Dhapa, India

Dhapa, India

Dhapa is a locality on the eastern fringes of Kolkata, India. The area consists of landfill sites where the solid wastes of the city of Kolkata are dumped. "Garbage farming" is encouraged in the landfill sites.[1] More than 40 per cent of the green vegetables in the Kolkata markets come from these lands.

Geographical Location and Extent

Dhapa is located near the Parama Island on the Eastern Metropolitan Byepass. The Eastern Metropolitan Byepass lies on the East, Beleghata/Tangra/Sealdah on the West, China Town on the South and the Metropolitan Cooperative Housing Society on the North. The place is highly populated and only one major road passes through the area which is known as Dhapa Road. The road is not too broad and there are no road dividers or median on the entire road that stretches approximately 2 km through the area. The closest landmarks near Dhapa are the ITC Sonar Bangla Hotel & Silver Spring Housing which fall on the East Side, Permanent Trade Fair Ground which is on the South Side and Mathpukur Five Point Crossing which is on the West Side.

Road and vehicles

Although the area is surrounded by important landmarks of Kolkata, yet the transport infrastructure, especially the main road is not well developed to tackle the ever growing vehicular population. As the road is just 14 feet wide and at some places even less, massive jams take place quite frequently as it was not planned to handle such huge volumes of traffic. Yet all forms of vehicles barring the famous trams of Calcutta ply on the road –Buses, Trucks, Tractors, Trailers, Autos, Cycle Rickshaws, Bicycles, Cars, Private Vehicles, Taxis, Two wheelers and the pedestrians too who have no alternative but to walk on the road as the footpath is already encroached.

Garbage Trucks

But the most common vehicles that ply on the road are the famous Ashok Leyland make Yellow Coloured Garbage Dumping Trucks of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (formerly CMC). These garbage trucks are owned and operated by the government (KMC) and they have devised an indigenous means to drive through the heavily populated road that is teeming with pedestrians and vehicles of all kinds – they are driven without silencer pipes and the enormous noise from the engines of the massive Ashok Leyland Comet trucks are enough to deafen anyone even if ear plugs are inserted inside the ears! The noise decibel levels of the truck can be compared at par with a jetliner and pedestrians scramble for cover on the already encroached road side footpath to avoid the approaching trucks. So the garbage trucks of KMC don't use horns to warn pedestrians and other vehicles, they just use their unsilenced engine noise for it.

Jurisdiction and Other Government Bodies

The place falls under the administrative jurisdiction of South 24 Paraganas and is under the Tiljala Police Station. A small police outpost - the Parama Investigating Centre is also an intermediary Police Station that handles minor and petty cases which is positioned on the Parama Island - a roundabout that connects the EM Byepass with Gariahat and Park Circus. The local court is the District Sessions Court (South 24 Pgs) near Bhavani Bhavan at Alipore. The area falls under ward 58 of the Sonarpur Constituency. The Ward Councillor is Sambhu Nath Kow who is responsible for the overall development and maintenance activities of the area on behalf of the KMC. The driving licence for the residents of the area is issued by the Motor Vehicle Authority at Beltala and also by the local Regional Transport Authority at Alipore. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation is responsible for providing the basic civic facilities and amenities to the residents of the place like Water, Drainage, Sanitation, Garbage Collection, Anti Malarial and Health Care programs. The Calcutta Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) provides electricity to the area as well as to entire Kolkata as the sole electricity provider.

Important Landmarks

The road stretches from the eastern most end at the EM Byepass signal on one end to the Mathpukur five point crossing on it’s westernmost end. It is continued by another major road, the Debendra Chandra Dey Road which leads to Sealdah Railway Station via Tangra, Pilkhana, Palmer Bajar, Munshi Bajar, etc., that fall on the way. On the EM Byepass end there is a massive housing – The Silver Spring which has premium flats and houses the only BMW showroom of West Bengal and Eastern India – The OSL Prestige. It also has a Hyundai Showroom and some shops and restaurants (Mainland China) on it’s front side. Right adjacent to Silver Spring is the Bartaman Office which is a leading regional newspaper in Bengali language. Further adjacent to the Bartaman office is a plot earmarked for another Hotel probably of the Hilton Group.

