Jalpaiguri District, 1908
This article has been extracted from
THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.
OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts. Some units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.
District in the north-east of the Rajshahi Division, Eastern Bengal and Assam, lying between 2 6° and 27 degree N. and 88° 20' and 89 degree 53' E., with an area of 2,962 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Darjeeling and the State of Bhutan ; on the south by Dinajpur, Rangpur, and the State of Cooch Behar ; on the west by Dinajpur, Purnea, and Darjeeling; on the east the Sankos river separates it from the Goalpara District of Assam.
The District comprises two well-defined tracts, which differ alike in history and in administration. The older portion, which is known as the Regulation tract because it is administered under the ordinary laws ,and regulations in force in Bengal proper, lies for the most part west of the Tlsta, though it comprises also the Patgram thdna east of that river. It originally formed part of Rangpur, which it closely resembles. The continuous expanse of level paddy-fields is broken only by the groves of bamboos, palms, and fruit-trees which encircle the homesteads of the substantial tenant-farmers. In this tract there is but little untilled land, with the exception of an extensive and once valuable sal (Shorea robusta) forest of 60 square miles, which belongs to the Raikat of Baikuntpur.
East of the Tista, and hemmed in between the States of Cooch Behar on the south and Bhutan on the north, lies a strip of submontane country 22 miles in width, which was annexed from Bhutan in 1865, and is known as the Western Duars. This part of the District is flat except in the north-east corner, where the Sinchula Hills rise abruptly to a height of from 4,000 to 6,000 feet. On an outlying spur of this range, 2,000 feet in height, is built the military station of Buxa, which commands one of the principal passes into Bhutan.
The scenery along the foot of the mountains, where the great rivers debouch upon the plains, is very grand and beautiful, the blue outline of the Bhutan range forming a magnificent background. The principal rivers, proceeding from west to east, are the Mahananda, Karatoya, Tista, Jaldhaka, Duduya, Mujnai, Torsa, Kaljani, Raidak, and San- kos, which all flow down from the hills in a southerly direction and ultimately discharge their waters by various channels into the Ganges or the Brahmaputra. They are constantly changing their main chan- nels, and the country is everywhere seamed by deserted river-beds. The Jaldhaka, or Di-chu, drains the eastern slopes of the Rishi La in Darjeeling District, of which it forms the eastern boundary. It joins the Torsa in Rangpur District, and the combined stream falls into the Brahmaputra by two mouths. Though a wide river, the Jaldhaka is very shallow and is fordable in every part during the winter months. The Duduya and Mujnai, tributaries of the Jaldhaka, are navigable throughout the year by boats of 2 tons as far as the AlTpur-Jalpaigurl road and Falakata respectively. The Torsa rises in the Chumbi valley of Tibet, where it is known as the Amo-chu, and flows through Bhutan ; it is navigable by cargo boats during the rains. The Kaljani, which is formed by the combined waters of the Alaikurl and Dima, after a course of a few miles enters the Cooch Behar State ; it is used to float down timber from the forests at the foot of the hills. The Raidak rises near the Chumalhari mountain in Tibet. This river and the Sankos, which forms the boundary between the Eastern and Western Duars, thus separating Eastern Bengal from Assam, flow into the Brahmaputra a few miles below Dhubri. Both rivers are navigable by boats of 3 or 4 tons for a considerable portion of their course, but 5 or 10 miles before reaching the hills navigation is impeded by rapids.
With the exception of the Buxa hills, the District is covered by recent alluvial deposits, consisting of coarse gravels at the foot of the hills, sandy clay and sand along the course of the rivers, and fine sand consolidating into clay in the other parts of the river plain. The Buxa hills are composed of a series of beds named after them, which consist of variegated slates, quartzites, and dolomites, and are fringed on the south by low hills of Upper Tertiary strata. About half a mile west of Buxa copper ore occurs in greenish slate with quartzose layers, and copper ores are found also 4 miles north of Sam Sing Tea Estate, close to the boundary between Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling Districts. Masses of calcareous tufa occur along the base of the hills .
