, MPRA).

2.4.8 National Parks and Sanctuaries in West Bengal

The Wildlife conservation programme in the State has been aimed at in-situ conservation
strategy with a chain of protected area (PA) designated as Biosphere Reserve (1), National
Parks (5), Wildlife Sanctuaries (15), Tiger Reserve (2) and Elephant Reserve (2). However
many PAs have overlapping areas as 63 percent of Forest area have been designated as PA.

More than 750 species have been identified within the state, including some extremely rare
ones like Masked Finfoot (Heliopais personata) seen rarely in Sundarban. In West Bengal,
23 out of 57 vulnerable species listed for India by the Birdlife International are found.
Fourteen near-threatened species are also found in West Bengal. The state has a well-
protected network of sanctuaries and wildlife reserves apart trom numerous water bodies,
which support good bird life. The areas which qualifies for Important Bird Area (IBA)
overlaps with the designated PAs, National Parks and Wild life Sanctuaries.

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TABLE (2.19): LIST OF PROTECTED AREAS IN WEST BENGAL
Date of
No. Name Area (sqkm) District
Establishment
National Parks (NP)
1 Buxa NP 117.1 06.01.92 Jalpaiguri
2 Gorumara NP 79.5 31.01.94 Jalpaiguri
3 Neora Valley NP 88.0 17.04.86 Darjeeling
4 Singhalila NP 78.6 06.05.86 Darjeeling
5 Sunderbans NP 1,330.1 04.05.84 North & South 24-Paraganas
Wild Life Sanctuaries (WLS)
1 Ballavpur WLS 2.0 11.07.77 Birbhum
2 Bethuadahari WLS 0.7 29.10.80 Nadia
3 Bibhutibhusan WLS 0.6 28.03.85 North 24-Paraganas
4 Buxa WLS 251.9 24.01.86 Jalpaiguri
5 Chapramari WLS 9.5 24.06.76 Jalpaiguri
6 Haliday Island WLS 6.0 24.06.76 South 24-Paraganas
7 Jaldapara WLS 216.5 24.06.76 Jalpaiguri & Cooch Behar
8 Jorepokhri WLS 0.0 11.03.85 Darjeeling
9 Lothian Island WLS 38.0 24.06.76 South 24-Paraganas
10 Mahananda WLS 127.2 24.06.76 Darjeeling
11 Narendrapur WLS 0.1 14.04.82 South 24-Paraganas
12 Raiganj WLS 1.3 11.04.85 North Dinajpur
13 Ramnabagan WLS 0.1 30.09.81 Burdwan
14 Sajnekhali WLS 362.4 24.06.76 South 24-Paraganas
15 Senchal WLS 38.9 24.06.76 Darjeeling
Source: West Bengal Forest Department (Available at http://www.westbengalforest.gov.in/index.html)

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 50
Fig. (2.12): National Parks and Sancturies in West Bengal

Source: State of the Forest Report, 2005. Ministry of Environment and Forest, GoI

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 51
2.4.9 Biodiversity

Biological diversity in the state of West Bengal could be presented at species as well as at
ecosystem levels. The geographical location of the state has bestowed major representative
ecosystem within it. Measured in terms of area, its incidence is higher than that of India. The
mountain ecosystem in the Darjeeling Himalaya in the north, the forest ecosystem (semi-
evergreen, deciduous, dry, moist and tidal varieties) extending over the major part of the
state, the freshwater ecosystem (spread over rivers, wetlands and estuaries), the semi-arid
ecosystem of Purulia-Bankura-Birbhum region, the mangrove ecosystem of the Sundarbans
and coastal-marine ecosystem along 24 Parganas and Medinipur are the examples of the
largest assemblages of habitats for floral and faunal diversity.

Bio-geographically, the State generally comes under the realm of Oriental region and, in
particular, to Indian sub-region. However, biodiversity at species level indicate assemblage of
elements of palaearitic region, Indo-Chinese sub-region and Malayan sub-region with some
species having Ethiopian affinity.

Faunal Diversity

The state, has an extensive faunistic diversity and is the representative of almost every group
of animal phyla of India with an impressive incidence of species diversity. From an
assessment of species diversity in the state under different animal phyla, it appeared that
faunal diversity is highly variable in different groups of taxa in relation to the recorded
species from India. The faunatic diversity appears to be the highest in the Darjeeling
Himalayan region. In case of mamalian species, more than 50 percent of the species recorded
in India could be located in the Darjeeling District. On the other hand, the faunal diversity is
more specific to the southern deltaic mangrove forest of Sundarban. The list of fauna is
presented in Table (2.20)

TABLE (2.20): FAUNA OF WEST BENGAL


Number of Species
Sl. No. Group
West Bengal India Proportion of WB
1 Protozoa 971 2577 37.6 %
2 Porifera 16 519 31.0 %
3 Rotifera 148 310 47.7 %
4 Siphurcula 3 38 7.8 %
5 Echiura 3 33 10.0 %
6 Annelida 179 1093 16.3 %
7 Arthropoda
Crustacea 92 2970 3.0 %
Insecta 4030 21000 7.9 %
Xiphosura 2 2 100.0 %
Arachnida
Scorpinoida 14 102 13.7 %
Acari 419 1915 21.8 %
Aranae 213 1250 17.0 %
8. Mollusca 360 5042 7.1 %
9. Bryozoa 9 170 5.2 %

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 52
TABLE (2.20): FAUNA OF WEST BENGAL
Number of Species
Sl. No. Group
West Bengal India Proportion of WB
10. Hemichordata 1 12 8.3 %
Total invertebrate 6406 67033 9.5 %
11. Fish 574 2546 22.5 %
12. Amphibia 39 206 19.1 %
13. Reptilia 139 485 28.5 %
14. Aves 219 1228 17.8 %
15. Mammal 176 372 47.3 %
Total Vertebrate 1147 4837 23.7 %
Grand Total 7553 71870 10.5 %
Source: State of Environment, 1998

Endemism

The species diversity is further enriched by the evidence of endemism of a number of faunal
elements. In terms of the newly detected mammalian species, the Salt Lake Marsh Mongoose,
newly recorded hemichordate in moist mangrove near Sundarban, the Bengal Monitor Lizard
and the list of invertebrates from different regions of the State bear testimony to the rich
potential of the area. From the Sundarban mangrove system, for instance, more than 50
species remained unrecorded in the past. In a small pond within heart of Calcutta, appears to
be a type-locality for a number of invertebrate, aquatic and semiaquatic, species. The
hemphera/ homopheran insects (only 5 schedule family) are shown in Table (2.21).

TABLE (2.21): ENDEMIC INSECTS (HEMP SELECTED FAMILIES)


Sl. No. Family Endemic Total %
1. Membrucidae 10 29 34.0
2. Psyllidae 8 24 33.0
3. Aphididae 101 283 37.8
4. Coccioidae 9 107 8.4
5. Reduvidae 15 73 20.5
Source: State of Environment Report, 1998

It is expected that such analysis in every group of fauna may reveal a significant percentage
of endemics, which were originally described and restricted to the State or later recorded
from neighbouring State of Sikkim or other north-eastern states.

Floral Diversity

The ecosystem diversity in the state has produced assemblages of aquatic and terrestrial floral
species. The floral diversity is undoubtedly the most impressive in the Terai, the Duars, and
Darjeeling, in the eastern Himalayan region and in the mangrove forests of Sundarbans.
These tracts exhibit an interesting array of species.

The Eastern Himalayan (Darjeeling & Sikkim inclusive) vegetation is characterised by


abundance of rhododendrons and orchids, ferns, bryophytes, lichens besides tree like

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 53
Terminalia, oaks, laurel, bamboos, hedychiums, etc. In the eastern Himalayan region
orchidaceae type flowering plant is the single largest family with as many as 600 species
representing more than 50% of total taxa known from India. Hundreds of species of
Asteraceae, Poaceae, Leguminoceae, Rosaceae, Scorphulariaceae, Rubiaceae,
Euphorbiaceae, Cyperaceae, and Saxifragaceae represent 10 dominant families of
angiosperms in the area. About 40 percent of total Himalayan flora is endemic with the
majority occurring in the eastern flank.

Of the gymnosperns, 15 species occur in eastern Himalaya with at least 5 genera being
confined to the region. Of the pteridophytes (fern and fern allies), 70 percent of
polypodiaceous taxa of India are concentrated in eastern Himalaya. Nearly 50 percent of
more than 2000 moss species, are known from this region. Of the liverworts, more than 320
species are known from the region with a high percentage of endemism. The richness of
fungal flora, especially of primitive Aphyllophorales -Thelesphores group as also the Agaries,
Gasteromycetous fungi, and sac fungi are well documented. At least 728 taxa of lichens, out
of 2000 species known from the country, occur in the eastern Himalaya.

The Eastern Himalayan region is also well known for medicinal and aromatic plants of the
genera Aconitum Artermusa, Asparagus, Berberis, Ioscorea, Ephedra, Gentina, Hedychurum,
Inula, Prunus, Rheum, Rosa, Saussurea, etc. The role of eastern Himalaya as a centre of
origin and diversity of crop plants (82 species) is also well documented. Due to increasing
loss of habitat and impact of human activities, a large number of species are becoming
vulnerable or threatened.

The richness of floral diversity could still be appreciated from the point that West Bengal
occupying only 2.7 percent of total area of India possesses more than 12 percent of floral
diversity in angiosperm (flowering plants) in the area outside Duars and Darjeeling
Himalaya. The southern deltaic part of West Bengal represents a distinctive floristic
combination of 70 species in the Sundarban mangrove ecosystem. Of these, 35 species are
considered true mangroves, 28 as mangrove associates and seven species as obligate
mangrove. Such a combination outnumbers the taxa in other mangrove ecosystems of India.
The list of such floristic diversity is presented in Table (2.22).

TABLE (2.22): MANGROVE FLORA OF THE SUNDARBANS


Families & Genera Species Local Names
Major Floral Elements
RHIZOPHORACEAE
1. Rhizophora I. (all are trees) R. apiculata Blume Bhora, Garjan
R. mucronata Lamk Khamu, Garjan
2. Bruguiera Lamk (mostly trees, some
B. Gimnorrhiza (L) Lamk Kakra
shrubs)
B. Sexangula (Lour) Poir Kakra
B. cylindrica (L) Blume Bakul Kakra
B. Parviflora W. & A.et
Bakul Kakra
Griff
C. decandra (Griff) Ding
3. Ceriops Arnold (small trees & shrubs) Jamti Goran
Hou
C. tagal (Perr.) Robin Mat Goran

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TABLE (2.22): MANGROVE FLORA OF THE SUNDARBANS
Families & Genera Species Local Names
4. Kandelia W.&A. (small trees) K. kandel (I.) Druce Goria
AVECENNIACEAE
5. Avicennia I. (small-midium trees) A. alba Blume Kalban, Bani
SONNERATIACEAE
6. Sonneratia Linn. f (medium-tall tree) S. caseolaris (L) Engle Chak-keora
S. griffithii Kurz Ora
S. apetala Buch. Ham Keora
COMBRETACEAE
7. Lunmitzera Wiltd. (shrub / small tree) L. racemosa Wiltd Kripa, Kripal
ARECACEAE
8. Nypa Steek N. fruticans (Thunb.) Gulpata
MELIACEAE
1. Xylocarpus Roem (Medium / tall
X. granatum Koenig Dundal
trees)
X. mekongensi Pierce Pasur
2. Agtaia A. cucullata (L.) Pelle Khalsi
MYRSINACEAE
3. Aegicerus Gaertn. (shrub) A. conriculutum (I.) Blanco Khalsi
EUPHORBIACEAE
4. Excoexuria I. (tree) E. agallaclta I. Gneo, Gnena
AEGIALTIDACEAE
5. Aegialitis Brown (shrub) A. rotandifolia Roxb. Tora
STERCULIACEAE
6. Heritiera Alton (tall tree) H. fomes Buch. Hamilton Sundari
RUBIACEAE
7. Scyphiphora Gaert. (shrub) S.hydrophyllacaea Gaertn. f Tagri Bani
PTERIDACEAEA
8. Acrostichum I. (fern) A. aurcum L. Hudo fern
ACANTHACEAE
9. Acanthus L (shrub / twiner) A. ilicifolius L. Harkoch kanta
A. volubilis Wall Lata Hargoja
RUTACEAE
A. carrea M. Roem.
10. Atalanti M. Roem. (shrub) Ban lebo
(Merope angulata)
TILIACEAE
B. tersa (L) Kosterm (B.
11. Brownlowia Roxb. (shrub) Lata Sundari
laniolata)
Mangrove Associates
MALVACAEA
1. Hibiscus L (medium tree) H. tiliaceus I. Ban kapas
H. tortuosus Roxb. Ban kapas

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 55
TABLE (2.22): MANGROVE FLORA OF THE SUNDARBANS
Families & Genera Species Local Names
2. Thespesia Soland et Curr (medium
T. populnia (L) Sold. Paras
tree)
T. populnioides (Roxb.)
Paras
Kostel
T. lampus (Cav) Dalz &
Paras
Gibs
FABACEAE
CAESAPINIACEAE
3. Cynometra L (Twiner) C. ramiflora l Gita
4. Caesalpinia L. (Twining shrub) C. bonduct l (Roxb.) Nata-karanja
Papilonaceae
5. Dalbergia L. (Small tree) D. spinosa Roxb. Chulia kanta
6. Derris wv (small tree) D. scandens Benth. Noa-lata
D. trifoliata Lour. Pan-lata
D. indica Bennet. Karanja
ARECACEAE
7. Phoenix L. P. paludosa Roxb. Hental
LECYTHIDCEAE
8. Barringtonia Forst (Tree) B. Asiatica L. (Kurz) Hijal
B.racemosa Roxb. Sumudra
BIGNONIACEAE
9. Dolichandrone Seem (Tree) D. spathaexeae l Gorsingiah
EBENACEAE
11. Diaspyros L. (Tree & shrub) D. ferrea (Willd) Roxb. Ban gab
CLUCIACEAE
12. Calophyllum L. (Tree) C. inophyllum L. Kath champa
CAPPAIDACEAE
13. Capparis L. (Woody climber) C. sepiaria L. Kanta gurkamai
14. Craiacya L. ( Small tree) C. roxburghia R. Hr. Barun
SAPINDACEAE
15. Allephylus L. A. cobbe L. BL.
Pandanaceae
16. Pandanus Parkin (Shrub/tree) P. tectorius Sol. ex Park. Keya
P. foetidas Roxb. Keya
SAPOTACEAE
17. Mamdhara Adns. (Tree) M nexandra (Roxb.) Dub Bilati bakul
ASCLEPIADACEAE
18. Sarcolobus R. Br. (Twine/ shrub) S. cariuntus Wall. Bao;i lata
19. Pentatropis Wight & Arn. P. capensis L. Bullock

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 56
TABLE (2.22): MANGROVE FLORA OF THE SUNDARBANS
Families & Genera Species Local Names
ASCLEPIADACEAE
20. Hoya R. Brown (Twiner/ shrub) H. paracitica Watt Pargacha
CHENOPODIACEAE
21. Suaeda Fors. (Herbaceous) S. maritima Dumort Gire sak
S. nudiflora Moq. Gire sak
22. Salicornia L. (Herbaceous) S. brachiata Roxb.
AMARYLLIDACEAE
23. Cronum L. (Herbaceous) C.defixum Kar-Gawl. Sukh darshan
ARACEAE
24. Cryptocoryne Fisch. C. ciliata (Roxb.) Fisch. Kerali
VERBENACEAE
25. Clerodendrum L. (Shrub) C. inerme L. Gaertan. Ban jui
RUPPIACEAE
26. Ruppia l. R. maritima L. Sona jhanji
LAMARICACEAE
27. Lamaricx L. (Shrub / small tree) L. dioca Roxb. Nona jhau
L. galica L. Nona jhau
BORAGINACEAE
28. Heliotraphium L. H. curassavicum L.
POACEAE
29. Porteracia Talg. P. coarctata (Roxb.) Dhani ghash
30. Myriastachya Hook. M. wightiana Hook. Nalai
POACEAE
31. Aeluropas L. A. lagaporides L. Nona durba
OPENEIACEAE
32. Opuntia L. O. dillenii Nona phana
SOLANACEAE
33. Solanum L. S. trilobatum L. Nona begun
LAURACAEA
34. Cassitha L. C. filimorphis L. Akash bel
LORANEHACEAE
35. Dendrophthoe Mart D. falcata L. Baramanda
36. Viscum L. V. monoicum Roxb. Manda
V. oriental Willd. Manda
RUBIACEAE
37. Hydrophyllus H. maritima L.
CONVOLVULACEAE
38. Ipomaea L. I. pesycaprae L. Sweet
Source: State of Environment Report, 1998

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The state also has genetic diversity mainly in agricultural crops and fruits. Varietals diversity
of cereal and no cereal crops are listed in the Table (2.23).

TABLE (2.23): VARIETALS DIVERSITY OF


CEREAL AND NON CEREAL CROPS
Species
S No. Type of crop Name of crop
Number
Non Cereal Crops
A Vegetable
1 Potato 2
2 Brinjal 25
3 Cabbage 18
4 Cauliflower 22
5 Tomato 17
6 Lady’s Finger 15
7 Cucumber 11
B Fruit Crop
8 Mango 150
9 Banana 25
10 Guava 8
11 Pineapple 6
12 Litchi 7
C Spices Crop
13 Chilli 12
14 Ginger 2
D Plantation Crop
15 Coconut 5
16 Arecanut 3
E Fiber Crop
17 Jute 2
18 Mesta 10
F Medicinal Varieties 750
Cereals and Grains
G Cereals and Grains
19 Rice 400
20 Finger Millet Several
21 Wheat 2
Source: State of Environment, 1998

The vertebrate fauna of the state indicates a presence of a significant percentage of ‘Protected
Species’ that are known from West Bengal. Of the carnivores, the tiger, the snow leopard, the
leopard cat, the fishing cat, the jungle cat, marbled cat, golden cat, Himalayan black bear,
hyena, jackal and fox, three species of mongoose and two species of otters are becoming
extremely rare. The Clouded Leopard recently recorded in Buxa Tiger Reserve and outside
protected areas in Chumong of Kalimpong and Pankhbari region of Darjeeling Hill District
had special mention. Some of the selected species in the state are Tiger, Leopard, Rhino,

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 58
Elephant, Hog Deer, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Gaur, Wild Boar, Goral, Tahr, and
Serow.

Another large mammal, once distributed over wider range of eco-systems, the Great Indian
One Horned Rhinoceros, is facing threats to its survival and are found only in some limited
areas of north Bengal. Even from the sanctuaries of Jaldapara and Garumara, Javan
Rhinocerous, once found in southern Bengal, has long become extinct.

The avian fauna composed of 219 species (240 including sub-species) of the state have
largely been included in one or the other schedules of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act. Of the
aquatic birds, pelicans, spoonbills and storks are becoming rare. Adjutant storks, large
adjutant stork and lesser adjutant stork have disappeared from wider areas. Likewise many of
the ground dwelling birds, specially the pheasants in the higher reaches of the Himalaya, are
becoming increasingly rare largely due to habitat disturbances. Of the pigeon group, snow
pigeon and purple wood pigeon are noted to be scarce. Most of the eagles, bazards, falcons,
hawks and owls are now threatened or vulnerable largely due to non-biodegradable pesticide
contamination.

The reptilian fauna of the State is equally noteworthy. The report on finding of endangered
reticulate python in Buxa Tiger Reserve and of four species of marine turtles (viz. Olive
Ridley, Hawksbill and Green Turtle) in the coastal zone and of Batagur terrapin in the
Sunderban Tiger Reserve deserve special mention.

Sacred Groves

Nature worship is a tribal belief based on the premise that all creations of nature have to be
protected. Such beliefs have preserved several virgin forests in pristine form called Sacred
Groves (the forests of God and Goddesses). These patches of forest or parts of large forests
have been left untouched by the local people and any interference with them is banned. The
practice dates back to about 3000 to 5000 B.C. Indigenous peoples in different parts of India
protect certain ancient stands of near-natural vegetation as sacred groves, where many rare,
endangered and endemic plants and animals survive.

Certain societies revere a particular tree which they have preserved from time immemorial.
The Mundas and the Santhal of Bihar worship mahua (Bassia latifolia) and kadamba
(Anthocaphalus cadamba) trees and the tribals of Orissa and Bihar worship the tamarind
(Tamarindus indica) and mango (Mangifera indica) trees during weddings. Many a banyan
tree is considered as sacred in India.

Sacred groves have been flourishing in India from time immemorial. This is the wonderful
response of people to the loss of biodiversity. The sacred groves have been one of the living
examples of rich and vibrant biodiversity. A number of plant and animal species described as
rare, endangered, vulnerable or threatened are existing today thanks to the these sacred
groves, which have also been pivotal in protecting and conserving endemic species.
Protection of nature’s biodiversity and especially the rare types of life forms through sacred
groves is regarded as an obligation on the part of the society. Sacred groves have been an
embodiment of an act of faith, fear or social obligation as well as eco-philosophical outlook
of the people living amidst the bounty of nature. Sacred groves also serve as a meaningful
fusion of religion and ecology. People’s protection, preservation and conservation of species

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 59
through sacred groves are people’s way of celebrating the sanctity of life. The number of
documented sacred groves is presented in Table (2.24).

TABLE (2.24): SACRED GROVES IN INDIA


State Number of Documented Sacred Groves
Andhra Pradesh 750
Arunachal Pradesh 58
Assam 40
Chhattisgarh 600
Gujarat 29
Haryana 248
Himachal Pradesh 5,000
Jharkhand 21
Karnataka 1,424
Kerala 2000
Maharashtra 1,600
Manipur 365
Meghalaya 79
Orissa 322
Rajasthan 9
Sikkim 56
Tamil Nadu 448
Uttarakhand 1
West Bengal 670
Total 13,720
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_groves_of_India

Threats to Sacred Groves

India’s sacred groves appear to be on the verge of depletion. Modernisation followed by


liberalization, privatization and globalization is leading to erosion of the values that were
vital for the conservation of sacred groves in India. A mad rush for development which is
often demonstrated through mega river valley projects, large-scale mining works, road
construction, tourism, urbanization, industrialization, etc. is experienced almost everywhere.
Government and local governing bodies are insensitive towards local people’s rights over and
access to natural resources. Many groves are suffering what is called “Sanskritization,” the
transformation of primitive nature worship into formal Hindu practice. In the earlier system
people gave more value to nature and natural objects rather than to idol worship.

In the era of liberalization, privatization and globalization, communities are losing their
traditional bases of sustainable livelihoods, such as forests and rangelands and are being
forced to enter into market system that generally regards nature merely as a commodity. This
compels communities deviate from the customs which were guiding them to protect and

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 60
maintain sacred groves. The market-oriented social systems do not hold reverential attitude
towards nature. Sanctity of life has no place in the market-linked livelihood systems15.

2.4.10 Agriculture

Main crops

West Bengal agricultural production includes high value commercial crops like jute and tea.
The state possesses about 14 percent of the nation’s rice cultivation area. Major crops if the
state is rice, potato, and jute. However, the state also produces significant amount of fruits
and vegetables. The quantity of production of various crops is presented in the Table (2.25).

TABLE (2.25): PRODUCTION OF CROPS


Production % Share of production to
Crops
(Million Tonnes) All India
Rice 14.39 19.81
Jute 8.58 75.40
Potato 6.90 29.80
Fruits and
12,60,000 hectares 22
Vegetables
Source: Choudhary 2002

In terms of rice production figures of quintals per kilo litre of water input, or quintals per
kilogram of fertiliser input, most indigenous crop varieties out perform form High Yielding
Varieties, which demands a much greater amount of water and agrochemicals. Many local
crops have better yield because of their inherent resistance to pests and pathogens.

During the period of green revolution starting from mid 1960s, introduction of high yielding
varieties, chemical fertiliser, pesticides and canal irrigation made tremendous impact on
productivity but in the process indigenous varieties became gradually rare or extinct.
Example of rice could be taken up which shows that about 5000 rice varieties was there in
West Bengal in 1947, the number has come down to less than 500 in 2005. There is a need
for on farm conservation of the remaining indigenous varieties as conservation of agro
biodiversity in the state. The modern practice of monoculture of selected crops has replaced
the traditional multiple cropping practices resulting in erosion of crop diversity.

Fertilizers

Consumption of agrochemicals is on an increasing trend in the state. In comparison between


1993-94 and 1998-99, the consumption of Urea and DAP has increased by 44 percent and 93
percent respectively. The total fertiliser consumption in the districts of Burdhaman, Purulia,
Howrah, Murshidabad, Dakshin Dinajpur, Cooch Behar is 133, 513, 629, 79, 69, and 61
thousand tonnes respectively16.

15
Adapted from Sacred Groves in India: Celebrating Sanctity of Life through Biodiversity Conservation
16
Choudhary 2002

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Pesticides

As per the Toxicological Atlas of India for Pesticides, West Bengal falls into the second
category where the load of pesticides in the environment is between 30-70 kg/sq.km. land
area, whereas the load of pesticides in the environment ranges between 10-30 kg/sq.km. Use
of pesticides in West Bengal has observed an increasing trend from the year 2003-03. This is
reported to be due to introduction of combination of pesticides, which are thought to resist the
growing of resistance in pests and also give synergise effect and also intensive farming of
high yielding varieties. Some of the major combined pesticides are such as Endosulfan &
Deltamethrin, Acephate & Fenverlarate, Chlorpyriphos & Cypermethrin, Chlorpyriphos &
Alphamethrin, Ethin & Cypermethrin, Profenophos & Cypermethin, Carbaryl & Lindane etc.

Fig. (2.13): Consumption & Demand of Pesticides in West Bengal

Source: http://www.ncipm.org.in

2.4.11 Fisheries

West Bengal is in one of the leading state in fish-production in the country. West Bengal is
the only state in India, where fishes have been cultivated in every kind of water bodies i.e.
brackish water, sweet water, sewage water and marine water as well. The state has a total
coast line length of 158 kms with a continental shelf of 17000 sq kms. The state has more
than 24 lakhs fishermen population (over 22 lakhs involved in fresh water fisher and around
2.6 lakhs involved in marine fishery) spread over 11,852 fishermen settlements/villages.
West Bengal has been able to create a stir in the production of fish seeds in so far as inland
fishery is concerned. 75 per cent of the total demands for fish seeds are met by West Bengal
alone.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 62
Fig. (2.14): Top 10 Fish Producing States (2006-07)

Source: http://www.indiastat.org

West Bengal contributes approximately 62 percent of the total production of fish seed in the
country. About 38 percent of total fish production of the state is coming from three coastal
districts including North and South 24 Parganas and East Medinipur. (IFAD. 2009). The state
has an estimated fish production of 13.59 lakh tons, of which the marine sector forms 1.78
lakh tons and the inland sector 11.81 lakh tons during the year 2006-07. About 49% of total
fish production of the state is coming from these three coastal districts. (IFAD. 2009).

Fig. (2.15): Top 10 Fish Seed Producing States

Source: http://www.indiastat.org

While inland fishing focuses the domestic market, the coastal and marine fisheries is
gradually becoming more and more export oriented. Although the fish species and fish catch
in the inland, coastal and marine areas vary, the environmental and social issues are similar.
Fish everywhere face water contamination problems due to discharge of domestic and

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 63
industrial effluent discharge, while run off from the agricultural sectors also adds to the
contamination.

Fig. (2.16): Trend of Inland Fish Production for


Top 10 Fish Producing States (2000-06)

Source: http://www.indiastat.org

The fishery resource in West Bengal is presented in the table below.

TABLE (2.26): FISHERY RESOURCES IN WEST BENGAL


(A) Inland sector
S.No. Type of fishery Total Potential (in lakh Ha)
1 Ponds / Tanks 2.76
2 Beel & Boar 0.41
3 Reservoir 0.16
4 (a) River 1.72
(b) Canal 0.8
5 Sewage fed fishery 0.04
6 Brackish water fishery 2.1
(B) Marine sector
Sl.No. Marine environment Area (sqkm)
1 Inshore area (Up to 10 fathom depth) 777
2 Offshore area (10-40 fathom depth) 1,813
3 Continental shelf (Up to 100- fathom depth) 17,049
Coast line (in kms) 158
Depth in Mtrs.
a. 0 – 20 13,380
4
b. 20 – 50 2,690
c. 50 – 100 3,040
d. 100 – 200 8,210
e. 200 – 300 4,000
Source: IFAD, 2009.

The increase in inland and marine fish production along with the increase in production of
fish seed is shown in Fig. (2.17).

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 64
Fig. (2.17): Progress of Fisheries in West Bengal

Source: Economic Review, 2008-09, GoWB

TABLE (2.27): SOME COMMERCIAL MARINE/ ESTUARINE FISH OF


WEST BENGAL
Family Name Local Name English Name Scientific Name

Commerson’s glassy
Ambassidae Khone Bhetki Ambassis commersoni
perchlet

Apolectidae Pomfret/Bahul/ Baoul Firka Black pomfret Apolec tus niger


Tangra/Kaatta/ Samudrik
Ariidae Catfish Arius spp
arr
Ariommidae Indian driftfish Ariomma indica
Belonidae Samudrik kankley Round-tail needlefish Strongylura strongylura
Megalaspis cordylal
Carangidae “Sardine”/Hooroori Scad
Decapterus spp
Carcharhinidae Kamat Baby shark
Carcharhinidae Hangor/shark Yellow dog shark Scoliodon la ticaudus
Centropomidae Bhekti Giant sea perch La tes calcarifer
Chanidae Milk fish Milk fish Chanos chanos
Samudrik jola/ Samudrik
Chirocentridae Wolf herring Chirocentrus spp.
chela
Ciupeidae Koka iiish Kelee shad Hilsa kelee
Clupeidae Khoira Chacunda gizzard Anodontostoma
shad chakunda
Clupeidae Khoira Sardine Sardine/la spp.
Russel’s smooth-back
Clupeidae Phansha Raconda russeiiana
herring
Clupeidae Hilsa Hilsa shad Hilsa iiisha

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 65
TABLE (2.27): SOME COMMERCIAL MARINE/ ESTUARINE FISH OF
WEST BENGAL
Family Name Local Name English Name Scientific Name
Clupeidae Khoira Bloch’s gizzard shad Nema talosa nasus
Clupeidae Chandana ilish/ Kajli ilish Toli shad Hilsa to/i
Cynoglosidae Kukurjibh/Paa ta Tongue sole, sole Cynogiossus spp.
Dasyatidae Shankush/Shankar mach Sting ray Das ya tis spp.
Phansha/Tapra/
Engraulidae Indian ilisha/Herring llisha spp.
Tapre/Tapda
Engraulidae Phansha/Tapra/Tapre Th ryssa Thryssa spp.
Phansha/Tapra/
Engraulidae Gangetic anchovy Setipinna phasa
Tapre/Tapda
Korua grenadier
Engraulidae Amadi Coilia re ynaidi
anchovy
Phansha/Tapra/
Engraulidae Whitebait Stolephorus spp.
Tapre/Tapda
Engraulidae Ruli Grenadier anchovy Coilia dussumieri
Ephippidae Samudrik chanda Spotted drepane Drepane punctata
Gerreidae Samudrik chanda Whipfin mojarra Gerres filamentosus
Gerreidae Samudrik chanda Longfin mojarra Pentaprion longimanus
Lutia, bumaloh, nehare,
Harpadontidae Bombay duck Harpadon nehereus
bambla
Leiognathidae Samudrik chanda Striped ponyfish Leiogna thus fascia tus
Lobotidae Pa yra chanda Brown tripletail Lobotes surinamensis
Loliginidae/Sepiid
Dhalla/“Octopus” Squid/Cuttlefish Loiigo spp., Sepia spp.
ae
Mugilidae Parshe y/Parse Goldspot mullet Liza parsia
Mugilidae Ain Flathead grey mullet Mugil cephalus
Mugilidae Parshey/Parse Borneo mullet Liza macroiepsis
Mugilidae Corsula/Bhangonl lngelee Corsula mullet Rhinomugil corsula
Mugilidae Bhangon Tade grey mullet Liza tade
Mullidae Goatfish Upeneus spp.
Muraenesocidae Barn Pike conger Muraenesox spp.
Myliobatidae Shankar mach Spotted eagle ray Ae toba tus spp.
Nemipteridae Threadfin bream Nemipterus japanicus
Ophichthidae Barn Bengal snake-eel Pisodonophis boro
Penaeidae Honne chingri Speckled prawn Metapenaeus monoceros
Penaeidae Chabra Prawn Penaeus spp.
Penaeidae Channe chingri Yellow prawn Metapenaeus brevicornis
Penaeidae Bagda Giant tiger prawn Penaeus monodon
Penaeidae Chapda chingri Indian white prawn Penaeus indicus

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 66
TABLE (2.27): SOME COMMERCIAL MARINE/ ESTUARINE FISH OF
WEST BENGAL
Family Name Local Name English Name Scientific Name
Penaeidae Hende Bagda Green tiger prawn Penaeus semisulca tus
Plotosidae Kandhia Striped catfish-eel Plotosus linea tus
Plotosidae Kan-magur Canine catfish-eel Plo tosus canius
Polynemidae Tapshey mach Paradise threadfin Polynemus paradiseus
Polynemidae Sahal/Guchia/Gurjali Fourfinger threadfinl Eleutheronema
“Indian salmon” tetradactylum
Polydactylus
Polynemidae Gurjali . Seven-finger threadfin
heptadactylus
Polynemidae Gurjali Blackspot threadfin Polydactyius sextarius
Polynemidae Gurjali Indian threadfin Polydactylus indicus
Portunidae Kakda Crab
Priacanthidae Bigeye/Bullseye Priacanthus sp.
Pristidae Korat mach Sawfish Pris tis spp.
Rachycentridae Black kingfish Rach ycentron canadus
Rhinobatidae Shanker Shovelnose rayl Rhinobatos spp.
mach/Hangor Guitarfish
Scatophagidae Paira chanda Spotted butterfish Sca tophagus argus
Sciaenidae Bhola Two-bearded croaker Daysciaena albida
Johnius spp., Otolithus
Sciaenidae Bhola Jewfish/Croaker
spp., Otolithoides spp.
Scombridae “Mackerel” Indian mackerel Rastrellicer kanagurta
Seer fish/Spanish
Scombridae Bijram/Mackerel Scomberomorus spp.
mackerel
Scyllaridae Chingda Mud lobster Thenus orientalis
Sergestidae . Chingri/Gogua Paste shrimp Ace tes spp.
Sillaginidae Samudrik belle Silver sillago Sillago sihama
Sillaginidae Toolmach/Tool-belle Gangetic whiting Sillaginopsis panijus
Magar/Hangor/ Shankar
Sphyrnidae Hammerhead shark Sph yrna spp.
mach
Squillidae Polta Mantis shrimp Ora tosquilla nepa
Chinese pomfretl
Stromateidae Chandi/Pom fre t Pampus chinensis
White pomfret
Stromateidae Chandi/Pomfret Silver pomfret Pampus argen teus
BoorgooniI/Jerrpyel Ka t-
Teraponidae Jarbus terapon Terapon jarbua
koi
Lepturacanthus spp.,
Trichuridae Rupaba ti/Churi/Pa tia Ribbonfish/Hairtail
Trichiurus spp.
Source: IFAD, 2009

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2.4.12 Ambient Air Quality

Air pollution denotes a change of quality of air in the natural environment manifested in
terms of identified parameters such as Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM), Sulphur Di-oxide
(SO2), Nitrous Oxide (NO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Lead, Poly-nuclear Aromatic Hydro-
carbon (PAH), Heavy metals, Respiratory Particulate Matter (RPM), etc. The Central
Pollution Control Board notified National Ambient Air Quality Standards (April, 1994) with
regard to SPM, SO2, NO2, CO, lead and RPM, for Industrial Area, Residential and other
Rural Areas and Sensitive Area.

