During the Bengal famine of 1943 the Communist Party of India provided relief to the peasantry of the Sundarbans area. In September 1946 Bangiya Pradeshik Kisan Sabha decided to launch the Tebhaga movement. The peasant movement broke out in Kakdwip, Sonarpur, Bhangar and Canning. Kakdwip and Namkhana were the storm centres of the movement. The movement aimed at improving the share of the peasants engaged as sharecroppers. The prominent leaders of the movement were Kansari Halder, Ashoke Bose and Rash Behari Ghosh. Peasant leaders like Gajen Malik, Manik Hazra, Jatin Maity, Bijoy Mondal and others rose to prominence. The movement continued till 1950, when the Bargadari Act was enacted. The Act recognised the right of the sharecropper to two-thirds of the produce when he provided the inputs.
Although the Bargadari Act of 1950 recognised the rights of bargadars to a higher share of crops from the land that they tilled, it was not implemented. Large tracts, beyond the prescribed limit of land ceiling, remained with the rich landlords. In 1967, West Bengal witnessed a peasant uprising against non-implementation of land reforms legislation, starting from Kheyadaha gram panchayat in Sonarpur CD Block. From 1977 onwards major land reforms took place in West Bengal under the Left Front government. Land in excess of land ceiling was acquired and distributed amongst the peasants. Subsequently, “Operation Barga” was aimed at securing tenancy rights for the peasants. In Sonarpur CD Block 3,020.43 acres of land was acquired and vested. Out of this 1,245.06 acres or 41.22% of the vested land was distributed amongst the peasants. The total number of patta holders was 2,992.
Kheadah, a constituent panchayat of Sonarpur block, is located at 22°26′04″N 88°26′49″E.
Sonarpur CD Block is bounded by Garia neighbourhood of Kolkata in the north, Bhangar I, Bhangar II and Canning II CD Blocks in the east, Baruipur CD Block in the south and Thakurpukur Mahestala and Bishnupur I CD Blocks in the west.
It is located 15 km from Alipore, the district headquarters.
Sonarpur CD Block has an area of 120.63 km2. Sonarpur police station serves this CD Block. Sonarpur panchayat samity has 11 gram panchayats. The block has 72 inhabited villages. Headquarters of this block is at Rajpur.
South 24 Parganas district is divided into two distinct physiographic zones: the marine-riverine delta in the north and the marine delta zone in the south. As the sea receded southwards, in the sub-recent geological period, a large low-lying plain got exposed. Both tidal inflows and rivers have deposited sediments in this plain. The periodical collapse of both the natural levees and man-made embankments speed up the process of filling up of the depressions containing brackish water wetlands. The marine delta in the south is formed of interlacing tidal channels. As non-saline water for irrigation is scarce, agriculture is monsoon-dominated. Some parts of the wetlands are still preserved for raising fish.
Gram panchayats of Sonarpur block/panchayat samiti are Bonhugly I, Bonhugly II, Kalikapur I, Kalikapur II, Kamrabad, Kheadah I, Kheadah II, Langalberia, Polghat, Protapnagar and Sonarpur II.
As per 2011 Census of India Sonarpur CD Block had a total population of 219,863, of which 175,713 were rural and 44,150 were urban. There were 112,238 (51%) males and 107,625 (49%) females. Population below 6 years was 22,880. Scheduled Castes numbered 116,950 and Scheduled Tribes numbered 3,069.
As per 2001 census, Sonarpur block had a total population of 167,348, out of which 86,012 were males and 81,336 were females. Sonarpur block registered a population growth of -41.56% during the 1991-2001 decade. Decadal growth for South 24 Parganas district was 20.89%. Decadal growth in West Bengal was 17.84%. Scheduled castes at 99,567 formed more than one-half the population. Scheduled tribes numbered 4,348.
Census towns in Sonarpur CD Block (2011 census figures in brackets) are Radhanagar (6,675), Danga (6,766), Ramchandrapur (8,196), Bidyadharpur (4,630), Kalikapur (5,860), Chakberia (4,914) and Sahebpur (7,109).