In the regulation portion of the District and the south of the Duars the tree vegetation is sparse and rather stunted except in the Baikunt- pur jungle, and the greater portion of the surface is covered with grasses, the commonest of these being Imperata arundinacea and Andropogon adculaius. Among the trees, the most conspicuous is the red cotton-tree (Bambax malabaricuni) ; the sissu (Dalbergia Sissoo), mango, jack, plpal, and tamarind occur, as planted or sometimes self- sown species. The villages are surrounded by thickets or shrubberies of semi-spontaneous growth and weedy character. Areca palms are
1 F. R. Mullet, • Geology of Darjeeling and Western Duars,' Memoirs^ Geological Survey of India, vol. xi, part i. common, and bamboos thrive luxuriantly. Along the north of the Duars are large upland tracts of forest, part of which has been 'reserved’ and is described below, declining southwards into plains of heavy grass jungle. Many varieties of orchids bloom in the forests ; and there is a curious creeper, the pant lahra ( Vitis repanda), from whose stem water is obtained.
The District is famous for its big game, which include wild elephants, bison, rhinoceros, buffaloes, tigers, leopards, bears, wild hog, swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli), and sambar (Cervus unieohr). A few elephants are caught on behalf of Government. The number of rhinoceros, bison, and buffaloes has been rapidly decreasing ; and to prevent their extinction, they are now protected in the 'reserved’ forests. Good mahseer fishing is to be had where the Jaldhaka, Torsi, Raidak, and Sankos debouch from the Himalayas.
The temperature is rarely excessive; the mean, which is 62 degree in January, rises to 73 degree in March and 79° in April, but it does not reach its highest point until July and August, when it is 83 degree . The highest mean maximum is 90° in April, and the highest maximum recorded was 103° in 1899. Rainfall is exceptionally heavy, the average varying from 122 inches at Jalpaiguri town to 209 inches at Buxa; and the normal mean is 129 inches, of which 12.3 inches occur in May, 25.6 in June, 28-1 in July, 27.4 in August, and 21.4 in September.
In September, 1902, an exceptionally high flood caused great damage in the tract between Jalpaiguri and Mandalghat, bounded on the east by the Tlsta and on the west by the railway embankment, and also in the Maynaguri tahsal between the Dharla and the Tlsta ; the roads and the railway embankment were breached, hundreds of cattle were drowned, and ten lives were lost. In the earthquake of 1897 much damage was done to roads by subsidence and the opening of deep fissures, and many bridges and buildings were destroyed.
In prehistoric times the District formed part of the powerful kingdom of Pragjyotisha or Kamarupa, as it was subsequently called, which m extended as far west as the Karatoya. There is a legend that a temple was originally erected on the site of the present temple at Jalpes by a Raja named Jalpeswar, in whose day the Jalpes lingam first appeared. There are extensive remains "at Bhitargarh, which is said to have formed the capital of a Sudra king named Prithu. The Bengal Pal dynasty included this District in its dominions; and so did the Khen Rajas — Niladhwaj, Chakradhwaj, and Nilambar — of whom the first founded the city of Kamatapur in Cooch Behar. It subsequently formed part of the Koch kingdom founded by Biswa Singh ; and, when that kingdom fell to pieces, the western part was annexed by the Mughals. There was a long struggle for the possession of Patgram and Boda; but at the beginning of the eighteenth century they were nominally ceded to the Muhammadans, a cousin of the Cooch Behar Raja continu- ing to farm them on his behalf. After the Muhammadan conquest it was included in the frontier faujdari (magisterial jurisdiction) of Faklrkundi or Rangpur, and passed to the East India Company with the cession of the Diwani in 1765.
The enormous area of the old District of Rangpur and the weakness of the administrative staff prevented the Collector from preserving order in the more remote parts, which thus became an Alsatia of banditti In the year 1 789 the Collector conducted a regular campaign against these disturbers of the peace, and with a force of 200 barkandaz blockaded them in the great forest of Baikuntpur. They were at last compelled to surrender, and within a single year no less than 549 robbers were brought to trial.
