Calcutta is my native town. It is a very large town. Such a town is called a city. It stands on the left bank of the river Hooghly. The river is commonly called Ganga. Calcutta is not an ancient city. The town was founded by the English. The town has gradually improved. Now it is the biggest city in India.
Calcutta was once the capital of British India. In 1911 the capital was transferred to Delhi. Calcutta then became the capital of undivided Bengal. It covers a large area including the suburbs. The population of Calcutta, including that of the suburbs, is about seven millions. After the partition of Bengal in 1947, many people from East Bengal came and settled in Calcutta and its suburbs. So the population has much increased. Calcutta is a metropolitan city. Here we have people from all States of India and many parts of the world.
City of Palaces
Calcutta is called the city of palaces. Here there are innumerable palatial buildings. Many buildings have ten to fifteen storeys or more. The Secretariat building on the bank of the Hooghly river is thirteen-storeyed. This is one of the highest buildings in Calcutta. Besides the Secretariat building there are many other multistoried buildings, such as Jeevan Deep, Tata Centre, Nizam Palace and so on. Innumerable Government offices and offices of the mercantile firms are housed in very large and spacious buildings with many storeys. There are very bigmansions of rich men for residential purposes.
We have every facility of receiving education in Calcutta. There are three Universities in this city. One is Calcutta University. It is the biggest University in India. The second is the Rabindra Bharati University. There is another University in the suburbs of Calcutta. It is the Jadavpur University. There are innumerable schools and colleges in Calcutta. Here we have the opportunity of studying arts, science, medicine, engineering, technology, commerce and other branches of learning. There is a great scope for carrying on researches in various subjects. Here there are many libraries. These are important mediums of spreading education among the masses. The biggest is the National Library.
Centre of Industry and Commerce
Calcutta is one of the biggest river ports in India. It is a great centre of commerce. Many things are exported from and imported into India through this port of Calcutta. There are big mills and factories in Calcutta and its suburbs. Hence it is a big centre of trade, commerce and industry.
Facilities as regards public health
There are many big hospitals in Calcutta. Many patients are treated there. There are many physicians in Calcutta. When people fall ill, they get the advantage of the hospitals and nurshing homes and the advice of physicians. All kinds of medicines also are available in the city. This is a great advantage to the citizens.
The Municipal Corporation of Calcutta looks after the municipal arrangements. There are many wide and clean streets. But there are many dirty lanes. There are many slums, or bastees in Calcutta. These are in very wretched conditions. It is really strange that in a city of palaces there are so many wretched huts. Often epidemic diseases break out in these huts and spread over the whole city.
The streets are lighted with electricity. The streets have under-ground drains. They were built long ago. So they are partially choked. Hence the streets are flooded when there is a heavy shower.
The Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (briefly called CMDA) is laying out new pipes and it is trying its best to improve the condition of the city by taking various measures.
Means of transport
There are tram and bus services for the public. People can travel to any part of Calcutta at a cheap fare. There are also private motor cars and taxis. Hackney carriages are gradually dying out. There are lorries and slow-moving vehicles to carry merchandise and other things. At present Calcutta is an overcrowded city. To carry passengers from one part to another the trams and buses are not enough to meet the growing need. Considering this the Central Government has introduced new methods of transport like the Metro Railway and the Circular Railway. After the completion of the two it is expected that the problems of transport will be solved to a great extent. Some fly-over bridges and subways have also been constructed to minimize congestion of traffic.
Arrangements for amusement
After the day's hard labor people want recreation. In Calcutta there is ample provision for that. There are many theatre and cinema halls. Many people go there and enjoy the play and show. The radio and television sets in many houses are a source of amusement. There are also many playgrounds for outdoor games like football, cricket, tennis and hockey.
Objects worth seeing
In Calcutta there are many notable things. There are the Museum, the Zoo, the Victoria Memorial Hall, the Governor House, the Kidderpore Dock, the Howrah Bridge, the Pareshnath Temple, the Kali Temple at Kalighat, the Kali Temple at Dakshineswar, the Dhakuria lake, the Maidan, the Fort, the Eden Gardens, the Birla Planetarium, the Nehru Museum, the Jhilmil, the toy Train in Rabindra Sarobar, etc.
There are many advantages of living in Calcutta. Here we can get everything if we have money. But poor people are gradually finding it difficult to live in Calcutta. They can hardly meet the expenses of living here. Still Calcutta is the cheapest city in India.