TABLE (2.28): NATIONAL AMBIENT AIR QUALITY STANDARDS


Time Concentration in Ambient Air
Pollutant weighted Sensitive Industrial Residential, Rural
Method of measurement
Average Area Area & other areas
Improved West and Gaeke
Sulphur Annual* 15 mg/m3 80 mg/m3 60 mg/m3
Method
Dioxide (SO2) 24 hours** 30 mg/m3 120 mg/m 3
80 mg/m 3
Ultraviolet Fluorescence
Jacab & Hochheiser
Oxide of
Annual* 15 mg/m3 80 mg/m3 60 mg/m3 Modified (Na-Arsenite)
Nitrogen as NO2
Method
Gas Phase
24 hours** 30 mg/m3 120 mg/m3 80 mg/m3
Chemiluminescence
Suspended Annual* 70 mg/m3 360 mg/m 3
140 mg/m 3
High Volume Sampling,
Particulate (Average flow rate not less
24 hours** 100 mg/m3 500 mg/m3 200 mg/m3
Matter(SPM) than 1.1 m3 / minute)
Respirable
Annual* 50 mg/m3 120 mg/m3 60 mg/m3 Respirable particulate
Particulate
Matter (RPM)
24 hours** 75 mg/m3 150 mg/m3 100 mg/m3 matter sampler
size less than 10
AAS method after
Lead (Pb) Annual* 0.50 mg/m3 1.0 mg/m3 0.75 mg/m3
sampling using
EMP 2000 or equivalent
24 hours** 0.75 mg/m3 1.5 mg/m3 1.00 mg/m3
filter paper
Carbon Annual* 1.0 mg/m3 5.0 mg/m3 2.0 mg/m3 Non dispersive Infrared
Monoxide (CO) 24 hours** 2.0 mg/m3 10.0 mg/m3 4.0 mg/m3 Spectroscopy
Source: State of Environment, 1998

Sources of pollution

In general, emissions from industries including power plants, traffic, road dust and domestic
activities are considered the major contributor to air pollution. The sectoral contribution
would invariably be different between tracts, depending on local activities. Of all the
pollution sources, thermal power plants are identified as the major contributor to SPM and
SO2, while traffic is the major source for NOx and CO concentration. Industrial sector
favourably compete with thermal power plant for SPM, while the domestic sector contributes
CO (second after traffic sector).

In West Bengal the major sources of air pollution are industrial and mining activities, thermal
power plants, automobiles, and use of polluting domestic fuel. The state has 15 coal fired
thermal power plants in operation which is significantly contributing to the air pollution.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 68
Small scale industries are also contributing to air pollution. Most of the industries and their
impact on air pollution are in Howrah, Haldia, Burdhaman (Durgapur, Asansol, Raniganj
area) districts.

Automobile exhaust emission is also contributing to air pollution in the state. Certain factors
such as use of old vehicles (Recently a notification from High Court of West Bengal was
issued to ban all the vehicles in Kolkata city more than 15 years old), road congestion, bad
roads, and poor maintenance. Also the gradual increase in vehicle numbers is furthering
deteriorating the air pollution problem.

Indoor air pollution has become an important environmental issue especially in the rural area
of West Bengal. There are many source of indoor air pollution but the major source of
pollution is burning of biomass fuel for cooking and no proper ventilation system in rural
houses. Use of fuel such as kerosene, coal, gul etc is considerably high in the state especially
in rural areas. The pollutants generated get trapped inside the house with improper
ventilation. Poverty in villages is hindering people in using LPG (Petroleum Gas) for
cooking.

2.4.13 Natural Hazards

West Bengal has been no exception as far as sufferings inflicted by natural and man-made
hazards are concerned. The state has been frequented by cyclones, floods, droughts,
landslides, subsidence and occasional earthquakes. Because of the high population density
and concentration of industrial and agricultural activities across West Bengal, risk or
vulnerability to natural or man-made disasters is particularly high. With increasing
developmental activities in high-hazard zones, e.g. the coastal regions, the vulnerability
scenario appears to be worsening with time. Region wise climatic hazards are presented in
the table.

TABLE (2.29): CLIMATIC HAZARD OF WEST BENGAL


S No. Region Climatic Hazard
South facing Himalayan slope of Darjeeling and Heavy rain causes landslide and disruption of
1
Jalpaiguri districts communication
Plain section of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and almost Heavy rain may cause flashing of rivers and
2
whole of Cooch Behar floods
Northern side of Ghoom ridge covering Rangit and
Heavy rain causes landslide and disruption of
3 Tista valley in the northern portion of Darjeeling
communication. Winter rain and snow
district
Whole of West Dinajpur upto Balurghat in south,
4 Occasional flood due to heavy precipitation
excluding north western part of Raiganj sub division
Storm surge-frequent incantation of the low
Along the southern part of the state covering coastal
5 lying areas. Damage of property and loss of
areas of Medinipur and 24 Parganas (S)
lives
Northern part of Malda, Dakshin Dinajpur, Nadia, 24 Occasional thunder storms during pre
6
Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah monsoon months
Northern half of Nadia, Eastern part of Burdhaman,
7 Occasional drought
entire Murshidabad
Northern Medinipur, Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum,
8 Frequent drought
Western Burdhaman
Source: ENDEV, 2008

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Cyclones

Cyclones are the worst and most destructive of all climatic hazards the state experiences.
West Bengal has been one of the most cyclone-affected territories of the country. A cyclonic
storm is a rotational low pressure system in the tropics and is a vast violent whirl of wind 150
to 800 km. across, 10 to 17 km. high spiralling around a centre and progressing along the
surface of the sea at a rate of 300 to 500 km. a day. In a low-pressure system when the central
pressure falls by 5 to 6 mb from the surrounding and wind speed reaching 35 Knots (about 60
km p.h.) called a cyclonic storm.

The cyclonic storms which form over the Bay of Bengal during the transitional months from
April to May and October to November are generally of great intensity and often have the
inner core of hurricane winds. Usually, on an average, one cyclonic storm form during the
pre-monsoon period and two during the post-monsoon months over the Bay of Bengal.

The cyclone events hitting the region are shown in Table (2.30).

TABLE (2.30): DAMAGING CYCLONES IN THE WEST BENGAL REGION


Period Description Event
17/10/1737–
An earthquake possibly coincided with this storm12
12/10/1737
The event occurred at Sagar Island/24 Paraganas with 3 m high surge and caused 50,000
02–21/03/1833
deaths and about 100,000 cattle perished
The surge went up to 12 m and water level increased at Kolkata and its vicinity. About
03/10/1854
50,000 deaths reported
Caused flooding up to 13 km on either side of the Hooghly River with 80,000 deaths
02–05/10/1864
reported
Reported to have damaged Port Canning, and caused 13 m high surge at Hatia and Bhola
05–01/11/1867
Islands
13–16/10/1874 About 3049 deaths reported
21–26/09/1887 No estimation of associated deaths
18–29/09/1916 Extensive damage reported; however, no estimation of deaths
About 5 m high surge reported at Medinipur (64 km upstream in Hooghly River).
14–16/10/1942
Overall 15,000 deaths reported
29/05/1956– Caused flooding in Medinipur District, and also damage to agriculture due to saline
01/06/1956 water intrusion
Cyclonic storm over land with maximum wind speed of 139 kmph caused floods in
13–20/08/1974
several districts. Seven deaths reported
12–11/09/1976 About 2.5 m high surge along with 1.4 m tide caused 40 deaths
27/09/1971–
Sixty people died and thousands of houses collapsed
01/10/1971
Caused loss of five launches in the Bay and damage to many houses in Medinipur
24–28/09/1981
District
09–14/10/1984 Caused damage in Medinipur district
23–27/05/1989 Sixty-one persons died and thousands of cattle perished
12/11/2002 Caused 78 deaths along with the destruction of agricultural crops and property
Source: http://www.imd.ernet.in

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Floods

The State of West Bengal has an area of 37,660 Sq km which is flood prone and covers about
42 percent of the geographical area of the State. The maximum record of flood during a
single year was 30,607 Sq km. in the 1978. Being located at the tail end of the Ganga Basin,
it is severely affected due to heavy rainfall in the upper catchments area situated in the
northern States of India. Floods commonly occur during monsoon and sometimes in the post
monsoon season.

As per the Dartmouth flood observatory of the global archive of large flood events, there
have been 23 large floods in West Bengal during 1985 to 2007 (Table 2.31). Almost 56
percent of the State geographical area is flood prone and a major part of this is seen in the
Gangetic alluvial plain.

TABLE (2.31): RECORDS OF LARGE FLOODS IN WEST BENGAL DERIVED


FROM THE DARTMOUTH FLOOD OBSERVATORY GLOBAL ARCHIVE OF
LARGE FLOOD EVENTS
Period Description
18/10/1085–20/10/1985 Caused by tropical cyclones
Flooding due to heavy rains in some areas of Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah,
22/09/1986–10/10/1986
Parganas and Midnapore
Monsoonal rains caused flooding in areas of Balurghat and Dinajpur lying
23/08/1988–09/15/1988
under the purview of the Ganges and Churani rivers
03–24/07/1990 Flooding due to monsoonal rain
14–15/09/1991 Flash floods caused damage 35,000 houses
08/07/1993–13/08/1993 Flooding observed in Jalpaiguri district
Flooding triggered by heavy rains caused erosion, severe agricultural damage
26/09/1995–02/10/1995
and outbreak of diseases
10–24/07/1996 Flooding due to monsoonal rains
01/08/1997–01/08/1997 Flooding due to monsoonal rains
05/07/1998–02/09/1998 Monsoon rains caused flooding of the Ganges river
11/07/1999–03/08/1999 Flooding due to monsoonal rains
Tropical cyclones caused destruction of an estimated number of 1500 villages.
24/10/1999–12/11/1999 Floods due to brief torrential rains affected areas of Kolkata, Burdhaman and
Birbhum
Besides flash floods triggered by incessant torrential storms, disaster is also
02/08/2000–01/10/2000 accredited to the opening of sluice gates of dams. The fatalities counted to the
tune of 1262, besides affecting millions of people
31/07/2001–01/09/2001 Monsoonal rains caused flooding in Kolkata
Flooding in Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri in north Bengal due to
21/06/2002–28/08/2002 monsoonal rains. Flash floods swamped ten villages, causing four deaths and
11,000 displacements
Monsoonal rains caused floods affecting the regions of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri,
11/06/2003–10/10/2003
Malda and Murshidabad
20/06/2004–07/10/2004 Heavy monsoonal rains affected several districts
21–28/10/2005 Heavy rains caused floods in many areas. About 3000 coastal villages were

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TABLE (2.31): RECORDS OF LARGE FLOODS IN WEST BENGAL DERIVED
FROM THE DARTMOUTH FLOOD OBSERVATORY GLOBAL ARCHIVE OF
LARGE FLOOD EVENTS
Period Description
inundated and 60,000 huts and many roads washed away
07–27/07/2005 Heavy monsoon rains triggered flash floods and landslides
The regions of Birbhum, Burdhaman and Murshidabad were affected mainly
24/06/2006–03/08/2006
from continuous monsoonal downpour
Monsoonal rains and tropical cyclone-driven storms in the Bay of Bengal hit
India and Bangladesh. West Bengal recorded 50 deaths, 300 were injured and
18/09/2006–05/10/2006
30,000 mud houses destroyed. Heavy rains left large parts of Kolkata city
under water; subsequently 2000 people were evacuated from the city
The hazard affected Kolkata and several other districts. Eighty-three deaths
03/07/2007–22/09/2007 were reported, and millions of people were marooned in 3000 villages in
coastal areas of the state
Heavy rain from tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal caused flooding
22/09/2007–08/10/2007
leading to 51 deaths, and affecting 3.2 million people
Source: Global Active Archive of Large Flood Events since 1985-present, Dartmouth Flood Observatory,
Hanover, USA. Available at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~floods/Archives/index.html

India’s annual monsoon triggered widespread flooding throughout the country in early July
2007. In West Bengal, nearly a million people were reported stranded by flooding. Every
major river in the East Indian state was swollen from torrential rain and releases from too-full
reservoirs, ABC added.

Fig. (2.18) shows Fig. (2.18): Flooding in West Bengal, July 2007
extensive flooding in
West Bengal (top) and
northern Orissa (lower
left) as seen by the
Moderate Resolution
Imaging
Spectroradiometer
(MODIS) flying on
NASA’s Terra satellite
on July 9, 2007.

Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov

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FIG (2.19): Different Blocks of West
FLOOD PRONE ZONES OF WEST BENGAL
Bengal Susceptible to Floods

The identified flood prone zones or


commonly flood affected areas in the state
are as follows:

i. Terai region of North Bengal


covering Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar,
Siliguri sub-division of Darjeeling
and northern part of the Islampur
sub-division of Uttar Dinajpur.
ii. Southern part of the sub-
Himalayan West Bengal covering
Malda, Dakshin Dinajpur and
adjacent areas of the Raiganj
subdivision of Uttar Dinajpur.
iii. Left bank region of river
Bhagirathi-Hooghly covering
Murshidabad, Nadia and North 24-
Parganas.
iv. Right bank region of river
Hooghly and central part of
Gangetic West Bengal.
v. Central and eastern part of
Medinipur.
vi. Coastal areas of Purba Medinipur
and South 24-Parganas.

Source: http://www.wbgov.com Source: http://www.cgwb.gov.in

Landslides

The landslide hazard in West Bengal has been observed mostly in the hilly terrains of
Darjeeling District. However, incidents of landslide have also been reported to have occurred
on the banks of Hooghly River. In 1968, floods in the Darjeeling area destroyed vast areas of
West Bengal and neighbouring state of Sikkim by unleashing about 20,000 landslides and
killing thousands of people. These landslides occurred over a three-day period, with
precipitation ranging from 500 to 1000 mm in an event of a 100-yr return period. The 60 km
hilly highway from Siliguri to Darjeeling was cut off at 92 locations by landslides, resulting
in total disruption of the road transportation system.

Droughts

Drought is a meteorological term and is defined as a period without a significant rainfall.


Infact, when evapo-transpiration exceeds soil moisture supply i.e. water uptake, the water
deficit/drought is resulted. The ultimate result of drought is plant dehydration. The slow rate
of water uptake than its loss is due to limited water supply or restricted availability of free
water as a result of changing osmotic potential of growing media. Thus, drought is also
known as an osmotic stress. The term drought is very commonly and widely used by almost

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 73
all sections of people to indicate a meteorological phenomena relating to a period of
abnormal dry weather sufficiently prolonged for the lack of water to cause serious
hydrological imbalance i.e. crop damage, water supply shortage etc. in the affected areas.

The districts of Bankura, Purulia and Birbhum have been affected by drought at regular
intervals, mainly due to deficient rainfall and adverse soil conditions. The districts of West
Bengal covered under the Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) are given in the following
table.

TABLE (2.32): SELECTED DISTRICT-WISE NUMBER OF PROJECTS, AREA


COVERED AND FUND RELEASED UNDER DPAP IN WEST BENGAL (2004-2005
TO 2006-2007) (Rs. in Lakh)
2004-2005 2005-2006 2006-2007
Amount Amount Amount
District No. of Area Central No. of Area Central No. of Area Central
Projects (in Ha.) share Projects (in Ha.) share Projects (in Ha.) share
Released Released Released
Bankura 14 7,000 47.25 15 7,500 50.625 15 7,500 50.625

Birbhum 4 2,000 13.5 5 2,500 16.875 5 2,500 16.88

Midnapur 14 7,000 47.25 16 8,000 54 16 8,000 54

Purulia 40 20,000 135 44 22,000 148.5 44 22,000 149


West
72 36,000 243 80 40,000 270 80 40,000 270
Bengal

Chronology of Droughts and Famines in Bengal

The Bengal famine of 1770 was a catastrophic famine between 1769 and 1773 that affected
the lower Gangetic plain of India. The famine is estimated to have caused the deaths of 15
million people (one out of three, reducing the population to thirty million in Bengal, which
included Bihar and parts of Orissa). The regions in which the famine occurred included
especially the modern Indian states of Bihar and West Bengal, but the famine also extended
into Orissa and Jharkhand as well as modern Bangladesh. Among the worst affected areas
were Birbhum and Murshidabad in Bengal, and Tirhut, Champaran and Bettiah in Bihar.

A partial shortfall in crops, considered nothing out of the ordinary, occurred in 1768 and was
followed in late 1769 by more severe conditions. By September 1769 there was a severe
drought, and alarming reports were coming in of rural distress. These were, however, ignored
by company officers. By early 1770 there was starvation, and by mid-1770 deaths from
starvation were occurring on a large scale. There were also reports of the living feeding on
the bodies of the dead in the middle of that year. Smallpox and other diseases further took
their toll of the population. Later in 1770 good rainfall resulted in a good harvest and the
famine abated. However, other shortfalls occurred in the following years, raising the total
death toll.

The next famine in Bengal was in 1783, which was preceded, in some parts, by a drought
during the two previous years. The effect of this famine, as of others preceding or following
it, was a significant loss of population.

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Bengal suffered another calamitous famine in1943, when it was estimated that three million
people died of starvation and a serious shortage in rice production occurred in 1942. As there
was very little marketable surplus from 1942 harvest, the price of rice started rising from the
beginning of 1943 in all parts of Bengal. The civil administration could not and did not cope
with the situation created by the shortage. Soon the cost of rice was beyond the reach of
ordinary people. Most of the rural population migrated to the cities in the hope of finding
employment and rice. Finding neither, they slowly died of starvation. Though administrative
failures were immediately responsible for this human suffering, the principal cause of the
short crop production in 1942 was the epidemic of helminthosporium disease which attacked
the rice crop in that year. This was caused by Helminthosporium oryzae Breda de Haan[Co-
chlìobolus miyabeanus (Ito & Kuribayashi) Drechsler ex Dastur17. There was drought in the
year 2002. There was severe crop loss due to lack of rainfall.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes have originated in many places in West Bengal. Most of the earthquakes occur
in the Himalayan ranges in the northern part of the state or are deep earthquakes within the
Bengal fan. The most damaging earthquake so far has been the 1897 earthquake which
caused widespread damage in the city of Kolkata. Several faults have been identified in this
region out of which many show evidence of movement (4) during the Holocene epoch. The
Main Boundary Thrust runs along the southern flanks of the Sikkim Himalayas. In addition to
that there are several active faults in the vicinity of Shiliguri. The Garhmayna-Khanda-Ghosh
fault which connects to the Rajmahal Fault in the north, runs in a north-south direction in the
western part of the state and terminates near Sahibganj in the north.

The state of West Bengal falls in a region


of low seismic hazard in the south-west Fig. (2.20): Seismic Zonation of West Bengal
that rises steadily towards the east and the
north of the state. The Bureau of Indian
Standards places the region in the seismic
zones II–V, corresponding to peak ground
acceleration (PGA) of 0.1, 0.2 and 0.25 (1
g = 980 Gal) respectively. The lowest
perceived hazard, zone II, is in the south-
western part of West Bengal (Purulia),
while zone IV covers the north and
southeast of Kolkata. Zone V is delineated
on the eastern parts of Jalpaiguri and
Cooch Behar. The districts of Kolkata,
Murshidabad, Birbhum, Burdhaman,
Hooghly, Howrah, Nadia, Bankura and
East and West Medinipur come under zone
III. Darjeeling, North and South Dina-jpur,
the remaining parts of Jalpaiguri and
Cooch Behar, North and South 24-
Parganas and Malda fall under zone IV.
Similarly, the Global Seismic Hazard Source: http://www.asc.india.org
Assessment Programme classifies the

17
http://www.bowbrick.org.uk/SenScans/Padmanabhan.pdf.

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seismic hazard variation in terms of PGA from low (0.2 m/s2) in the southwest to high (6.0
m/s2 and above) in the north, with 10% probability of non-exceedance in 50 years20. The
earthquakes mostly occur either in the Himalayan ranges in the north or in Northeast India,
and a few also occur in the Bengal Basin/ Fan areas. The Great Assam earthquake of 1897 is
reported to have caused widespread damage in Kolkata21. The largest instrument-recorded
earthquake occurred on 15 April 1964, West of Sagar Island (mb 5.2), which caused damages
in West Bengal and Orissa.

The region has considerable area close to river basins and deltas that are characterized by
Holocene alluvium deposits, which are likely to soften and hence are susceptible to
liquefaction during an earthquake. Considerable spatial variation is associated with seismic
hazards owing to the variation of geological-dependent site response22. This necessitates local
specific analysis, especially in urban areas where the implications are far higher. The utility
of seismic microzonation is emphasized in such cases. Seismic microzonation combines
geological, geotechnical, seismological and earthquake engineering approaches towards
spatial hazard classification. The zonation enables decision-making process towards planning
and organization of landuse, response and mitigation. The site-specific design parameters
obtained through microzonation would enable cost-effective structural designs.

Significant Earthquakes in West Bengal

The following table briefly outlines known earthquakes in this region which either had
observed intensities of VI or higher (historical events) or had known magnitudes of 5.0 or
more (instrumented events) in southern West Bengal.

TABLE (2.33): HISTORY OF EARTHQUAKES IN THE BENGAL REGION


Date of Event Event Location
Kandi-Khargram area, West Bengal. 24.000 N, 88.000 E. Maximum observed intensity
04 June 1764
VIII.
01 February 1811 Kolkata area, West Bengal. 22.600 N, 88.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VI.
03 April 1822 Kolkata area, West Bengal. 22.600 N, 88.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VII.
08 July 1828 Kolkata area, West Bengal. 22.600 N, 88.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VII.
08 July 1834 Rangpur area, Bangladesh. 25.800 N, 89.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VIII.
21 July 1834 Rangpur area, Bangladesh. 25.800 N, 89.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VIII.
Bihar-Bengal. 27.000 N, 88.300 E. Maximum observed intensity IX. Damage at Munger,
11 November
Bihar. Felt at Kolkata, Darjeeling and Guwahati. Seiches observed in the northern Bay of
1842
Bengal.
10 August 1843 Darjeeling area, West Bengal. 27.000 N, 88.300 E. Maximum observed intensity VII.
06 August 1845 Kolkata area, West Bengal. 22.700 N, 88.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VII.
27 February 1849 Darjeeling area, West Bengal. 27.000 N, 88.300 E. Maximum observed intensity VIII.
09 February 1851 Kolkata area, West Bengal. 22.600 N, 88.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VII.
May 1852 Darjeeling area, West Bengal. 27.000 N, 88.300 E. Maximum observed intensity IX.
16 February 1861 Kolkata area, West Bengal. 22.600 N, 88.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VIII.
29 March 1863 Darjeeling area, West Bengal. 27.000 N, 88.300 E. Maximum observed intensity VII.

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TABLE (2.33): HISTORY OF EARTHQUAKES IN THE BENGAL REGION
20 December Rajshahi-Murshidabad area, India-Bangladesh border. 24.400 N, 88.700 E. Maximum
1865 observed intensity VI.
25 December
Krishnanagar area, West Bengal. 23.400 N, 88.500 E. Maximum observed intensity VI.
1865
09 August 1869 Darjeeling area, West Bengal. 27.000 N, 88.300 E. Maximum observed intensity VII.
Assam-Meghalaya, Mw 8.1. 6.000 N, 91.000 E

This is the most powerful intraplate earthquakes in the Indian sub-continent. Close to
12 June 1897
1,500 people were killed in Assam, Meghalaya and adjoining parts of the Bengal. Damage
(MM VII) in the Kolkata are and to a much greater extent in the duars of northern West
Bengal.
29 September
Kolkata area, West Bengal. 22.600 N, 88.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VI.
1906
06 December
Kolkata area, West Bengal. 22.600 N, 88.400 E. Maximum observed intensity VI.
1906
Dhubri, Assam, Ms 7.1. 25.800 N, 90.200 E, OT=21:03:34 UTC. Most masonry buildings
02 July 1930
in Dhubri were destroyed. Felt in much of the Bengal and Assam.
Indo-Nepal Border region, Mw 8.0. 26.500 N, 86.500 E, OT=08:43:25 UTC. Close to
10,700 people killed in North Bihar and Nepal. Heavy damage in the towns of
15 January 1934 Muzaffarpur, Motihari, Dharbhanga, and Munger (Monghyr). Tremors were felt (11) all
over the Indian subcontinent, and were felt strongly at many places in West Bengal
including Kolkata.
Pabna, Bangladesh, Ms 6.2. 4.250 N, 89.500 E, D=080.0 kms, OT=00:04:02 UTC.
21 March 1935 Prolonged tremors were felt in much of the Bengal including at Kolkata. An aftershock
occurred on 23 April 1935 and was also widely felt in the region.
Kishoreganj area, Bangladesh, M? 6.0. 26.000 N, 89.000 E, OT=19:37:14 UTC. This
10 December
earthquake was located to the north-east of Saidpur and to the north-west of Rangpur in
1949
northern Bangladesh along the border with India.
Arunachal Pradesh, Mw 8.6 (GSI). 24.250 N, 89.500 E, D=080.0 kms, OT=00:04:02 UTC
15 August 1950 (GSI). This is the most powerful earthquake in South Asia. The earthquake caused damage
to buildings as far as Kolkata.
Samthar-Kalimpong area, West Bengal, Ms 5.5. 27.000 N, 88.500 E, D=029.0 kms,
21 August 1960 OT=03:29:04 UTC. This earthquake was located in the Darjeeling-Kalimpong area of
northern West Bengal.
Sagar Island, West Bengal, Mb 5.2. 1.600 N, 88.700 E, D=036.0 kms, OT=08:35:27 UTC.
Felt in southern West Bengal and eastern Orissa including at Kolkata and Hugli. Damage
15 April 1964
in areas near the epicentre such as at Contai and Diamond Harbour. The maximum
intensity in Kolkata was V.
South of the Sunderbans, West Bengal, Mb 5.0.
23 June 1976 21.180 N, 88.620 E, D=050.0 kms, OT=15:38:42 UTC.
This earthquake was located in the Bay of Bengal off the Ganga Delta.
Gangtok area, Sikkim, Ms 6.1. 27.400 N, 88.800 E, D=047.0 kms, OT=19:00:45 UTC. 8
19 November
people injured and damage in Gangtok. Felt throughout eastern India, Bangladesh, Bhutan
1980
and Nepal.
Chingrakhali-Bhairabnagar area, West Bengal, Mb 4.9. 1.180 N, 88.620 E, OT=02:47:10
26 March 1981 UTC. This earthquake was located along the India-Bangladesh border to the east of
Canning, West Bengal.
Sunderbans, Bangladesh, Mw 5.7. 21.861 N, 89.763 E, D=006.0 kms, OT=00:04:09 UTC.
12 June 1989
1 person was killed and 100 injured in the Banaripara area of Bangladesh. Felt in much of

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TABLE (2.33): HISTORY OF EARTHQUAKES IN THE BENGAL REGION
eastern Bangladesh including at Chittagong and Rangpur. It was also felt in Meghalaya,
India.
Jayachari-Rajshahi, Bangladesh, Mw 5.1. 25.868 N, 88.874 E, D=037.8 kms,
OT=05:40:43 UTC. A moderate earthquake struck northern Bangladesh, on 25 June 2002
20 June 2002
at 11:40 AM local time, causing several injuries in the Rajshahi division, Bangladesh. It
had a magnitude of Mw=5.1 and was felt for close to 45-seconds.
Ganga Canyon, South of the Sunderbans, Mb 4.7
21.015 N, 89.158 E, D=010.0 kms, OT=16:57:13 UTC
28 November
A light earthquake occurred in the Ganga Canyon in the northern Bay of Bengal, off the
2005
Sunderbans on 28 November 2005 at 22:27 PM local time in India. The earthquake had a
magnitude of Mb=4.7 and was felt in southern parts of West Bengal.
Acronyms Used: D=Depth, OT=Origin Time, Mw=Moment Magnitude, Ms=Surface Wave magnitude,
Mb=Body Wave Magnitude, ML=Local Magnitude, M?=Magnitude Type unknown
Source: http://asc-india.org

Tsunamis

Shallow undersea earthquakes are responsible for most tsunamis though at time landslides
triggered by smaller seismic events can also generated potentially lethal waves. Strong
earthquakes cause a displacement of the crust. When they occur underwater, this crustal
movement disturbs a large volume of water like a giant paddle and ripples spread out in all
directions at speeds of 600-800 kilometres per hour, comparable to commercial aircraft. In
the open ocean, they go unnoticed but once they reach shallower waters they slow down and
begin to crest. The waves thus given rise to are known as "Tsunamis". They are scientifically
described as a series of very long wavelength ocean waves caused by the sudden
displacement of water by earthquakes, landslides, or submarine slumps and are mostly caused
by earthquakes of magnitude 7.5 or greater. Small earthquakes have also been known to
generate tsunami activity but the effects of these tend to be localized i.e. confined to a small
region.

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2.5 GRAM PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES AND RESULTING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

The key environmental issues observed during the primary field visit in 30 GPs across six districts viz. Burdhaman, Cooch Behar, Dakshin
Dinajpur, Howrah, Murshidabad and Purulia is presented below. Table (2.34) presents the list of GP activities visited during the primary field visit
and the environmental impacts observed by the field team.

TABLE (2.34): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OBSERVED


Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Environmental Impacts of the Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs GP Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
1 Excavation and de- All the GPs visited had  In all most all cases the  In number of Clay  Often proper  The awareness and
silting of existing conducted excavation and de- excavated material is disposed plates and bamboo reinforcement to capacity both exists
Ponds silting of ponds under on the pond embankment, and structures are used to check erosion is not with many villagers as
NREGS. One-two ponds in sometime also carried away for support the installed e.g. putting well as with GP
(Most of these are each of the 30 GPs were house and road construction embankment from layers of stones/ functionaries
small ponds of 1-3 visited by the team in the erosion baked clay plates, (especially the Nirman
acre in size and on study districts.  It was observed in almost half plantation on bund Sahayak
an average 2 – 5 feet the ponds that, during heavy  In few ponds lining of
of excavation done rains, the rain carries part of the stone or bricks are  Emphasis to be made
with average dumped material back to the carried out as no such work
expenditure of Rs. pond. should be taken up
6,000-10,000) without having the
component of
checking erosion
2 Construction of One pond in Sagarpara GP  Newly constructed pond without  Existing knowhow and  First wasteland to be  The capacity exists at
new Pond (Murshidabad) and eight any lining to pond embankment awareness among GP explored for District/ State level to
ponds constructed in to check erosion during rains functionaries exist for construction of pond develop guideline for
(Average size being Malandighi GP of Burdhaman checking erosion from  There are no such construction of pond
2-6 Acre, with an district  In Malandighi GP, all eight pond embankment detailed guidelines
average cost of Rs. ponds were lying dry due to not reported to exits with
50,000 – 100,000 enough rain in the region. GP for construction
per acre) of ponds

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TABLE (2.34): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Environmental Impacts of the Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs GP Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
3 Rural connectivity/ All the GPs visited had  Road construction through GP  No mitigation measures  Any road construction  The capacity exists in
Construction of conducted kutcha roads under initiatives often lack found in place initiative should have terms of technical
village roads NREGS. One-two such roads accompanying drainage system, effective drainage knowhow, however
in each of the 30 GPs were whereupon some villages suffer system accompanying many GPs report
(Often Kutcha roads visited by the team in the prolonged water-logging in rainy it, which is not quite saying inadequate
are build under study districts. This has been seasons. the case in most GPs. funds to construct
NREGS with an quite common in all the GPs in accompanying
average of 1-4 km Murshidabad and Purulia  Proper planning may drainage systems with
@ Rs. 7,000 – district with number of such be required to reduce the roads promoted
18,000 per km) activities being taken up. adverse environmental through the existing
impacts by unplanned schemes like NREGS.
harvesting of natural
resources and/ or
felling of trees/
clearing vegetation

 Adequate provision of
culvert or bridges may
be provided (where-
ever necessary) for
adequate drainage
4 Repair and All the GPs visited had either  In many cases harvesting of top  The GPs do not have  Soil to be sourced  The capacity exists in
maintenance of conducted or undertaken repair soil from nearby agriculture any guidelines for the from waste or barren terms of technical
existing village and maintenance of existing fields for road construction was use of type of land and use of waste knowhow
roads village roads under NREGS. observed in Shyamsundar, Purba construction material construction material ,
One-two such roads in each of Satgachhia and Alladi GPs in and their sourcing for however in many  Identification of
(On an average the 30 GPs were visited by the Burdhaman district and Udang II road construction cases barren and source of earth for the
500mts – 2 kms @ team in the study districts. In and Thalia GPs of Howrah uncultivable wasteland repair/ maintenance
Rs. 6,000 – 12,000 many cases it is the district. is limited and hence work may need to be
per km) maintenance and re-carpeting not been put in as systematically done in
on account of maintenance  In some cases excavation of practice for sourcing order not to degrade
were carried out by GPs nearby ponds were used for earth existing agricultural
earth land

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TABLE (2.34): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Environmental Impacts of the Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs GP Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
5 Re-excavation of Re-excavation of existing field  Access to better irrigation  Nirman Sahayak at GP  No Applicable  Clear guidelines for
existing field irrigation channels has been a facility to farmers level reviews and undertaking such
irrigation channels common activity undertaken supervise the work with works may help
by most of the GPs.  No adverse environmental respect to its technical Nirman Sahayak as
(500 mts – 2 km in impact of the GP activity details in maintaining reference document
size with average Of the 30 GPs visited, 26 of observed slopes etc.
cost of Rs. 7,000 – them had this as one of their
12,000 per km) activity under NREGS

6 Maintenance of Maintenance of existing  Huge breach was reported at a  Irrigation Department  Regular and proper  GP need to keep a
branch canals irrigation canal (branch canal) junction gate of branch canal Engineers to supervise maintenance by close watch on
including was observed in Udang II GP linked to main DVC (Damodar maintenance operation Irrigation Department possibilities of breach
strengthening of Howrah District in Valley Corporation) canal is required of the canal and keep Irrigation
canal banks association with Irrigation especially at the Department informed
Department  Reducing the chances of junction as it has in any likelihood of
(with an average flooding due to existing breach breached in past as breach/ flooding.
cost of Rs. 8,000 – well
12,000 per km)  Joint supervision by
 Wherever necessary, both GP and Irrigation
technical advice may Department required –
need to be sought from and hence, there is
Irrigation Department need to build
while planning for capacities for close
maintenance. coordination
7 Installation of Deep Installation of deep Tube wells  It provide drinking water to  Piped and tube/ bore  No water testing is  Some GPs are aware
Tube wells for in Chakchaka GP of Cooch those parts of Chakchaka GP well water supply carried out (except of PHE Department’s
drinking water Behar District, many tube which had drinking water system to avoid fight few stray testing) (GoWB) norms on
wells were visited across the problem over resources and installing drinking
GPs of Howrah District and contamination  Proportionate water tube wells.
Jombad GP in Purulia  Some of the tube wells were distribution of However further
(On an average reported to be contaminated with drinking water areas awareness building
India Mark-II and Arsenic and High Iron content which do not have among GP staff is

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TABLE (2.34): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Environmental Impacts of the Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs GP Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
III Tubewells at other drinking water required on this.
around 120 mts deep  No adverse environmental facilities
with capacity to impact observed with respect to
draw 720 lts to 900 groundwater availability as it  Water testing to be
ltrs/ hr with a cost seems to be sufficient with regularly carried out at
ranging from Rs. average yield in the district least at strategic points
20,000 – 40,000 per being 150 m3/hr. and appropriate
installation) mitigation measures to
be taken as per PHED
norms

 Water quality as per


the National Standards
to be maintained and
annual monitoring of
quality may be carried
out.
8 Construction and River erosion is found rampant  River bank erosion is still taking  The existing mitigation  A proper guideline  Awareness building
strengthening of in Sagarpara GP in place due to flood every year. measures with and technical among GP
embankment for Murshidabad and Natabari II construction of small knowhow is required functionaries
controlling river and Khurshamari GP in Cooch  Earth embankments often prove scale embankment to undertake such (especially the Nirman
bank erosion Behar. The GP level unsustainable in absence of (generally 1 – 1.5 mtr activity or a technical Sahayak) along with a
initiatives are mainly in the gravel fortification to be strong in height without any person competent proper guideline with
(Average cost per form of construction of earth enough to withstand the water proper enforcement) enough to technical technical
km raging from Rs. embankments or to build current. At some places the only able to serve for design and implement specifications is
50,000 – 150,000) temporary embankment with bamboo structure does not hold temporary period and should supervise such required to build
bamboo to cease river bank the bank from erosion does not sub-serve in activity. capacities towards this
erosion under NREGS subsequent years.
programme. In some cases it
also account for strengthening
of existing embankment which
may have been built earlier.