Meanwhile, the Duars, or lowland passes, had fallen to the Bhotias, who found here the cultivable ground that their own bare mountains did not afford. They exercised predominant influence over the whole tract from the frontier of Sikkim as far east as Darrang, and frequently enforced claims of suzerainty over the enfeebled State of Cooch Behar. They do not appear to have occupied this tract permanently, but merely to have exacted a heavy tribute, and subjected the inhabitants to the cruellest treatment. Cooch Behar was delivered from the Bhotia tyranny by the treaty of 1773; but the Bhutan Duars, as they were called, remained for nearly a century longer in a state of anarchy. They were annexed after the Bhutan War of 1865 ; they were then divided into the Eastern and Western Duars, of which the former have since been incorporated with the District of Goalpara. In 1867 the Dalingkot subdivision of the Western Duars, which lies high up among the mountains, was added to Darjeeling, and the remaining part was in 1869 united with the Titalya subdivision of Rangpur to form the new District of Jalpaiguri.
The permanently settled portion of Jalpaiguri, which includes the old chaklas of Patgram and Boda and the old Raj of Baikuntpur, has no history of its own apart from the parent District of Rangpur. Its boundaries are perplexingly intermingled with those of the State of Cooch Behar, to which, as we have seen, it belonged until compara- tively recent times. At the present day by far the wealthiest land- owners are the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the Raikat of Baikuntpur, who is descended from a younger branch of the same family.
In addition to the old fort at Bhitargarh and the temple at Jalpes, there are the remains at Boda of a smaller fort about a mile square, supposed to be coeval with the fort at Bhitargarh. In the south of the District, small forts, temples, and old tanks are numerous.
The population increased from 417,855 in 1872 to 580,570 in 1881, to 680,736 in 1891, and to 787,380 in 1901. Though the figures for 1872 cannot be accepted as accurate, there has been op a on. a cont j nuous growth of population due entirely to the rapid development of the Western Duars ; and in 190 1 more than one- fifth of the population was composed of immigrants from elsewhere. Malaria is always prevalent in the tarai, and in eight years of the decade ending 1901 Jalpaiguri figured among the six Districts with the highest recorded mortality from fever in Bengal. Spleen and goitre are common diseases, and the proportion of persons suffering from insanity and deaf-mutism is higher than in most parts of Bengal. The chief statistics of the Census of 190 1 are shown below : —
The two towns are Jalpaiguri, the head-quarters, and the canton- ment at Buxa. Outside these, more than half of the population are contained in villages with 2,000 or more inhabitants, and only 13 per cent, in villages with a population of less than 500. The census village in this District was, however, merely a territorial unit and did not correspond to the residential village. The latter, in feet, can scarcely be said to exist ; for the country is divided into small farms each with its central homestead, the residence of the farmer oxjotdar, surrounded by the houses of his immediate relatives and perhaps an under-tenant or two. In the north-west of the District the conditions of the tea industry have given rise to large settlements of labourers, the average population of which is over 3,000 souls. The density is very low ; in only one thana does the population exceed 500 per square mile, and in only three more does it exceed 400. The Du£rs, which were very sparsely inhabited when first acquired, carry a smaller population than the rest of the District Towards the west this tract has filled up rapidly owing to the extension of tea cultivation ; but in the east the population is still very scanty, and in the Allpur thana it averages only 89 persons per square mile, in spite of an increase of 70 per cent during the last ten years. There is a steady movement of the population from the west of the District towards the extensive tracts of cultivable land east of the Tista, and there is also an enormous immigration of tea- garden coolies from Chota Nagpur and the Santal Parganas; RanchI alone supplies 80,000, chiefly Oraons and Mundas, and the Santal Par- ganas 11,000. Many of these coolies are settling down permanently, either in the gardens or as cultivators and cart-owners, but many return home at intervals. In the tea gardens on the higher slopes at the foot of the hills, Nepalese replace men from Chota Nagpur, and many of these also find a permanent home in the District. Numerous up-country coolies are employed on the roads and railways, but most of them return home at the end of the cold season.
