The year 1851, regime of East India Company - cholera epidemic broke out in Uttarpara and its surrounding areas. The then Zamindar, Babu Joykrishna Mukherjee and other residents of Uttarpara tried hard to tackle the disease. The epidemic subsided but left Joykrishna thinking - how to stop recurrence of such scourge in future ?
Progressive and forward looking - as was Joykrishna, immediately understood the value of modern sanitation system and need for germ free drinking water. And who else can ensure these community health standards other than a civic body ? Natural thinking, one would say today - but it was a tremendous step forward in mid Nineteenth century Bengal !
Towards the end of 1851 - Joykrishna and others appealed to then Govt of Bengal
for setting up a Municipal Authority for Uttarpara. However, their appeal
was rejected as a section of villagers opposed the move. Subsequently their
second appeal was accepted after majority of residents understood its true
potential and agreed. Thus was born Uttarpara Municipality - only the second
town in Bengal to voluntarily adopt the Municipal Act of 1850 Sec XX16
(remember, Bengal in those days included Bihar and Orissa also - a vast territory
larger than England, Scotland and Ireland put together). It would not be out of
place to mention that Serampore, which was the first town to adopt municipal act,
did so because of its European residents who forced its adption against the wishes
of native people. Unlike Uttarpara - Serampore Municipality used to be managed by
Europeans during its early days.
Old Municipality Building
The first meeting of the nominated board was held on 14th April, 1853 at Govt. Hospital building with the following members.
Mr. G Bright, Joint Magistrate, Serampore-
Babu Jaykrishna Mukherjee
Babu Harish Chandra Bannerjee
In 1856 the board was expanded with another four members
Babu Bejoy Krishna Mukherjee, Babu Gobind Chandra Mukherjee, Babu Jagabondhu Bannerjee and Babu Taraknath Chatterjee.
Uttarpara Municipal area was demarcated as follows: Ballykhal as its Southern border,
River Ganges (Hooghly river) on the East, Railway line on the West and Bhadrakali town
as North border. Total area of Uttarpara Municipality was one and half sq. miles.
In 1862, 10 years after its inception, Uttarpara Municipality was superseded
for 2 years over litigation on Tax charging. In the year 1864 Govt restored
the authority. After long 29 years Govt. nominated Babu Bejoy Krishna Mukherjee
as the first Indian Chairman of the Municipality. Nominated Boards continued
from 1853 to 1884. As per Act III of 1884 - the Municipal area was divided into
4 wards with 2 members from each ward. The Municipal Board consisted of
2/3rd elected members and 1/3rd nominated by government. The life of the
Board was fixed at three years. After independence, nomination system was
abolished in 1948.
Gana Bhawan - The New Municipality Building
According to Municipality Act of 1932, all adult women and men inhabitants of
municipal area whose age was 21 years or more and passed at least secondary
school examination were eligible to vote for a municipal candidate. Kotrang was
merged with Uttarpara Municipality in 1964 and it was renamed Uttarpara Kotrang
Municipality with 20 members (nominated). The area of amalgamated Municipality
is 2.07 sq. km.
The demarcation line of Uttarpara Kotrang Municipality is as follows:
Ballykhal as Southern border, Hooghly river on the east, Konnagar Municipality
as Northern border and Railway line on the west. The nominated Board was
superseded on 22nd August 1966 and an administrator appointed. On May 21 1981,
election of Uttarpara Kotrang Municipality was held on adult franchise system.
The Left Front won majority votes in consecutive three elections
held in 1985, 1990 and 1995. Trinamul Congress won the last election
held in 2000.
Makhla was merged with Uttarpara Kotrang Municipality on
9th August 1991, its area extended to 8.13 sq. miles.
Old Municipality Building