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TABLE (2.34): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Environmental Impacts of the Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs GP Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
9 Land Development 3 - 4 nos. of Land  Most of the land development  Usually, high land is  Land development to  Though basic
Development sites were included cutting and levelling of cut and low land is be carried out technical skills are
(with average cost visited in Shyamsundar and land. And a few land filled with soil material according to the there with Nirman
of Rs. 5,000 – 8,000 Udang II GPs of Burdhaman development required filling on without proper topography of the Shayak, however a
per acre) District depression areas and the soil consideration of the area. Bund protection further awareness and
material used left loose. Heavy land profile in the to be given if there is training on watershed
rain especially during monsoon vicinity risk of soil erosion due based activity will be
has eroded large chunk of to heavy rains useful while planning
disposed soil land development
 Excavated soil to be
used in filling low
lying areas and other
land development

10 Social Forestry Social forestry was observed  Mono culture plantation with  Though selection of  Horticulturist or local  Capacity building
in Dwip Khanda and Sakoir Akashmani, eucalyptus and sona some of the species is forest department to required for better
(Average size GP in Dakshin Dinajpur; jhuri (acacia) was observed in in line with local be consulted regarding selection/ choices of
ranging from 3 – 10 Chakchaka GP in Cooch most cases except in Arrah GP understanding of plant technical aspects plant species and
Acres with average Behar District; Satgachhia, where it can be considered as survival in the region, a (including species) of management of social
cost @ 5,000 – Shyamsundar and Malandighi one of the best practices on better mix could have social forestry forestry activities
8,000 per acre) GPs in Burdwan district; social forestry plantation. been tried. through linkages with
Hatgacha, Rampur-  In many cases the social forestry  Forest Protection FPC and Forest
dihibhurshad, Udang II, Thalia was mainly carried on  Specific norms for Committee in JFM Department
GPs in Howrah; Arrah and embankment, road side and plantation are a villages/ GPs may be
Sonathali GPs in Purulia canal side areas. And in some common understanding consulted for better
cases saplings are eaten away by among local selection and
animals in absence of fencing or community and GP management of plant
die because of lack of moisture. functionaries species and future
 Use of banned pesticides (in benefit sharing
Class Ia, Ib and II as per WHO)
are quite common  Banned pesticides/
agro-chemicals by
Indian authorities and

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TABLE (2.34): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Environmental Impacts of the Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs GP Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
pesticides in WHO
classification of Ia, Ib
and II must not be
used. Other pesticides
may be used only with
technical support
under the IPM system
and with safe handling
11 Construction of Many sanitary facilities were  Poor quality of construction  Only few soak pits  Existing PHED norms  Local Masons to be
Sanitary Units/ visited in Shyamsundar and leading to choking or collapsing were reported to be exists on distance to trained for better
Toilets Purba Satgachia GPs of soak pits. lined with bamboo or be maintained from construction of toilets
(Burdhaman district) were 40 bricks etc water bodies/ ponds/
(With average cost percent of households got  Open defecation found to be tanks etc  Though a basic
being Rs. 2,000 per toilets; in Sammatinagar GP very common even though  GPs role is only up to knowhow exists with
toilet) (Murshidabad district) were 50 toilets constructed. This is make the toilet seat  Proper drainage to be Nirman Sahayak on
percent household got toilets; largely due to poor quality of available and planned. And the slope construction of toilets,
in Chakchaka and Nishiganj II construction leading the toilets construction of soak pit of the drains to be linkages with PHED
GPs of Cooch Behar district; to become unusable and/ or if a minimum amount is appropriately required to be updated
in Hatgacha, Dehi Bhursad, water logging in absence of paid by the individual maintained on new technological
Udang II and Thalia GPs of drainage leading to further option suiting to local
Howrah district; and Jombad environmental hazard during  In areas where the soil needs
GP in Purulia District. rainy season e.g. in GPs visited structure is soft and
in Cooch Behar and Howrah moisture content is  Close coordination
District. high, technical support with PHED and GP
may be sought from required for effective
 Also in some GPs the units are PHED in order to delivery of services
mostly set up close to the strengthen the soak
kitchen/dwelling units made of pits as it may require
mud and bamboo structures. lining of their walls to
This further tantamount to the protect them from
problem of sanitation rather than collapsing
its solution.
 Adequate efforts

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TABLE (2.34): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Environmental Impacts of the Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs GP Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
required to promote
usage of toilets
12 Construction of One-two construction sites  Materials (bricks, stone etc) for  Local knowledge of  Soil for construction  The awareness and
Building (School, visited in almost all the GPs construction was sourced from construction exists but to be sourced from capacity both exists
Panchayat Office, visited outside. Also soil from nearby usage of local waste land, and use of with many villagers as
AWC, Community field was used in construction construction material local resources to be well as with GP
Centres, House etc) seems to be limited in explored functionaries
many places (especially the Nirman
 Appropriate Sahayak
provisions to be made
for drainage and waste
water disposal

 Also, appropriate
design and promotion
required for roof water
harvesting especially
in areas where ground
water contamination is
high.

The observation from the field visit suggests the following:

 In most cases the impacts of the activities undertaken by GPs are quite small and local and in most cases not even to the scale that it can
impact substantial areas of the GP itself. At most the impacts can be articulated to a small proportion of any Gram Sansad area or
population.
 Most of the adverse impacts are largely because of inadequacy in following the generic norms or the norms laid by respective line
departments/ authorities. In many cases these are largely because of low awareness level among GP staffs towards these norms.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 85
 These impacts can be easily mitigated with identified mitigation measures as listed in the table above. A better coordination of line
department with GP functionaries may also help in mitigation and building awareness towards specific norms.

The impacts and mitigation measures observed from the field visit and the capacity needed to mitigate adverse environmental impacts are the key
activities and issues considered for EMF design and have been further detailed out in Chapter 4 of this report.

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In addition to set of activities visited by the field team, from various discussions and
integrations with communities at Gram level and GP functionaries suggest another set of
activates which GP undertakes and their potential environmental impacts has been presented
in Table (2.35) below.

Nature of GP Current Capacity in GP


Sl. Environmental Impacts of Mitigation Measures
Activities (Type (to identify and
No. the GP Activities Generally Taken
and Scale) undertake mitigation)
1 Removal of Rampant growth of GP-facilitated community- The awareness and
Parthenium parthenium in various parts level initiatives and have capacity both exists with
of Murshidabad district been successful in many villagers as well as
was a cause of concern removing parthenium from with GP functionaries
owing to its being a select pockets of
causative agent various Murshidabad district.
human and animal
diseases.
2 Cleaning of Pond Cleaning of along with Initiatives at all level need Though the existing
excavation of ponds is a to recognize cleaning and capacities exists with
common activity under disinfection of pond water respect to undertaking
NREGS across districts. as an integral part of pond excavation and cleaning
However, water renovation or re- works among GP staffs,
contamination is rampant excavation. awareness towards
as displayed by greenish prioritizing such activities
colour of pond water in may need to be required.
most cases.
3 Involving Better community A distinct benefit-sharing The existing SHGs and
communities in involvement in the right mechanism with a major FPCs across GPs need to
social forestry spirit is seen to show the portion (75%) going to the be involved as a norm
prospect of sustainability community is seen to rather than exception in
across the districts. install a sense of ownership promoting social forestry
whereupon the community drives. This facilitates the
members (normally process of opting for local
organized into SHGs) take varieties instead of relying
better care of the plantation solely on eucalyptus or
initiatives acacia. This may also
minimizes threat towards
local biodiversity.
4 Permission for Brick kilns are common No mitigation measures There is a need for
Construction of mainly in pockets of taken. It is up to the facilitating coordination
brick-fields to Murshidabad and Howrah individual contractor to between the
enhance own district. However, organize earth for laying entrepreneurs, GP and line
revenue harvesting of earth for bricks from where ever department such as
brick construction needs a possible. Agriculture and Pollution
lot of judiciousness so as to control board to ensure
minimize the load on that such activities do not
cultivable lands. cause any adverse
environmental impacts.

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Nature of GP Current Capacity in GP
Sl. Environmental Impacts of Mitigation Measures
Activities (Type (to identify and
No. the GP Activities Generally Taken
and Scale) undertake mitigation)
5 Rural Energy In Shyamasundar GP No specific mitigation Awareness and proper
Programmes (Burdhaman District), measures taken. In most training to women
about a fifth of the GS cases GPs do not promote (through SHGs) use and
people have got smokeless or distribute smokeless installation may be useful,
ovens. The oven does not ovens due to common as in some cases it is also
work properly with the belief that it does not work reported that they have
local fuel (coal brickets) properly with type of fuel not been trained properly
used and smoke generated used locally. to use such ovens.
from cooking leads to
indoor air pollution.

And in Rampur-
dihibhurshad GP (Howrah
district) provided Gobar
Gas units to 47 families
under the programme.
Only few units are reported
to be operational due to
lack of maintenance and
availability cow dung
6 Soil Testing Testing of soil acidity, No specific mitigation An awareness regarding
salinity or other such measures taken. Ad hoc potential soil
contamination does not approach taken towards contamination and soil
appear to be quite soil testing. testing system needs to be
streamlined. strengthened.

Though training of few


SHG representatives in
each Gram Sansad for soil
testing is listed as one of
the activity for
Agriculture and Animal
Husbandry Upa Samiti.
However, it does not
seems to be taken up in
most GPs.
7 Construction of Appropriate drainage No specific mitigation Though basic capacity
gravel/ concrete planning is required for measures taken. Often one exists with Nirman
roads and sustenance of infrastructure tries to reduce cost of Sahayak. However a
culverts created and reduction in culverts by reducing no of general awareness
water logging due to road drainage options provided building towards potential
construction adverse impact of
inadequate planning may
need to be emphasised.

The activity mapping exercise of PRDD suggests that there are 84 activities which are being
conducted by GPs, and 117 activities which are being conducted by GSs under different
sectors. Annexure-6 presents the listing of GP activates and their potential environmental
and social impacts. The GS activities are very similar to that of GPs but in much lower scale
of operations and hence not been repeated. The activities listed in Table (2.34 and 2.35)
encompass the GP/ GS activities.

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Of the 30 GPs visited, the set of 30 activities reported under NREGS, the activities reported
were repair of road reported in 60 percent of GPs, re-excavation of ponds in 50 percent of
GPs, social forestry in 43 percent of GPs, construction of earthen roads and land development
in 33 percent of GPs and raising nursery for social forestry in 27 percent of GPs.

Fig. (2.21): Proportion of GP Reporting Key Activities Under NREGS

Source: TARU Primary Study, 2009

Under the State Finance Commission Twelfth Finance Commission Funds, construction cum
repair of buildings and repair and installation of drinking water tube wells tops the list with
80 percent GPs reporting the same. This is followed by repair of buildings in 57 percent of
GPs, repair of roads in 37 percent of GPs, repair of drains in 33 percent of GPs and
construction of drains in 30 percent of GPs.

Fig. (2.22): Proportion of GP Reporting Key Activities Under SFC & TFC

Source: TARU Primary Study, 2009

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2.6 ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

This section examines the environmental laws, legislations and policies applicable to GP
Activities in West Bengal. This is largely in consonance with the National and the State
environmental policies and framework for managing environmental issues (presented in
Annexure 7). The World Bank’s Operational Policies and Safeguards applicable to
Panchayat activities are also reviewed.

It is evident from the field visits and review of informations on activities of GP from PRDD
(GoWB) that most of the activities undertaken by GPs are quite small and local in nature and
largely impact a very small proportion of the GP. Though local and small in nature,
environmental impacts such as land degradation, soil erosion, soil contamination, impact on
groundwater, impact on surface water bodies, water logging, poor sanitation, deforestation
etc are seen as some of the most common impacts of GP activities across the state.

2.6.1 Environmental Regulatory Review of GP Activities

Environmental regulatory review of panchayat activities as well as of the activities carried


out by other agencies in the area under panchayat jurisdiction is presented in the Table (2.36).

TABLE (2.36): ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORY REVIEW OF GRAM


PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES
Sl. No. Legislation Relevance to the GP Activities Remarks
1 Water (Prevention and Discharge of sanitation waste and Screening and review based on
Control of Pollution) Act other wastewater to water bodies the scale of the project/ activity
1974 such as ponds, tanks, natural drains will be necessary to see the
and on agriculture field, other land compliance of existing Acts/
The Water (Prevention and etc. will come under these act and Rules as applicable. This
Control of Pollution) rules. includes:
Rules, 1975
 Screening and review for
The West Bengal potential water pollution from
Prevention and Control of the discharge of sanitation
Water Pollution (Appellate waste
Authority) Rules, 1985
2 Central Ground Water Grant of Permit to extract and use Screening based on type and scale
Authority (CGWA) ground water will be required from of the project/ activity will be
Guidelines the authority for any irrigation necessary to ensure that
project permission form ground water
West Bengal Ground authority will be taken to see the
Water Resources Any work related to above activities compliance of existing Acts/
(Management, Control and shall not proceed without a permit Rules as applicable.
Regulation) Act, 2005 has been granted by the concerned
Authority.

The same will be applicable on


extraction of groundwater for any
commercial activities (including
industrial activity)
3 Forest (Conservation) Act, Any non forest activity undertaken Screening based on type activity
1980, amended 1988 on forest land such as farming will be necessary to see the
expansion, setting up agro processing compliance of existing Acts/
Forest (Conservation) units, and setting up of other Rules as applicable. This

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TABLE (2.36): ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORY REVIEW OF GRAM
PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES
Sl. No. Legislation Relevance to the GP Activities Remarks
Rules, 1981, amended livelihood enhancement programs includes:
1992 will require clearance under the
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980  Construction of Irrigation
The Forest (Conservation) Channels and Access Roads
Rules, 2003 Any forest land for non-forest especially in tribal village
purposes need clearance under the which may require NOC or
West Bengal Trees Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 from clearances from the respective
(Protection and Forest Department. “Non-forest Forest Department
Conservation in Non- purpose” also covers cultivation of
Forest Areas) Act, 2006 tea, coffee, spices, rubber, palms, oil-  Activities involving use of
bearing plants, horticultural crops or forest land for non forest
West Bengal Trees medicinal plants or any purpose other purpose without prior
(Protection and than reforestation. clearance from the forest
Conservation in Non Forest department shall not be
Areas ) Rules, 2007 Also applicable to forest land or any allowed under ISDP
portion thereof may be cleared of
trees which have grown naturally in  Felling of trees or clearing
that land or portion, for the purpose vegetation shall be minimised
of using it for reforestation. to have least impact on forest/
vegetation. Strict vigilance in
the GP required ensuring this.
Also permission of Forest
Department needs to be taken
in case more than 3 trees need
to be felled in non-forest areas
4 The Biological Diversity The biodiversity act and rule is Screening based on type of
Act, 2002 applicable to panchayat for formation activity will be necessary to see
of Bio-diversity Management the compliance of existing Acts/
Biological Diversity Rules, Committee (BMC) at Panchayat Rules as applicable. This
2004 Samiti Level. Till 18 March, 09, 16 includes:
BMC have been constituted in 10
West Bengal Biological Districts in West Bengal.  In promotion of agriculture
Diversity Rules, 2005 and livestock, biodiversity of
The purpose of BMC would be to crops as well as livestock has
promote conservation, sustainable to be kept in mind.
use and documentation of biological
diversity including preservation of  Harvesting of natural
habitats, conservation of land races, resources shall be minimised
folk varieties and cultivars, to have least impact on forest/
domesticated stocks, and breeds of vegetation. Strict vigilance in
animals and micro organisms and the GP required to ensure this
chronicling of knowledge relating to
biological diversity.  Soil if needed for construction
shall be sourced from
Under the new rule, panchayat has a unculturable waste land to
greater role to play regarding minimise loss of top soil from
conservation of biodiversity of crops agricultural fields
as well as livestock in their respective
areas.  Horticulturist or local forest
department to be consulted for
better selection of species for
plantation under social forestry

 Linkage with Forest

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TABLE (2.36): ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORY REVIEW OF GRAM
PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES
Sl. No. Legislation Relevance to the GP Activities Remarks
Protection Committee in JFM
villages/ GPs may be useful
for selection of plant species
5 West Bengal Wetland A large number of ponds constructed Screening based on type activity
(Conservation and Use) clened and re-excavated by GP for its will be necessary to see the
Act, 1952 meaningful utilisation may come compliance of existing Acts/
under this Act Rules as applicable. This
Bengal Pond Development includes:
Act, 1939 The water bodies such as village
ponds and tanks, and water logged  Proper renovation and
Bengal Water Hyacinth low lying areas or depressions comes cleaning of tanks/ ponds from
Act, 1936 under these acts. water hyacinth.

 Proper reinforcement to check


soil erosion from the earthen
banks
6 The Insecticides Act, 1968 A license is required for the sale, Screening required for:
stock or distribution of any
The Insecticides Rules, insecticide. The use of certain  Use of banned insecticides/
1971 insecticides are prohibited or pesticides
restricted under this act

Distribution of insecticides to farmers


by Agriculture Department through
GPs and in panchayat

Insecticides are being used


intensively across West Bengal and
the issue of use of banned
insecticides in the state

7 Notification Under Section Coastal areas along with Medinipur, Screening required for:
3(1) and Section 3(2)(V) of South 24 Parganas and North 24
The Environment Parganas districts fall under CRZ  GP Activities falling under
(Protection) Act, 1986 and notification as per Annexure-I, CRZ zone to see the
Rule 5(3)(D) of Section 6(1) of the notification18.

18
By the said notification, the coastal areas were classified into four categories. i.e. CRZ - I,CRZ - II, CRZ -
III, CRZ - IV. The ecologically sensitive areas and areas of extraordinary natural beauty are included under CRZ
– I. The coastal stretches of urban and developed areas are categorized under CRZ II. The areas, which do not
come under CRZ - I and II are included in CRZ – III. The CRZ –IV is applicable to Lakshadweep, Andaman
and Nicobar Islands and small islands and not applicable to West Benagl.

In West Bengal, the Coastal stretches within 500 metres of the land ward side of HTL can be classified into the
three categories:

(a) CRZ-I : (1) Areas that are ecologically sensitive and important like National Parks/Marine Parks (e.g.
proposed Sagar Marine Park), Sanctuaries (Sajnekhali, Lothian, Halliday), Reserve Forests, Wildlife
habitats, mangroves (Sundarbans, Nijkasba, Khejuri), areas close to breeding and spawning grounds of
fish and other marine life. (Sagar, Newmoor and Sandhead Islands), areas of natural beauty (e.g. lower
Long Island), historical heritages (e.g. Sagar Temple and Ganga Sagar). And, (II) Areas between LTZ
& HTL

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TABLE (2.36): ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORY REVIEW OF GRAM
PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES
Sl. No. Legislation Relevance to the GP Activities Remarks
19
Environment (Protection) Areas of GPs falling partly or fully compliance of existing Acts/
Rules, 1986, Declaring in CRZ will need to follow the CRZ Rules as applicable.
Coastal Stretches as notification for prohibited and
Coastal Regulation Zone allowed activities.
(CRZ) and Regulating
Activities in the CRZ This will largely applicable to
harvesting or drawal of ground water
within 200 m of High Tide Level
(HTL) in the 200 m to 500 m zone
and shall be permitted only when
done manually through ordinary
wells for drinking, horticulture,
agriculture and fisheries.

(b) CRZ-II: The areas that have already been developed upto or close to shore line. Haldia town and
eastern part of Digha has been included within this zone.

(c) CRZ III: The areas which are not particularly developed and do not fall under Category I & II fall
under this zone. This zone includes coastal zone in rural areas (developed and underdeveloped) and
areas within Municipal limits or in other legally designated urban areas which are not substantially
built up. Sankarpur and western Digha beaches fall within this category.

19
Coastal Zone Area Demarcated in WestBengal

Fig. (2.23): Area Within Hodges Line

Source: http://wbenvironment.nic.in/Img_env/wbcoastal.JPG

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TABLE (2.36): ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATORY REVIEW OF GRAM
PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES
Sl. No. Legislation Relevance to the GP Activities Remarks

Prohibited activities under CRZ


including land reclamation, bunding
or disturbing the natural course of sea
water; mining of sands, rocks and
other substrata materials

Prohibition of any construction


activity between the Low Tide Line
and High Tide Line in the CRZ-I and
III area except the construction of
dispensaries, schools, public rain
shelters, community toilets bridges,
roads, jetties, water supply, drainage,
sewerage which are required for
traditional/ local inhabitants of the
area and in Sunderbans Biosphere
Reserve area of West Bengal, on a
case to case basis, by the West
Bengal State Coastal Zone
Management Authority.

Construction/reconstruction of
dwelling units between 200 and 500
metres of the High Tide Line
permitted so long it is within the
ambit of traditional rights and
customary uses such as existing
fishing villages and goathans.
Building permission for such
construction/reconstruction will be
subject to the conditions that the total
number of dwelling units shall not be
more than twice the number of
existing units; total covered area on
all floors shall not exceeds 33 percent
of the plot size; the overall height of
construction shall not exceed 9
metres and construction shall not be
more than 2 floors (ground floor plus
one floor).

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2.6.2 World Bank Environmental Safeguard Policies and It’s Applicability to GP
Activities

Review of the World Bank Safeguard policy and the GP activities being currently undertaken
suggests triggering of some of the safeguard policies which is presented in the table below.

TABLE (2.37): WORLD BANK ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARD POLICIES AND


IT’S APPLICABILITY TO GRAM PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES
Sl. Safeguard Details Applicability to GP Remarks
No. Policy Activities
1 Environmental The Bank1 requires Triggered. System for environmental
Assessment environmental assessment assessment including screening
(BP/OP 4.01) (EA) of projects proposed This will be applicable to all and environmental review has
for Bank financing to help activities undertaken by GPs been included as part of the
ensure that they are with support from the ISDP ESMF.
environmentally sound project.
and sustainable, and thus
to improve decision
making.
2 Natural OP 4.04: The Bank does Not Triggered. Environmental screening system
Habitat (OP not support projects that, designed for the project will
4.04) in the Bank’s opinion, The scope of the GPs ensure that any activities
involve the significant activities will be outside involving any critical natural
conversion or degradation critical natural habitats habitat will be taken up only with
of critical natural habitats. (such as wildlife sanctuaries the permission of the the Forest
and national parks). Department, Government of West
Bengal.
There are 170 identified
forest villages in West
Bengal (in Darjeeling,
Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar
districts). These are distinct
from revenue villages and
all developmental activities
in these villages are
undertaken by the Forest
Department, Government of
West Bengal
4 Forests (OP The Bank does not Triggered Environmental screening system
4.36) finance projects that designed for the project will
would involve significant The scope of the GPs ensure that any activities
conversion or degradation activities may include forest involving any forest area or forest
of critical forest areas or areas or natural habitats produce will be taken up only
related critical natural (such as wildlife sanctuaries with the permission of the the
habitats. and national parks) coming Forest Department, Government
within GP boundary. of West Bengal
5 Pest The Bank does not Not triggered. Environmental screening system
Management finance projects that designed for the project will
(OP 4.09) would involve significant Panchayat does not ensure that any activities
use of pesticides. If distribute or recommend involving use of pesticides do not
pesticides have to be used pesticides/ insecticides on use any banned pesticides by GoI/
in crop protection or in their own or as part of any GoWB as well as Class Ia, Ib and
the fight against vector- of their programme. II of the WHO classification
borne disease, the Bank-

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TABLE (2.37): WORLD BANK ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARD POLICIES AND
IT’S APPLICABILITY TO GRAM PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES
Sl. Safeguard Details Applicability to GP Remarks
No. Policy Activities
funded project should
include a Pest
Management Plan (PMP).
6 Safety of Construction of any dams Not triggered. For small dams generic safety
Dams is not part of panchayat measures designed by qualified
(OP 4.37) activities. Small dams are Panchayat do not take up engineers are usually adequate.
normally less than 15m in dam construction activity. No large Dams (those above 15
height. This category metres of height) are expected to
includes village ponds, Small check dams and tank be built under the sub project
low embankment tanks, will include technical inputs component. In fact, the check
and local silt retention of qualified engineer. dams being built in West Bengal
dams. For small dams, are usually less than 5-6 metre of
generic dam safety height. However, in order of
measures designed by safety, any dam planned
qualified engineers are exceeding the height of 7 metre
adequate which may trigger OP 4.37 shall
not be allowed under the ISDP
project.
7 Project on The OP 7.50 – Projects on Not triggered. Though the impact of any
International International Waterways groundwater or surface water
Waterways applies to the following The impact of any ground- related activities undertaken by
(OP 7.50) types of projects: water or surfacewater GPs with support from the ISDP
hydroelectric, irrigation, related activities undertaken project on the downstream
flood control, navigation, by the GPs with support riparian is not likely to be
drainage, water and from the ISDP project on significant, however, a set of
sewerage, industrial, and the down-stream riparians safeguard measures will be built
similar projects that are not likely to be into the Environmental
involve the use or significant. Management Framework (EMF)
potential pollution of to mitigate any negative impacts:
international waterways A quick analysis suggest
(international waterways that the status of  ISDP support will not be
refer to any river, canal, groundwater development is provided for investing in
lake, or similar body of not expected to increase by digging of Deep Tube Wells in
water that forms a even 1 percent from any critical blocks (as declared
boundary between, or that additional tubewells dug by CGWB).
flows through, two or with ISDP block grant  It will be ensured that requisite
more states – it also support and additional permissions are taken for
applies to tributaries/ annual groundwater draft is digging of all tube wells in
components of such well within the projected accordance with the West
waterways) groundwater availability for Bengal Ground Water
future irrigation Resources (Management,
Of the activities related to Control & Regulation) Act,
minor irrigation, River 2006.
Lift Irrigation (RLI) and
deep tubewell schemes
and Inter-Gram Panchayat
canals are implemented at
the Zila Parishad/
Panchayat Samiti level.
Only the shallow tubewell
schemes and intra-Gram
Panchayat canals come
under the purview of the

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TABLE (2.37): WORLD BANK ENVIRONMENTAL SAFEGUARD POLICIES AND
IT’S APPLICABILITY TO GRAM PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES
Sl. Safeguard Details Applicability to GP Remarks
No. Policy Activities
Gram Panchayats. The
principle of subsidiarity
applies to all works
including all other surface
flow schemes and all
water conservation
schemes limiting the scale
of the activities
undertaken by the GPs to
Rs. 200,000 and below.
These are quite small and
local and in most cases
not even to the scale that
can impact substantial
areas of the GP.
8 Physical The Bank avoids or Triggered Environmental screening system
Cultural mitigates any adverse designed for the project will
Resources impacts on physical Though GP activities do not ensure that no physical damage
(OP 4.11) cultural resources (which involve damage or alteration happens to objects, sites,
are defined as movable or to any existing cultural structures, groups of structures,
immovable objects, sites, property, however given the and natural features and
structures, groups of historical significance of the landscapes that have
structures, and natural region any chance find archaeological, paleontological,
features and landscapes while excavation for any historical, architectural, religious,
that have archaeological, civil structures such as aesthetic, or other cultural
paleontological, historical, pond, building etc can not significance.
architectural, religious, be ruled out.
aesthetic, or other cultural However, any cultural relics if
significance) from the found during any excavation
Bank’s financed during the project works will be
development projects. deposited with the relevant
Government authority.
It is also triggered where
civil works of any size are
involved and there are any
possibilities of a Chance
Finds.

2.7 REVIEW OF CAPACITY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

The capacity of gram panchayat, standing committee along with line department has been
described and analysed.

2.7.1 Capacity of Gram Panchayat

As per the West Bengal Panchayat Act, Gram Panchayat’s (including Gram Sansad and Gram
Unnayan Samiti) responsibilities is to prepare annual and five year development plans,
implement schemes for economic development and social justice and provide for, among
others, sanitation, conservancy, drainage and prevention of public nuisance; curative and
preventive measures in respect of contagious diseases; supply of drinking water and cleansing

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and disinfection of water supply sources; and, management and care of public tanks and
common grazing grounds.

Other discretionary duties of the GP (as assigned by the GoWB) are in respect of, among
others, irrigation (including minor irrigation, water management and watershed
development), rehabilitation of displaced persons, and, filling up of insanitary depressions
and reclaiming of unhealthy localities. In addition, the GPs have select powers for
maintaining sanitary conditions and protecting water sources.

The prime role of Gram Sansad (GS) is to identify schemes as well as beneficiaries that are
required to be taken on priority basis for economic development of sansad. The Gram
Unnayan Samiti GUS is responsible for ensuring active participation of people in
implementation and equitable distribution of benefits of rural development programmes
within its jurisdiction.

The overall structure of GP in West Bengal is presented in the Fig (2.24). A broad
assessment of capacities of various members of the GP including elected members and
deputed by GoWB is presented in the table below.

Fig. (2.24): Organisational Structure of GP in West Bengal

Source: PRDD, 2009

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TABLE (2.38): CAPACITIES OF GP MEMBERS AND FUNCTIONARIES
S. Staff Appointe/ No of staff Qualifications Role Field Observations on Capacity Building Required
No. Elected Existing Capacity on for Implementation of ESMF
Environmental Management
1 Panchayat Elected 1 No bar Key member for the Usually the Panchayat Prodhan No training has been provided
Pradhan formulation and is educated and can lead the on environment management
implementation of works at panchayat in framing the and the impact of the panchayat
the Gram Panchayat level. overall development plans for activities on the environment.
He is entrusted with leading the panchayat area. But there The capacity of the pradhan has
the overall development of are panchayats where the to be built through trainings
the panchayat area pradhan is not very educated. and exposure trips to enhance
Trainings are provided to the sectoral knowledge.
2 Panchayat Elected 1 No bar A key member of the pradhan by the panchayati
Opposition Finance and Planning Upa department on the various A sectoral knowledge on
Member Samiti which approves all government schemes Environment, forest,
the panchayat plans. This biodiversity, soil erosion,
ensures the development of The Opposition Members and ground water and surface water
the area as whole and not the Panchayat Members are part use and pollution for drinking
only for pockets supporting of the various Sub-committes and irrigation, basic hygiene
the ruling party. for Planning and guidance. and sanitation, impact of
Some training on decentralised fertiliser and pesticides and
Since being part of the planning process has been IPM will be useful.
crucial Finance and imparted to many of these
Planning Sub-committee, members under the DFID’s Awareness and mitigation
their inputs are very SRD programme. measures with respect to
valuable. potential activities and their
Awareness about environmental adverse environmental and
3 Panchayat Elected 10 - 15 No bar A key member various Upa
concern was either average or social impacts and regulatory
Members Samiti for sectoral planning
poor among all. This is evident provisions.
(Based on in panchayat and ensures
from the fact that of the 30 GPs
No. of GS & the development of overall
visited Prdhans or Also important to build
GS sectors they are responsible
somemembers in 2 GPs were capacity and concensus on
population) for.
found to be somewhat aware of principles of equity and
the environmental concerns. principles of social justice.

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TABLE (2.38): CAPACITIES OF GP MEMBERS AND FUNCTIONARIES
S. Staff Appointe/ No of staff Qualifications Role Field Observations on Capacity Building Required
No. Elected Existing Capacity on for Implementation of ESMF
Environmental Management
4 Secretary Appointed 1 (i) Bachelor’s The secretary plays an There are trainings on the Capacity building required on
Degree from a important role in guiding government schemes and on the understanding environmental
recognized and helping the elected administrative aspects. and social impacts of GP
University. members in day to day activities and potential
(ii) Diploma in functioning of the mitigation measures for
Computer panchayat. He helps in mitigating adverse impacts. It
Application from noting down the minutes of should include
any Institute the meeting as well as  A basic knowledge on
recognized by ensuring the GUS in environmental issues in
the State preparing the Sansad plans. their geophysical area and
Government or adverse environmental and
the Central It is proposed that he will social issues especially
Government or be member of the sub- arising out of GP activities
State Council of committee responsible for  Regulatory provisions
Technical implementation ESMF in towards management of
Education or All their GP under the ISDP environment
India Council of project.  Principles of equity and
Technical social justice.
Education.  Familiarity with ESMF
guidelines and formats
5 Executive Appointed 1 (i) Bachelor’s The EA also has a role in There are trainings on the Capacity building required on
Assistant Degree from a guiding and helping the government schemes and on the understanding environmental
recognized elected members in day to administrative aspects. and social impacts of GP
University. day functioning of the activities and potential
(ii) Diploma in panchayat. He also helps in mitigation measures for
Computer noting down the minutes of mitigating adverse impacts. It
Application from the meeting as well as should include
any Institute ensuring the GUS in  A basic knowledge on
recognized by preparing the Sansad plans. environmental issues in
the State their geophysical area and
Government or It is proposed that he will adverse environmental and
the Central be member of the sub- social issues especially

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TABLE (2.38): CAPACITIES OF GP MEMBERS AND FUNCTIONARIES
S. Staff Appointe/ No of staff Qualifications Role Field Observations on Capacity Building Required
No. Elected Existing Capacity on for Implementation of ESMF
Environmental Management
Government or committee responsible for arising out of GP activities
State Council of implementation ESMF in  Regulatory provisions
Technical their GP under the ISDP towards management of
Education or All project. environment
India Council of  Principles of equity and
Technical social justice.
Education.  Familiarity with ESMF
guidelines and formats
6 Nirman Appointed 1 Diploma in Civil He is responsible for He is the technical person in the Capacity building required on
Sahayak Engineering technical supervision, GP to assess, design and environment management and
from a taking measurement of implement the infrastructural the impact of the panchayat
recognized work done in measurement works. activities on the environment.
institution sheets, authentication of This should include building
muster roll prepared on the awareness and mitigation
basis of their measurement, measures with respect to
etc in respect of the works potential activities and their
assigned to GP. He has the adverse environmental and
power to vet infrastructural social impacts. A Basic
projects between Rs. 20,000 knowledge on
to Rs. 100,000. Also backs  Soil erosion
up the Secretary and EA on  Impact due to loss of top soil
the administrative works.  Ground water and Surface
water use for drinking and
It is proposed that he will irrigation
also be responsible for  Ground and surface water
carrying out the screening pollution
and environmental  Impact of fertiliser and
assessment as per the pesticides and IPM
ESMF guideline under the  Impact of poor hygiene and
ISDP project. sanitation
 Forestry, JFM initiatives and
role of FPC

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TABLE (2.38): CAPACITIES OF GP MEMBERS AND FUNCTIONARIES
S. Staff Appointe/ No of staff Qualifications Role Field Observations on Capacity Building Required
No. Elected Existing Capacity on for Implementation of ESMF
Environmental Management
 Importance of natural habitat
and traditional crop species
 Importance of biodiversity
 Regulatory provisions
towards management of
environment
 Familiarity with ESMF
guidelines and formats

7 Gram Rojgar Appointed 1 Higher He helps in technical There are trainings on the Capacity building required on
Sevak Secondary in supervision and taking government schemes and on the understanding environmental
(GRS)/ Job Science Stream measurement of work done administrative aspects and social impacts of GP
Assistant with at least 55% in measurement sheets in activities and potential
marks. (ii) must respect of the works mitigation measures for
have at least six assigned to GP. He has the mitigating adverse impacts. It
months training power to vet infrastructural should include
on computer projects upto Rs. 20,000.  A basic knowledge on
application from Also backs up the Secretary environmental issues in
any recognized and Executive Assistant on their geophysical area and
institute (iii) the administrative works. adverse environmental and
Must be local social issues especially
resident and arising out of GP activities
voter of that GP  Familiarity with ESMF
area guidelines and formats
8 Sahayak Appointed 1 Pass in More of a clerical roles and There are trainings on the Capacity building required on
Madhyamik has no role either in plan administrative aspects. understanding environmental
Examination preparation or in the and social impacts of GP
from the West administrative duties of the activities and potential
Bengal Board of panchayat mitigation measures for
Secondary mitigating adverse impacts.
Education or its Also, familiarity with ESMF
equivalent guidelines and formats may be

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TABLE (2.38): CAPACITIES OF GP MEMBERS AND FUNCTIONARIES
S. Staff Appointe/ No of staff Qualifications Role Field Observations on Capacity Building Required
No. Elected Existing Capacity on for Implementation of ESMF
Environmental Management
examination useful.
from any
recognized
Board or Council
or University
9 Panchayat Appointed 1-2 Must have
Karmee passed the final
examination of
Class VIII from
any recognized
Institution.

