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Map and general information

In this page India | West Bengal | Murshidabad | Katna | livelihood | climate and weather | getting here

India, with a population of 1.1 billion, is a large country characterised by sharp contrasts and immense diversity. Since 1994, India has had a prosperous economy. The Indian government has substantial financial resources and has passed progressive legislation for education, health care and other social welfare projects. However, despite the booming economy, resources and good intentions, there is a great problem of implementation. The bulk of the population still struggle for basic education and healthcare.

katna women

West Bengal is the most densely populated state in all of India, having an area of 88,752 sq km and a population of 80.2 million. The population density, at 904 per sq km, is one of the major factors contributing to poverty in West Bengal. Small plots of land being divided among subsequent generations of farmers has led to increasing underemployment and unemployment.

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maps of india and west bengal

Murshidabad is a historic and touristic city. It gets its name from Murshid Kuli Khan, the nawab of Bengal. After the battle of Plassey, East India Company first established themselves in Murshidabad. For more tourist and historical information please visit murshidabad.gov.in

Burwan Block is located in the southwest part of Murshidabad district, within Kandi Subdivision. This largely rural block has about 210 villages, one of which is Katna village.

Katna has a population of about 2,000 and it is 99.9 % Muslim. It is especially backward in terms of educational and economic opportunities. Before the NGO Street Survivors India’s entry into the area, Katna was notorious for its gangs of frustrated youth engaged in extortion activities along the main road.

Access to alternative livelihood options and opportunities is essential in order for Katna’s next generations to sustain themselves with dignity and security. Katna has been the field base of the Street Survivors India (SSI) since 1998 and it is the ancestral village of Shabnam Ramaswamy, SSI’s co-founder.

wooden ware available at local fairs

Livelihood

Within Katna and surrounding villages agriculture is the main livelihood. Because the plots of land are so small, most farming is at a subsistence level and very little is cash crop. Bartering with crops is a common practice. Other economic activities in the regions include: brick making, bidi (cigarette) rolling, fishing, daily labor and increasingly migrant labor. It is common for most families to have at least one member engaged in migrant labor; laborers regularly go to Mumbai for construction, Delhi for embroidery, Varanasi for rickshaw pulling and Agra for leather working. There is also a major influx to Middle East for labors such as: date picking, cattle-raising, weeding of lawns, etc.

Climate and weather

The climate in Murshidabad is generally hot and humid and the air is fresh. We are blessed with six seasons: Feb - Apr (Boshonto - Spring), May - Jun (Grishyo - Summer), Jul - Sep (Borsha - Rainy), Oct (Shorot - Early Fall), Nov (Hemonto - Late Fall), and Dec - Jan (Sheeth - Winter).

Because it is rice paddy growing area, you will see many different hues of green in the fields. Rice crops are planted twice a year, in January and July. The land is empty April through July .

The weather is lovely and cool between November and February, suitable for crops like sesame, potato, and mustard.

floods

There is heavy rainfall from July to October, with periodic flooding which often results in loss of crops, property and livelihood.

Getting here

...From Delhi
  1. Take the overnight Sealdah Rajdhani from New Delhi station (~16 hrs). Disembark at Durgapur. OR
  2. You could fly to Kolkata on any of the domestic airlines (~2.5 hrs), and travel up to Katna by road or rail
...From Kolkata
  1. Take the Ganadevta Express or Santineketan Express from Howrah station, disembark at Sainthia (~3 hrs). Take a bus, or hire a car* to Kuli (~35km, 2 hrs). OR
  2. You can hire a car* at Kolkata and take it directly to Kuli (~250 Km, 5 hrs).
...From Durgapur
  1. Take a State-Bus to Behrampore. Disembark at Kuli (~4 to 5 hrs) OR
  2. Hire a car* to Kuli (~125 km, 3 hrs) via Shantineketan.
...From Kuli

At Kuli intersection you could hire a rickshaw and ask for Jagriti Public school (~ 10 mins). If you're in a car, you should get there in about 5 mins.

*Hiring a car costs Rs.5 to 7 per km.

 

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Kandi railway station

the ubiquitous rickshaw "van"

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