Large villages in Sonarpur CD Block (2011 census figures in brackets) are Atghara (4,284), Ranabhutia (4,196), Bhagabanpur (11,177), Tardaha (4,706), Khurigochhi (6,023), Mali Puuria (5,858), Bhabanipur (4,007), Mathurapur (4,460), Joykrishnapur Chairi (6,436), Banhugli (11,103), Baruli (4,152) and Raypur (4,098).
As per 2011 census the total number of literates in Sonarpur CD Block was 156,991 (79.30% of the population over 6 years) out of which 86,132 (55%) were males and 70,779 (45%) were females.
In South 24 Parganas district, literacy was 77.51%. Literacy in West Bengal was 77.08% in 2011. Overall literacy in India in 2011 was 74.04%.
In the 2001 census, Sonarpur block had a total literacy of 70.74% for the 6+ age group. While male literacy was 79.87%, female literacy was only 61.07%. South 24 Parganas district had a total literacy rate of 69.45%, male literacy being 79.19% and female literacy being 59.01%.
See also – List of West Bengal districts ranked by literacy rate
Bengali is the local language in these areas.
In the 2011 census Hindus numbered 179,174 and formed 81.49% of the population in Sonarpur CD Block. Muslims numbered 34,989 and formed 15.92% of the population. Others numbered 5,700 and formed 2.59% of the population. Amongst the others, Christians numbered 3,562.
In the 2011 census, Hindus numbered 5,155,545 and formed 63.17% of the population in South 24 Parganas district. Muslims numbered 2,903,075 and formed 35.57% of the population. In West Bengal Hindus numbered 64,385,546 and formed 70.53% of the population. Muslims numbered 24,654,825 and formed 27.01% of the population.
Certain areas of South 24 Parganas district have been identified where ground water is affected by arsenic contamination. High levels of arsenic in ground water were found in twelve blocks of the district. Water samples collected from tubewells in the affected places contained arsenic above the normal level (10 micrograms per litre as specified by the World Health Organisation). The affected blocks are Baruipur, Bhangar II, Bishnupur I, Bishnupur II, Basanti, Budge Budge, Canning I, Canning II, Sonarpur, Mograhat II and Joynagar.
According to the South 24 Parganas district Human Development Report it is an overwhelmingly rural district with 85% of the population living in rural areas. An analysis of the district’s population shows that 33% of the district’s population belongs to Scheduled Castes. While 65.86% of people are Hindus, 33.24% are Muslims. 86% of the population resided in the 29 CD Blocks. In 2005, more than 4 lakh households were identified as living below poverty line, pushing the poverty ratio in the district to 34.11%, far above the state and national poverty ratios.
Sonarpur CD Block has a poverty ratio of 23.86% of the households in 2005. In the northwestern part of the district, Budge Budge II CD Block has a relatively high poverty ratio at 34%. All the other CD Blocks have poverty ratios below 20%.
In standard of living Sonarpur ranked fifth amongst all the 29 blocks. In infrastructure development it was third amongst all CD Blocks. In Sonarpur, 37.24% households have access to electricity. The length of surfaced roads is 2.61 km per km2 area. The number of bank branches is 0.67 per 10,000 population. In Sonarpur, 49.22% of rural households are engaged as daily/ agricultural/ other physical labour, 11.84% are culivators, 10.79% are self-employed rural artisans/ hawkers, 18.81% are engaged in labour oriented regular jobs in the unorganised sector, and 14.85% are engaged in the organised sector or work as professionals.
As per 1991 census, while male literacy rate was 78.09% female literacy was 50.18% and there was a gender gap of 23.01% in Sonarpur. The CD Blocks are gradually catching up with the municipalities in matters of literacy. In 2006, Sonarpur had 12 secondary and higher secondary schools. All of them had library facilities but seven of them did not have computer facilities.
In 2006, in Sonarpur for 74 villages there were 23 health sub-centres and four rural hospital/public health centres having 47 beds, with 14 medical officers, 16 nurses, 30 health assistants and 13 pharmacists and technicians. 63.4% of the 429 habitations in Sonarpur CD Block had access to safe drinking water (including tube wells and tap water), 39.3% habitations were partly covered and 6.3% habitations not covered.