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2.7.2 Capacity of Panchayati Raj Institutions and Line Departments

In West Bengal there are various Standing Committees at each level. There are 10 Standing
Committees envisaged at the district and block level. These include Standing Committees for
Agriculture, Irrigation and Cooperation; Education, Culture, Information and Sports; Finance,
Establishment, Development and Planning; Fisheries and Animal Husbandry; Food and Civil
Supplies; Forest, Land and Land Reform; Public Health and Environment; Public Works and
Transport; Small Industries, Power and Non-conventional Energy; and, Women and Child
Development, Social Welfare, Relief and Rehabilitation. There are five envisaged at the GP
level. These include Standing Committees for Agriculture and Animal Resources; Cottage
Industries and Infrastructure; Education and Public Health; Finance and Planning; and,
Women, Child Welfare and Social Welfare.

The Standing Committees are reported to have wide-ranging powers including for
preparation of proposals for scheme execution within available budgetary provisions,
ensuring that their views are considered before sanction (if the GP/ PS/ ZP) have delegated
such a role to them; and, calling for information and inspection of immovable properties of
the GP/ PS/ ZP or any work in progress (MoPR, GoI, 2007).

At the Gram Panchayat level, five statutory sub-committees are constituted. The details of
these committees are as follows:

TABLE (2.39): GRAM PANCHAYAT UPA-SAMITIS


Upa-Samiti Subjects of Upa-Samiti Members of Upa Samiti
(i) Artha O Parikalpana Finance, budget, accounts, audit, Pradhan, Upa-pradhan, Elected
Upa-Samiti (Finance taxation, resource-mobilisation, members and Panchayat Samiti
and Planning Sub- establishment and office management, members (max 3 in numbers),
committee) preparation of Gram Panchayat plans,
implementation and monitoring and Co-ordinator of other Upa samities,
evaluation of all poverty alleviation and Opposition member (highest looser),
employment generation programmes,
food security and public distribution Executive Assistant, Secretary, and
programmes, preparation of resource
inventory and database of Gram Revenue Inspector (from
Panchayat planning, disaster control department).
management, management of haat/
bazaar/ ferry service of GP, co-
ordination of works assigned to
different Upa-samitis

(ii) Krishi O Pranisampad Agriculture and agro-industries, Pradhan, Upa-pradhan, Elected


Bikas Upa-samiti horticulture, agri-marketing, irrigation members and Panchayat Samiti
(Agriculture and including small irrigation, water members (max 3 in numbers)
Animal Resources resources development, social forestry,
Development Sub- soil conservation, apiculture, Sahayak, Animal Husbandry
committee) sericulture, animal resources Sahayak, Agriculture Sahayak,
development, fisheries, watershed Fishery Sahayak - invitee.
development, co-operative movement,
Provident Fund for Landless
Agricultural Labourers

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TABLE (2.39): GRAM PANCHAYAT UPA-SAMITIS
Upa-Samiti Subjects of Upa-Samiti Members of Upa Samiti
(iii) Siksha O Janasasthya Literacy campaign, Sishu Siksha Pradhan, Upa-pradhan, Elected
Upa-samiti (Education Karmasuchi, Madhyamik Siksha members and Panchayat Samiti
and Public Health Sub- Karmasuchi, primary education, mass members (max 3 in numbers)
committee) education, rural library, Mid-Day Meal
Programme, rural water supply, rural Executive Assistant, Women Health
dispensaries and health clinic, public Sahayak,
health and sanitation, immunisation and
family welfare programmes, prevention Health Supervisor (from department)
of communicable diseases
Head of Village Education
Committee (invitee), ICDS
Supervisor (from department), Head
of one SSK (invitee), Village Health
Center Worker (invitee).
(iv) Nari Sishu Unnayan O Self-help groups formed under various Pradhan, Upa-pradhan, Elected
Samaj Kalyan Upa- programmes including Swarna Jayanti members and Panchayat Samiti
samiti (Women and Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), members (max 3 in numbers)
Child Development and Integrated Child Development Scheme
Social Welfare Sub- (ICDS), National Social Assistance Secretary
committee) Programme, social welfare and welfare
of women and children, welfare of Health Supervisor (from
weaker communities including old and department),
handicapped people ICDS Supervisor (from department).

SSK Worker (invitee)

(v) Shilpa O Parikathama Cottage and small-scale industries, Pradhan, Upa-pradhan, Elected
Upa-Samiti (Cottage rural artisans, infrastructure members and Panchayat Samiti
Industries and development, Indira Awas Yojana, members (max 3 in numbers),
Infrastructure Sub- construction of rural roads, rural
committee) housing and culverts, rural Nirman Sahayak
electrification and generating
alternative energy resources Revenue Inspector (from
department)

Source: West Bengal Panchayat (Gram Panchayat Administration) Rules, 2004


Note:
a. Apart from Pradhan & Upa Pradhan, no member can be part of more than 2 Upa samities
b. A women member has to head the WCD Upa Samiti
c. Pradhan will lead Finance & Planning and only one more Upa Samiti. For all other Upa Samitis separate
coordinators shall be selected
d. The number of elected members to be part of Upa samities will be on the basis the formula i.e. For every 10 elected
GP members – one seat in Upa Samiti, where more than 10 but less than 20 elected GP members exist – two seat in
Upa Samiti and GPs with more than 20 elected members can have three seats in Upa Samiti

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Similarly at the Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti level there are ten standing committees
set up which includes:

TABLE (2.40): STHAYEE SAMITIS AT ZILLA PARISHAD AND PANCHAYAT


SAMITI
(i) Artha, Sanstha, Unnayan O Parikalpana Sthayee Samiti (Finance, Establishment, Development
and Planning Standing Committee)
(ii) Janasasthya O Paribesh Sthayee Samiti (Public Health and Environment Standing Committee)
(iii) Purta Karya O Paribahan Sthayee Samiti (Public Works and Transport Standing Committee)
(iv) Krishi, Sech O Samabaya Sthayee Samiti (Agriculture, Irrigation and Cooperation Standing
Committee)
(v) Shiksha, Sanskriti, Tathya O Krira Sthayee Samiti (Education, Culture, Information and Sports
Standing Committee)
(vi) Shishu O Nari Unnayan, Janakalyan O Tran Sthayee Samiti (Women and Child Development,
Social Welfare, Relief and Rehabilitation Standing Committee)
(vii) Bon O Bhumi Sanskar Sthayee Samiti (Forest, Land and Land Reforms Standing Committee)
(viii) Matsya O Prani Sampad Bikash Sthayee Samiti (Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Standing
Committee)
(ix) Khadya O Sarbaraha Sthayee Samiti (Food and Supplies Standing Committee)
(x) Khudra Shilpa, Bidyut O Achiracharit Shakti Sthayee Samiti (Small Industries, Power and Non-
conventional Energy Standing Committee)
Source: West Bengal Panchayat (Panchayat Samiti Administration) Rules, 2004

There are around 25 line departments in the State. Some of the line departments are forest
department, irrigation department, agriculture department, public health engineering
department, health, education, livestock, fishery, food supply, transport, etc. There has been
little formal devolution by most of the line departments and the panchayats are rarely
approached by any department for participation in implementation of their plan.

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SWOT Analysis

Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis is performed for Gram
Panchayat and Other Institutions along with Line Departments’ capacities for the
environmental management. The SWOT analysis is based on the observations made during
the primary survey and secondary information on capacities of the various rural departments.

TABLE (2.41): SWOT ANALYSIS OF GRAM PANCHAYAT FOR IMPLEMENTING


ESMF
STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
 Empowered by Panchayat Act  No environmental guidelines at panchayat level
 Defined role for GP Activities  No system to assess, implement and manage
 Adherece to constitutional provisions for environmental issues
organisation structure and institutions within GP  Lack of environmental awareness
 Institutinal arrangement with other Panchayati Raj  Lack of knowledge regarding environmental issue
Institutions (Panchayat Samiti, Zila Parishad etc) and management
to support GP activities  Lack of skill and expertise among local people
 Comprises of local people  Access to information is not effective
 Resourceful in local knowledge and local best  Poverty driven issues rides the priority
practices  No training and capacity building arrangement
 Self elected institution  Inappropriate coordination of Panchayat and line
 Social and Individual Benefit driven departments
 Constituional linkages with Line Departments to
bring in sectoral expertise and knowledge
OPPORTUNITIES THREATS
 Implementation of SRD (Strengthening Rural  Lack of awareness and expertise may lead to poor
Decentralisation) in the state implementation
 Resource (Fund) from various sources (including  Lack of capacity to identify and assess adverse
World Bank) environmental social impacts
 Driven by international institutions and their  Poverty issue may make to overlook
guidelines environmental issues
 Involvement of various institutions in  Lack of cooperation between panchayat and line
implementation (including NGOs/ CBOs/ departments
Acedemia)  Reluctance to adopt new practices
 Linking of environmental aspects with poverty  Vested interest from politician and industrial and
alleviation and development programmes mining lobby
 Environmental benefit  Strong influence of politics especially in the
 National and State level Acts and Rules current form in the state
 Support of state government and other state bodies  Line Department not giving enough emphasis to
 Build capacities on environmental issues and panchayat due to their lack of knowledge/expertise
mitigating adverse imoacts may lead to addressing
long term sustainability issues including adaptation
towards adverse imopacts of Climate Change
 Better implementation and enhanced productivity
of the schemes implemented by line department

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CHAPTER 3

SOCIAL ASSESSMENT
CHAPTER 3: SOCIAL ASSESSMENT

3.1 SOCIO-ECONOMIC PROFILE OF WEST BENGAL

With a population over 80 million (2001 census), West Bengal is the fourth most populous
state of India. It is spread over an area of 88,752 square km (2.7 percent of India’s area) the
expanse of which lies primarily in the fertile Gangetic plains in the east. Accounting for about
7.8 per cent of the country’s population, this state ranks first in terms of population
density of 904 per sq km as per the 2001 Census. The state shares international boundary
with Nepal and Bhutan in the north and Bangladesh in the east while Sikkim (in north),
Assam (in north east), Bihar and Jharkhand (in west) and Orissa (in south west) are its
neighbouring Indian states.

West Bengal is a unique state in having a single party alliance rule for over three decades. Its
governance is marked with a specific focus on land reform and decentralization. As a result
of these policies, the state provides greater security of tenure to tenant cultivators and
redistribution of vested land, sharp agricultural growth in production and decentralisation and
people’s participation through panchayat institutions. However, since the nineties, the state
agricultural growth has slowed down and hence the employment generation in the
agricultural sector. The state rural unemployment was at 2.5 as compared to the national
average of 1.5 in 2004-05. (Indiastat.com, 2005)

3.2 DEMOGRAPHY

3.2.1 Population Distribution

About 72 per cent of the people live in rural areas. The percentages of Scheduled Caste (SC)
and Scheduled Tribe (ST) populations are 28.6 and 5.8 respectively in the rural areas and
19.9 and 1.5 respectively in the urban areas. Among the minorities, Muslims are the dominant
section, accounting for 33.3 percent of the urban and 11.8 percent of the rural population. SC,
ST and Minority groups together account for more than half the population of the state, and
are also the poorest groups in rural West Bengal. According to the Planning Commission, the
proportion of population below the poverty line in 1999-2000 in West Bengal was 31.85
percent. A significant part of the state is relatively more backward economically, and also
tends to be less advanced in terms of human development. These include large parts of the six
northern districts (Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur and Dakshin
Dinajpur), the three western districts (Purulia, Bankura and Birbhum) and the Sunderbans
area of the two 24 Parganas districts in the south of the state.

West Bengal situated in the alluvial plains of Ganges has naturally a very high population
density. Historical and socio-economic factors have further contributed to high population
concentration across the state. Migration from the neighbouring states and from across border
at the time of partition have added to the already high burden on the land. While internal
migration have been largely to the industrial belts around Kolkata, the migrant population
from across the border led to sharp growth of population in some of the Northern districts
such as Cooch Behar and West Dinajpur and also in the Southern districts of Nadia and 24
Parganas in the first four decades after Independence. There is however is a distinct low in
population density in tribal pockets of the state bordering Jharkhand and the northern districts
(Table 3.1).

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TABLE (3.1): POPULATION DISTRIBUTION IN WEST BENGAL
Total
Population Density Scheduled Scheduled Muslim
District Population (in
(Person/ Sqkm) Caste Tribe Population
‘000)
Bankura 3,193 464 31% 10% 8%
Birbhum 3,015 663 30% 7% 35%
Burdhaman 6,896 985 27% 6% 20%
Cooch Behar 2,479 732 50% 8% 24%
Dakshin Dinajpur 1,503 677 29% 16% 24%
Darjeeling 1,609 510 16% 13% 5%
Howrah 4,273 2,913 15% 0% 24%
Hughly 5,042 1,601 24% 4% 15%
Jalpaiguri 3,401 547 37% 19% 11%
Kolkata 4,573 24,760 6% 0% 20%
Malda 3,290 881 17% 7% 50%
Murshidabad 5,867 1,101 12% 1% 64%
Nadia 4,605 1,172 30% 2% 25%
North 24-Parganas 8,934 2,181 21% 2% 24%
Paschim Medinipur 5,193 531 18% 15% 11%
Purba Medinipur 4,417 1028 14% 0.6% 11%
Purulia 2,537 405 18% 18% 7%
South 24-Parganas 6,907 694 32% 1% 33%
Uttar Dinajpur 2,442 778 28% 5% 47%
West Bengal 80,176 904 23% 5% 25%
Source: Directorate of Census Operations, West Bengal, SHDR and West Bengal State
Marketing Board

It is evident that Scheduled caste (SC) and minorities constitute a majority of the population
and these groups along with the Scheduled Tribes (STs) account for more than half of the
state population. And understandably, these groups also constitute for the majority of the
poorest section in the state. In the state, 8 out of the 18 districts (Medinipur has now been
bifurcated in to two districts) the SCs are more than a fourth of the district population and in
Cooch Behar they account for half of the population. Similarly, the ST population is
significant in select districts and largely follow a specific pattern. The Muslim population in
the state is about 25 percent and is spread across the state. The share of this group is
exceptionally high in the districts of Murshidabad, Malda and Uttar Dinajpur.

An analysis of Census in West Bengal State Human Development Report indicates that the
border districts (9 out of the total 18) together accounted for 44.5 percent of the 13.4 million
population that were added to 1981 census aggregate to make the State population size stands
at 68 million in 1991.

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According to Census 2001, West Bengal has made a remarkable improvement in its sex ratio
in the nineties. In 2001, for every thousand males there were 934 females in the state which
was higher than the corresponding national average of 927 and the state average of 917 in
1991. The poor ratio is pronounced in the districts around Kolkata, the mega city and
destination of migrant population. Notably, the ratio is relatively favourable in the backward
districts up north and in the west.

3.2.2 Literacy and Education

West Bengal has an overall better literacy rate than the national average. This is also true of
female literacy rate in the State. From the Table (3.2) it is evident that some of the districts
lag way behind the state performance. Malda, Murshidabad, Uttar Dinajpur and Purulia have
not matched up with other districts as far as literacy is concerned. Though West Bengal is
much better than many of other Indian states in terms of literacy status across different socio-
economic groups, but the fact remains that that these differences do exist across different
social layers. There are clearly significant differences across socio-economic groups. Even on
the basis of occupational background, as the State HDR 2004 points out the relatively most
deprived occupation group appears to be that of agricultural labour households, of whom
more than half of all such population, and nearly two-thirds of the females, are non-literate.
Households consisting of the self-employed in agriculture show the highest rates of literacy,
for men and women in rural West Bengal. Gender gaps remain substantial, and women of
rural labour households (both in agriculture and non-agriculture) are the worst off among the
rural population in terms of literacy.

TABLE (3.2): LITERACY AND SEX RATIO IN WEST BENGAL


Average Female Sex Ratio
Districts
Literacy Literacy 1991 2001
Bankura 64% 50% 951 953
Birbhum 62% 52% 946 949
Burdhaman 71% 62% 899 921
Cooch Behar 67% 56% 935 949
Dakshin Dinajpur 65% 55% 944 950
Darjeeling 73% 64% 914 943
Howrah 78% 71% 881 906
Hughly 76% 68% 917 947
Jalpaiguri 64% 53% 927 941
Kolkata 81% 78% 799 828
Malda 51% 42% 938 948
Murshidabad 55% 48% 943 952
Nadia 67% 60% 936 947
North 24 Parganas 79% 72% 907 927
Pashchim Medinipur 70% 59% 949 961
Purba Medinipur 80% 71% 939 947
Purulia 56% 37% 947 953

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TABLE (3.2): LITERACY AND SEX RATIO IN WEST BENGAL
Average Female Sex Ratio
Districts
Literacy Literacy 1991 2001
South 24 Parganas 70% 60% 929 938
Uttar Dinajpur 49% 37% 921 937
West Bengal 68% 60% 917 934
India 65% 54% 927 933
Source: Census, 2001

The illiteracy is particularly acute among rural women from ST households, with 70 percent
of them being illiterate. Among the SC households more than half of the women are illiterate.
The gender gap seems to be approximately equal across the caste categories. In the rural
areas, interestingly, the Other Backward Castes (OBC) has the highest literacy rate even
better than the “Others” category, which includes not just upper caste Hindus but also other
religious communities.

The lower level of literacy among different social groups is also evident from the literacy
levels in the districts of Malda, Murshidabad, Uttar Dinajpur and Purulia. Notably the first
three districts have an overwhelming Muslim population and the last has a sizeable tribal
population. ST households tend to be concentrated in certain regions/ districts/ blocks, and
poor physical infrastructure in such areas makes communication and the provision of basic
public services including education much more difficult. Historically, these have also been
the groups less directly affected by Total Literacy and other such campaigns. Districts with
higher proportion of ST population, and especially those with more remote and inaccessible
blocks, also tend to have lower literacy in general.

In the last two decades a significant progress has also been made in the spread of literacy in
the last two decades where the wide regional gaps have been narrowed with state efforts.
Even in the districts with lower literacy rates significant progress have been made and
brought these closer to the state average.

3.2.3 Occupation and Employment

According to Census 2001, the total work population is estimated to be 37 percent of the
entire state population of which the main workers constitute 78 percent of the total worker
population. Nearly a fourth of the work force is engaged as agricultural labour and another
third as cultivators in rural areas. As against the state average, among the study districts the
proportion of agriculture labour is found to be higher in Burdhaman, Dakshin Dinajpur and
Purulia.

TABLE (3.3): OCCUPATIONAL PATTERN


Main Agriculture Household Other
State/District Cultivators
Worker Labourers Industry Workers
Bankura 30% 36% 30% 5% 29%
Birbhum 27% 29% 33% 5% 33%
Burdwan 29% 24% 36% 5% 35%

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TABLE (3.3): OCCUPATIONAL PATTERN
Main Agriculture Household Other
State/District Cultivators
Worker Labourers Industry Workers
Cooch Behar 30% 42% 27% 4% 27%
Dakshin Dinajpur 32% 40% 34% 4% 22%
Darjeeling 30% 21% 10% 2% 67%
Howrah 33% 9% 12% 10% 48%
Hughly 30% 23% 29% 5% 43%
Jalpaiguri 30% 25% 16% 2% 58%
Kolkata 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Malda 29% 27% 27% 14% 31%
Medinipur 26% 33% 27% 6% 34%
Murshidabad 28% 24% 32% 14% 30%
Nadia 35% 22% 25% 7% 31%
North 24-Parganas 28% 23% 26% 5% 45%
Purulia 99% 11% 5% 2% 7%
South 24-Parganas 24% 19% 24% 5% 52%
Uttar Dinajpur 29% 36% 39% 3% 22%
West Bengal 28% 28% 28% 7% 38%
Source: Census 2001

Women participation in the workforce is only a fifth of its women population in the state. The
trend over the last decade shows a marginal improvement in work participation rate. The
overall proportion of the non workers in the state has declined in the nineties both for men
and women population. However, during the same period the percentage of marginal workers
have increased significantly who generally suffer from high livelihood insecurity and
irregular employment.

TABLE (3.4): WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN WORK FORCE


(Proportion to Total Population)
Rural Urban
1991 2001 1991 2001
Male
Main worker 51.2% 46.0% 49.3% 50.6%
Marginal worker 0.9% 8.3% 0.3% 3.5%
Non Worker 47.9% 45.7% 50.4% 45.9%
Female
Main worker 8.7% 8.9% 5.8% 8.8%
Marginal worker 4.3% 11.8% 0.4% 2.3%
Non Worker 86.9% 79.3% 93.8% 88.9%
Source: Census 1991 and 2001

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Despite an impressive growth rate in agriculture and other parameters like per capita income
and overall reduction in poverty levels, the rural areas still suffer from poverty. Even from
the above table one may easily make out that the quantum of decrease in non worker
population in the state between the two censuses has been easily offset by the decadal growth
in population. Hence the gains made on other fronts are unable to meet the increased demand
for employment. Unemployment and under employment remain the major hurdle in arresting
the incidence of rural poverty which even in 2004-05 was not much better than the overall
figure for rural India.

The sectoral breakup of main workers suggests that there has been decline in the proportion
of workers in the agriculture sector. Much of the shift has been in to others category.

TABLE (3.5): SECTORAL DISTRIBUTION OF MAIN WORKERS IN


WEST BENGAL
Male Female
Sector 1991 2001 1991 2001
Farmer 30.2% 20.8% 16.2% 13.8%
Agriculture Labour 22.7% 22.6% 37.9% 32.4%
Cottage and Small Industry 2.8% 4% 11.3% 18%
Others 44.3% 52.7% 34.7% 36.2%
Source: Census 1991 and 2001

The trend is similar for both male and female population. Among women, an increased
proportion of them are engaged in cottage and small industry.

According to Census 2001, cultivators and agricultural labourers still account for 44.15
percent of main and marginal workers of the state. Not less than 24.86 percent of the net SDP
originates from agriculture. It is however worth noting that the contribution of the agriculture
has been declining steadily in the last two decades. Much of the increase in the GSDP share
has been made by the tertiary sector of the economy.

Despite the technological revolution, the rice producing economy of the state now fails to
attain even a modest growth rate; much below the growth rate that it recorded during 1960s.
From the data available from the ministry of agriculture, Govt of India, the declining trend in
the rate of surplus could be attributed to the increase in the element of paid-out cost of the
farm which was higher than the increase in the revenue from agricultural activities. As a
consequence, a typical farmer finds it discouraging to opt for better farm practices and have
opted for other employment avenues. The government data further reveals that the major
increase in the component of the paid-out cost has been in the material cost, particularly the
irrigation cost and the fertilizer cost which increased heavily during this period. Irrigation and
fertilizer (also insecticides, the cost of which increased by 78.01 percent between 1991-92
and 1996-97) being the basic ingredients of the new technology adopted by the farmers, the
peasants have hardly any choice in reducing these items of paid-out cost. The market
determined costs of these inputs have to be borne by the peasants who are generally not in
position to command an equi-proportional market value for their products.

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State intervention in the form of offering support prices is an option available but even its
effectiveness is gradually declining in the open market economy. In such a scenario, the
peasants can hardly absorb the price shocks in the output and input market. Consequently, the
crisis is mounting and the agrarian economy is facing a deceleration. It is unlikely that such a
deceleration can be arrested by a state government which has restricted role in shaping the
policy at the national level. With the economy opening up for the global market, the crisis is
likely to deepen and the economy of the small peasants is likely to lose viability. This is a
major threat to the agriculture of West Bengal and agriculture is the sector from which 44.15
percent of the workforce directly earns their livelihoods. Many of the livelihood related
problems that the state faces are due to the crisis in its agricultural economy.

3.3 INCOME AND POVERTY

3.3.1 Human Development Indices

The West Bengal State Human Development Report (WBSHDR) 2004 gives the
development status and the rankings of the districts across the state on different development
parameters. The State average Human Development Index (HDI) score is 0.61 with highest
of 0.78 for Kolkata the lowest of 0.44 for Malda. It is worth noting from that the three
districts with lowest HDI scoring are Malda (0.44), Purulia (0.45) and Murshidabad (0.46)
that have the high proportion of ST and/or Muslims population. Another obvious aspect in
the report is a very low score on Income index across the districts in the state. As compared
to 0.7 and 0.69 score on health and education, the state average for income is a poor 0.43
which speaks low of income generation and livelihood security in the state. The districts
lower on other development indices fare badly on this parameter as well. The table shows that
except for Howrah and Burdhaman the remaining four study districts have lower than the
state HDI score and lie in the bottom half of HDI ranking.

TABLE (3.6): DISTRICT WISE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX IN


WEST BENGAL
Development Indices
Districts HDI HDI Rank
Health Income Education
Bankura 0.67 0.26 0.62 0.52 11
Birbhum 0.53 0.27 0.61 0.47 14
Burdhaman 0.74 0.47 0.71 0.64 5
Cooch Behar 0.5 0.41 0.65 0.52 11
Darjeeling 0.73 0.49 0.72 0.65 4
Dinajpur (Uttar & Dakshin) 0.62 0.39 0.53 0.51 13
Howrah 0.77 0.53 0.75 0.68 2
Hugli 0.77 0.46 0.67 0.63 6
Jalpaiguri 0.61 0.38 0.6 0.53 10
Kolkata 0.82 0.73 0.8 0.78 1
Malda 0.49 0.36 0.48 0.44 17
Medinipur (Purba & Paschim) 0.68 0.45 0.74 0.62 7

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TABLE (3.6): DISTRICT WISE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX IN
WEST BENGAL
Development Indices
Districts HDI HDI Rank
Health Income Education
Murshidabad 0.57 0.29 0.52 0.46 15
Nadia 0.65 0.41 0.66 0.57 9
North 24 Parganas 0.72 0.49 0.76 0.66 3
Purulia 0.61 0.18 0.55 0.45 16
South 24 Parganas 0.71 0.4 0.68 0.6 8
West Bengal 0.7 0.43 0.69 0.61
Source: WBSHDR 2004

The Gender Development Index (GDI) for the state largely follows the same pattern as the
HDI ranking. The districts low in HDI also low in the GDI ranking. The state performs very
low on Income index component of the GDI reflecting low work force participation and
hence restricted contribution of women to accounted economic parameters. It also unravels
the hidden discrimination against the women in the society. The WBHDR further states that
the policy interventions of the state government have had mixed effects in this regard.
Analysing it further, it says that till very recently the choice of land reform beneficiaries
tended to aggravate gender inequalities. However, on a positive note women’s participation
in panchayats has been greater and more substantive than in many other states, and there
are some regions within the state where this has had very positive social effects, including
more diverse forms of empowerment of women. With respect to human security issues,
women in West Bengal are better placed than in many other parts of India. Economic
exclusion remains one of the most significant problems for women in the state, which
tends to have spill-over effects in other aspects of life. However, the trends in all of these
variables have been encouraging albeit the pace could have been higher for these changes.

3.3.2 Income and Poverty

Most of West Bengal’s growth in last three decades has been attributed to growth in the
agricultural production and the recent growth in the unorganized manufacturing sector. It had
one of the fastest SDP growth rates in the country in the last two decades. In the eighties the
state saw impressive growth rate in agricultural output which was made possible due state
initiatives of land reform, agriculture diversification, greater decentralization at the local
level, and better use of resources at ground by the small cultivators.

A similar growth trend was also witnessed for per capita income of the state in the last few
decades though it still remains marginally below all-India average. It is evident from the table
that the state has almost matched up with the all-India average level of per capita income. In
1993-94, the income gap (per capita) between West Bengal and all-India average had been Rs
935 which reduced to Rs 120 (measured at constant 1993-94 prices). If measured at current
prices, the state per capita income falls short of the Indian average by Rs 94 only. This has
been achieved despite the fact that contribution of organised manufacturing to state output
had remained poor and the agricultural growth slowed down for longer than a decade.

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TABLE (3.7): PER CAPITA INCOME OF WEST BENGAL
Per Capita Income
Percentage
District (in Rs. at current prices -
BPL Families
2003-04)
Bankura 18,236 42.48%
Birbhum 16,466 44.02%
Burdhaman 23,769 26.24%
Cooch Behar 16,657 46,1%
Dakshin Dinajpur 17,895 43.54%
Darjeeling 23,967 46.43%
Howrah 22,565 32.18%
Hughly 22,397 29.08%
Jalpaiguri 19,103 35.87%
Kolkata 46,833 -
Malda 18,643 38.81%
Murshidabad 17,486 43.31%
Nadia 19,980 34.22%
North 24-Parganas 16,503 37.70%
Medinipur (Purba & Paschim) 20,914 32.88%
Purulia 16,182 43.65%
South 24-Parganas 17,759 37.21%
Uttar Dinajpur 14,046 40.98%
West Bengal 20,896 36.38%
Source: Development and Planning Department, Govt of WB

Scheduled Tribe population is among the worst off situation according to wealth index with
58 percent falling into the lowest category as compared to 30 percent among Scheduled Caste
and 25 percent of the state average.

TABLE (3.8): DISTRIBUTION OF POPULATION BY WEALTH INDEX


IN WEST BENGAL, 2005-06
Wealth Index
Community Group Total
Lowest Second Middle Fourth Highest
Scheduled Caste 30.5% 30.1% 20.0% 14.5% 5.0% 100%
Scheduled Tribe 57.7% 25.9% 11.9% 3.0% 1.6% 100%
Other Backward Caste 13.9% 23.3% 23.7% 30.9% 8.2% 100%
Other 21.4% 22.1% 18.3% 19.3% 19.0% 100%
Total 25.2% 24.4% 18.7% 17.8% 13.9% 100%
Source: NHFS-III, 2005-06

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The spurt of growth witnessed in West Bengal has helped it reduce the aggregate poverty
status in the state. As shown in the Table (3.9) the state which had a marked negative gap for
the percentage of state population under Below the Poverty Line (BPL) with those at the
national level till the eighties has now overtaken this figure. The decline has been witnessed
for the rural population as well. Poverty is lowest in the Kolkata metropolitan area and its
surroundings. The district of North 24 Parganas also shows relatively low poverty. However,
there are some districts with high rural poverty like Purulia, Bankura, Murshidabad and
Jalpaiguri.

TABLE (3.9): TREND OF POPULATION BELOW THE POVERTY LINE


2004-05
States 1973-74 1977-78 1983 1987-88 1993-94 1999-2000
(at URP)*
West Bengal Rural 73.1% 68.3% 63.1% 48.3% 40.8% 31.9% 28.6%
West Bengal Total 63.4% 60.5% 54.9% 44.7% 35.7% 27.% 24.7%
India Rural 56.4% 53.1% 45.7% 39.1% 37.3% 27.1% 28.3%
India Total 54.9% 51.3% 44.5% 38.9% 36% 26.1% 27.5%
Source: Planning Commission, Government of India
* Calculated from Uniform Reference Period distribution of NSS 61 Round of consumer expenditure

Results of the 59th Round of NSSO survey (2003) indicate that the average income of a
marginal farmer in West Bengal is Rs 519 (All-India Rs 435). It shows that in spite of recent
impasse in agriculture, small and marginal farmers enjoy a better living, compared to an
average Indian farmer in this category.

A look in to the spending power of an average person in West Bengal shows that the Nominal
monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE) in rural West Bengal has steadily
increased over the years and in keeping with the national trend. MPCE for 1993 (Table 3.10)
was Rs 279 which increased to Rs 454 in 1999-2000. The results of the 61st round survey of
the NSSO reveals that MPCE was Rs 562 in rural West Bengal in 2004-05. The rate of
increase in nominal MPCE through three successive rounds of NSSO survey has led to a
relatively improved position of West Bengal in comparison to other states. In 2004-05, the
nominal MPCE in rural West Bengal was for the first time higher than the all-India average
(which was Rs 559). From the Table it is clear that the scenario of rural West Bengal is not as
good as it is in some of the more prosperous states of India, such as Kerala, Haryana and
Punjab. However it matches up with Maharashtra and Gujarat; the two leading industrialised
states of India.

TABLE (3.10): NOMINAL AND REAL MONTHLY PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION


EXPENDITURE (MPCE) OF SELECTED STATES
Nominal MPCE (Rural) (in Rs.) Real MPCE (Rural) ( in Rs.)
States
1993-94 1999-2000 2004-05 1993-94 1999-2000 2004-05
West Bengal 279 454 562 279 290 326
Kerala 390 766 1013 390 492 582
Haryana 385 714 863 385 470 493
Punjab 433 742 847 433 485 489
Maharashtra 273 437 568 273 298 296
Gujarat 303 551 596 303 348 334

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TABLE (3.10): NOMINAL AND REAL MONTHLY PER CAPITA CONSUMPTION
EXPENDITURE (MPCE) OF SELECTED STATES
Nominal MPCE (Rural) (in Rs.) Real MPCE (Rural) ( in Rs.)
States
1993-94 1999-2000 2004-05 1993-94 1999-2000 2004-05
All India 281 486 559 281 306 318
Source: NSSO, 50th, 55th, and 61st rounds

It is not necessary that the high per capita District Domestic Product gets reflected truly in the
local consumption pattern. As the WBHDR (using the NSS 55th round survey) highlights that
the per capita District Domestic Product (DDP) is not strongly correlated with per capita
consumption; some of the richer districts like Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri show relatively lower
average consumption expenditure while some poorer districts in DDP terms such as Cooch
Behar, Howrah or North 24 Parganas show relatively higher per capita consumption. Further,
rural per capita consumption is less unequal across districts than aggregate output in the state.
The state also has a significant rural urban difference in average consumption across the
districts. Purulia, 24 Parganas and Dinajpur districts have the sharpest of differences in per
capita consumption.

3.3.3 Land Ownership

The land ownership pattern in the state is marked by a high proportion (as compared to all
India pattern) of small and marginal land holdings of total operational land holding area. The
preponderance of small farms in West Bengal is basically the consequence of land reforms
that enabled the state to acquire the ceiling surplus land from the land-rich households and
distribute such holdings among a large number of landless and land-poor households in rural
areas. Government data show that West Bengal, which is a small state that possesses about
3.88 percent of total agricultural holdings in India, accounts for as high as 16.94 percent of
total ceiling surplus land in the country. In West Bengal the land reforms covered 7.92
percent of the net cropped area of the state; the comparable all-India average is only 1.79
percent.

Gender imbalance has remained an issue as far land ownership of the redistributed land is
concerned. Women have been discriminated on this ground due to patriarchal arrangements
the society and the land distribution exercise too has not done much to alter this aspect. The
WBHDR, quoting the government data reports that only 9.7 percent of the distributed land
was transferred to joint ownership and only 5.94 percent of the total got transferred to single
female ownership. Much of this initiative started as late as in nineties by when much of the
redistribution exercise had got over. This massive state initiative has nonetheless contributed
to agricultural growth in the last two decades where large section of oppressed population
was unleashed as productive forces for agricultural production.