A corrupt dialect of Bengali, known as Rangpuri or RajbansT, is the language of the District, being spoken by 77 per cent, of the population . Hindi is the language of 6 per cent and Kurukh of 7 per cent. ; Mech is spoken by over 20,000 persons, and Khas, Mundarl, and Santali by more than 10,000 each. This great diversity of languages is due to the large number of immigrants. Hindus (534,625) form 68 per cent, of the population, Muhammadans (228,487) 29 per cent, and Animists 2 per cent, while the remainder are Christians or Buddhists,
The proportion of Muhammadans has declined since 1872, when they formed 34.6 per cent, of the population. They are chiefly Shaikhs and Nasyas, and are, for the most part, converts from the aboriginal Koch and Mech races. They still retain many beliefs and superstitions derived from their ancestors, and live on good terms side by side with the Rajbansis (Koch), to whom more than three-fifths of the Hindu population belong ; it is, in fact, not unusual to find Muhammadan and Raj bans! families dwelling together in the same homestead, although in separate houses. The Mechs, a western branch of the great Kachari tribe, number about 22,000, found chiefly in the Alipur and Falakata thdnas in the Duars. These, like their Garo neighbours, are a nomadic people, who live by agriculture in its simplest and most primitive form. No less than 89.4 per cent of the population, or over 700,000 persons, are supported by agriculture — a very high proportion ; a sixth of these derive their livelihood from the tea gardens. Of the remainder, industries maintain 4.6, commerce 0-3, and the professions o-6 per cent
The Baptist Missionary Society has a branch in Jalpaiguri town ; the Church Missionary Society carries on work among the Santal colony in the Alipur subdivision, the Scandinavian Alliance Mission among the Bhotias, and the Free Church of Scotland among the tea-garden coolies. The number of native Christians is 2,141.
The alluvial soil with which the greater part of the District is covered is extremely fertile. In the low levels between the Tlsta and the Sankos coarse rice, oilseeds, potatoes, castor, and .
areca palms grow abundantly. West of the Tista, a superior variety of jute, known as rajganja y is grown, and also fine rice and wheat. In the basin between the Tista and the Jaldhaka a hard black clayey soil is found, which yields excellent pasture and fine crops of tobacco. The ferruginous clay of the uplands in the north of the Duars is exceptionally well suited to the tea plant.
The chief agricultural statistics for 1903-4 are shown below, areas being in square miles : —
The staple food-crop of the District is rice, grown on 1,017 square miles, or 74 per cent, of the net area cropped ; the winter rice, which is the chief crop, covering 54 per cent, of that area. The cultivation of the early rice, which is sown broadcast on high lands, begins in March. The early varieties, sown in March or April, are reaped in June and July ; but the greater part is sown in April and May, and not reaped till August or September. The winter rice is sown broadcast in nurseries in May and June, transplanted from the middle of July to the middle of September, and reaped during December and January. After rice, tobacco is most widely grown, occupying 185 square miles, or nearly 14 per cent, of the cultivated area ; Jalpaiguri is, in fact, after Rangpur, the chief tobacco-producing District in Eastern Bengal.
Tea is cultivated on 121 square miles, or 9 per cent, of the area under cultivation. This industry was introduced in 1874, and is carried on mainly by European enterprise and with European capital. In 1876 there were thirteen gardens, with an area of 818 acres, yielding 29,5201b. of tea. The cultivation was very rapidly extended during the last decade of the nineteenth century ; and by 1901 the number of gardens had increased to 235, with a planted area of 109 square miles, and an out-turn of over 31,000,000 lb. These gardens also possessed an unplanted area of 255 square miles. In 1903 the number of gardens decreased to 207, but the gross yield in that year amounted to nearly 37,000,000 lb. Jalpaiguri has an important advantage over the tea Districts of Assam, as labour finds its way thither freely and no special law is necessary to enforce labour contracts. The production of tea of late years has increased so much more rapidly than its consump- tion that there has been a heavy fall in prices, and the industry has suffered in consequence. Jute cultivation is extending rapidly, and in 1903 occupied 103 square miles. Mustard is also widely cultivated, and cotton is grown in small quantities by the Garos and Mechs on uplands at the foot of the Bhutan hills.
