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Contai


Contai (also known as Kanthi) is headquarters of Contai subdivision in Purba Medinipur district,West Bengal, India. There are three community development blocks in Contai. According to the geologists, the present geographical dimension of contai, has formally came into existence, with the great natural disaster of the third century AD (flood) which created Chilka lake out of the Chilka Bay. Kanthi, that is contai, means "Sand-bound reefs" or sand walls. The name Contai may thus be an English expression of the local jargon meaning "sand heaps".

Brief History Of Contai :

Contai (Kanthi) Sub-division created on the 1st January 1852, contains a total area of 850 sq miles, with 2201villages or townships, 77626 houses and a total population of 4,42,272 souls of whom 4,20,559 or 95.1 % are Hindus.

21,445 or 4.8% Muslims, 21 Christians, the rest is of other denominations, proportion of males of other religions is 50.6% Average density of population 520 per sq. miles, average number of villages per sq. mile 2.59, average number of persons per village or township 201, average number of inmates per house is 5.7. The Subdivision comprises 6 circles (Thana) of Contai, Raghunathpore, Egra, Khejuri, Pataspur, and Bhagawanpur.

In 1871, it Continued one magisterial and revenue court, a regular police force consisting of 35 officers and157 men-total 192 and a rural police of village watch of 1552 men. The total cost of the sub-division administration was £ 6604 and 18 shilling (£ 1= Rs. 98).

The above noted report on contai was published in 1876 and this was the report of W.W. Hunter who was Director-general of Statistics of the Govt. of India. But the creation of contai (Kanthi) started long long ago. It emerged of the sea and was surrounded by sand walls in local tongue ‘wall’ is ‘kanth’. It is assumed that the name Kanthi is from this ‘kanth’. There are other interpretations of the name , but in the map of older times there is no mention of contai or Kanthi. In 1660 Mathew van-den-Broucke in his Map of Bengal pointed a place named Kendua.

The place pointed as kendua matches the place of contai, even now there is a village named kadua. Some say that the name contai has been derived from the name of Nicolus_de-Conti, a venecian(Italy) who came to this area of Bengal before the advent of portugeese in this area. The portugeese came to this area (Hijli) in 1514 after they had established themselves in Pipli (Orissa). Hijli and Pipli were two very important ports. Some opine that the portugeese came to this Hijli area in 1535. Nicolus-de-Conti visited this area of Bengal in 15th century. It may also happen that the word Contai has been derived from County- which is very much familiar to English people.

In 1852 Contai Subdivision was created. Its Headquarter was at Negua (now in Egra subdivision) . In 1863 the office of the S.D.O. was shifted from Negua to Contai.

The present S.D.O. office, old khasmahal Building and the adjacent area was purchased from one Donithorn at a price of Rs. 25000. Later the area was extended by purchasing 6 bighas 5 katha 2 chatak land. Mr. Donithorn was the salt agent of Hijli.

The first Sub divisional magistrate of contai was Mr. Cook. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhya was the second sub divisional magistrate of contai. He took over his charges on 7th Feb. 1863.

The Dutches and the Portuguese built up trade centers at Kendua. Hijli port was very famous as trade center. As early as in 1586 Hijli acquired a world fame. Kendua was a complementary trade centers to Hijli. The exportable goods were available in Kendua region. Rice, cotton, Resam, yerua(grass), jute and jute made goods were exported to different parts of India and abroad.

Contai
21.78°N 87.75°E Coordinates ::  21.78°N 87.75°E
Country India
State West Bengal
District Purba Medinipur
Area (Total) 17.25 km2 (6.66 sq mi)
Elevation 6 m (20 ft)
Population (2001)
Total 77,497
Density 4,492/km2(11,630/sq mi)
Languages
Official Bengali, English, Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 721401
Telephone code 91-3220
Vehicle Registration WB-31-xxxx, WB-32-xxxx
Lok Sabha Constituency Kanthi
Vidhan Sabha Kanthi Uttar, Kanthi Dakshin
Website http://www.onlinecontai.com

After the Dutch and Portuguese, East India company started their trade and business in salt. To supervise the trade, salt agents were appointed, In 1781, during the reign of Warren Hastings, two salt agents, one for tamluk and one for Hijli were appointed. The salt agent of hijli managed his jobs from Contai, so contai became a very important place.

There is still the dilapidated structure of Neemak Kuthi alias Bara kuthi at contai. It was three storied building. The top floor was the residence, the first floor was office. In the flood of 1942, the top floor was destroyed. The residence was shifted to a nearby place. Contai criminal court was in this building even upto 25 yrs ago. This Bara kuthi or Neemak kuthi was the residence and office of contai S.D.O. This building may be declared as heritage building. Some contai-fond men are trying hard to impress upon the Govt. the heritage aspect of this building but to no affect yet.

Contai Subdivision was the second biggest subdivision of the state till 2002 when it was split in two subdivisions- contai and egra.

Contai town is run by a municipal authority from 1958. Now contai subdivision consists of 8 blocks and one municipality- measuring 1261.20 sq. Km with a population of more than 10 lakhs. The area of contai municipality with 20 wards is 14.3 sq km having a population of more than 77 thousands. The geographical location of contai is 87°25-88° longitude and 22°10’35” - 22°36’25” latitude. The length from north to south is 55 km and from east to west is 65 km.

After the Dutch and Portuguese, East India company started their trade and business in salt. To surprise the trade, salt agents are appointed, In 1781, during the reign of Warren Hastings, two salt agents, one from tamluk and one from Hijli were appointed. The salt agent of hijli managed his jobs from Contai, so contai became a very important place.

There is still the dilapidated structure of Neemak Kuthi alias bara kuthi at contai. It was three stored building. The top floor was the residence, the first floor wa office. In the flood of 1942, the top floor was destroyed. The residence was shifted to a nearby residence. Contai criminal court was in this building even upto 25 yrs ago. This bara kuthi or neemak kuthi was the residence and office of contai S.D.O. This building may be declared as heritage building. Some contai-fond men are trying hard to impress upon the Govt. the heritage aspect of this building but to no affect yet.

Contai Subdivision was the second biggest subdivision of the state till 2002 when it was spli in two subdivisions- CONTAI and EGRA.

Contai town is run by a municipal authority from 1958. Now contai subdivision consists of 8 blocks and one municipality- measuring 1261.20 sq. Km with a population of more than 10 lakhs. The area of contai municipality with 20 wards is 14.3 sq km having a population of more than 77 thousands. The geographical location of contai is 87°25-88° longitude and 22°10’35” - 22°36’25” latitude. The length from north to south is 55 km and from east to west is 65 km.

Courtesy - Mr. Amalesh Mishra