West Bengal which accounts for only 3.88 percent of total agricultural holdings in India has
an overdependence of its population (nearly half of work population) on available land. In the
major agricultural states in India, such as Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra, the area
under marginal farms is quite low and that under large-and medium-sized farms is
considerably high. The latest census shows that in Punjab, marginal farms account for only 6
percent of the operational area of the state and the share of medium and large farms in the
total operated area is about 70 percent. On the contrary in West Bengal, the share of the small
and marginal farms in total operated area is as high as 70 percent (Table 3.11) in West

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Bengal. The share of the small farms itself is 29 percent, which is much higher than the all-
India average of 20 percent.

TABLE (3.11): NUMBER & AREA OF OPERATIONAL HOLDINGS BY SIZE GROUP


IN DISTRICTS OF WEST BENGAL
Marginal Small Medium Large All Classes

District Total Area


% % % % Total under
% Area % Area % Area % Area
Holding Holding Holding Holding Holdings Holdings
(Ha)
Bankura 65 32 23 34 12 34 0 0 367,042 388,709
Birbhum 69 39 22 35 9 26 0 0 289,776 306,431
Burdhaman 72 41 20 32 9 28 0 0 452,867 472,119
Cooch Behar 76 47 17 29 8 24 0 0 309,371 274,702
Dakshin
74 45 20 34 7 21 0 0 205,229 195,336
Dinajpur
Darjeeling 81 25 15 14 3 6 0 54 92,001 152,376
Hooghly 86 58 12 28 3 13 0 0 332,008 217,709
Howrah 93 75 6 17 1 7 0 0 235,724 102,618
Jalpaiguri 81 35 15 20 4 10 0 35 286,011 355,110
Malda 81 54 15 30 4 16 0 0 363,764 298,849
Murshidabad 78 48 17 33 5 19 0 0 586,816 439,087
Nadia 77 51 19 37 3 12 0 0 400,596 351,968
North 24
85 58 12 28 3 13 0 0 428,548 284,314
Parganas
Pashim
85 61 12 27 3 11 0 0 680,233 512,785
Midnapore
Purba
95 83 5 13 1 4 0 0 581,484 310,976
Midnapore
Purulia 71 39 21 34 8 27 0 0 301,514 260,291
South 24
86 62 12 29 2 9 0 0 611,551 369,413
Parganas
Uttar Dinajpur 78 49 16 31 6 18 0 2 265,456 253,783
West Bengal 80 50 15 29 5 17 0 4 6,789,991 5,546,576
Source: Agriculture Census 2001
Note: Figures given as percent of respective totals

In the table above it can also be seen that nearly 95 percent of the land holders are from the
small and marginal farmer group. In fact, more than four fifth of the land holders are
marginal farmers owning less than an acre of land. It is to be noted that the land distributed
under land reform process had an upper ceiling of 1 acre and the average land received by the
pattadar was 0.39 acres only. A district wise distribution pattern reveals that barring
Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri, the land ownership by large farmers is almost negligible in the
state. Similarly, the proportion of land owned by marginal farmers is much lower than the
state average in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Bankura, Birbhum and Purulia.

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TABLE (3.12): ESTIMATED IRRIGATED AND UNIRRIGATED
AREA BY SIZE CLASSES UNDER CROPS IN WEST BENGAL
Gross Cropped Area
Size Class(HA)
Irrigated Un-irrigated
Marginal (less than 1 HA) 54% 46%
Small (between 1-2 HA) 57% 43%
Semi medium ( between 2-4 HA) 57% 43%
Medium (between 4-10 HA) 60% 40%
Large (larger than 10 HA) 44% 56%
All Classes 55% 45%
Source: Agriculture Census 2001

Despite the continuing process of vested land distribution to poor households the NSS data
indicates that the proportion of landless rural households in West Bengal increased from
39.6 percent in 1987-88, to 41.6 percent in 1993-94, to as much as 49.8 percent in 1999-2000.
In other words, by the end of the decade, nearly half of the rural households in West Bengal
were landless. The comparable figure for rural India at this point of time was 41 percent. It of
course needs to be noted that this trend was observed across India which was mainly due to
substantial diversification of rural employment to non-agricultural activities and agriculture
becoming not an attractive occupational choice for many.

TABLE (3.13): LANDLESS HOUSEHOLDS


(As Proportion of All Households by Social Groups in West Bengal)
Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribe Others Total
West Bengal 54.1% 48.8% 42.8% 46.5%
India 56.5% 35.5% 37.8% 41.6%
Source: NSS 59 round, 2003

Another data set from NSS 59th round, 2003, given in Table (3.13) indicates that the
proportion of rural households in West Bengal with no land other than homestead was
marginally better (46.5 percent) than it was in the earlier round. The table also shows that
situation is worse for the marginalized social groups in the state.

3.3.4 Migration

Migrants form a substantial proportion of the urban workforce in the state. There are three
broad streams of migration into urban areas of West Bengal: from the rural areas of the state;
from other states within the country (typically Bihar, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh); and from
neighbouring countries (typically Bangladesh and Nepal). Data for 2000 indicate that only 53
per cent of the factory workers and 83 per cent of the non-factory and commercial
establishment workers originated within the state. The rest came from Bihar, Orissa,
Uttar Pradesh and around 3 per cent from elsewhere. Of course there are many
migrant workers in the informal sector, for whom there is less evidence. While most
migration is male, there are also cases of families moving, and also some evidence of
female migrants moving to urban areas for short-duration jobs.

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Work participation rates of migrants tend to be higher than the average for obvious
reasons. The relative decline in factory employment would obviously have affected
such workers, and is also likely to have led to changes in patterns of migration. Recent
patterns of migration indicate lower in-migration into Kolkata as well as into other
cities and towns, and increased out-migration from urban areas of West Bengal to
places even outside the state. While these could reflect improved conditions in the
countryside, they also may result from relatively stagnant opportunities in these
cities and towns.

3.4 SCHEDULED TRIBES IN WEST BENGAL

As per Census 2001, the total population of West Bengal is 80,176,197. Of this the Scheduled
Tribes (ST) population accounts for 5.5 percent and Scheduled Caste population accounts for
23 percent. Due to low growth rate, the percentage of Scheduled Tribe population has come
down to 5.5 percent in 2001 from 5.59 percent during 1991.

Out of 40 notified Scheduled Tribe communities20 in the State, the Santhal represents more
than half of the total ST population (51.8 percent). Oraon (14 percent), Munda (7.8 percent),
Bhumij (7.6 percent) and Kora (3.2 percent) are the major ST communities having sizeable
population and account for nearly 85 percent of the state’s total ST population as shown in
Table (3.14). The Lodha, Mahali, Bhutia, Bedia, and Savar are the remaining ST
communities, and having population of one percent or more. The rest of the ST communities
are very small in population size.

TABLE (3.14): DISTRIBUTION OF SHEDULED TRIBE


POPULATION
Name of the Proportion of the total ST
SL. No. Total population
Scheduled Tribe population
1 Santal 2,280,540 51.8
2 Oraon 617,138 14.0
3 Munda 341,542 7.8
4 Bhumij 336,436 7.6
5 Kora 142,789 3.2
6 Lodha 84,966 1.9
7 Mahali 76,102 1.7
8 Bhutia 60,091 1.4
9 Bedia 55,979 1.3
10 Savar 43,599 1.0
Source: Census, 2001

20
Schedule Tribe communities in West Bengal includes (1) Asur, (2) Baiga, (3) Bedia/ Bediya, (4) Bhumij, (5)
Bhutia (Sherpa, Toto, Dukpa, Kagatay, Tibetan, Yolmo), (6) Birhor, (7) Birjia, (8) Chakma, (9) Chero, (10)
Chik Baraik, (11) Garo, (12) Gond, (13) Gorait, (14) Hajang, (15) Ho, (16) Karmali, (17) Kharwar, (18) Khond.
(19) Kisan, (20) Kora, (21) Korwa, (22) Lepcha, (23) Lodha (Kheria, Khaira), (24) Lohara/Lohra, (25) Magh,
(26) Mahali, (27) Mahli, (28) Mal Pahariya, (29) Mech, (30) Mru, (31) Munda, (32) Nagesia, (33) Oraon, (34)
Pahariya, (35) Rabha, (36) Santal, (37) Sauria Paharia, (38) Savar, (39) Limbu, and (40) Tamang

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Of the total Scheduled Tribe population in the state, the highest representation comes from
the district of Medinipur followed by Jalpaiguri. The following table shows percentage
distribution of the total state tribal population among the districts having considerable
presence of this group:

TABLE (3.15): DISTRIBUTION OF SCHEDULED TRIBE


District In Nos. In percent
Medinipur 798,684 18%
Jalpaiguri 641,688 15%
Purulia 463,452 11%
Burdhaman 441,832 10%
Bankura 330,783 8%
Source: Census, 2001

The STs in the state are Fig. (3.1): Block Wise Distribution of ST Population in
predominantly residing in West Bengal
the rural areas (93.9 per
cent). Contrary to the
overall situation among the
majority of tribes, Bhutia
has recorded the highest 34
per cent urban population.
The Mahali (10.2 per cent)
and Kora (9.9 per cent) are
the other STs having
comparatively higher
concentration in urban
areas.

As per Census 2001, the ST


population is concentrated
in 102 blocks spread over 5
districts of West Bengal.
Among these, in 16 blocks
the ST population account
for 30 percent of the total
population, in 28 blocks it
account for more than 20
percent population and in
another 58 blocks it account
for more than 10 percent of
the total population. Fig
(3.1) presents the block
wise distribution of ST
population in the State.
Source: WBSHDR 2004
3.4.1 Major Scheduled Tribes

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The characteristics of major scheduled tribes in West Bengal are presented in table below.

TABLE (3.16): DESCRIPTION OF THE MAJOR TRIBES IN WEST BENGAL


Issues/
Tribes Characteristics Occupation Regional presence
Vulnerabilities
Santal They tend to keep a low The modern day Traditionally the The present day
profile and usually picture shows santal is not supposed distribution is over
prefer to keep their own economic to have any truck Jharkhand, Bihar,
group. dependence of the with a non-santal. West Bengal, Orissa,
The Santals are divided sandals on the non- Their residential area Assam, Meghalaya
into twelve patrilocal Santals for in a larger village is and Tripura in India
exogamous clans: employment, for often marked out as and in parts of
Hansdak, Murmu, livelihood. separate. Bangladesh and
Hembrom, Soren, Electricity though Nepal. Their major
Marandi, Tudu, Baske, provided in villages concentration in
Besra, pauria, Kisku, have not entered the West Bengal is in
Core, Bedea. Of these santal homes because Medinipur.
the Bedea clan no of poverty.
longer exists. Their adoption to the
Women do not enjoy agricultural
the right of inheritance, adaptations is very
but otherwise, they are slow.
not discriminated
socially.
They are a migratory
community.
Oraon The Oraons hyave Land is their main Owing to poverty,
The Oraons are
generally migrated economic resource and distant location
wideky dispersed
from the Chhotanagpur and is controlled by of schools, the
over the state but are
area of bihar as lineage, clan or Oraons have poor
mainly distributed in
seasonal or permanent individuals. literacy. north Bengal
migrant labourers in tea However most of the There is no electricity
especially in the
gardens or for various Oraons work as in most of the
district of Jalpaiguri,
construction works. plantation labourers, villages. and the western
The social organization agricultural serfs and In hours of money
fringes of the State
of the Oraons is as labourers in the crisis, they go to the
which covers the
characterized by the unorganized sector. moneylender.
districts like
existence of totemic Midnapore, Purulia
clan divisions, e.g. and Bankura. They
Lakra (tiger), Tikri are also found in the
(young mice), Kujur Sunderbans and its
(fruit) etc. adjoining zones of
24-parganas district.
Munda The Munda subgroups The primary The community is They have migrated
are Kharia-Munda, occupation of this quite updated on the from Bihar and are
Munda-Majhi, Kol- community is progress of the now distributed in
Munda, Mahali-Munda, agriculture. society. They are Midnapore, Purulia,
Bhumij-Munda, Manki- The community has aware of the West Dinajpur,
Munda, Nagbanshi- businessmen and importance of Maldah, Jalpaiguri
Munda and Savar- job-holders in the education and send and Darjeeling
Munda. They have government. their children to districts of West
several exogamous schools and colleges Bengal.
clans, such as Bojra, regularly.
Bhegra, Sal, Beng, Bar,
Bagela, ghagher,
Machhli, Hemram,
Karketa, Hansa, Kiri

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TABLE (3.16): DESCRIPTION OF THE MAJOR TRIBES IN WEST BENGAL
Issues/
Tribes Characteristics Occupation Regional presence
Vulnerabilities
and Nag.
They prefer to live in
nuclear families,
though a few live in
mixed-extended
families.
Bhumij Earlier references trace The Bhumij Because of the high They are more
their origin from the commonly live in rate of literacy there concentrated in
‘Kol’ group of people. nuclear family but is a sizeable number Midnapore, purulia,
The Bhumij society is extended or joint which enjoys white- bandura and 24-
divided into such ones are also seen. collar jobs and thus Paraganas districts of
exogamous clans such are somewhat less West Bengal and in
as Chalki, Kachchyap, vulnerable than other Bihar and Orissa.
Hemrom, Chapra, tribes
Saral,Khatu,
Ghughushyama, Hemla
and Tesa.

3.4.2 Primitive Tribal Groups

Out of the Scheduled Tribe communities of the State, 3 communities namely Lodha, Birhor
and Toto have been declared as Primitive Tribes by the Government of India. The total
population of these three communities is 58,534 as per 2001 Census with the Lodha
community with 57,028 persons, Birhors at 279 persons and the Toto with 1227 persons. The
Lodhas are mainly distributed in Medinipur and Bankura districts, the Birhors are found in
Purulia and the Totos are the inhabitants of Totopara of Jalpaiguri.

Totos: Totos live in Totopara, an isolated village of Madarihat Block in Jalpaiguri district of
W.B. The village Boundary comprises Trading Hills & Bhutan Himalayan range in the
North, Houri River & Titi forests on the South & West, Torsha River flowing on the East.
The main characteristics of this tribe are:

 Majority of Toto main workers are day labourers


 During lean period and winter season they work as porters for carrying Oranges from
Bhutan to Madarihat market
 Betel nut is major cash crop which they cultivate & sell to traders often at lower rates
 Bamboo is another important cash crop cultivated which is sold in the form of
handicraft products
 Subsidiary crops like Ginger, Black pepper, Turmeric, Sajina, Jackfruits & Pineapple
are also grown
 Important economic activities - Collection of forest produces like wild Chillies,
Roots, Tubers, Mushrooms, Honey, barks and special grasses for preparation of rope

Birhors: Birhors live in six villages spread across three Blocks, namely Baghmundi,
Balarampur & Jhalda-I of Purulia district of W.B. Villages are situated either on dry &
rough undulating plateau or within dense forested tracts. The main characteristics of this
tribe are:

 Birhors are identified as a nomadic hunting-gathering group

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 Majority of Birhors are engaged in collection of minor forest produce including
'Chihor-lata' with which they prepare long ropes
 These ropes are sold in the weekly local village markets, either directly or as
handicraft items
 They originally migrated from Ranchi, Hazaribagh & Dhanbad districts of Jharkhand
State
 Some still migrate to Bihar, Jharkhand & parts of U.P. as well as to neighbouring
districts of Burdwan & North 24-Parganas to work as labourers at highways, brick-
fields, etc
 Bhupatipally is the first rehabilitated village where an exclusive concentration of
Birhor families is found
 Animal husbandry provides them with a supplementary source of income

Lodhas: Lodhas inhabit 469 villages situated in 20 Blocks of Paschim Medinipur district.
They are a semi-nomadic, denotified community who are gradually becoming settled
agriculturists nowadays. The main characteristics of this tribe are:
 Lodhas are primarily a hunting-gathering community whose main subsistence
depends on collection of wild roots, tubers & edible leaves from jungles
 They also hunt wild animals, birds & reptiles which are consumed as food while their
skins & hides are sold
 Lodhas also collect minor forest produce (MFP) including Babui-grass for rope-
making, and 'Tossar' silk cocoons which are sold to a specialized group of weavers
making silk clothes
 Gradually, they are becoming familiar with the modern techniques of agriculture, and
working as Agricultural labourers
 Many of them presently have economically viable trees & medicinal plants
 Some of them are engaged in rearing poultry & other livestocks
 A considerable number still migrate to neighbouring states & districts for labour jobs

3.4.3 Literacy Among Tribal Groups

Though there is an increase in the literacy rate among the Scheduled Tribes over the last few
decades but it is still very low at 43.4 percent and is well below the state average of 68.64
percent as shown in Table (3.17). The literacy among the non SC/ ST community is much
higher at 73.55 percent.

TABLE (317): LITERACY AND SEX RATIO IN WEST BENGAL


Other Communities
Census Year All ST SC
(Non Scheduled)
1961 29.28% 6.55% 13.53% 35.94%
1971 33.20% 8.92% 17.80% 39.19%
1981 40.94% 13.21% 24.37% 48.12%
1991 57.70% 27.78% 42.21% 64.98%
2001 68.64% 43.40% 59.04% 73.55%
Source: Census of India

The gender disparity in literacy is clearly reflected in Table (3.18), which shows a male
literacy rate of 57.4 per cent and female of 29.2 percent. Of the ten major STs, Bhutia with

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72.6 per cent overall literacy is well ahead of others. Savar are at the other extreme having
26.3 per cent overall literacy.

TABLE (3.18): LITERACY RATE AMONG TEN MAJOR TRIBES


Sl. No. Name Total Male Female
1 Santal 42.2 57.3 27.0
2 Oraon 43.4 55.4 31.0
3 Munda 41.0 54.0 27.7
4 Bhumij 45.6 61.6 29.1
5 Kora 43.4 58.4 28.2
6 Lodha 34.8 46.8 22.5
7 Mahali 41.1 55.6 26.3
8 Bhutia 72.6 80.2 65.2
9 Bedia 48.4 61.7 34.6
10 Savar 26.3 36.4 16.0
All Tribes 43.4 57.4 29.2
Source: Census, 2001

3.4.4 Occupation Pattern among Scheduled Tribe

As per Census 2001, 48.8 per cent of the ST population has been recorded as workers, which
is quite close to the aggregated national average for STs (49.1 percent). Of the total ST
workers 65.7 percent are main workers and 34.3 percent are marginal workers. The workers
participation ratio (WPR) among ST population in West Bengal at 43.7 percent among
females is slightly lower than that of males (53.8 percent). Gender disparity, however, is
paramount in the category of main workers with 78.3 percent males and 49.9 percent females
being the main workers.

TABLE (3.19): PROPORTION OF MAIN AND MARGINAL


WORKERS AMONG ST POPULATION
% to total Main Workers Marginal Workers
population (% to total workers) (% to total workers)
Male 53.8% 78.3% 21.7%
Female 43.7% 49.9% 50.1%
Total 48.8% 65.7% 34.3%
Source: Census, 2001

Overall the main worker population among the Scheduled Tribes of the state is almost double
the marginal worker. There is a slight variation in the case of Purulia where the distribution
between main and marginal workers is almost equal, while in the districts of Kolkata, Nadia
and Darjeeling there are maximum differences as shown in the following table:

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TABLE (3.20): DISTRIBUTION OF WORKERS IN
SCHEDULED TRIBE IN DISTRICTS OF WEST BENGAL
State/ District Main Worker Marginal worker
Bankura 31.7% 22.3%
Burdhaman 32.5% 16.3%
Birbhum 34.4% 18.7%
Dakshin Dinajpur 37.4% 15.7%
Darjeeling 32.5% 8.4%
Howrah 33.1% 14.9%
Hugli 37.2% 15.5%
Jalpaiguri 30.9% 10.7%
Koch Bihar 31.9% 10.5%
Kolkata 35.0% 3.3%
Maldah 32.8% 17.9%
Medinipur (Purba + Paschim) 30.7% 21.0%
Murshidabad 35.2% 11.4%
Nadia 38.4% 6.4%
North 24 Parganas 30.6% 11.6%
Purulia 27.1% 24.8%
South 24 Parganas 26.4% 16.6%
Uttar Dinajpur 37.2% 12.3%
West Bengal 32.0% 16.7%
Source: Census, 2001

Majority of the ST workers are agricultural labourers (53.2 percent), followed by other
workers (24.2 percent), cultivators (19.5 percent) and HHI workers (3.1 percent). In case of
districts like Howrah and Kolkata, the majority of the workers are in the category of other
workers. The Mahali are ordinarily involved in non-agricultural activities with only 5.3
percent of their main workers in cultivation and 19.6 per cent as agricultural labourers.

TABLE (3.21): CATEGORY OF SCHEDULED TRIBE WORKERS


Agricultural Household Other
State/ District Cultivators
Labourers Industry Workers
Bankura 31.9% 53.7% 3.2% 11.2%
Burdhaman 7.2% 67.8% 1.8% 23.2%
Birbhum 20.5% 61.4% 2.3% 15.8%
Dakshin Dinajpur * 26.3% 65.0% 1.6% 7.2%
Darjeeling 21.6% 13.4% 1.7% 63.3%
Howrah 0.8% 16.4% 3.9% 78.9%
Hugli 6.5% 78.4% 0.7% 14.4%
Jalpaiguri 15.2% 12.0% 0.6% 72.2%
Koch Bihar 28.6% 37.1% 1.0% 33.3%
Kolkata 0.4% 0.7% 0.9% 98.0%
Maldah 31.3% 58.0% 2.2% 8.6%
Medinipur (Purba + Paschim) 18.6% 63.3% 6.9% 11.3%

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TABLE (3.21): CATEGORY OF SCHEDULED TRIBE WORKERS
Agricultural Household Other
State/ District Cultivators
Labourers Industry Workers
Murshidabad 8.6% 76.6% 2.0% 12.9%
Nadia 8.8% 65.0% 2.7% 23.5%
North 24 Parganas 9.2% 55.4% 1.2% 34.3%
Purulia 32.1% 49.7% 5.2% 13.0%
South 24 Parganas 13.7% 63.5% 1.0% 21.9%
Uttar Dinajpur 21.8% 63.1% 0.8% 14.3%
West Bengal 19.5% 53.2% 3.1% 24.2%
Source: Census, 2001

3.5 CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS IN WEST BENGAL

The most common definition of civil society is the ‘public space that exits in between the
state and the individual/ households’ where it is seen as closely related to socio-economic
development and modernity.

The role of civil society organisations in safeguarding and furthering public domain issues of
equity, social justice and environment is on the whole weak in West Bengal. One major
reason for this is the political nature of the society in West Bengal. It is primarily and
traditionally through political parties that public domain issues and causes are sought to be
acted upon by concerned people. The NGO movement in India of the last three decades has
had only a limited expression in West Bengal, if one looks at the state as a whole, and if one
considers all the vital issues affecting and afflicting the lives of the people. In West Bengal,
the ruling CPI(M) has usually supported and guided peasant movements through its mass
front, however, it has mostly been ideologically and politically averse to the Non
Governmental Organisations (NGOs). (Thorlind,2000).

However, West Bengal may be seen as advanced in terms of the presence and prevalence of
micro-organisations, such as women’s group, youth clubs and neighbourhood associations.
Such organisations are active in organising, religious, social and cultural activities, touching
the daily life of the people at large. These organisations and associations keep alive the spirit
of voluntarism and public cooperation.

In absence of existence of a large number of NGOs and working on local governance issues,
it is the women’s group, youth clubs, neighbourhood associations and community
organisations that one should start thinking about civil society organisations. At the same
time, there must be an outlook of promoting and facilitating the building of new organisations
which work in the public domain, to occupy the civil society space.

Public awareness, the politically conscious nature of the people and the accountability
demanding outlook of the people have to be moulded to build public domain organisations,
which give voice to people’s needs and aspirations and play a watchdog function in public
life. Capacity building has to proceed from such a perspective.

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3.6 GRAM PANCHAYAT ACTIVITIES AND RESULTING SOCIAL IMPACTS

In general, the GP activities in West Bengal do not possess any direct social risks associated with its implementation. In most of the cases, these are
mostly process related risks that often impact the project achievements. The key social issues observed during the primary field visit in 30 GPs
across six districts viz. Burdhaman, Cooch Behar, Dakshin Dinajpur, Howrah, Murshidabad and Purulia is presented below.

TABLE (3.22): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR SOCIAL IMPACTS OBSERVED


Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Social Impacts of the GP Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
1 Excavation and All the GPs visited had  A positive impact of better  Social exclusion in  No formal or spelt out  Awareness need to be
de-silting of conducted excavation and de- availability of water for terms of caste or mechanism on benefit sensitive toward s
existing Ponds silting of ponds under NREGS. various household and ethnicity in using the sharing exists. issues of social
One-two ponds in each of the 30 irrigation use. ponds was not observed exclusion in equal
GPs were visited by the team in in any of the GPs. distribution of benefits
the study districts. among GP staffs and
elected members.
2 Construction of One pond in Sagarpara GP  Positive impact. Though  Location of pond is an  Prioritisation  Sensitisation of GP
new Pond (Murshidabad) and eight ponds there are issues of not having important factor with infrastructure provision personnel required on
constructed in Malandighi GP of enough rainfall last year and respect to access to in poorer/ tribal hamlet following principles of
Burdhaman district hence ponds getting dry (as benefit among needy. may be done based on equity.
in the case of Malandighi GP principles of equity.
in Burdhaman) where all Though no obvious
eight ponds were lying dry. exclusion observed, but
relatively less number
of such infrastructure
were found in poorer/
tribal hamlets
3 Rural All the GPs visited had  Positive impact. Though  No obvious exclusion  Drainage should be  Sensitisation of GP
connectivity/ conducted kutcha roads under many of them do not have observed, but relatively planned along with road personnel required on
Construction of NREGS. One-two such roads in drains and becomes water less number of such construction to avoid following principles of
village roads/ each of the 30 GPs were visited logged during heavy rains. infrastructure were issues of water logging. equity.
internal by the team in the study districts. found in poorer/ tribal  Nirman Sahayak to be
pathways This has been quite common in hamlets  In case of land donation sensitised to plan
all the GPs in Murshidabad and for internal pathways, drainage along with

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 127
TABLE (3.22): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR SOCIAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Social Impacts of the GP Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
Purulia district with number of GPs to ensure that it is roads.
such activities being taken up. voluntary or purchased

 Land donation issues


should be discussed in
open forum and
compensatory measures
if any shared with the
local community
4 Repair and All the GPs visited had either  Erosion of top soils from on  The GPs do not have  Soil to be sourced from  The capacity exists in
maintenance of conducted or undertaken repair account of earth for repair any guidelines for waste or barren land and terms of technical
existing village and maintenance of existing being used from agriculture sourcing of earth for use of waste construction knowhow
roads village roads under NREGS. plots poses risk of livelihood. road construction material
One-two such roads in each of  Awareness among GP
the 30 GPs were visited by the staffs especially the
team in the study districts. In Nirman Sahayak on
many cases it is the maintenance sourcing earth form
and re-carpeting on account of barren/ uncultivable
maintenance were carried out by land will be useful.
GPs
5 Maintenance of Maintenance of existing  Reduction in flooding accrue  Irrigation Department  Regular maintenance of  Joint supervision by
branch canals irrigation canal (branch canal) to crops and assets saved Engineers to supervise some of the junction both GP and Irrigation
including was observed in Udang II GP of from being eroded. maintenance operation points may be useful as Department required –
strengthening Howrah District in association pre-emptive exercise. and hence, there is
canal banks with Irrigation Department need to build
capacities for close
coordination
 Community Based
Disaster Preparedness
(CBDP) initiatives
may be fruitful.

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TABLE (3.22): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR SOCIAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Social Impacts of the GP Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
6 Installation of Installation of deep Tube wells in  Some of the tube wells were  No specific mitigation  Proper analysis of water  Some GPs are aware
Deep Tube wells Chakchaka GP of Cooch Behar reported to be contaminated measures undertaken to prospecting and testing of PHE Department’s
for drinking District, many tube wells were with Arsenic and High Iron ensure safe drinking should be carried out (GoWB) norms on
water visited across the GPs of Howrah content. water before making under the guidance of installing drinking
District and Jombad GP in such investment PHED. water tube wells.
Purulia However further
 Water quality as per the awareness building
National Standards to be among GP staff is
maintained and annual required on this.
monitoring of quality may
be carried out.
7 Construction River erosion is found rampant in  River bank erosion is still  Inadequate measures to  A proper guideline and  Awareness and
and Sagarpara GP in Murshidabad taking place due to flood address erosion. technical knowhow capacity for CBDP
strengthening of and Natabari II and Khurshamari every year leading many required to undertake initiatives among GP
embankment for GP in Cooch Behar. The GP households devoid of their such activities under the functionaries may be
controlling river level initiatives are mainly in the agricultural lands and close supervision of useful
bank erosion form of construction of earth homestead. competent technical
embankments or to build person/ agency
temporary embankment with  There has been no  Mechanism for providing
bamboo to cease river bank mechanism for providing temporary relief to the
erosion under NREGS temporary relief by the GP. victims may be useful
programme. In some cases it  Initiating CBDP
also account for strengthening of  Earth embankments often (community based
existing embankment which may prove unsustainable in disaster preparedness)
have been built earlier. absence of gravel may be useful
fortification to be strong
enough to withstand the
water current.
8 Social Forestry Social forestry was observed in  Positive social impact with  No formal or spelt out  Forest Protection  Linkages with FPC
Dwip Khanda and Sakoir GP in potential future sharing of mechanism on benefit Committee in JFM and Forest Department
Dakhsin Dinajpur; Chakchaka benefits including NTFPs. sharing exits villages/ GPs may be may be required along
GP in Cooch Behar District; consulted for overall with understanding of

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TABLE (3.22): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR SOCIAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Social Impacts of the GP Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
Satgachhia, Shyamsundar and  No evidence of social management and future JFM.
Malandighi GPs in Burdwan exclusion on the basis of benefit sharing.
district; Hatgacha, Rampur- caste/ community groups
dihibhurshad, Udang II, Thalia observed in benefit sharing.  Sustainability aspects can
GPs in Howrah; Arrah and be strengthen if linked/
Sonathali GPs in Purulia associated with “sacred
groves” wherever tribal
population exists
9 Construction of Many sanitary facilities were  Poor quality of construction  Only few soak pits  Existing PHED norms  Local Masons to be
Sanitary Units/ visited in Shyamsundar and leading to choking or were reported to be and designs may need to trained for better
Toilets Purba Satgachia GPs collapsing of soak pits. lined with bamboo or be followed construction of toilets
(Burdhaman district) were 40 bricks etc
percent of households got toilets;  Open defecation found to be  Adequate efforts required  Though a basic
in Sammatinagar GP very common even though  GPs role is only up to to promote usage of knowhow exists with
(Murshidabad district) were 50 toilets constructed. Leading make the toilet seat toilets Nirman Sahayak on
percent household got toilets; in to higher risk of water borne available and construction of toilets,
Chakchaka and Nishiganj II GPs diseases. construction of soak pit  Training of local masons linkages with PHED
of Cooch Behar district; in if a minimum amount is on toilet construction required to be updated
Hatgacha, Dehi Bhursad, Udang  Also in some GPs the units paid by the individual on new technological
II and Thalia GPs of Howrah are mostly set up close to the option suiting to local
district; and Jombad GP in kitchen/dwelling units made needs
Purulia District. of mud and bamboo
structures. This further  Close coordination
tantamount to the problem of with PHED and GP
sanitation rather than its required for effective
solution. delivery of services
10 Construction of One-two construction sites  Positive social impacts.  Local knowledge of  Toilet construction should  The awareness and
Building (School, visited in almost all the GPs construction exits be made mandatory with capacity both exists
Panchayat visited  In many cases as it is linked the house, AWC and with many villagers as
Office, AWC, to constructing BPL houses,  GP aware of the faulty School construction. well as with GP
Community and BPL list being faulty, the BPL list and often functionaries
Centres, House actual benefit does not makes attempts for  Also, appropriate design (especially the Nirman

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TABLE (3.22): GP ACTIVITIES VISITED AND THEIR SOCIAL IMPACTS OBSERVED
Sl. Nature of GP No. of GP Activities Visited Social Impacts of the GP Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures Current Capacity in GP
No. Activities and Details of GPs Activities Observed currently in place required but not taken (to identify and
(Type and Scale) undertake mitigation)
etc) reaches to the real poor/ inclusion of other poor and promotion required Sahayak
needy. households into the for roof water harvesting
BPL listing
 Erroneous BPL listing lead to
exclusion of many poor from
accessing different schemes
11 Distribution of About 10 landless households  Positive social impact  Provision in the  Erroneous BPL listing  Basic understanding
Land Patta to have received pattas in Sagarpara observed. However, number administrative lead to exclusion of many and awareness exits.
landless GP (Murshidabad), 5 Household of SC or ST households framework for purchase poor from accessing
in Mandalpara Birthumba GS of receiving land patta has been of land for different schemes  Limitations of GP
Jamuar GP (Murshidabad) less in numbers. redistribution to with respect to
benefited from land reform landless (mainly the  Prioritisation of SCs and influencing BPL
initiatives in last five years. BPL) STs among the poor may listing
be required
The above land in Sagarpara GP
were purchased by the GP from
large landowner for
redistribution to landless.
12 Employment Various NREGS works were  Provision of limited days of  Existing provisions in  Given that limitation of  Awareness about real
generation visited in each of the GPs during employment becomes sub- the Act common lands in many provisions under the
through range of the primary study. optimal to address local districts and GPs in West Act/ schemes to GP
NREGS works livelihood situation of the Bengal, limited functionaries.
On an average 7 to 30 days has poor implementation on private
been provided to most of the lands observed.  Efforts to make people
NREGS job card holders.  Delay in wage payment aware of provisions
further reduces whatever  No awareness or demand and articulation of that
positive impact it may have. for non-employment days in increased demand
by poor households are more important.
 Not able to address local
employment need and reduce
forced migration

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3.7 KEY SOCIAL ISSUES OBSERVED IN GPs VISITED

The key social issues observed during the primary field visit in 30 GPs across six districts
viz. Burdhaman, Cooch Behar, Dakshin Dinajpur, Howrah, Murshidabad and Purulia is
presented below.

Fig. (3.2): Key Social Issues Observed In GPs Visited

Source: TARU Primary Study, 2009

Erroneous BPL listing to access various development programmes has been reported by
almost all the GPs as a major issue in ensuring social benefits to the poor and vulnerable.
This is followed by low level of awareness about various provisions of NREGA as reported
in 83 percent of the GPs. Low livelihood security from land and lack of employment
opportunity and low awareness about social protection programme varies across GPs and
ranges between 53 to 70 percent.

High rate of migration and trafficking of women and children though reported from 47
percent and 37 percent GPs respectively, it is largely concentrated in GPs visited in three
eastern West Bengal districts and regionally a much larger issue. Social exclusion and
political denial were also observed in some of the GPs.

On Status of SHGs

Sammatinagar, a Gram Panchayat in Raghunathganj II block of Murshidabad is situated in


proximity to the block head quarter and houses significant urban household population in its
boundaries. Last couple of years has seen several community level mobilizing efforts in the
panchayat. Besides, the SRD initiative, the panchayat has also witnessed significant
community level mobilization in the form of Women SHG formations in recent years. As on
date, there are nearly 200 SHGs registered in this panchayat.
An opportunity to observe the proceedings of the mandatory panchayat level monthly cluster
level meeting of the SHGs assures one of the immense possibilities that these groups promise

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of community led development processes. The meeting was well represented by the SHG
members with around 60-70 women present in the meeting. While not undermining the efforts
that have already gone on bringing together village women at a shared platform interactions
with SHG members and its leaders suggest of key support input needed for sustainability of
such community based institutions. The fact that some of the SHGs (that are involved)
engaged in Papad manufacturing lack proper technical know how and storage facilities often
leading to wastage of manufactured stock is a pointer to critical regular support needed like
in establishing market linkages (for business enterprises taken up), trainings for developing
smart business acumen, linkages with banks and financial institutions for micro credits etc.