The area under cultivation is extending rapidly in the Western Duars, where there is still much cultivable waste ; the rates of rent are very low, and cultivators are attracted not only from the thanas west of the Tlsta, but also from Rangpur and Cooch Beh&r State. Little use has been made of the Agriculturists' and Land Improvement Loans Acts ; during the decade ending 1901-2 an average of Rs. 2,000 per annum was advanced under the former Act.
The local cattle are small and weakly, and no attempts have been made to improve the breed. Pasturage is so abundant that in the northern tMnas of the Western Duars rice straw is left to rot in the fields, while large herds of cattle from Bengal and Bhutan are brought to graze in the Baikuntpur jungle during the winter months. Fairs are held at AlIpur, Jalpes, and Falakata.
The soil for the most part derives sufficient moisture from the heavy rainfall, but low lands are in some places irrigated from the hill streams.
Jalpaiguri contains extensive forests, which are the property of Go- vernment With the exception of 5 square miles of ‘ protected’ forests in the Government estates of Falakata and Maynaguri, which are managed by the Deputy-Commissioner, these are all ' reserved ' forests under the management of the Forest department. The latter in 1903-4 yielded a revenue of Rs. 1,18,000. They are divided into the Jalpaigurl and Buxa divisions, the former comprising all the forests between the Tlsta and the Torsft rivers, with an area of 183 square miles ; and the latter, those between the Torsi and the Sankos, with an area of 308 square miles. The trees are of many different kinds, but there are five well-defined types : namely, sal (Shorea robusta) ; mixed forest without sal ; mixed chilauni (Schima IVallichii) forest ; khair (Acacia Catechu) and sissu (Dalbergia Sissoo) forest ; and savannahs. Of these the sal is the most important, and occurs either nearly pure or mixed with varying proportions of Dillenia pentagyna, Carey a arborea, Sterculia villosa, Schima wallichii, Terminalia tomentosa, and T. bellerica, &c. The mixed forests are com- posed chiefly of Lagerstroemia parviftora, Callicarpa arborea, Sterculia villosa, Hymen trijuga, and often Terminalia tomentosa and Albizzia. The chilauni type of forest is more clear of other subsidiary species than ordinary mixed forest, the chilauni being the predominant species and growing to a large size. Khair and sissu are found pure in the alluvial deposits of most of the large rivers. The savannahs, or large stretches of grass land devoid of trees, deserve mention both on account of their extent and their bearing on the work of fire protection. The sal forest belonging to the Raikat of Baikuntpur is now of little value, owing to promiscuous felling. The Rajbansis and Mechs collect what little jungle produce there is, principally chiretta, lac, and beeswax. Small quantities of long pepper (IHper longutti) are also collected by the Forest department.
The only mineral of importance is limestone, which is largely quarried in the shape of calcareous tufa along the base of the Bhutan hills. A small copper-mine at Chunabati, 2 miles from Buxa, was formerly worked by Nepalese. Coal is found near Bagrakot, and a company has been formed to work it .
Trade and communication
Gunny cloth of a very coarse quality is woven in the western part of the District. The lower classes also manufacture for home use a coarse silk (called emit) from the silk of worms fed on the castor-oil plant, and a striped cotton cloth called photo.