On the other side of the signal at EM Byepass (South side) is a plot of land being developed by Emaar MGF Group. Just opposite to the signal on the eastern end is the road that leads to the famous dumping grounds of Dhapa via the farmlands and the vegetable fields. Another important landmark is coming close to Dhapa on the EM Byepass right opposite to the ITC Hotel. It is the massive water plant of the KMC which is being constructed for supplying water to the residents of the eastern part of the city. As one progresses from the Eastern Metropolitan Byepass side towards the western side of Tangra/Sealdah on the Dhapa Main Road, the first major landmark and important building that falls in between is the Dhapa Post Office which is on the left hand side of travel. The post office building also houses a regional bank - the Sagar Gramin Bank which is owned by the state government. It is housed on the first floor of the post office building. A new school, St. Thomas School has also come on the post office building which is affiliated to the ICSE board. The entire building is owned by Jadunandan Singh, the once powerful landowner of the Dhapa fields whose name is remembered even today in the minds of former peasants who had worked on the fields in their older days. Currently the son of Jadunandan Singh, Mr. Shatrughan Singh and his brother(s) are the owners of the building and they have a landlord like status in Dhapa due to the enormous lands that they hold.

Local Information: Pin code, Banks, Market

Formerly the area was having the old pin code format: 700039. The new pin code is of the latest format: 700105. The main road starting from the post office is encroached by several hawkers who sell their wares, mainly vegetables and fish during the morning and evening time. A permanent market: Dhapa Market is also on the main road and it is diagonally opposite to another landmark on the main road - a three storeyed building called the Singh Nivas. The fishes sold on the Dhapa Road and inside the Dhapa market are of various freshwater and marine varieties like Rohu, Katla, Chingri (Prawn), Bhetki, Lata, etc., Poultry like Chicken and foul are also sold on the road and inside the market. Green vegetables and other shops like grocery, clothes, rice also dot the road and are also situated inside the market.


Although the population of Dhapa runs into several thousands yet not more than a dozen private cars are owned by the entire population. The reason is that majority of the people living in the place are either migrant casual labourers who work in tanneries of China Town or are employed in small factories nearby. Some of the inhabitants are peasants and farmers who work in the vast fields that line the EM Byepass. The majority of the population is poor and some live below the poverty line. Only a handful of rich people live in Dhapa but the situation is slowly improving as more and more people are migrating from other places not only from Bengal from all over India. Some of the new families that had recently made a small settlement of their own include the Patwas who are migrants from the neighbouring state of Bihar. They are rich and well to do than the rest of the indigenous population as they deal in the pearl and jewellery business. Overall the landscape resembles like an urban village at the most. There are lesser number of buildings than shanties and thatched houses that dot the entire area.


The area has several schools like the Harvard House High School (ICSE), St. Thomas School (ICSE), St. Patrick Day School (Primary), Janakalyan School (West Bengal Secondary Board) and a number of small primary and secondary schools affiliated to the local state board (West Bengal).

Crime and criminal activities

The place was once notorious for criminal and anti social activities as illegal drugs, liquor and other contraband objects was sold openly in the market. There were various mafia groups who fought among themselves while trying to control the illegal liquor trade (hooch, desi). Many times bombs and firearms were openly used on the main road in the ensuing street fight between two rival groups. The most common and widespread weapon used to inflict terror among the people and the opposing group was the country bomb which was a handmade crude bomb. The bomb would be thrown right in front of a person for causing maximum damage and it’s explosion was quite loud enough to cause panic among the general people living there. The most notorious group was of Jhantu, Tarak, and Ganesh who were active in the older days. Another outside group of Babu Chaudhari from the western area of Rashmoni also got involved in the fights quite often. Gambling also was a rampant business in the area as people gambled openly on the footpath under the shade of a tree or near a corner. The law and order situation was not so good quite some back and people from the other parts of the city used to shudder on hearing of the place. However recently things have began to improve as inspector J C Pandey and Subir Chatterjee of the Tiljala Police Station took initiative and changed the law and order situation. They with the help of local residents and clubs like Netaji Subhas Club, Vivekananda Sporting Club, RWA’s and through Samanway Samity overthrew the reign of crime and terror in the place. Now the place is better and calmer than before.

Garbage information

There are four sectors in Dhapa for dumping garbage that are filled with 2,500 tonnes of waste per day.[2]


  1. ^ United Nations Environment Programme article
  2. ^ "Vegetable lots to litter zone..." The Telegraph. 30 October, 2003


External links

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