On another line, there is also a still a high scope in promoting democratic and participatory
functioning of the groups where the GPs can play an important role. Even, this meeting’s
proceedings which the field team observed was markedly dominated by a couple of cluster
leaders. Interaction with the members indicated significantly low level of awareness among
the members on SHG functioning and related issues. The GP staff present on the occasion
candidly explained this to be on account of irregular meetings and poor participation of the
members in SHG meetings. Disappointingly, it is also learnt that the SHGs as a body play
very limited role in panchayat related planning and development activities. Even if these
groups have mandatory representation in the Gram Unnayan Samitis, but it barely serves the
desired purpose. Hence expectedly enough, these groups when enquired about different
government schemes expressed complete ignorance. That only 10 out of the quoted 200 SHGs
were considered to be effective enough by one of the GP staff, therefore calls for more
concerted effort towards making SHG movement a reality.

A proactive GP- on Social Forestry and Community particpation

Deepkhanda, a Gram Panchayat in Tapan block, Dakshin Dinajpur is one example which
has carried out activities indicative of progressive Gram Panchayat and perhaps due to
forward thinking panchayat representatives and staff members. Not discounting the fact that
there are still some voices of discontent and dissatisfaction over unmet demands,
discrimination on grounds of political affiliation or otherwise but the panchayat and its
leadership needs to be credited for its achievements.

This panchayat has successfully carried out social forestry activity in an area of 65 hectares
planting species like Sheesham, Teak and Euclyptus. It has also experimented with the idea of
(which sadly was not observed in other GPs visited) promoting joint ownership of the asset
with the local community. Reportedly, the local SHGs were engaged in this exercise right
from the transplantation, watering and maintenance to up keeping and protection of the
saplings. Now the plantations are fully grown and ready to pay dividends to the owners. In
return, the SHGs will get three fourth of the proceeds from sale of these assets. In words of a
panchayat staff “though the idea was mooted from the panchayat building, it is the local
community that ensured that exercise achieved success; of course they had to be convinced of
this by us and we know how to do it”.

But there are other examples of half hearted or ill planned efforts by GPs in other parts of the
state visited by the team. In one such case, in Bhour GP, Dakshin Dinajpur, the panchayat did

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not ensure appropriate measures like erecting tree guards to protect the saplings all of which
were subsequently grazed over by goats. Another common practice observed was that of GP
employing individuals to look after security of the plantations which hardly invoke popular
community participation and ownerships. Similarly in these panchayats no evidences of
community participation were witnessed in terms of selection of plant species for plantation
purposes.

A typical Panchayat planning process

Planning process in Bhour Panchayat of Dakshin Dinajpur, is typical of general practices


as reported in panchayats visited. It is also indicative of impact of SRD initiatives and
improvements that it has brought in recent years.

Among the significant changes in the Panchayat planning process has been an increased
level of planning activities at Sansad levels. Shri Subodh Mondal, the Panchayat Secretary
attributes much of this change to SRD interventions. Gram Sansads now are more involved
in planning exercises and also there is an increased adherence to action plan. Gram
Panchayat however faces constraints in terms of limited capabilities of Gram Unnayan
Samitis for developing and documentation of plans which is mostly done by the panchayat
staff. As a general practice, each year’s budget for action plan is hiked by 20-25 percent
approximately compared to the preceding year figure which is irrespective of the budget
actually available under different schemes. The Panchayat plans, the GP staff admit do not
have any specific focus on the needs of SC and ST population. Specific interventions
targeting these groups are restricted to Indira Awas Yojana and Public Distribution System
(which any ways have inbuilt preferential selection prameters for these groups) and
prioritization often missing in other regular interventions. In fact with the new guidelines on
beneficiary selection for IAY (that it will be guided exclusively by poverty status of the
households in the latest but controversial BPL Survey) coming in force, the participation
level in village meetings have declined sharply. On earlier occasions a Gram Sansad
meeting which usually witnessed attendance above 80 percent now has attendance level
barely crossing 20 percent. Shri Mondal however also adds but now the planning at the
Gram Sansad level is more real in character than in the past. “Except for the poor
attendance level, now at least development issues are discussed and decided at the sansad
level itself. Thanks to the SRD initiative!” he adds further. The panchayat plans are now
discussed in a more transparent manner, developed through community discussion and put
for public display after its finalization.

The case study above sums up the general observations made across the state. Sansad level
participations have generally declined attributed mainly to recent IAY beneficiary selection
guidelines. But in the GP staff and the community as well particularly in SRD GPs confirm
of the meeting and discussion taking place for the Sansad level plans. The prioritization and
specific focus for disadvantaged section usually does not go beyond the usual IAY and PDS
schemes. Hence complaint regarding lack of basic infrastructure facilities like drinking water
and roads and livelihood opportnities (issues like health and education normally do not figure
among expressed priorities) was common to find while interacting with these groups.

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3.8 ROLE PLAYED BY GPs IN LAND ACQUISITION

Gram Panchayats play no role in land acquisition. As per the current practice land
acquisition if at all needed is directly handled by the land acquisition cell at the district
headed by the District Collector and where GP as directed by the Collector plays the role of
certification of land owners or liaison for negotiating on compensation.

In Thanlia GP of Howrah, in the year 1999-2000, about 10 Bighas (About 3 of acre of


agricultural land from 8 land owners by the Irrigation Department GoWB for making water
diversion channel from the river Damodar within the area of Moinan X Sansads (Moinan
Bandh para). Land acquisition has taken place under the Lower Damodar Rehabilitation
Project in the GP (Siaguri Raipara) for construction of an 18km long shortcut canal from
Thalia to Bakshi. Before this, about 300-400 Bighas of land were acquired earlier for the
same purpose; portion of the land were under bargadars and partly own land. Some 60-70
households were bargadars. A compensation of Rs. 70,000 per bighas were given to the land
owner. Role of the GP was to provide certification of land ownership to farmers for
facilitating their compensation process.

The GP activities are not taken up at the scale or of the type that require land acquisition.
Field discussions indicate that GP activities do not involve any initiative requiring land
acquisition.

In some cases where small pieces of land are required it is done by way of voluntary donation
or purchased. Voluntary donations are mostly done for activities which benefit community in
general like land for internal pathways, ICDS centre, community centre etc. Purchase of land
is done in cases like providing homestead land for poor families in the panchayat area.

Of the 30 GPs visited no land acquisition has been reported in last ten years in any of them or
any role played by GPs in invoking Land Acquisition Act. However, out of 30 GPs, 5 GPs
reported organising small pieces of land for construction of pathways and other public service
infrastructure and in one cases redistribution of land to landless in the past few years. Table
(3.23) presents the incidence of such instances where GPs have organised small pieces of
land on purchase or on voluntary basis for creation of public services.

TABLE (3.23 ): GPs REPORTING ORGANISING LAND ON PURCHANSE/


VOLUNTARY DONATION FOR PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE
Sl. No. Name of GP Incidence Reported on Organising Land
1 Kumargunge Voluntary donation of small pieces of land reported for construction of internal
(Dakshin Dinajpur) pathway and access road of the villages.
2 Pundibari (Cooch Voluntary donation of small pieces of land reported for construction of internal
Behar) pathway and access road of the villages.
3 Masjidpur Voluntary donation of land reported for construction of internal pathways and
(Burdhaman) access road of the Masjidpur GS. The households are ready to donate more land
for proper drainage or any other community purpose. Also, 2.5 katha (0.04 Acre)
of land was donated by one the villagers for the construction of SSK school.
4 Sagarpara Land purchased in Sagarpara GP (using own fund) from large landowners for
(Murshidabad) redistribution to landless. About 10 landless households received pattas in
Sagarpara GP.

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TABLE (3.23 ): GPs REPORTING ORGANISING LAND ON PURCHANSE/
VOLUNTARY DONATION FOR PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE
Sl. No. Name of GP Incidence Reported on Organising Land
5 Jambad (Purulia) One of the household given land for the construction of primary school in the
Gram Sansad on a voluntary basis. Similarly people have given land for roads,
lands for contour bunding and water harvesting.
Source: TARU Primary Study, 2009

Ammanulla donating land to school

Sk. Ammanulla, a small farmer with landholding that he has inherited from his
forefathers. He resides in Masjidpur sansad in Masjidpur GP of Galsi-II block in
Burdhaman district. The sansad is mainly dominated by the Minority and ST population
most of whom are marginal farmers and agricultural labours respectively. For long the
community did not have any facility for pre-primary education for their children. The
community being minority and ST dominated has a larger population size and therefore
had greater number of non-school going children at the pre-primary level. This worried
the community members. Their work demanded long hours to be in the field giving them
less opportunity to think of providing basis education to their children. The issue was
taken up to the Panchayat. But as the Panchayat did not have its own land available it
asked the community that if they can arrange for a piece of land then it can arrange
funding for a Shishu Shiksha Kendra (SSK).

Accordingly the community arranged a meeting whereon Sk. Ammanulla volunteered to


give his piece of Agricultural land for the purpose of children’s education. Ammanulla is
a small farmer from the community, agriculture is the prime source of livelihood for him
and his family, and wanted his grand children to see the light of education which he could
hardly provide to his own children. On negotiation by the community and initiative of the
Panchayat he donated two and half Kathhas (0.04 Acres) of land which was inherited by
him and would have otherwise been divided to his sons. Initially a single cropped land
with potential to be used for double cropping with irrigation. But Ammanulla chose to use
this land for the purpose of the education of the children and voluntarily donated it to the
Panchayat signing a stamp paper.

However, in some cases their complaints of forcible donation/ giving up of land for some
community based activities. But these far and few and expected where every household
cannot expected to share same level volunteerism towards community based development
works.

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3.9 SOCIAL SAFEGUARD FRAMEWORK

3.9.1 Existing Social Safeguard Policies in the State

Alike any other Indian state, the society in West Bengal is characterised by different caste
and religion based groups. Expectedly, affiliations on these lines also define the socio-
economic and cultural position of strength of these groups. There are certain groups in the
West Bengal society which have traditionally been more vulnerable to distress situations.
These include Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Minorities (mainly Muslims). Then there
are some other groups like Women that have remained a vulnerable section for centuries.
Post independence, some new sets of vulnerable groups like refugee and displaced
population, migrants, unorganized sector labour, Children and Child labourers etc have also
come up grown in size needing state attention.

There are several provisions made both under the constitution and through different acts and
regulation that define the safeguard framework of the country. Below here we mention some
of the key provisions made under Indian Constitution to safeguard the interests of different
vulnerable sections of the society:

Scheduled Tribes

 Article 15 (4) and (5)- It empowers the State to make provisions for reservation in
educational institutions
 Article 16 (4), 335- Reservation in appointments for posts and promoting its occupation
in favour of STs
 Article 46- The Constitution of India guarantees protection from social injustice and all
forms of exploitation
 Article 243M, 243 ZC, 244- Reservation of seats for the Local Self-Governments bodies
 Articles 334, 335- Representation in elected bodies of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies
 Article 338- Setting up of National Commission for STs

Scheduled Castes

 Article 46- The Constitution of India guarantees protection from social injustice and all
forms of exploitation
 Article 14- It guarantees equality before law and
 Article 15 (1)- enjoins upon the State not to discriminate against any citizen on grounds
of caste Art. 17- Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden
 Article 15 (2)- The Constitution mandates that no citizen shall, on grounds only of caste
or race, be subjected to any disability and restriction
 Article 15 (4) and (5)- It empowers the State to make provisions for reservation in
educational institutions,
 16(4A), 16(4B) and Art. 335- reservation in appointments for posts in favour of SCs
 Article 330- Reservation of seats for SCs in the Lok Sabha is provided under,
 Article 332 in the State Assemblies under and
 Articles 243D and 340T Reservation of seats for the Local Self-Governments bodies
under.

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Similarly, other disadvantaged sections like the religious minorities, women, Children,
Disabled, too are safeguarded by provisions made under the constitution that guide the
policies both at the central and state level.

State Acts and Rules

Following Acts and Rules (though not an exhaustive list) that highlight the sensitivity of the
state towards different vulnerable community groups are as following:

For Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes

 Constitution Scheduled Castes Order 1950


 Constitution Scheduled Tribes Order 1950
 The West Bengal SC & ST (Reservation of vacancies in Services and Posts) Act, 1976
and Rules.
 The Constitution (sixty-fifth Amendments) Act constituting National Commission for SC
& ST
 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
 West Bengal Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Identification) Act, 1994
 West Bengal Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Identification) Rules, 1995
 West Bengal Commission of Backward Classes Act 1993
 West Bengal Commission of Backward Classes Rules 1993
 Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989
 Prevention of Atrocities Rules, 1989
 Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955
 State Act on Reservation in Employment For Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,
1976
 State Rules on Reservation in Employment For Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,
1976
 West Bengal Backward Classes Development and Finance Corporation Act, 1995
 West Bengal SC, ST Development & Finance Corporation Act, 1981
 Act on West Bengal Tribal Development Co-operative Corporation Ltd., 1994
 The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest
Rights) Act, 2006
 The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest
Rights) Rules, 2008

Women and Children

 The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.


 The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000
 Hindu Adoption Maintenance Act, 1956
 The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890.
 The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
 The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full
Participation) Act, 1992.
 The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental
Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999.
 The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
 The West Bengal Vagrancy Act, 1943

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 The West Bengal Commission for Women Act, 1992
 The West Bengal Women and Children Licensing Act, 1956
 Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005
 The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007
 The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

Minorities

 The West Bengal Minorities Development & Finance Corporation Act,1995.


 The West Bengal Minorities Commission Act, 1996.

Existing Social Policies and Schemes, Security schemes

Guided by provisions made in the constitution and other Acts, Rules and Regulation passed
by the centre and states, there are several government sponsored programmes and schemes
available to the people to deal with vulnerabilities which they face in their lives.

Indian states normally receive support from the centre in the form of centrally sponsored
schemes and through the fund allocated through Special Central Assistance. In this context
there are three broad categories of Centrally Sponsored Programmes that run in the state

(i) National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes (NREGS): The National Rural
Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (NREGA) assures every rural household at least 100 days
of manual work at minimum wages.

(ii) Self-Employment Programmes Self-employment is promoted through many schemes by


many different departments. Besides an array of programmes for village and small scale
enterprises, there are special schemes for scheduled castes and tribes.

(iii) National Social Assistance Programme This programme has two components: the
National Family Benefits Scheme (NBFS) that provides a lump sum benefit of Rs 10,000 in
the case of death of the primary breadwinner in a BPL family; and the National Old Age
Pensions Scheme which provides pension at the rate Rs 200 per month to aged destitute
persons with little or no regular means of subsistence.

Following is an indicative list of the major initiatives arranged on the lines of larger
objectives which they serve:

 Poverty reduction programmes: SGSY, SGRY, National Rural Employment Guarantee


Scheme (NREGS).
 Other Rural Development Programmes: DPAP,
 Human Development schemes: SSA, Mid-day Meals, Literacy, Rural Health Mission,
Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) and ICDS. Nutritional Programme for
Adolescent Girls (NPAG) is being implemented in two districts
 Social Assistance and Social Security Schemes: Antoddaya Anna Yojna (AAY),
Annapurna, National Family Benefit Scheme (NBFS) and National Old Age Pension
(NOAP), Widow Pension, Insurance schemes like PROFLAL, Livestock and Crop
Insurance

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 139
 Schemes for provision of minimum needs like Accelerated Rural Water Supply
Programme and Swajaladhara, TSC, IAY, PMGSY and RGGVY, Antyodaya and
Annapurna
 Area development schemes like BRGF, Hariyali, National Watershed Development
Project for Rainfed Areas, WGDP, Drought Prone Areas Programme, Integrated
Wasteland Development Programme, BEUP,PUP,UUP,Sunderban Dev.,CADC etc
 Schemes in the productive sectors like agriculture, horticulture, and animal husbandry.

Besides these, different departments like Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry,


Fisheries, Irrigation, Education and Backward Classes Welfare have regular interventions to
cater to the needs of the people. In all these departments there are specific schemes and
programmes designed to address the needs of the poor and disadvantaged community groups.
As for example Backward Classes Welfare department provides different scholarships, grants
to the poor, SC and ST students for supporting their studies. Similarly support is also granted
to families with this background for livelihood promotion and security. Most of the
departments have programmes for the SC and ST community that draw resources from the
Special Central Assistance (SCA) to SC Sub Plan (SCSP) Tribal Sub Plan (TSP).

3.9.2 Applicability of World Bank Safeguard Policies

In the context of ISDP, the following World Bank Safeguard Policies will be relevant:

TABLE (3.24): APPLICABILITY OF WORLD BANK SAFEGUARD POLICIES


Act/Policy Relevance to the Project Implication Remarks
Indigenous/Tribal There are indigenous Triggered Social assessment highlights the challenges
People (BP/OP peoples (tribal people in around livelihood and over all poor status
4.10) Indian context) in the on development indicators of the tribals in
project area who will be the panchayat areas visited. The project is
one among the major designed to be implemented through Gram
stakeholders in the project. Panchayats which would invariably imply
participation of different stakeholders
including tribal population in the area at all
stages from planning to implementation.
Recognizing the significance of having
free, prior and informed consultation with
the community, and given the nature of
project design which involves the entire
panchayat as one unit it is recommended:

Community level consultation and


planning to be done which will ensure that
views and perceptions of tribal community
do get reflected and also that these are not
influenced by other community groups. No
special or exclusive consultation
recommended for tribal as it may not have
positive impact and also alienate them
further in the village. Meetings may be
done at smaller hamlet level to make the
process more inclusive.

Special plan allocation may be made for


this group though a more appropriate
measure would be to encourage and let

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TABLE (3.24): APPLICABILITY OF WORLD BANK SAFEGUARD POLICIES
Act/Policy Relevance to the Project Implication Remarks
demand for such preferential provisions
come from the panchayats itself
Involuntary There is no land Not GP activities are not taken up at the scale
Resettlement acquisition in specific Triggered or of the type that require land acquisition.
(BP/OP 4.12) subproject areas proposed In some cases where small pieces of land
under the project and the are required it is done by way of voluntary
project does not involve donation or purchase.
any involuntary
resettlement.
Source: http://www.worldbank.org/safeguards and TARU Analysis, 2009

3.9.3 State’s Land Acquisition and Resettlement Policies, Legislation, Regulatory and
Administrative Frameworks

The Land Acquisition Act (LA) of 1894 amended in 1984 and the West Bengal Land
Acquisition Manual, 1991.

The private land acquisition will be guided by the provisions and procedures outlined in this
act. As per the LA act, the District Collector will function as the Land Acquisition Officer on
behalf of the Government. Usually, the land acquisition is time consuming and takes about 2-
3 years to complete the process. As per the current practice land acquisition issues are
directly handled by the land acquisition cell at the district headed by the District Collector.
Gram Panchayats have no major role and is restricted to facilitating the Land Reforms and
Revenue department in identification and negotiation for acquisition process. The
identification and selection process has to pass through the screening committee which has
representation from the Panchayat Samiti of the area. In the context of the ISDP it must be
noted that the GP activities in the state normally do not invoke the need of land acquisition
and in case where the need arises (which is often for small building construction) it is being
done through voluntary donations or local purchase.

National Policy on Resettlement and Rehabilitation for Project Affected Families-2003,


GOI, February 2004

In the absence of any law or act on resettlement, only ad hoc measures have been taken so far
on a project-by-project basis to address resettlement issues. The Government of India in 2003
issued a “National Policy on Resettlement and Rehabilitation for Project Affected Families,
2003” through a Gazette notification on February 17, 2004. The policy applies to all projects
where more than 500 families are displaced in plain areas and more than 250 families in hilly
and scheduled V and VI areas. The policy mentions that proposed benefits and monetary
grants are minimum and state governments and project proponents are free to adopt higher
provisions than provided in the policy. However, the state Government and other agencies
are yet to come out with their own policies in line with the national policy. Therefore, the
principles and objectives laid down in this framework will be the basis for mitigating any
resettlement impacts.

The Policy lays stress on the need to handle R&R of Project Affected Families with utmost
care and forethought particularly in cases of tribals, small and marginal farmers, those below

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poverty line and women. The policy recognizes the following as vulnerable: BPL, Small and
Marginal farmers, SC, ST and Women. As a result, the Policy provides for additional
assistance particularly to BPL (in Section 6.3), Marginal farmers (in Section 6.12), SC (in
Section 6.20) and ST (in Section 6.21).

Application to the Project: The broad principles of the policy stress upon the need to handle
all issues related to R&R with utmost care and provides for special assistance to the
vulnerable sections.

The West Bengal Land Reforms Act, 1955

Chapter II.A of this Act, 1955 specifically deals with restrictions on alienation of land by
STs. As per it land belonging to ST may be transferred in only one of the following ways:
1. A complete usufructuary mortgage entered into with a person belonging to a ST for a
period not more than 7 years;
2. By sale or gift to the government for a public or charitable purpose;
3. By simple mortgaged to the government or a registered co-operative society;
4. By gift or will to a person belonging to ST; or
5. By sale and exchange in favour of any person belonging to any ST. (under certain
conditions provided for in the Act)

Application to the Project: The Act puts restriction on the sale and purchase of land
belonging to tribals however allows such transfer to government by sale or gift for a public
purpose or charitable purpose.

3.9.4 Implementation of Social Safeguard Policies in West Bengal

Social Safeguard policies of West Bengal are guided by the provisions under the Indian
constitution and Central Acts and regulations which are further contextualized to the needs of
the state. Several state sponsored programmes and schemes have been implemented in the
past by the government. However, the past one decade has seen a more concerted efforts by
the state matched with much increased allocation for it. As also stated in the 11th Five Year
plan of the country, specific focus is to be laid on social inclusion in different developmental
activities carried out by the states. Field interactions suggest of positive impacts experienced
by the common people across the state on account of different state initiatives. Respondents
recount of positive changes brought in their lives particularly by schemes like PMGSY,
NRHM, NREGS etc. Though expectations are high in terms of delivery from these
programmes, the benefits nonetheless are definitely recognized by the people. There has been
marked improvement in infrastructural facilities like in schools, health centres, roads, public
buildings like GP office, ICDS centres etc. Similarly increased umbrella under social security
and assistance initiatives too seem to be recognised by the people.

In West Bengal, the state implements its development programmes either directly through the
Gram Panchayats or line departments (mostly in conjunction with PRI bodies). The state
realizes that in order to achieve the best outcome in terms of balanced development with
convergence of resources and enforcement of inter-sectoral priorities, it is necessary to shift
to integrated planning at the grass roots level leading to higher level district plans. In a step
further to this, six of the state line departments have devolved specific responsibilities to the
PRIs.

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In practice, it is observed that PRIs are mostly the implementing agency for central and state
sponsored schemes while departments implement activities mostly supported from central
and state grants. The departments are also found to be implementing some of the centrally
supported schemes like RKVY, RGGVY etc. All of such interventions may be viewed as
social safeguard measures in the state. However, there is still a perceptibly huge gap in
convergence in the activities carried out by the two major implementing arms in the state.
Interaction with the district level department heads suggest of reluctance on their part to
engage with the PRIs in programme planning and implementation process. There is also a
perceptible distrust between line departments and the PRI representatives. Even at the
panchayat level, the extension workers do not engage at formal level with the GP
functionaries. Hence it is not surprising to find that the GP staff or representatives are found
unaware no information relating to issues like livestock population, literacy status, drop out
and enrolment status, land acreage and agricultural production. Similarly GPs were found
grossly uninformed of different schemes available with line departments.

Department of Backward Classes Welfare in the state has specific schemes for different
weaker sections of the community. Like for example for SC and ST it has income
generating schemes like SCP, NSFDC, NSTFDC, NSKFDC, SRMS. Similarly there are
schemes for women from these communities such as Mahila Samridhi Yojona under
NSFDC (MSY), Performance under Adibasi Mahila Swashaktikaran Yojona (AMSY).
Besides these there are schemes in the sectors of agriculture, livestock development.
Schemes are also run for supporting deserving SC and ST students in the form of
providing hostel facilities, scholarships and book grants.

On the negative side though, little of these are known to the Gram Panchayat
functionaries let alone the common people. Interaction with the BCW Project Officer in
one of the districts suggests that fund under several of these schemes have remained
unutilized for last couple of years for want of demand from the bottom. Perhaps the truth
is that both the demand exists and so do the resources (limited though). It is the missing
link of convergence that is keeping the two apart

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3.10 ROLE PLAYED BY GPs IN MITIGATING SOCIAL RISKS

3.10.1 Type of Social Risks Observed at GP level

Much of the vulnerabilities associated with weaker sections generate out of the fact that these
groups have very poor and fragile socio-economic resource base to deal with even a minor
distress situation. Even a small distress situation like a minor flood or drought may throw the
existing livelihood pattern of these groups in disarray. Further, vulnerability components of
these groups are often intricately entwined with each other with one triggering the other.
Hence a drought may lead to unemployment, under nutrition and then on to migration and
associated other social risks.

Some of the common Social Risks and vulnerabilities as identified during the visits and
mostly common to the entire state are:

 Drought and Floods,


 Other Natural and Hazards like cyclone
 Landlessness particularly among SC and ST communities
 Lack of sufficient livelihood opportunities especially in backward districts such as
Purulia, Dakshin Dinajpur, Cooch Behar, Murshidabad
 High seasonal and permanent migration to both within and outside state
destinations
 Lack of Quality Health, Hygiene and Education Services exposing them to
associated risks
 Quality of drinking water particularly in Murshidabad and Howrah
 Child labour and trafficking of women particularly reported in Murshidabad
 Social exclusion and political denial (in few GPs of Purulia and Howrah)
 Social evils and practices like dowry (Dakshin Dinajpur) and purdah system
becoming impediment to accessing schemes like NREGS

Lack of strong voice at the ground level among the weaker sections further exacerbates the
vulnerability these groups to the above mentioned risks. There is still a perceptible lack of
desired participation level of these people at different platforms to demand for the basic
needs. Further, these groups have weak political representation at the local level to ensure
that these demands are met.

3.10.2 Communities Affected by Social Risks

The most vulnerable groups to the above identified social risks are Scheduled Tribes,
Scheduled Castes and Muslims especially in the areas where they are in numerical minority
e.g. in the localised context, Scheduled Tribes living in Gram Panchayats of Dakshin
Dinajpur and Murshidabad where they are in minorities and living on the lands to which they
are not the original settlers. A general observation has been that these groups in such areas
have comparatively poorer social and economic resource base and hence weaker capacity to
meet these risk challenges. Across all groups women and children have remained the
traditionally weaker groups and often the worst sufferers even during the normal times.

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3.10.3 Role Played by GP in Mitigating Social Risks

In recent years, Gram Panchayats have been playing more proactive role in mitigating
vulnerabilities of the local community in panchayat area. In the age of decentralized
governance, panchayats are now one of the most important implementing organs of the state
initiatives targeted at meeting these challenges. As already mentioned in earlier sections the
following major state supported initiatives that help in mitigating these risk factors are
implemented by GPs:

 Poverty Reduction and Rural Employment


 Other Rural Development Activities
 Social Assistance and Social Security Schemes
 Meeting Basic Human Needs
 Targeted interventions for SC & ST and other Backward Classes
 Area Specific Development Schemes
 Different Departmental activities

Gram Panchayats are also the lowest level of governance which ensures that there is a direct
participation of stakeholders in both planning and implementation process of the activities
carried out by this agency.

For most of these activities Gram Panchayats remain the implementing agencies at the grass
root level. In some other, the panchayats play the role of identifying and recommending the
beneficiaries to the implementing agencies mainly the line departments. Gram Panchayats
have also been playing important role in the post disaster rescue and relief support activities
to the people as was done in the event of recent cyclone ‘Aila’ that hit the entire state. Not
denying the fact there is still a huge scope in improving upon the participatory nature of
functioning of these agencies.

3.10.4 Effectiveness and Capacities of GP to Mitigate Social Risks

The local community as mentioned earlier are faced with several social risk and vulnerability
factors even though there are various Govt schemes/ programmes in place to protect people
from these. Gram Panchayat is perhaps the most important actor for discharge of roles on
behalf of State and Central Govt. Protection of people from these social risks invariably
depends on the capacity of GPs to effectively undertake their responsibility. Given the large
set of risks, and for the purposes of ISDP, it can be divided in two broad categories which are
as follows:
 Existing social risks and vulnerabilities which the local community is exposed to
for reasons not attributable solely to GPs activity including risk emerging from
natural hazards such as floods and droughts.

 Social Risks that may arise out of the activities being undertaken by GP as part of
the ISDP.

For the former category, there are different state funded programmes and schemes that are
being implemented through state line departments and some time through panchayats. Hence
the effectiveness of these programmes and outcome in terms of addressing social
vulnerability depends on the capacities of the implementing departments/ agencies.

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Also, the field findings suggest that there are gaps still remain in the capacities of the
panchayats for effective delivery of services. Gap remains in terms of panchayats IEC
capabilities, ability to ensure effective participation in planning, integrated and
comprehensive planning process, accountability in implementation process. It however
should not be implied that positive changes have not occurred over the years. Field level
interactions indicate that local community is now more involved, community awareness has
increased, marginalized sections are now being more engaged and there is considerable
increase in transparent programme planning and implementation.

3.11 VULNERABLE GROUP DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK

The objective of the Vulnerability Group Development Framework (VGDF) is to support the
social and economic empowerment of vulnerable groups, including Scheduled Tribes,
Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Castes, Minority Groups and Women headed households/
single women households) under the ISDP project. The key issues emerging from the analysis
suggests the following:

 Six out of the nine districts proposed21 under ISDP have more than the state average
of 23 percent of SC population. Also, six of the nine districts proposed have ST
populations higher than the State average of 5.5 percent. And, five out of nine
proposed districts have either a higher or similar proportion of Muslim population
compared to the state average, of about 25 percent.

 Two third of the tribal population (66 percent) is concentrated in six districts (viz.
Paschim Medinipur, Jalpaiguri, Purulia, Bardhaman, Bankura and Dakshin Dinajpur).
ISDP has been proposed in four out of the six West Bengal districts where tribals are
concentrated, and most of the ITDP areas are present here.

 There is a wide gap between the level of development of tribal areas and the overall
state scenario, leading to the need for providing special focus and thrust on enhancing
development in these areas.

 Similar to tribal areas, there is wide gap between the level of development in areas
where other vulnerable groups reside and the overall state scenario. Hence, instead of
confining the thrust to a Tribal Development Framework, ISDP proposes a wider
Vulnerable Group Development Framework.

The Tribal Sub Plan (TSP22) in West Bengal is being implemented under relaxed norms due
to the dispersed tribal population. TSP is the level at which the entire development efforts
have been integrated. The financial investment in the Tribal Sub-Plans flows from four broad
sources, viz. (1) Outlays from the State Government’s plan; (2) Sectoral outlays from Central
Ministries/ Departments; (3) Institutional Finance; and (4) Special Central Assistance. A
brief analysis of the Annual Plan outlays for 2008-09 and fund flow to TSP in West Bengal

21
The nine districts proposed under ISDP includes Bankura, Birbhum, Burdhaman, Cooch Behar, Dakshin
Dinajpur, Howrah, Nadia, Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur
22
The Tribal sub-plan includes all scheduled areas and Tehsils/Blocks, with more than 50 percent tribal
population.

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suggests that GoWB made an additional allocation of 11.90 percent in excess to what was
recommended by the Planning Commission (GoI) as the minimum support required, based on
proportion of tribal population.

However, from the field visits, primary data analysis, and also analysis of various human
development indicators, there appears to be a wide gap between the development of tribals
and that of the non tribal population. Hence the ISDP Project recognizes the fact that it will
need to have a focused strategy, implementation plan and arrangements, and also the necessary
human and financial resources to invest for tribal development.

Discussions with the Backward Classes Welfare Department, SC&ST Development &
Finance Corporation and the Minorities Development & Finance Corporation suggest that
there is a major shortcoming in proper expenditure of funds earmarked by various
departments.

Every department in the GoWB has been instructed to earmark 28.5 percent of its plan
expenditures for the vulnerable groups (i.e. scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other
backward castes). In addition, the GoWB has committed itself to earmarking 15 percent of
all plan expenditures for Muslims in the state. Resources are therefore not a major issue in the
state, so far as welfare benefits and development for the vulnerable are concerned. The
problem is of reaching the available resources to the truly needy, and of monitoring the
expenditures. At present there is no monitoring. Nor are the various departments responsive
in providing details of how the earmarked funds have been spent. Officials in concerned
departments admit to the goals not being achieved, of funds being misspent, and of the really
needy being left out. In rural West Bengal, while there is no social exclusion, there is a lack
of inclusion.

There is a distinct lack of a development approach in the entire system. What one has is an
attitude of giving out hand-outs. A focus on self development, community development and
village development are absent even though resources are spent.

The linkage between the P&RD Dept and the Gram Panchayats therefore emerges as the key
channel of action, between the state government system, with its resources, and the rural
population of West Bengal. It is at the GP level that the monitoring of the large volume of
funds earmarked for the vulnerable sections is best undertaken. The GPs already face the
problem of non-convergence of the various state line departments. They also face a problem
of vertical non-convergence, with issues and problems raised to the Block / Panchayat Samiti
and District / Zilla Parishad not being responded to. While various offices exist at the Zilla or
District level, their interface with the GP level is poor. The Block and Panchayat Samitis
must therefore play a vital role in linking the GP and Zilla/ District levels. The proposed
ISDP programme could make a valuable contribution to the structure of development
administration in the state by creating an effective means of linkage with the GPs.

Monitoring, IEC and MIS are therefore the most effective and enduring means through which
the proposed ISDP could make a systemic impact.

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3.11.1 Tribal Blocks and GPs

Tribal Blocks

In West Bengal the tribal areas are not co-terminous with Block units. Hence the Block
functions as merely one of the agencies responsible for formulation and implementation of
Integrated Tribal Development Projects (ITDPs) instead of being the spearhead of the ITDPs.
The state has taken steps to constitute Scheduled Tribes welfare committees at the Block
level, and delegate them certain powers for formulation and implementation of ITDP
programmes. There are 40 ITDP areas identified in West Bengal, based on tribal
concentration at the village level, where more than 50 percent population are tribals. The
ITDP areas in West Bengal spread over 11 districts and 40 blocks are listed in the Table
below.

TABLE (3.25): LIST OF ITDP BLOCK


District Sl.No. Block District Sl.No. Block
Paschim 1 Binpur-II Jalpaiguri 21 Kalchini
Medinipur 2 Nayagram 22 Mal
3 Gopiballavpur-I 23 Madarihat
4 Keshiary 24 Kumargram
5 Binpur-I 25 Dhupguri
6 Narayangarh 26 Falakata
7 Debra 27 Alipurduar – II
8 Garbeta-I Malda 28 Habibpur
Bankura 9 Ranibundh 29 Gazole
10 Raipur Uttar Dinajpur 30 Karandighi
11 Khatra Dakshin Dinajpur 31 Balurghat
12 Chhatna 32 Tapan
13 Saltora Purulia 33 Bundwan
Birbhum 14 Mohammad Bazar 34 Manbazar-II
15 Bolpur-Sriniketan 35 Balarampur
Burdhwan 16 Kalna-II 36 Hura
17 Memari-I 37 Kashipur
18 Jamalpur Siliguri 38 Phansidewa
Jalpaiguri 19 Nagrakata 39 Naxalbari
20 Matiali North 24 Parganas 40 Sandeshkhali-I
Source: Backword Class Welfare Department, GoWB. Available at
http://www.anagrasarkalyan.gov.in/htm/home.html

The Project Officers posted in the ITDP districts under the control of Deputy Commissioner
and have been made secretaries of the District Welfare Committees as well as District Project
Coordination Committee. Allotment of special central assistance is made to the project
officers in bulk for implementation of schemes in consultation with District Welfare
Committee and District Project Coordination Committees.

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Of these Tribal Blocks, 20 Tribal Blocks falls under proposed ISDP project area spread over
Bankura, Birbhum, Burdhwan and Dakshin Dinajpur districts.