The development of the tea industry and the influx of a large cooly population into the Duars, combined with the facilities of railway communication, have given a great impetus to trade ; and at the large markets which have sprung up in the neighbourhood of the tea gardens, the cultivator finds a ready market for his rice, vegetables, and other produce. There is also a fair amount of trade with Bhutan, which has been stimulated by the establishment of fairs at Falakata and Alipur. The chief exports to Bhutan are European piece-goods and silk, while timber and oranges are the principal imports. The local supply of rice being insufficient, considerable quantities are imported from Dinajpur; cotton piece-goods, machinery, corrugated iron, kerosene oil, coal and coke are also imported on a large scale. The tea, tobacco, and jute crops are all grown for export The tea and jute are railed to Calcutta; the tobacco trade is chiefly in the hands of Arakanese who export the leaves to Burma, where they are made into cheroots. The railways have now monopolized most of the trade : but sal timber is floated down from the forests of the Western Duars and the Baikuntpur jungle to the Brahmaputra en route for Sirajganj, Dacca, and elsewhere ; and tobacco, mustard seed, jute, cotton, and hides are also exported by water to these markets, the chief centre being Baura. The up-stream traffic is practically confined to the importation of earthen cooking utensils, coco-nuts, molasses, small quantities of dal (Arabica revalenta), and miscellaneous articles from Dacca and Faridpur. Apart from the large tea-garden markets and the fair of Jalpes, the principal trading centres are Jalpaiguri Town, Titalya on the Mahananda where the great north road enters the District, Rajnagar, Saldanga, Deblganj on the Karatoya, Baura, Jorpokri, Maynagurl, Falakata, Alipur, and Buxa.
The District is well served by railways. The western portion is traversed from south to north by the Eastern Bengal State Railway, which has its northern terminus just over the Darjeeling border at Sillguri. The Bengal-Duars Railway leaves the Parvatipur-Dhubri branch of the Eastern Bengal State Railway at Lalmanir Hat, and runs north west through Patgram to Barnes Ghat, on the east bank of the Tista opposite Jalpaiguri town, where a ferry connects with the Eastern Bengal State Railway ; at Mai Bazar it bifurcates, one branch running west through Dam-Dim to Bagrakot, and another east to MadSri Hit. In the east the Cooch Behar State Railway enters the District at Alipur and runs north to Jainti.
The District contains 877 miles of road, of which 106 miles are maintained by the Public Works department and the remainder by the District board. Of the latter, 24 miles are metalled and 747 miles are unmetalled. There are also 10 miles of village tracks. In spite of the improvement and increase in the number of roads during recent years, there is still a great deficiency in some parts of the Duars east of the Jaldhaka river, in which it is extremely difficult to maintain good roads owing to the heavy rainfall and the rapid growth of jungle. The principal routes are those which connect Jalpaigurl town with Sillguri, with the northern border via Dam-Dim, with a ferry on the Sankos river, and with Alipur. The last-mentioned road is in very good order, being well raised and bridged, except at the larger rivers, which have ferries. The central emigration road, which runs east from Dinajpur through Jalpaigurl District as far as Haldlbari station and thence through the Cooch Behar State, is an important feeder to the Eastern Bengal State Railway. The board also maintains several important Provincial roads, including the Ganges-Darjeeling road, which runs for 16 miles along the north-western border of the District from Titalya to Siligurf, the branch-road from Titalya to Jalpaiguri, and the road from JalpaigurT to Patgram. There are 80 ferries, which, with six unimportant exceptions, belong to the District board, and bring in an annual revenue of Rs. 18,000 ; the most important are those over the Tista and Jaldhaka rivers. Of late years there has been a con- siderable decrease in the number of ferries, owing to the opening of the Bengal-Duars Railway and to the bridging of sixteen streams which formerly required ferries.
For general administrative purposes the District is divided into two subdivisions, Jalpaiguri and Alipur. The former is immediately under the Deputy-Commissioner; he is assisted by five Deputy-Magistrate-Collectors, of whom two are employed exclusively on revenue work. The Alipur subdivision is in the charge of a European Deputy-Magistrate-Collector. The Mayna- guri, Falakata, and Alipur circles in the settled tracts of the Duars are in charge of three Sub-Deputy-Collectors. Two Forest officers manage the JalpaigurT and Buxa divisions, and an extra assistant Conservator is attached to -the former division.