Tribal GPs

The villages/ mouzas in which the tribal population accounts for more than 50 percent of the
total poluation are defined as tribal village, and form part of ITDP. The ITDP village/ mouza
falling in any particular GP can hence be considered as a tribal GP under the ISDP project.
There are a total of 747 ITDP villages/ mouzas identified in West Bengal and a detailed list
of the same is available with the Backward Classes Welfare Department of GoWB (also
available at their web site http://www.anagrasarkalyan.gov.in/htm/state_data_2.html#).

3.11.2 Scope and Key Elements of VGDF

The main objective of the Vulnerable Group Development Framework (VGDF) is to support
better access to public service infrastructure, services and social and economic empowerment of
vulnerable groups (including SC, ST and Minorities) in the project GPs, including:

 Fair participation and representation at all levels of the project with a view to
influencing its decisions and outcomes for the vulnerable constituents through their
informed consent.

 Ensuring protection of social, economic and cultural interests of vulnerable


communities in project interventions.

 The project shall promote capacity building of vulnerable community to take on the
roles in decision making and service provision, supervision etc.

 Ensuring adherence to all legislative and regulatory framework for vulnerable group
development (as listed in earlier sections of this report).

In order to achieve this and ensure social inclusion of the vulnerable groups, the following has to
be ensured in ISDP GPs:

 Identify vulnerable group settlements/ hamlets with poor public infrastructure provision
and prioritise them under the ISDP project for provision of public goods.

 Based on proportion of vulnerable group population in the GP, a proportionate fund shall
be earmarked for activities under ISDP benefiting the vulnerable groups.

 Special attention to be provided in promoting activity selection/ design towards


livelihoods related investments/ activities, by identifying the most needy and vulnerable
group, so that the project can give them preference.

 Identifying some youths in the vulnerable groups (at least one male and one female) to
be trained under the ISDP for ensuring better awareness and implementation under the
ISDP, and also better implementation and access to provisions under TSP, SCP and
other programmes for different sections of the vulnerable community.

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 Ensuring transparency through disclosure of planned activities under VGDF to the
vulnerable community, through consultations and public display of plans and
performance (and ensuring annual updating of the same).

 Facilitating identification of activities/sectors where vulnerable communities would be


able to participate effectively, especially relating to land and forest resource based
activities.

 A vulnerable group representative must be part of the GP sub-committee for providing


social and environmental clearances and ensuring adherence to ESMF.

 Explicit space in the project and recognition in the M&E system for monitoring activities
under VGDF.

3.11.3 Implementation Arrangements for VGDF

For implementing the Vulnerable Group Development Framework, the State Coordinator –
Planning and Project Execution will anchor this aspect under the State ISDP Cell at PRDD, and
the District Coordinator at the district ISDP cell in each of the districts.

The VGDF will be facilitated, anchored, and monitored by the State Coordinator under the
overall supervision and guidance of the ISDP Project Director at PRDD. All the District ISDP
cell members will be sensitised on the issues of vulnerable groups and will undergo an
orientation training prior to implementing the VGDF.

The implementation arrangements, Organisation and Management:

TABLE (3.26): IMPLEMENTATION ARRANGEMENTS FOR VGDF


Level Nodal Agent Functions
State level State Coordinator Overall Incharge for VGDF implementation under ISDP
Overall responsibility of Providing necessary guidance and support to
the Project on VGDF
Coordination with District ISDP Cells and other line depts
Ensure all legal and regulatory provisions relevant to vulnerable group
are satisfactorily met
Concurrent monitoring of progress of VGDF as part of ESMF in the
project districts and GPs

District Level District Coordinator Overall Incharge for VGDF implementation under ISDP in their
Districts
Overall responsibility of Providing necessary guidance and support on
VGDF
Ensure all legal and regulatory provisions relevant are satisfactorily
met
Coordinate capacity building of GP vulnerable group representative/
coordination on VGDF and ESMF implementation
Annual Performance Appraisal and Audits

GP Level Vulnerable Group Coordinate VGDF implementation at GP level


Representative/ Facilitate activities selection, planning and implementation as per
Coordinator in the GP

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TABLE (3.26): IMPLEMENTATION ARRANGEMENTS FOR VGDF
Level Nodal Agent Functions
Finance and Planning VGDF
Sub-committee Ensuring adherence to ESMF for activities undertaken under the
VGDF
Monitoring and reporting

3.11.4 Monitoring Framework under VGDF

The monitoring of VGDF will be conducted as part of the ESMF monitoring and
implementation at the GP level. This will be integrated with the system for Annual
Performance Assessment of the GPs. The Annual Performance Criteria will include checking
compliance with VGDF as part of ESMF in planning and in execution, through desk review
of documentation. An audit of the ESMF implementation at the GP level will be integrated
into Audit of Quality Assurance on the Annual Performance Assessment which is planned to
be done for 10 percent of the GPs annually.

Monitoring of Schemes Being Accessed by Vulnerable Groups

Given that there is no dearth of resources for vulnerable group as 43.5 percent of the planned
budget by all the Departments of GoWB is supposed to be spent benefiting vulnerable group.
However, there is no clear monitoring of the same and it is perceived by many Govt
functionaries that not being strictly followed by various departments. It is in this light that it
is important to track various development schemes and the GP activities benefiting and being
accessed by vulnerable groups.

Hence it is important to monitor the schemes being accessed by vulnerable groups in the GP
as an indicator for addressing the need of vulnerable groups and their inclusion in the ISDP
project.

In this regard, the Vulnerable Group Representative/ Coordinator in the GP Finance and
Planning sub-committee will keep a record of members of vulnerable groups accessing
schemes being implemented by GP including those planned under ISDP using Annexure 11
which details out the list of schemes.

Peer Appraisal and Social Audit

Currently, in the GPs where the GoWB’s Strengthening Rural Decentralisation (SRD) project
is under implementation, the PRDD has initiated an innovative peer appraisal method for the
GP plans. This relates not merely to the activities and funds pertaining to the SRD project,
but the entire gamut of activities under various development and welfare schemes and
programmes. A note on PRDD’s peer appraisal method is annexed in Annexure 10. In
particular, this peer appraisal method seeks to emphasise the decentralization and
participatory nature of plan formulation and implementation by GPs.

It is proposed that the ESMF (including VGDF) are included in the remit of this peer
appraisal of GP plans. Also it is proposed that similar to peer appraisal process, Peer Audit
process for implementation of ESMF shall be instituted under the ISDP. It is expected that

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this peer audit of the ESMF (including VGDF) under the ISDP is subsequently built up into a
full scale Social Audit, on an annual basis, by the time of the culmination of the ISDP project.

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CHAPTER 4

ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL MANAGEMENT


FRAMEWORK
CHAPTER 4: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK

4.1 THE PROJECT BACKGROUND

The West Bengal Institutional Strengthening of Gram Panchayats (ISGP) project aims to
unleash impeding factors in GPs service delivery i.e. insufficient funding on which they have
real discretion, to meet their service-delivery mandates and insufficient capacity to execute
their responsibilities effectively. In order to address these problems, the GoWB has to
introduce a fiscal transfer to GPs to provide resources for GPs to invest in public services and
infrastructure in line with local preferences whilst improving institutional performance.
GoWB also has to provide GPs with the necessary capacity-building support. The overall
strategic vision is to institute a block (i.e. discretionary) grant system which incentivizes local
governance and service-delivery performance throughout the state as an integral and ongoing
element of the broader PRI fiscal framework in West Bengal. As a first step, in 2005 GoWB
initiated a pilot, DFID-funded initiative, Strengthening Rural Development, which provides
enhanced discretionary funding to about 600 GPs and supports a PRI capacity building
program.23 A well-capacitated agency has been established by GoWB to implement these
activities.24

Building on this foundation, the GoWB now proposes to introduce the GP fiscal transfer for
about 30 percent of GPs in the state (approximately 1000), while consolidating and
expanding the PRI capacity-building programme. Simultaneously the PRDD plans to expand
its PRI oversight and performance monitoring capabilities. Ultimately, GoWB intends to
expand the transfer to all GPs in the state, funding it on a regular and sustained basis.

The World Bank intends to provide support for this initiative as a transitional measure to
establish and fund the system in the early years, simultaneously rationalizing previous donor-
funded efforts, while allowing GoWB to consolidate its capacity-building program and
monitoring and oversight mechanisms. The objectives of the project is to help support the
development of stronger, better capacitated and performing GPs delivering enhanced local
services and infrastructure.

The project will have four main components:

Component 1: Block grant to GPs. A block (untied) grant flow from the state government
to a significant proportion of GPs (around 1000, which is roughly 30 percent of all GPs in the
state) to support local development and service delivery activities. The grant funding will be
mixed with other untied funds of the GPs and may be used for any expenditure related to the
construction, operation, maintenance and replacement of local publicly-owned assets. The
grant flow will be structured in such a manner as to provide a performance-oriented incentive
for the strengthening of the institutional capacities and capabilities of the targeted GPs, and
the deepening of bottom-up accountability;

23 The Strengthening Rural Development (SRD) terminates in 2011. This results from a wider DFID decision to
disengage from West Bengal.

24 The West Bengal State Rural Development Agency, registered as a Society under the Registration of Societies Act,
1961.

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Component 2: Capacity-building for PRIs. The GoWB (PRDD) has initiated a PRI
capacity-building program using funds from its own and donor sources. The project will
supplement this program in areas where additional resources are necessary and with a focus
on linkages to the block grant component. While there will be a focus on linkages to the
block grant component, this component will not be limited to local governments benefiting
from Component 1;

Component 3: State government oversight and monitoring of PRIs. The GoWB’s


systems of performance monitoring of PRIs within the state are inadequate and do not
provide sufficient information for proper oversight and management of the PRI system
overall. The project will support the development of a comprehensive performance
monitoring system, focused on the institutional performance of PRIs, for the PRDD;

Component 4: Program Management and Implementation. This component will support


the management and implementation of the project. Overall implementation responsibility for
the project will lie with PRDD, which will execute the project through the West Bengal State
Rural Development Agency.

4.2 THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK

It is envisaged that around 1000 GPs across nine districts25 in West Bengal will be the
recipient of the block (untied) grant which they will be able to spend on expenditures related
to construction, operation and maintenance, replacement of local publicly-owned. The
Environment and Social Management Framework (ESMF) has been developed in order to
address the environmental and social issues that may arise as a result of the infrastructure
development and service delivery that will be initiated with the help of the enhanced grant
flows to the GPs. Since the GP activities are likely to be comparatively small in size, cover a
range of sectors (water supply, rural roads, land development, etc.), and are likely to have
only limited manageable impacts (as indicated by the Environmental Assessment and Social
Assessment described in chapters 2 and 3), a Framework approach has been adopted. The
Environment and Social Management Framework (ESMF) provides a set of procedures and
mechanism for ensuring that the environmental and social considerations are integrated into
the planning process in the GPs.

The objective of the ESMF is to:

 Ensure integration of environmental and social safeguards into the planning process at the
GPs
 Describe the procedures to ensure compliance with the applicable regulatory, and policy
obligations described earlier in the report.
 Describe the role and responsibilities of the concerned institutions and the capacity
building requirements to enable effective management of the potential environmental and
social impacts.

25 The nine districts proposed under ISGP includes Bankura, Birbhum, Burdhaman, Cooch Behar, Dakshin
Dinajpur, Howrah, Nadia, Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur

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The ESMF, described in this document includes:
 Environmental and Social Assessment procedures:
 An environmental and social screening
 An environmental and social review
 VGDF
 Institutional arrangements
 Capacity building strategy
 Monitoring strategy
 Disclosure requirements

4.3 ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES

4.3.1 Screening of Activities

Purpose

The screening process is the first step in the ESMF process. The purpose of screening is
twofold:

 To ensure that activities that are likely to cause significant negative environmental or
social impacts are not supported

 To ensure that all supported activities are in accordance with the laws, regulations of
the Government and with the safeguard policies of the World Bank.

Responsibility for Screening

The Nirman Sahyak in the GP will undertake the Environmental Assessment i.e. the
Screening (using Format A) and Environmental and Social Review (using Format B) as part
of the technical preparation work for activities. However, while the screening may be done by
the Nirman Sahayak, for the Environmental and Social Review s/he may need to consult with
the relevant GP sub-committee depending on the activity being assessed: Agriculture and
Animal Resources; Education and Public Health; Infrastructure and Industry.

When the Screening will be done

It is proposed that the activities will be part of the Gram Sansad based GP planning process.
The planning starts at Garm Sansad level by Gram Unnayan Samiti which proposes to take
up very small activities of less than Rs. 20,000 and forwarding/ suggesting the rest to be
taken up by the Gram Panchayat. Based on the GS plans, the Sub-committees (Upa-
Samities) of GP consolidating all the GS plans and prioritising their suggestions/
recommendations for taking up other activities at the Panchayat level make their sectoral
plans. The GP planning sub-committee then formulates the draft GP plan based on the GS
plans and the sectoral plans. While preparing the Draft GP plans, the actual prioritisation for
undertaking various activities based on resource envelopes suggested to GPs comes in play.

Hence, the screening is proposed to be done at the time when Draft GP Plans are ready and a
draft final set of activities for the GP has been identified. The Finance and Planning Sub-

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committee will ensure that the Gram Sansads have adequate orientation to the environmental
and social safeguards in the EMF so that the Gram Sansad plans are in alignment with these.

The Screening Process

The screening will be done using Format A. Each activity in the Draft GP Plan will be
checked against the Format A to ensure that none of the activities are on the negative list. In
case an activity in the Draft GP Plan features on the Format A it will be changed (to a form
that is in compliance with the requirements) or dropped.

4.3.2 Environmental and Social Review of Activities

The purpose of Environmental and Social Review is to ensure that necessary measures are
identified to mitigate any adverse environmental or social impacts arising out of GP activities
planned. The Environmental and Social Review of the proposed GP activities in the Draft GP
plan will to be carried out using Format B by the Nirman Sahayak as part of the technical
preparation work for activities. While doing the Environment and Social Review, the Nirman
Sahayak may need to consult with the relevant GP sub-committees such as Agriculture and
Animal Resources; Education and Public Health; Infrastructure and Industry depending on
the type of sectoral activity being assessed.

In case the Format B does not list the specific activity being taken up, the Environmental and
Social Review will be undertaken with support from the relevant line department using the
Format C.

In cases where there is likelihood of any adverse environmental impact (as identified by the
Format B), the Nirman Sahayak shall refer the case to the GP’s Finance and Planning Sub-
committee for decision on dropping the activity or commissioning a detailed assessment by a
qualified expert (from the relevant line department or academic institution or NGO).. In case
a detailed assessment is commissioned, the recommended mitigation measures will be
integrated into the design/plan of the activity.

It is anticipated that a peer review process of the annual draft GP plan will be undertaken as
part of the annual planning cycle. This process is intended to generate advice and inputs for
the GP plan, including application of the ESMF, but is not mandatory and does not constitute
a formal part of the decision-making or endorsement of the plan, which are under the full and
exclusive authority of the GP developing the plan. Any such process should be conducted
prior to the submission of the plan to the GP Finance and Planning Subcommittee for
environmental and social clearances; however, the completion of this process is not a
condition of the submission of the plan or issuance of any clearances.

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Fig. (4.1): The Environmental and Social Assessment Process

Draft GP
Plan

Screening
(Using Format A)

Activity not listed in Activity listed in


Format A Format A

Proceed for Change activity to bring it Drop the


Environmental Safeguard in Compliance with activity from
Review using Format B Format A the plan

Format B includes details Format B does not include


specific to activity being details specific to activity
taken up being taken up

Identify impacts and Use Format C to conduct the


mitigation measures. Environmental Safeguard (ES) Review.
Include in activity plan Seek relevant line department support

Check need for further


detailed assessment and
indicate need in Format B

Further detailed Further detailed Forward to F&P


assessment not required assessment required Subcomm for decision

Peer review process Drop the Commission detailed


activity from assessment by relevant
the plan technical experts

Clearance by GP Identify impact and


Finance and Planning mitigation measures.
Sub-Committee Include in activity plan

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4.4 VGDF

4.4.1 The main objective of the Vulnerable Group Development Framework (VGDF) is to
assist building institutional capacity, systems and processes of local governments to provide
better access for vulnerable groups (including Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, minorities) to
resources for public service infrastructure, and services, and for their social and economic
empowerment through promoting systems for:

 Prior free Informed participation in all processes with a view to improve the voice of
vulnerable constituents and ensure their informed consent.
 Protecting the social, economic and cultural interests of vulnerable communities in
project interventions.
 Promoting capacity building of vulnerable communities to take on roles in decision
making and service provision, supervision etc.
 Promoting the equitable distribution of resources.
 Ensuring transparency through disclosure of planned activities to the vulnerable
communities through consultations and public display of plans and performance (and
ensuring annual updating of the same).
 Facilitating monitoring of activities under VGDF.

4.4.2 The VGDF comprises two chief activities:

 Identification of public infrastructure needs for vulnerable groups as part of the annual
planning process. Responsibility for this falls to the GP Finance and Planning sub-
committee which will undertake this activity as an integral part of the annual planning
cycle.

 Identification of existing nationally or state funded schemes which may specifically


benefit vulnerable groups, facilitation of access by members of vulnerable group
populations to these schemes (including information dissemination), and monitoring
of awards to beneficiaries. This is one of the normal GP functions, responsibility for
which resides with the Finance and Planning sub-committee. GPs may choose to
involve SHGs or CBOs in this activity. Any costs related to this will be covered by
the general GP budget.

4.5 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR IMPLEMENTING ESMF

The overall responsibility of implementing ESMF will lie with State ISGP cell at the PRDD.
At the District level the District Coordinator will be overall incharge of ESMF
implementation in the district. At GP level, the review of existing Sub-committees suggests
that the “Finance and Planning Sub-committee (Artha O Parikalpana Upa-Samiti) along with
the vulnerable group coordinator” can be made responsible for providing environmental and
social clearances as per ESMF.

4.5.1 Institutional Roles and Responsibility for ESMF Implementation


The ISGP aims to strengthen the existing PRI planning process; hence it is proposed to
follow the planning process as described in Volume-II of this report. And whereby, the roles
and responsibility of planning, implementation and monitoring remains the same for all the
PRI activities including the one under ISGP.

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At the GP level, the Finance and Planning Sub-committee has the overall responsibility for
ESMF implementation in the GP – ensuring that the Environmental Assessment is done for
the draft GP plan, identified mitigation measures are integrated into the final GP plan and are
implemented. This sub-committee will also ensure that the Gram Sansads (GS) have adequate
orientation to the environmental and social safeguards in the ESMF so that the GS plans are
in alignment with these.

4.3 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR IMPLEMENTING ESMF

TABLE (4.1): ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR ESMF IMPLEMENTATION


Institution/ Individual Roles Responsibility in Implementing ESMF
At State Level:

ISGPP Cell in Overall management of The SC, assisted by the PGM (for the PA and grant
WBSRDA (within project implementation, allocation component), and the CBM and the CBPS (for
PRDD). ESMF-related including coordination, the capacity building component) would: (a) oversee
issues at the State level monitoring and reporting on and address (in consultation with the Bank) systemic
are overseen by the progress. issues associated with the ESMF that arise during
State Coordinator (SC), project implementation, including those that pertain to:
supported by a (i) legal and regulatory requirements; (ii) the effective
Performance Grant operation of the PAs and performance grant allocations;
Manager (PGM), a (iii) emerging social and environmental issues not
Capacity Building initially anticipated that need either updating of the
Manager (CBM), and a ESMF or other mitigating initiatives; and (iv) capacity
Capacity Building building requirements; and (b) ensure that the semi-
Planning Specialist annual progress report to PRDD and the Bank follows
(CBPS) with social and the agreed format in addressing ESMF aspects of project
environmental expertise. implementation.

At District Level:
Each project district has:

A District The mentoring teams are Each mentoring team has a planning specialist with
Coordination Unit mobile and deliver “just-in- environmental and social expertise who would: (i)
(DCU) being time”, on-the-job, capacity undertake all requisite exercises to assist the GPs in
established under the building support to the GPs building their capacity to implement the ESMF on a
project with a District for improving their ability to continuing basis; and (ii) provide support to the GPs on
Coordinator (DC), who perform in key functional Environmental Management, and on Environmental and
reports to the District areas under the project, Social Assessment (screening and review) processes.
AEO. The DCU is including application of the
staffed with about 6 ESMF.
three-person Mentoring
Teams, with each team The DC has overall The DC would oversee preparation of progress reports,
including expertise to responsibility for: (i) according to agreed formats, on capacity building
address ESMF coordinating the teams, activities including those related to implementing the
requirements. including managing ESMF. The reports would be reviewed with the AEO
logistics, and providing and the Zila Parishad, and submitted to the ISGPP Cell
support and assistance to the (the CBPS and the CBM). Sustained constraints to
teams as required; (ii) developing effective ESMF-related capacity by the GPs
dealing with issues arising would be captured in these reports which would serve as
in the teams’ ability to inputs to the preparation of the semi-annual progress
operate effectively; and (iii) reports and appropriate action plans
reporting monthly to the
AEO on progress with
capacity building by the

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TABLE (4.1): ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR ESMF IMPLEMENTATION
Institution/ Individual Roles Responsibility in Implementing ESMF
teams.

At District Level:
Each project district has:

An existing District Expert trainers, using Of the four key course areas, one would focus on ESMF
Training Centre suitably prepared training procedures and requirements. The DTC manager would
(DTC) through which materials and curricula, report on implementation progress of this capacity
formal, classroom-based would deliver specialized building sub-component to STARPARD and the
capacity building, technical courses in four key DPRDO, and the latter would submit all reports to the
including training on areas. The DTC Manager AEO for review and transmission to the ISGPP Cell (the
ESMF-related would oversee the logistics CBM and CBPS). The ESMF-related course would be
requirements would be and convene the courses at adjusted each year to take account of progress being
provided. The project the DTCs. made by the GPs in implementing their ESMFs.
would support the DTCs
by financing a core
staffing complement of
three people – a DTC
Manager and two
Training Convenors.
At Gram Panchayat The Finance and Planning  Undertake overall responsibility for implementation
Level – The Finance Sub-Committee has overall of the ESMF at the GP level
and Planning Sub- responsibility for ensuring  Ensure integration of the ESMF into the GP
committee (Artha O satisfactory ESMF planning process
Parikalpana Upa- implementation at the GP  Ensure Environmental and Social Assessments
Samiti) along with the level, including providing (Screening and Review) are done as per ESMF
vulnerable group necessary clearances as per guidelines and formats
coordinator. the ESMF.  Provide the Environmental and Social Clearances
to activities as per the ESMF.
 Provide adequate orientation to Gram Sansad
members on environmental and social safeguards
so that the Gram Sansad plans are in alignment
with the safeguard requirements.
 Include a section on ESMF implementation in the
half-yearly and annual reports presented to the
Gram Sabha per an agreed format .
At Gram Panchayat The Nirman Sahayak would  Screen, as per prescribed ESMF formats, all GP
Level – Nirman be responsible for activities in the Draft GP Plan
Sahayak for day to day conducting Environmental  Undertake an Environmental and Social Review
implementation of the and Social Assessments according to the prescribed formats for all GP
ESMF. (Screening and Review) as activities as set out in the Draft GP Plan
per ESMF requirements for  Identify needs for further detailed technical
(In case of GPs where all GP activities assessments and forward to District Coordinator.
the Nirman Sahayak is
not available, the Gram
Rozgar Sahayak shall be
given necessary
responsibility)

4.6 CAPACITY BUILDING

For an effective institutional strengthening and implementation of ESMF it is imperative that


capacity building of the GP stakeholders be carried out in the project. To increase the

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effectiveness with respect to implementation of ESMF, capacity building of GP staffs
especially those involved in screening, undertaking environmental reviews and providing
necessary clearance as per ESMF will be important. A brief detail of existing capacities and
potential capacity building requirements of various GP members staffs are presented in the
Table (2.38) in Chapter-2 of this report earlier.

Also, necessary orientation with respect to ESMF to District Coordinator and State
Coordinator (Planning and Programme Execution) at ISGP Cell and other stakeholders at
district and state level such as members of Panchayat Samiti, Zilla Parishad along with line
departments will be important.

4.6.1 Capacity Building Initiatives Proposed

The key individuals that the ESMF depends on include Nirman Sahayak (for screening and
review), Gram Rozgar Sahayak where post of Nirman Shayak is vacant and members of
Finance and Planning Sub-committee at GP level for overall implementation of ESMF at GP
level. Whereas the District Coordinator and State Coordinator (Planning and Programme
Execution) will be responsible for overall implementation of ESMF at district and state level.
Hence capacity building initiatives with respect to detailed environmental and social
assessment process and tools will be important for the above mentioned people.

However, it will be important to build capacities of members of other sub-committees at GP


level and the project staff at district level and at state level with respect to ESMF and VGDF
as part of the overall project orientation

The capacity building strategy involves provision of (a) orientation on the ESMF to GP
functionaries and project staff at all levels (district, state) (b) detailed training on the ESMF
procedures to the key functionaries at the GP level responsible for its implementation
(Nirman Sahayak). In addition, the GP functionaries will receive on-going hand-holding
support to enable integration of ESMF in planning and execution from the District Mentoring
Teams constituted as part of the project.

TABLE (4.2) INDICATIVE TRAINING MODULES


Training Module Key participants Themes Plan
Detailed orientation District Coordinators Overview of ESMF State level training in year 1
on ESMF State Coordinator – Overview of Environmental followed by refresher training
Planning and Project Assessment once during the project
Execution duration
Orientation on GP functionaries Role of GP in context of District level training in year 1
Environmental (including Finance and environmental management followed by refresher training
Management of GP Planning Sub- Integration of environmental twice during the project
Activities committees) management in the planning duration
process Communication materials on
Overview of Environmental environmental management
Assessment process
Specialized Nirman Sahayak or Overview of ESMF District level training in year 1
Training on Gram Rozgar Sahayak Environmental Assessment followed by refresher training
Environmental (where post of Nirman process and tools – Screening and in year 2 and year 4
Assessment Sahayak is vacant) Environmental Review Communication materials on
environmental assessment

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TABLE (4.2) INDICATIVE TRAINING MODULES
Training Module Key participants Themes Plan
Detailed orientation Hand-holding team Role of GP in context of District level training in year 1
on ESMF members focusing on environmental management followed by refresher training
planning Integration of environmental twice during the project
management in the planning duration
process Communication materials on
Overview of Environmental environmental management
Assessment process

4.6.2 Information Education and Communication (IEC) Strategy

The IEC for ESMF under the ISGP project will attempt to reach out to various stakeholder
groups involved in implementation of ESMF with all the necessary information and updates
on a regular basis. This will include activities as follows:

 Any material necessary for Nirman Sahayak and GP Finance and Planning Sub-
committee for Environmental and Social Assessment e.g. Manual for Environmental
and Social Assessment in Bengali containing all the necessary Formats
 All the necessary information including negative list of activities will be shared with
Gram Sansad/GUS in a proactive manner to reduce the number of proposed sub-
projects by GS being dropped by the screening process.
 A periodic update of Environmental and Social Assessment Manual and circulation to
all GPs
 Availability of the manual on the PRDD website for quick reference and downloads
 Any other reference materials useful for Nirman Sahayak and GP sub-committee on
Finance and Planning to be shared on a regular basis including the necessary GOs and
guidelines

4.7 MONITORING FRAMEWORK

The monitoring of ESMF implementation needs to be integrated into the overall monitoring
systems designed for the project. Considering this, the following monitoring systems are
identified for the EMSF:

 Annual Performance Assessment: The monitoring of ESMF implementation at the


GP level will be integrated with the system for Annual Performance Assessment of
the GPs. The Annual Performance Assessment will include checking compliance with
ESMF in planning and in execution through a review of the assessment process. The
Annual Performance Assessment will be subject to a Quality Control Audit annually
on a sample basis.

 Monitoring Cumulative and Trans-GP Boundary Issues: The District Mentoring


teams will monitor and inform the District Coordinator regarding environmental and
social issues that arise from cumulative impacts of several individual activities or are

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related to trans-GP boundaries. The District Coordinator shall refer these to the State
Coordinator and also to the PS/ ZP for their consideration and further action.

 Reporting: At the GP level, each GP will include a section on ESMF implementation


in its half-yearly and annual reports that are presented to the Gram Sabha. The
periodic report of overall project progress prepared by the ISGP cell will include
information on implementation of the ESMf under the project in an agreed format.

4.8 CONSULTATIONS AND DISCLOSURE PROCESS

4.8.1 Consultations for ESMF preparation

An earlier draft of the ESMF was subjected to extensive consultations with a range of internal
and external stakeholders – representatives of the PRIs, officials of the PRDD and other line
departments, representatives of NGO/CBO. It has since been updated in response to the
comments that were obtained during the consultation workshop. The Executive Summary of
the ESMF along with the assessment tools will be translated in Bengali and circulated to all
district level PRI offices and District Collectors’ offices.

4.8.1 Consultations and Disclosure of Sub-Projects at GP

This ESMF is based on a strong participatory approach in undertaking all key activities by
disclosing the environmental and social issues of a sub-project. The GP will make all
reasonable efforts to consult relevant stakeholders (including the affected communities,
CBOs and NGOs, especially for sub-projects with potentially significant environmental or
social impacts) in the implementation of the activities, incorporate local community needs
and resolve conflicts. The GP “Finance and Planning Sub-committee (Artha O Parikalpana
Upa-Samiti)” will ensure that affected people are consulted in a meaningful way and allowed
to participate actively in the consultation process. The consultations will be carried out in a
way which is appropriate for cultural, gender based and other differences among
stakeholders. Where different groups or individual have different views or opinions,
particularly emphasis will be put on the views and needs of the vulnerable groups. The half-
yearly and annual GP annual reports will include a section on ESMF implementation with
respect to the activities undertaken.

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4.8 DOCUMENTATION

The Finance and Planning Sub-committee will maintain a complete record of the
environmental and social assessment and management of the activities in their respective
GPs. This will include the duly filled up and signed Environmental and Social Review
Formats (ESRFs), and a detailed record of the trainings and capacity building programs
attended by the GP elected members and functionaries. This will include:

 A duly filled and signed Format B and Format C (wherever used). These filled in
Formats shall also be attached to the GP plan.
 Copies of any permission taken from relevant authorities as specified in Format A.
 A record of orientation and training programmes attended by various GP staff and
functionaries
 A duly filled Annexure 11 of schemes accessed by vulnerable groups

These filled Formats will also be included in the tender documents and contracts/MoU for the
work execution (wherever applicable), ensuring that the contractors are legally bound to
implement the mitigation measures included in the formats.

4.9 ESMF REVIEW

The review of the present ESMF will be a continuous process, and on the basis of its
implementation, need for making changes and revisions may arise. The State ISGP
Coordinator will be responsible to review the effectiveness and adequacy of the Framework,
and make changes if necessary, keeping all the stakeholders informed.

In addition to the above, a detailed review of the present ESMF will be during the project.
During this review, the adequacy, performance and effectiveness of the ESMF will be
assessed, and improvement areas if any will be identified. On the basis of the outcome of this
review, the ESMF may need to be revised.

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FORMAT – A: NEGATIVE LIST – ACTIVITIES NOT ALLOWED

Activities having adverse impact on Socio-economic status

 Any activity that overlooks the rights and special provisions of vulnerable groups such as
scheduled tribes, scheduled castes and minorities.
 Any activity that goes against the constitutional rights of people and creates inequalities
among caste, community and gender groups.

Activities having adverse impact on Natural Habitat, Forest and Trees


 Activities that are likely to cause damage to wildlife and forests.
 Activities in forest areas and inside designated Protected Areas26 (e.g. National Parks,
Wild Life Sanctuaries, Tiger Reserves, etc.without permission from the Forest
Department.
 Activities involving use of forest land for non forest purpose without prior clearance from
the Forest Department.
 Any activity involving development of tourism infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, resorts)
within one km of reserve forests, wildlife sanctuaries without permission from the West
Bengal Pollution Control Board27.
 Felling of more than 3 trees in non-forest areas without permission from the Forest
Department28 and felling of any of the trees as mentioned in the schedule 'Permission
mandatory for felling29' attached to the West Bengal Trees (Protection and Conservation

26 The Wildlife conservation programme in the State has been aimed at in-situ conservation strategy with a
chain of protected area (PA) designated as Biosphere Reserve (1), National Parks (5), Wildlife Sanctuaries
(15), Tiger Reserve (2) and Elephant Reserve (2). However many PAs have overlapping areas as 63
percent of Forest area have been designated as PAs. This includes: Buxa Wildlife Sanctuary (Buxa
National Park and Tiger Reserve), Chapramari Wildlife Sanctury, Garumara Wildlife Sanctuary, Garumara
National Park and Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary in Jalpaigri district; Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Neora
Valley National Park, Sinchal Wildlife Sanctuary, Singhalila National Park in Darjeeling district; Balavpur
Wildlife Sanctuary in Birbhum district; Bibhutibhusan Wildlife Sanctuary and Bethudahari Wildlife
Sanctuary in Nadia district; Ramnabagan Wildlife Sanctuary in Bardhaman district; Raigunj Wildlife
Sanctuary in Uttar Dinajpur district; Haliday Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary,
Narendrapur Wildlife Sanctuary, Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary and Sundarban National Park (Sundarban
Tiger Reserve and Sunderban Biosphere Reserve) in South 24 Parganas.
27 GO No. EN/ 871/T-II-4/002/2008 dated April 15, 2008 Department of Environment, Government of West
Bengal
28 As per West Bengal Trees (Protection and Conservation in Non-Forest Areas) Act, 2006 and West Bengal
Trees (Protection and Conservation in Non-Forest Areas) Rules, 2007
29
 Acacia catechu (Khair)
 Bombax cieba (Simul)
 Dalbergia sissoo (Shishu)
 Diospyros melanoxylon (Kendu/Tendu)
 Gmelina arborea (Gamar)
 Madhuka indica (Mahua)
 Michelia champaka (Champ)
 Shorea robusta (Sal)
 Swietenia mahogony (Mahogony)
 Tectona grandis (Teak)
 Mangrove trees

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 165
in Non-Forest Areas) Act, 2006.
 Any activity that involves extraction of timber or any non-timber forest produce from a
forest area or its transport without permission from the Forest Department30(except in
accordance with the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest
Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006).
 Any activity that involves cutting of grass or grazing of livestock in a forest area without
permission from the Forest Department31 (except in accordance with the provisions of the
Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights)
Act, 2006)..

Activities having adverse impact on Drinking Water


 Activities involving drinking water supply sourced from groundwater in the 79 arsenic
affected blocks (as per Annexure -8) without necessary technical support and guidance
from Public Health Engineering Department.
 Activities involving new drinking water supply without testing of water quality to ensure
that it is safe for human consumption as prescribed by Public Health Engineering
Department.

Activities having adverse impact on Land and Water Resources


 Activities involving construction of dams (check dams, embankments, etc.) above 7
metres in height.
 Activities involving construction of dam, barrage, bandh, barrier on a flowing river
without provision for fish pass or fish-ladder as directed by the District Fisheries
Officer32.
 Digging of any tubewell or well from which water is extracted with the help of any
mechanical or electrical device without permission of the District Level Ground Water
Resources Development Authority (Geologist of the State Water Investigation Directorate,
Government of West Bengal)33.
 Activities involving discharge into any water body any industrial waste, sewerage or
other polluting substance that may affect the fish health or life34.
 Activities involving promotion, use, storage and distribution of pesticides that are banned
by the Government of India or the Government of West Bengal; and, activities involving
pesticides that fall in the classes Ia, Ib and II as per the WHO classification (Refer
Annexure 3 & 4) without technical support from the Department of Agriculture and
adequate safety measures.
 Any industrial and mining activity without obtaining necessary permits (compliance with

30 West Bengal Protected Forests Rules, 1956 and West Bengal Forest-Produce Transit Rules, 1959
31 West Bengal Protected Forests Rules, 1956
32 West Bengal Inland Fisheries Act, 1984 and West Bengal Inland Fisheries Rules, 1985
33 West Bengal Ground Water Resources (Management, Control & Regulation) Act, 2005.
34 West Bengal Inland Fisheries Act, 1984

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 166
siting restrictions, Consent to Establish, Consent to Operate) from the West Bengal
Pollution Control Board.