Jalpaiguri forms, with Rangpur, the charge of a single District and Sessions Judge, and the Sub-Judge of Dinajpur is an additional Sub- Judge in this District. The other civil courts are those of two Munsifs at JalpaigurT town and of the subdivisional officer of Alipur, who is vested with the powers of a Munsif within his subdivision. The Deputy-Commissioner has special additional powers under section 34 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Subordinate to him are three Deputy- Magistrates at head-quarters, the subdivisional officer of Alipur, and three benches of honorary magistrates, who sit at Jalpaigurl, Boda, and Deblganj. As in other parts of Eastern Bengal, cases due to disputes about land are common, and dacoities are not infrequent
Patgram, Boda, and the Baikuntpur estate were permanently settled in 1793 as part of the province of Rangpur. The Western Duars have been settled temporarily from time to time, the last settlement having been concluded in 1895. The current demand for land revenue in 1903-4 was 7-53 lakhs, of which Rs. 1,37,000 was payable by 82 permanently settled estates, Rs. 1,97,000 by 205 temporarily settled estates, and the remainder by 5 estates managed direct by Govern- ment In the permanently settled portion of the District rents vary from Rs. 1-9 an acre, which is paid for cultivable waste, and Rs. 1-15 for once-cropped land, up to Rs. 9-2 for the best jute, rice, and home- stead lands. In special cases higher rates are charged, Rs. 15 being sometimes paid for bamboo land and Rs. 24-4 for betel-leaf gardens or areca groves. In the Duars, where Government is the immediate landlord, rates rule considerably lower: namely, 3 annas for waste, from Rs. 1-2 to Rs. 1-6 for high land, from Rs. 1-6 to Rs. 2 for low land, according to the situation with reference to markets and roads, and Rs. 3 for homestead land. In the Duars about half the area has been let out by the jotdars, or tenants holding immediately under Government, to ckukdniddrs, or sub-tenants, whose holdings have been recognized as permanent.
The following table shows the collections of land revenue and total revenue (principal heads only), in thousands of rupees : —
Outside Jalpaiguri municipality and Buxa cantonment, local affairs are managed by the District board, in subordination to which a local board has recently been constituted at Alipur. In 1903-4 the income of the District board was Rs. 1,35,000, of which Rs. 69,000 was obtained from rates; and the expenditure was Rs. 1,21,000, including Rs. 84,000 spent on public works.
The District contains 1 1 thanas or police stations and 10 outposts. The force subordinate to the District Superintendent consists of 2 inspectors, 25 sub-inspectors, 29 head constables, and 287 constables, besides a rural police of 1,467 village watchmen, grouped in circles under 78 head watchmen. The District jail at Jalpaiguri town has accommodation for 122, and a subsidiary jail at Allpur for 22 prisoners.
Owing partly to the sparse population and the absence of regular village sites, education is very backward, and the proportion of persons able to read and write in 1901 was only 39 per cent. (7 males and 0-4 females). Considerable progress has, however, been made. The total number of pupils under instruction increased from 3,582 in 1882 to 7,623 in 1892-3 and to 12,033 in 1 900-1, while 13,013 boys and 935 girls were at school in 1903-4, being respectively 20.5 and 1.7 per cent of those of school-going age. The number of educational institu- tions, public and private, in that year was 563, including 15 secondary and 528 primary schools. The expenditure on education was Rs. 67,000, of which Rs. 13,000 was met from Provincial funds, Rs. 20,000 from District funds, Rs. 750 from municipal funds, and Rs. 22,000 from fees. The figures include one small school for aboriginal tribes at Buxa.
In 1903 the District contained 8 dispensaries, of which 4 had accommodation for 30 in-patients. At these the cases of 38,000 out- patients and 480 in-patients were treated during the year, and 840 operations were performed. The expenditure was Rs. 12,000, of which Rs. 4,000 was met from Government contributions, Rs. 3,000 from Local and Rs. 1,600 from municipal funds, and Rs. 3,000 from subscriptions.
Vaccination is compulsory only in Jalpaiguri municipality. In 1903 -4 the number of successful vaccinations was 25,000, representing 32 per 1,000 of the population. There is less opposition to infant vaccination than in most parts of East and North Bengal.
[Martin, Eastern India, vol. iii (1838); Sir W. W. Hunter, Statistical Account of Bengal, vol. x (1876) ; D. Sunder, Report on the Settlement of the Western Duars (Calcutta, 1895).]