Activities having adverse impact on Coastal Zones35


 The following activities in areas under the Coastal Regulation Zone36 (CRZ):
3. Discharge of untreated wastes and effluents
4. Harvesting or drawal of ground water within 200 m of High Tide Level in the 200 m
to 500 m zone unless when done manually through ordinary wells for drinking,
horticulture, agriculture and fisheries37
5. Land reclamation, bunding or disturbing the natural course of sea water except those
required for control of coastal erosion and maintenance or clearing of water ways,
channels or for prevention of sandbars or for tidal regulators, storm water drains or for
structures for prevention of salinity ingress and sweet water recharge
6. Mining of sands, rocks and other substrata materials
7. Any construction activity between the Low Tide Line and High Tide Line in the CRZ-
I and III without permission from the West Bengal State Coastal Zone Management
Authority38.39

Activities having adverse impact on Cultural Resource


 Activities likely to cause damage to objects, sites, structures, groups of structures, and
natural features and landscapes that have archaeological, paleontological, historical,
architectural, religious, aesthetic, or other cultural significance.

35 Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991.


36 The coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers and backwaters which are influenced by tidal
action (in the landward side) upto 500 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL) and the land between the
Low Tide Line (LTL) and the HTL is referred to as the Coastal Regulation Zone.
37 Drawal of ground water is permitted, where no other source of water is available and when done manually
through ordinary wells or hand pumps, for drinking and domestic purposes, in the zone between 50 to 200
m from High Tide Line in case of seas, bays and estuaries and within 200 m or the CRZ, whichever is less,
from High Tide Line in case of rivers, creeks and backwaters.
38 The construction of dispensaries, schools, public rain shelters, community toilets, bridges, roads, jetties,
water supply, drainage, sewerage which are required for traditional/local inhabitants of the area, may be
permitted, on a case to case basis, by the West Bengal State Coastal Zone Management Authority.
39 CRZ I: Includes (i) Areas that are ecologically sensitive and important, such as national parks/marine parks,
sanctuaries, reserve forests, wildlife habitats, mangroves, corals/coral reefs, areas close to breeding and
spawning grounds of fish and other marine life, areas of outstanding natural beauty/historically/heritage
areas, areas rich in genetic diversity (ii) Area between Low Tide Line and the high Tide Line; CRZ III:
Areas that are relatively undisturbed and include coastal zone in the rural areas (developed and
undeveloped).

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 167
FORMAT – B: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL REVIEW FORMAT

PART A
Note: Columns 3, 4, 5 are to be filled as part of the planning process.
Column 6 is to be filled every quarter after sanction of the GP Plan starting with the date of implementation of the activity concerned

Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 Ponds –  Construction of pond on fertile  Site for construction of new pond  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
construction, agriculture land may be on barren and uncultivable from ________________________ ________________
excavation, de- land to the extent possible _____________________________
silting, cleaning,  Erosion from unstable earthen for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
etc. bunds Reinforcement of the banks to measures mitigation measures during activity
check soil erosion (e.g. plantation, initiation (construction)
 Felling of trees at the excavation lining with stones, etc.)  The identified mitigation _____________________________
site measures have been included in the _____________________________
If more than 3 trees are to be contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
felled, permission of the Forest ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
 Possibility of chance finds of Department will be taken. A plantation legally bound to implement
archaeological importance mitigation measures in Quarter 1
plan for raising atleast twice the them _____________________________
number of trees felled will be made _____________________________
 Requirement of land acquisition and implemented _____________________________
Report on implementation of
 Involvement of child labour Any object of archaeological, mitigation measures in Quarter 2
cultural, historical or religious _____________________________
 Choice of location may cause significance found during the _____________________________
conflict among community excavation will be deposited with the _____________________________
groups District Collector Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 3
 Uneven deposition of silt on No child labour will be involved _____________________________
banks may lead to weakening of _____________________________
banks, uneven deposition on Poorer and tribal hamlets shall be _____________________________
farm lands may lead to problems prioritised for provision of new Report on implementation of
with irrigation and drainage infrastructure based on principles of mitigation measures in Quarter 4

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Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
equity _____________________________
 Requirement of land Systematic and even deposition of _____________________________
silt on banks/farm lands _____________________________

New ponds would be located in


un encumbered community/Govt/GP
lands or through outright purchase. In
case of rehabilitation of existing
infrastructure, through practicable
benefit sharing (eg fishing concession)
arrangements with land losers where
appropriate.
2 Roads –  Construction of road on fertile Avoid alignment that encroaches  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
construction, agriculture land or encroaching on agricultural land, water bodies, from ________________________ ________________
repair on water bodies forests. _____________________________
for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
 Impacts on 'borrow areas' from Avoid taking soil from within 1.5 measures mitigation measures during activity
where soil for filling is taken metres of the embankment, from fertile initiation (construction)
agricultural land, grazing land, land  The identified mitigation _____________________________
 Inadequate drainage provision within 0.8 km from the settlement and measures have been included in the _____________________________
leading to water logging from environmentally sensitive areas contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
such as wetlands, streams, unstable ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
hillsides, etc. legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
 Felling of trees at the them _____________________________
construction site Depth of the borrow pits must not _____________________________
exceed 45 cm _____________________________
 Temporary impacts and waste Report on implementation of
disposal related to construction Conform to natural topography to mitigation measures in Quarter 2
(noise, dust, etc.) reduce cut and fill, and, minimise _____________________________
changes to natural drainage patterns _____________________________
 Possibility of chance finds of _____________________________
archeological importance Provision of culverts, cause-ways Report on implementation of
or bridges wherever necessary for mitigation measures in Quarter 3

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 179
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
 Requirement of land acquisition adequate drainage _____________________________
_____________________________
 Involvement of child labour If more than 3 trees are to be _____________________________
felled, permission of the Forest Report on implementation of
 Choice of location may cause Department will be taken. A plantation mitigation measures in Quarter 4
conflict among community plan for raising atleast twice the _____________________________
groups number of trees felled will be made _____________________________
and implemented _____________________________

Trees that are nesting sites for


migratory water birds will not be
felled.

 Civil works contract conditions


will include provisions to obligate the
contractor to implement appropriate
mitigation measures for the temporary
impacts including disruption of normal
traffic, increased noise levels, dust
generation, and damage to adjacent
parcel of land due to movement of
heavy machinery. The conditions will
also include proper disposal of wastes.
Disposal of wastes in water bodies,
forests, etc., is to be avoided.

Any object of archaeological,


cultural, historical or religious
significance found during the
excavation will be deposited with the
District Collector

New roads constructed largely on


unencumbered Govt./GP/Community

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 180
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
lands. Minor Land acquisition could be
through negotiated purchase or
voluntary donation with safeguards in
40
place .

No child labour will be involved

Poorer and tribal hamlets shall be


prioritised for provision of new
infrastructure based on principles of
equity

3 Canal banks -  Erosion of soil from the canal Reinforcement of the banks to  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
strengthening bunds check soil erosion (e.g. plantation, from ________________________ ________________
lining with stones, etc.) _____________________________
 Impacts on 'borrow areas' from for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
where soil for embankment Avoid taking soil from within 1.5 measures mitigation measures during activity
filling is taken metres of the embankment, from fertile initiation (construction)
agricultural land, grazing land, land  The identified mitigation _____________________________
 Involvement of child labour within 0.8 km from the settlement and measures have been included in the _____________________________
from environmentally sensitive areas contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
such as wetlands, streams, unstable ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
hillsides, etc. legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1

40 The details of the land acquisition should be discussed in an open forum and compensatory measures if any shared with the local community. [1] Wherever the land
is donated by the community, complete documentation will be carried out for the title transfer of the land. For any land donated, there will be an agreement – properly
notarized – where by the donor will state that: i) the land is donated voluntarily; ii) the land is appropriate for the intended purpose (verified by the project); iii) the land is
free of encumbrances and interests; iv) for any loss of livelihood of vulnerable persons, community derived mitigation measures are acceptable to the affectees; v) the donor
gives up all claims to the land; and vi) the title has been transferred to the entity that the donation is made to. In addition, voluntary land donations are normally encouraged
when the (i) impacts are minor (loss of land less than 10% of holdings), (ii) sub projects are not site specific, (iii) The land required to meet technical project criteria must be
identified by the affected community, not by line agencies or project authorities (nonetheless, technical authorities can help ensure that the land is appropriate for project
purposes and that the project will produce no health or environmental safety hazards) and (iv) Grievance redress mechanism is in place

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 181
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
Them _____________________________
Depth of the borrow pits must not _____________________________
exceed 45 cm _____________________________
Report on implementation of
No child labour will be involved mitigation measures in Quarter 2
_____________________________
Technical support from Irrigation _____________________________
Department _____________________________
Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 3
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 4
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
4 Field irrigation  Improper slope leading to poor Slope to be maintained for flow of  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
channels – water supply at the tail-end water to tail-end from ________________________ ________________
excavation, _____________________________
maintenance Reinforcement of the bunds to for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
 Erosion from unstable earthen check soil erosion measures mitigation measures during activity
bunds initiation (construction)
If more than 3 trees are to be  The identified mitigation _____________________________
felled, permission of the Forest measures have been included in the _____________________________
 Felling of trees
Department will be taken. A plantation contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
plan for raising atleast twice the ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
 Loss of fertile top soil number of trees felled will be made legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
and implemented them _____________________________
_____________________________
Surplus soil will be utilized _____________________________
appropriately or disposed without Report on implementation of

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 182
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
blocking water courses mitigation measures in Quarter 2
_____________________________
Technical support from _____________________________
Agriculture Department or Krishi _____________________________
Vignan Kendra Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 3
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 4
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
5 Tube wells –  No water testing prior to Testing of water quality prior to  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
Drinking water commissioning of tube well commissioning of tube well as per the from ________________________ ________________
norms of the Public Health _____________________________
 Improper selection of location Engineering Department. In case the for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
may lead to contamination water is unsuitable for consumption, measures mitigation measures during activity
initiation (construction)
seek guidance from Public Health
 Unprotected boreholes may be a Engineering Department.  The identified mitigation _____________________________
safety hazard measures have been included in the _____________________________
contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
In case the GP is in one of the 79 ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
 Lack of or improper platform arsenic affected blocks (as per legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
and drainage around the tube
Annexure -8) take necessary technical them _____________________________
well _____________________________
support and guidance from Public
Health Engineering Department. _____________________________
 Irregular water testing Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 2
 All boreholes (during construction,
 Choice of location may cause _____________________________
abandoned, etc.) must be covered /
conflict among community _____________________________
capped for protection against
groups _____________________________
children falling in.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 183
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
Report on implementation of
 Requirement of land (very  Location of the tube well must be mitigation measures in Quarter 3
small) at least 15 metres away from soak pits, _____________________________
other sanitation facilities, rainwater _____________________________
harvesting or recharge structures, etc., _____________________________
to avoid direct contamination Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 4
 Avoid direct runoff of rain water _____________________________
into tube well _____________________________
_____________________________
 Provide a concrete mat of
sufficient thickness for 75 cm radius
around the tube well to seal the outer
periphery

 Provide a channel to take away


waste water (preferably to water
vegetation) in order to prevent
stagnation around the tube well

 Ensure annual testing of water


quality as per the norms of the Public
Health Engineering Department

Poorer and tribal hamlets shall be


prioritised for provision of new
infrastructure based on principles of
equity

As far as possible on


unencumbered community/ GP/
Govt.lands. Else rarely through
outright purchase, voluntary donation
(with safeguards in place).

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 184
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
6 Tube wells –  Depletion of groundwater Take permission from the District  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
Irrigation Level Ground Water Resources from ________________________ ________________
Development Authority (Geologist of _____________________________
the State Water Investigation for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
Directorate, Government of West measures mitigation measures during activity
Bengal) for digging of any tubewell or initiation (construction)
well from which water is extracted  The identified mitigation _____________________________
with the help of any mechanical or measures have been included in the _____________________________
electrical device. contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
Maintain a minimum distance of legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
200 m between two tubewells in semi- them _____________________________
critical and critical blocks. _____________________________
_____________________________
Take technical support from the Report on implementation of
Department of Agriculture or Krishi mitigation measures in Quarter 2
Vignan Kendra on promoting efficient _____________________________
irrigation technologies (for example, _____________________________
sprinkler or drip irrigation) _____________________________
Report on implementation of
 Requirement of land As far as possible on mitigation measures in Quarter 3
unencumbered community/ GP/ _____________________________
Govt.lands. Else through outright _____________________________
purchase, voluntary donation (with _____________________________
safeguards in place). or with Report on implementation of
practicable benefit sharing mitigation measures in Quarter 4
arrangements from private holders. _____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
7 Toilets –  Improper selection of location Locate the toilets atleast 15 metres  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
Construction may lead to contamination of nearby away from the nearest water sources. If from ________________________ ________________
water sources this is not possible due to site _____________________________
considerations, technical support will for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
 Poor use of facility due to lack

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 185
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
of water inside or outside the be taken from the Public Health measures mitigation measures during activity
toilet Engineering Department to identify initiation (construction)
and implement necessary safeguards.  The identified mitigation _____________________________
 Requirement of land acquisition
measures have been included in the _____________________________
If the pits are located under a contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
 Involvement of child labour footpath or a road, or if a water supply ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
main is within a legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
 Choice of location may cause distance of 3 m from the pits, the inlet them _____________________________
conflict among community level of the pipes or drains connecting _____________________________
groups the leach pits should be kept below the _____________________________
level of the water main, or 1 m below Report on implementation of
the ground level. If this is not possible mitigation measures in Quarter 2
due to site considerations, the joints of _____________________________
the water main should be encased in _____________________________
concrete. _____________________________
Report on implementation of
Ensure availability of water at the mitigation measures in Quarter 3
toilet facility _____________________________
_____________________________
Promote use of toilets _____________________________
Report on implementation of
As far as possible the facility will mitigation measures in Quarter 4
be located in unencumbered _____________________________
community/GP lands. In rare cases _____________________________
through voluntary donation (with _____________________________
safeguards in place) or outright
purchase,
No child labour will be involved

Poorer and tribal hamlets shall be


prioritised for provision of new
infrastructure based on principles of
equity

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 186
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
8 Land  Lack of technical support may Choose land treatment relevant to  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
Development result in poor planning and the type of land degradation41 from ________________________ ________________
execution  _____________________________
 Take technical support from the for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
offices of the Water Investigation and measures mitigation measures during activity
Development Department, Krishi initiation (construction)
Vignan Kendra, Divisional Forest  The identified mitigation _____________________________
Officer, etc. measures have been included in the _____________________________
contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
them _____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 2
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 3
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 4
_____________________________
_____________________________

41 Flood affected areas require works related to regular desilting of river courses, construction of bunds, cleaning of drainages and canals etc. The control of soil
erosion/sand deposits due to flooded rivers in the plains requires measures relating to land levelling and flood protection measures by the government. The problem of
soil erosion in hilly areas requires soil binding treatments (plantations, vegetative works on contours), control of free run off of water (check dams, earthen dams, gully
plugging, trenches) and water storage mechanisms (ponds, water harvesting structures). Dry lands require water storage facilities for an assured (life saving) irrigation.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 187
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
_____________________________
9 Social Forestry  Mono culture plantation of  Take technical support from the  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
and Nursery exotic species field offices of the West Bengal from ________________________ ________________
Comprehensive Area Development _____________________________
 Overuse of chemical fertilisers Corporation (WBCADC), Krishi for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
leading to pollution Vignan Kendra, District Horticulture measures mitigation measures during activity
Officer or the Divisional Forest Officer initiation (construction)
 Impacts on human and for selection of suitable species,  The identified mitigation _____________________________
environmental health due to use of fertilizer scheduling and pest control measures have been included in the _____________________________
hazardous chemical pesticides using integrated pest management. contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
 Avoid use of pesticides that are legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
hazardous (WHO classes Ia, Ib and II). them _____________________________
_____________________________
 Ensure that proper safety gear is _____________________________
used while handling pesticides. Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 2
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 3
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
Report on implementation of
mitigation measures in Quarter 4
_____________________________
_____________________________
_____________________________
10 Construction or  Construction planned on fertile Site for construction may be on  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
Repair of agricultural land barren and uncultivable land to the from ________________________ ________________
Buildings extent possible – fertile agricultural _____________________________

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 188
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
(School,  Disposal of debris/waste land must be avoided for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
Panchayat Office, material on agricultural fields measures mitigation measures during activity
Anganwadi,  Any debris/waste material from initiation (construction)
Community  Use of asbestos may pose a the construction must be disposed  The identified mitigation _____________________________
Centres, etc.) health hazard to workers carefully at pre-determined waste measures have been included in the _____________________________
disposal sites and must not be left contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
 No provision of toilet lying around the construction site ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
 No proper ventilation  Avoid use of asbestos / asbestos them _____________________________
containing products as construction _____________________________
material _____________________________
 Require acquiring land Report on implementation of
 Institutions, schools, mitigation measures in Quarter 2
 Involvement of child labour establishments constructed in over- _____________________________
exploited or critical groundwater zones _____________________________
 Choice of location may cause must include provision for roof-top _____________________________
conflict among community rainwater harvesting on their premises. Report on implementation of
groups Technical guidance of the Regional mitigation measures in Quarter 3
Director, CGWB (Eastern Region) _____________________________
may be taken. _____________________________
_____________________________
 Provision of toilet with water Report on implementation of
facility must be made for school mitigation measures in Quarter 4
buildings, anganwadi centres, _____________________________
panchayat offices, etc. _____________________________
_____________________________
 Adequate provision for ventilation
and natural illumination must be made
in the building

As far as possible the facility will


be located in unencumbered
community/GP lands. In rare cases
through voluntary donation (with

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 189
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
safeguards in place) or outright
purchase,
No child labour will be involved

Poorer and tribal hamlets shall be


prioritised for provision of new
infrastructure based on principles of
equity
11 Drain –  Improper design may lead to  Ensure proper design including  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
construction poor performance slope, cross-section, lining, etc., to from ________________________ ________________
avoid silt accumulation, backflow, etc. _____________________________
 Poor maintenance may lead to Take technical support from Public for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
water stagnation and associated Health Engineering Department. measures mitigation measures during activity
problems such as increase in initiation (construction)
breeding sites for mosquitoes  Periodic cleaning and silt  The identified mitigation _____________________________
removal from the drain measures have been included in the _____________________________
 Disposal of debris/ waste contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
material on agricultural fields Community education to keep the ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
drain free from garbage, so as to avoid legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
blockages them _____________________________
 Lack of sullage treatment may _____________________________
lead to cess pools, pollution of Ensure that drain is only for _____________________________
water bodies, etc. sullage and effluent from septic tank, Report on implementation of
etc., does not flow into it mitigation measures in Quarter 2
 Felling of trees _____________________________
Final treatment of the sullage to _____________________________
convert it into harmless and reusable _____________________________
water (for example, sullage Report on implementation of
stabilization ponds, sedimentation and mitigation measures in Quarter 3
filtration, etc.) _____________________________
_____________________________
If more than 3 trees are to be _____________________________
felled, permission of the Forest Report on implementation of

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 190
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
Department will be taken. A plantation mitigation measures in Quarter 4
plan for raising atleast twice the _____________________________
number of trees felled will be made _____________________________
and implemented _____________________________
12 Community  Improper planning and design Community education on  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
Composting/ may lead to poor management of separation of biodegradables and non- from ________________________ ________________
Land Fill for solid waste especially in peri- biodegradables and options on their _____________________________
Solid Waste urban GPs recycling and treatment for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
Management measures mitigation measures during activity
 Low level of awareness on solid Ensure that the collection of solid initiation (construction)
waste management and absence waste is done at street or household  The identified mitigation _____________________________
of collection system may also level measures have been included in the _____________________________
lead to poor adherence to solid contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
waste management Ensure that a depot/ place ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
identified and earmarked for dumping legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
 Requirement of land of solid waste (as per the Gram them _____________________________
Panchayat’s Administrative Rules _____________________________
200442) _____________________________

42
The West Bengal Panchayat (Gram Panchayat Administration) Rules, 2004 defines the collection and disposal of solid waste as follows:
(1) Gram Panchayat shall endeavour to build and maintain, where it considers necessary, a system of collection, removal and disposal of solid wastes from residential,
commercial or institutional buildings.
(2) The Gram Panchayat may provide or appoint in convenient situations, including the situation arising out of any vacant land as a result of set-back of any structure or
building, public receptacles, depots or places for the temporary deposit of-
(a) rubbish,
(b) offensive matters,
(c) domestic and trade refuse,
(d) Carcasses of dead animals, and
(e) Excrementitious and polluted matters.
(3) It shall be the duty of the owners or the occupiers/ residents, as the case may be, of all premises to cause all matters referred to in clauses (a) to (e) of sub-rule (2) to be
collected from their respective premises and to be deposited in public receptacles, depots or places, provided or appointed under sub-rule (2), at such time and in such manner
as the Pradhan may, on giving adequate publicity, specify.
(4) The Gram Panchayat shall make adequate provision for preventing receptacles, depots or places from becoming sources of nuisance.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 191
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
Report on implementation of
Ensure that all the biodegradable mitigation measures in Quarter 2
waste should be composted at the _____________________________
community level by identifying a _____________________________
community compost pit. _____________________________
Report on implementation of
Ensure that adequate safety mitigation measures in Quarter 3
measures (protective gear, hygiene _____________________________
practices) are followed by workers _____________________________
handling solid waste. _____________________________
As far as possible the facility will Report on implementation of
be located in unencumbered mitigation measures in Quarter 4
community/GP/Govt. lands. In rare _____________________________
cases through voluntary donation (with _____________________________
safeguards in place) or outright _____________________________
purchase

13 Any New Check whether it involves: Technical support from the line  Technical support will be taken Date of implementation of activity
Activity department concerned with that from ________________________ ________________
Adverse environmental impacts: activity must be taken and _____________________________
 Water resources Environmental Assessment as per for implementation of mitigation Report on implementation of
 Ground water resources Format C has to be conducted. measures mitigation measures during activity
 Surface water resources initiation (construction)
 Water quality  The identified mitigation _____________________________
 Land resources measures have been included in the _____________________________
 Change in land use contracts for the work execution, _____________________________
 Land/soil degradation ensuring that the contractors are Report on implementation of
 Forests, Wildlife and legally bound to implement mitigation measures in Quarter 1
Biodiversity them _____________________________
 Forest/ trees/ vegetation _____________________________
 Wildlife _____________________________

(5) All matters deposited in public receptacles, depots or places as aforesaid and all solid wastes collected, shall be the property of the Gram Panchayat.

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 192
Sl.No. Activity Environmental Impacts Mitigation Measures Implementation management Report on implementation of
(Tick √ relevant impacts) (Tick √ measures selected for mitigation measures
implementation) (include date and signature)
1 2 3 4 5 6
 Biodiversity Report on implementation of
 Agriculture mitigation measures in Quarter 2
 Irrigation _____________________________
 Soil moisture _____________________________
 Agricultural productivity _____________________________
 Agriculture biodiversity Report on implementation of
 Other Natural resources mitigation measures in Quarter 3
 Air quality _____________________________
 Fisheries _____________________________
 Health and hygiene _____________________________
Report on implementation of
Involves: mitigation measures in Quarter 4
 Use of pesticides _____________________________
 Generation of wastes _____________________________
_____________________________
Adverse Social Impacts
 Impact on ST population
 Deprive vulnerable families
in any manner
 Require acquiring land
 Promote Child labour
 Promote any conflict among
community groups
 Restrict participation of
women, ST and marginalised
group
 Impact local cultural values

 Others (Specify)................

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 193
PART B
(To be used after using Part A of Format B or Format C – for activities that are not listed in Format B)

Determination of need for detailed Environmental Assessment:

1. Does the activity involve any forest area? Yes No


2. Does the activity fall under the Coastal Regulation Zone? Yes No
3. Is there a likelihood of significant residual impacts even after the mitigation measures identified in Part A (or in Format C as applicable) are
implemented? Yes No

If the answer to any one of the above is Yes, a detailed Environmental Assessment may be required. A decision on this is to be made by the
Finance and Planning Subcommittee
We confirm that:
All the activities in the plan have been checked.
None of the proposed activities are listed in the ‘Format A – Negative List – Activities Not Allowed’.
All the identified mitigation measures will be implemented.

Person Responsible for Environmental Review


GP Finance and Planning Sub-Committee
(Nirman Sahayak/ Gram Rojgar Sahayak)

Signature Signature
Name: Name:
Designation: Designation:
Date: Date:

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 194
FORMAT – C: GUIDELINE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

The EIA should necessarily cover in brief the following details for the EIA Report:

1. Project Description
(Including brief description, type of project, scale and magnitude of operation):

2. Description of the Environment


(List out all the major project requirements in terms of the land area, built up area, water consumption, power requirement, connectivity,
community facilities etc)

3. Anticipated Environmental impacts


Describe environmental based on:
 What are the likely impacts of the proposed activity on the existing environment?
 Will there be any significant land disturbance resulting in erosion, subsidence & instability?
 Will the proposal involve alteration of natural drainage systems?
 Give details of the quantities of earthwork involved, filling of materials from outside the site etc. Give quantities of various types
of wastes generated during construction including the construction labour and the means of disposal.
 Sources & quantities of water required. Will there be diversion of water from other users?
 What is the incremental pollution it may create
 Will it involve clearing of vegetation and felling of trees?

4. Anticipated Social impacts


 Will the project cause adverse effects on local communities, disturbance to sacred sites or other cultural values?

5. Potential Mitigation measures for adverse environmental and social impacts

6. Additional Studies/ Analysis Required

7. Project Benefits

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 195
ANNEXURE 11: GOVERNMENT SCHEMES TO BE MONITORED BY VULNERABLE GROUP REPRESENTATIVE AT GP
LEVEL

No. of Beneficiary from


Sl.No Scheme
ST SC OBC Muslim Others All
Major Schemes
National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes (No. of Days
1
Employment)
2 Indira Awas Yojana
3 Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana
4 National Social Benefit Programme
5 Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme
6 National Family Benefit Scheme
7 Janani Suraksha Yojana
8 Widow pension
9 Balika Samnidhi Yojana (grant to poor households for girl child)
10 Scholarships
11 Free food grains for poor
Post-disaster food, shelter, fodder, clothing, & house construction assistance for
12 poor
13 Antodaya Anna Yojana
14 Annapurna Yojana
15 PROFLAL
16 Homestead/ agricultural land for landless and marginal farmers

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 196
No. of Beneficiary from
Sl.No Scheme
ST SC OBC Muslim Others All
17 Provision of sanitary latrines
Bangla Swanirbhar Karmasansthan Prokalpa (Assistance to self help
18
groups for enterprise loans)
Financial assistance for poultry, duck, goat, sheep rearing, piggery &
19
cattle.
20 Pisciculture
21 Pension for poor, destitute & elderly fishermen.
22 Backward Classes Development schemes
23 Enterprise loans & subsidies
24 Educational loans
GP Activities under Untied Fund Benefiting Vulnerable Groups

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TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 197
ANNEXURE 12: PRIMARY CONSULTATIONS CONDUCTED

A. CONSULTATIONS WITH GP FUNCTIONRIES, STAFFS AND COMMUNITY

The primary field team met a range of stakeholders including GP functionaris and staffs
including Pradahan/ Upa-Pradhan, Panchayat Members, members of various GP sub-
committees, Executive Assistants, Secretaries, Nirman Sahayaks and Gram Rojgar Sahayaks,
Krishi Prayukta Sahayak, Livestock Development Assistant and other GP staffs, Gram
Unnayan Samiti Memebrs, SHG Members and leaders and Community groups and
households in each of the Gram Panchayats. The table below lists the districts, GPs and
Gram Sansads visited during the primary consultations.

LIST OF GRAM PANCHAYAT WITH GRAM SANSADS AND VISIT SCHEDULE


(ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER )
District Visit Sl. Name of Gram
Block Name of Gram Sansad Visited
Dates No. Panchayat
Murshidabad Jalangi Sagarpara Thakurnagar (GS VIII)
(June 8-13 2009) 1
Godagari (GS X)
Raghunathganj-I Jamuar Sandya-Jharua (GS VII)
2
(SRD Phase-I) Mandalpara-Birthumba (GS VI)
Kandi Jasohari Anukha-II Chaitanyapur
3 (SRD Phase-I) Jasohari Anukha-II (GS II)

Raghunathganj-II Nayamukundapur-Jaganpara
Jodhkamal (GS I)
4
(SRD Phase-I)
Osmanpur (GS VI)
Raghunathganj-II Sammatinagar Dihipara/Fadilpur (GS X)
5 (SRD Phase-I)
Sahajadpur-Taltala (GS I)

Dakshin Dinajpur Tapan Dipkhanda Jaminishchintapur (GS III)


(June 15-19 2009) 6
(SRD Phase-I) Sakoir (GS VI)
Kumarganj Bhour Bhour West (GS III)
7
(SRD Phase-II) Sitahar mulgram (GS IV)
Kumarganj Deor Deor West (GS I)
8
(SRD Phase-I) Netrodanga (GS IX)
Gangarampur Gangarampur Amga-saidpur (GS III)
9
(SRD Phase-II) Narai-raghabpur (GS IX)
Kumarganj Mohana Radhanagar
10 (SRD Phase-II)
Gramtala

Cooch Behar Cooch Behar-II Konamali Pestarjhar (GS VII)


(June 22-26 2009) 11 Chakchaka
Pestarjhar 127 (GS XI)
Mathabhanga-II 12 Nishiganj-II Bhongmara (GS III)

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 198
LIST OF GRAM PANCHAYAT WITH GRAM SANSADS AND VISIT SCHEDULE
(ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER )
District Visit Sl. Name of Gram
Block Name of Gram Sansad Visited
Dates No. Panchayat
Kodalkheti (GS VIII)
Tufanganj-I Bhelabeta II (GS II)
13 Natabari-II
Jaigirchilakhana North (GS VI)
Mathabhanga-I Tentuler chera (GS VI)
14 Kurshamari
Bara Khalishamai (GS VII)
Cooch Behar-II Pundibari Roypara (GS VII)
15
(SRD Phase-II) Indranath Pry. School (GS XV)
Howrah Ulubaria-I Hatgachha-I Maynapur (GS I)
(July 13-16, 16
(SRD Phase-II) Mongrajpur (GS VIII)
August 4 2009)
Udaynarayanpur Rampur Dihibhursut Dihibhurshuk kalitala (GS II)
17 Asanda Khalatpur (GS IX)
(SRD Phase-II)
Amta-I Dakshin Deorah (GS II)
18 Udong-II
Purba Gajipur (GS VII)
Amta-II Shiaguri II (GS VI)
19 Thalia
Mainan II (GS X)
Domjur Bankra-III No specific Sansad
20
No Specific Sansad
Bardhaman Raina-I Shyamsundar Shyamsundar II (GS II)
(July 20-24 2009) 21
Shyamsundar XIII (GS XIII)
Galsi-II Masjidpur (GS I)
22 Masjidpur
Nabagram (GS VII)
Kalna-II Purba Sahapur (GS VIII)
23 Satgachi
Satapati Uttar (GS XI)
Kanksa Kuldiha (GS VIII)
24 Molandighi
Chuya (GS XII)
Salanpur Domdaha (GS II)
25 Allandi
Dhanuri (GS VIII)
Purulia Puncha Jambad Dharampur (GS I)
(July 27-31 2009) 26 (SRD Phase-I) Maheshpur (GS IV)

Raghunathpur-I Manipur (GS I)


27 Arrah
Barabagan (GS XIII)
Kashipur Sonathali Lori (GS I)
28
(SRD Phase-I) Pabra (GS II)
Jhalda-II 29 Begunkodar Chatambari (GS IV)

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 199
LIST OF GRAM PANCHAYAT WITH GRAM SANSADS AND VISIT SCHEDULE
(ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER )
District Visit Sl. Name of Gram
Block Name of Gram Sansad Visited
Dates No. Panchayat
(SRD Phase-I) Lakhipur Mamudi (GS X)
Kashipur Kashipur Keliathole (GS I)
30
(SRD Phase-I) Board Balika (GS VII)

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 200
B. CONSULTATIONS WITH DISTRICT OFFICIALS AND LINE DEPARTMENTS

Murshidabad (During June 8-13 2009)

Sh Debajyoti Bhattacharya, AEO, ZP


Sh Tapan Maiti, Dist Coordinatory,DPMU, SRD
Sh Subhodip Nath, District Horticulture Officer
Sh Misbahul Haque, PD, DRDC
Shri Kolay Anirban, BDO, Raghunathganj II
Sh Sukanta Saha, BDO, Jalangi
Sh Manvendra Saha, PDO, Raghunathganj I
Sh D N Ghosh, BDO, Raghunathganj I

Dakshin Dinajpur (During June 15-19 2009)

Sh Asok Kr Banerjee, District Megistrate


Sh R N Sarkar, AEO, ZP
Sh Goutam Kumar Pal, Dist Cordinator, DPMU,SRD
Sh Madan Mohan Ghosh, BDO, Tapan
Sh Anisur Rehman, Deputy Chairman, Panchayat Samiti
Sh Dulal Sarkar, Joint BDO
Sh Zilaur Rehman, Standing Committee Member, ZP
Sh Subrata Pal, BDO, Kumarganj
Sh Naba Kr Barman, PD, DRDC
Sh Sritanu Maiti, PD, Animal Resource Development
District Horticulture Officer
Sh Ratan Kr. Bandhopadhyay, Principal Agriculture Officer
Sh T Duari, GM, District Industrial Cell
Sh Himadri Sarkar, BDO, Gangarampur
Sh K Datta, Exec Engineer, Agri Irrigation Department

Cooch Behar (During June 22-26 2009)

Sh Narayan Choudhary Biswas, DPRDO


Sh K C mondal, ADM, DL& LRO
Sh Pritam Limbo, BDO, Coochbehar II
Sh Niranjan Biswas, GM, DIC
Sh Raja Ghosh, AE, Agri Irrigation Department
Sh Satya Charan Biswas, Principal Agriculture Officer
Sh P J Pandit, District Agricultre Inforamtion Officer
Sh N C Barma, District Officer, Planning Protection Measure
Sh Apratim Ghosh, District Nodal Officer, NREGS
Sh J D Bhutia, PD, DRDC
Sh Syamol kant Parui, District Coordinator, DPMU, SRD
Sh K Sarkar, DFO, Social Forestry
BDO, Matabahnga II

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 201
Howrah (During July 13-16, August 4 2009)

Sh Sanjay Kr Mukherjee, BDO, Amta I


Sh Prasanta Kr Manna, BL & LRO, Amta I
Sh Saumen Bose, BDO, Udainarayanpur
Sh Binayak Dutta, BDO, Amta II
Sh Sanjay Basu, SDO
Sh Sourav, Sinha, Asst District Coordinator, SRD

Burdwan (During July 20-24 2009)

Sh Sekhar Daata, AEO, ZP


Sh Soumya Bhattacharya, DPRDO
Ms Koyalee Das, BDO, Raina I
Sh Mrinal Kanta Rano, District Planning Officer
Ms Basaba Datta Gupta, BDO, Galsi II
Sh Basudev Haldar, BDO, Kalna II
Kazi Nurul Islam, Sabhapati, PS

Purulia (During July 27-31 2009)

Sh Ashes Chakravarti
Shri Bishwajit Panda, BDO Jhalda II
Sudeshna Mitra, BDO, Kashipur
Joint BDO, Raghunathpur I
Rahul Majumdar, DNO, NREGS & DPRDO
Rammoy Patro, Principal Agriculture Officer
District Planing Officer
Prasant Kr Mallik, DL&LRO
DFO, Social Forestry
Shyamashish Roy, Project Officer, BCW

TARU: E&S Safeguards and Planning in WB PRIs ESMF Report Vol. I Jan 2010 202