Government and public services
Kolkata is administered by several government agencies. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation, or KMC, oversees and manages the civic infrastructure of the city’s 15 boroughs, which together encompass 141 wards. Each ward elects a councillor to the KMC. Each borough has a committee of councillors, each of whom is elected to represent a ward. By means of the borough committees, the corporation undertakes urban planning and maintains roads, government-aided schools, hospitals, and municipal markets. As Kolkata’s apex body, the corporation discharges its functions through the mayor-in-council, which comprises a mayor, a deputy mayor, and ten other elected members of the KMC. The functions of the KMC include water supply, drainage and sewerage, sanitation, solid waste management, street lighting, and building regulation.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporationwas ranked 1st out of 21 Cities for best governance & administrative practices in India in 2014. It scored 4.0 on 10 compared to the national average of 3.3.
The Kolkata Port Trust, an agency of the central government, manages the city’s river port. As of 2012, the All India Trinamool Congress controls the KMC; the mayor is Sovan Chatterjee, while the deputy mayor is Farzana Alam. The city has an apolitical titular post, that of the Sheriff of Kolkata, which presides over various city-related functions and conferences.
Kolkata’s administrative agencies have areas of jurisdiction that do not coincide. Listed in ascending order by area, they are: Kolkata district; theKolkata Police area and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation area, or “Kolkata city”; and the Kolkata metropolitan area, which is the city’s urban agglomeration. The agency overseeing the latter, the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, is responsible for the statutory planning and development of greater Kolkata.
As the seat of the Government of West Bengal, Kolkata is home to not only the offices of the local governing agencies, but also the West Bengal Legislative Assembly; the state secretariat, which is housed in the Writers’ Building; and theCalcutta High Court. Most government establishments and institutions are housed in the center of the city in B. B. D. Bagh (formerly known as Dalhousie Square). The Calcutta High Court is the oldest High Court in India. It was preceded by the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William which was established in 1774. The Calcutta High Court has jurisdiction over the state ofWest Bengal and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Kolkata has lower courts: the Court of Small Causes and the City Civil Court decide civil matters; the Sessions Courtrules in criminal cases. TheKolkata Police, headed by a police commissioner, is overseen by the West Bengal Ministry of Home Affairs.The Kolkata district elects two representatives to India’s lower house, the Lok Sabha, and 11 representatives to the state legislative assembly.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation supplies the city with potable water that is sourced from the Hooghly River;most of it is treated and purified at the Palta pumping station located in North 24 Parganas district. Roughly 95% of the 4,000 tonnes of refuse produced daily by the city is transported to the dumping grounds in Dhapa, which is east of the town. To promote the recycling of garbage and sewer water, agriculture in encouraged on the dumping grounds. Parts of the city lack proper sewerage, leading to unsanitary methods of waste disposal.
Electricity is supplied by the privately operated Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation, or CESC, to the city proper; the West Bengal State Electricity Boardsupplies it in the suburbs. Fire services are handled by the West Bengal Fire Service, a state agency. As of 2012, the city had 16 fire stations.
State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, or BSNL, as well as private enterprises, among them Vodafone,Bharti Airtel, Reliance, Idea Cellular,Aircel, Tata DoCoMo, Tata Teleservices,Virgin Mobile, and MTS India, are the leading telephone and cell phone service providers in the city.:25–26:179Kolkata being the first city in India to have cell phone and 4G connectivity, theGSM and CDMA cellular coverage is extensive. As of 2010, Kolkata has 7 percent of the total Broadband internet consumers in India; BSNL, VSNL, Tata Indicom, Sify, Airtel, and Reliance are among the main vendors.
Military and diplomatic establishments
The Ordnance Factories Board of theMinistry of Defence, the Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers and theEastern Command of the Indian Armyare all headquartered in the city. The U.S Consulate in Calcutta is the U.S. Department of State‘s second oldest Consulate and dates from 19 November 1792. The Consulate General serves the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya,Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagalandand Arunachal Pradesh.
A road in Kolkata showing buses, taxis, autorickshaws and other modes of road transport
Cityside view of the new Integrated Terminal of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport
Trams of Kolkata
Public transport is provided by theKolkata Suburban Railway, the Kolkata Metro, trams, and buses. The suburban rail network reaches the city’s distant suburbs. According to a 2013 survey conducted by International Association of Public Transport, Kolkata ranks the top among the six cities surveyed in India, in terms of public transport system. The Kolkata Metro, in operation since 1984, is the oldest underground mass transit system in India. It spans the north–south length of the city and covers a distance of 25.1 km (16 mi). As of 2009, five Metro rail lines were under construction. Kolkata has four long-distance railway stations, located atHowrah (the largest railway complex in India), Sealdah, Chitpur and Shalimar, which connect Kolkata by rail to most cities in West Bengal and to other major cities in India. The city serves as the headquarters of three railway Zone out of Seventeen of the Indian Railwaysregional divisions—the Kolkata Metro Railways, Eastern Railway and theSouth-Eastern Railway.
Sealdah bound sub-urban train atKalyani
Kolkata has rail and road connectivity with Dhaka, capital ofBangladesh.
Buses, which are the most commonly used mode of transport, are run by government agencies and private operators. Kolkata is the only Indian city with a tram network, which is operated by the Calcutta Tramways Company. The slow-moving tram services are restricted to certain areas of the city. Water-logging, caused by heavy rains that fall during the summer monsoon, can interrupt transportation networks. Hired public conveyances include auto rickshaws, which often ply specific routes, and yellow metered taxis. Almost all of Kolkata’s taxis are antiquated Hindustan Ambassadors by make; newer air-conditioned radio taxis are also in service. In parts of the city, cycle rickshaws and hand-pulled rickshawsare patronised by the public for short trips.
Due to its diverse and abundant public transportation, privately owned vehicles are not as common in Kolkata as in other major Indian cities. The city has witnessed a steady increase in the number of registered vehicles; 2002 data showed an increase of 44% over a period of seven years. As of 2004, after adjusting for population density, the city’s “road space” was only 6% compared to 23% in Delhi and 17% in Mumbai. The Kolkata Metro has somewhat eased traffic congestion, as has the addition of new roads and flyovers. Agencies operating long-distance bus services include Calcutta State Transport Corporation, South Bengal State Transport Corporation,North Bengal State Transport Corporation, and various private operators. The city’s main bus terminals are located at Esplanade, Karunamoyee, and Babughat. The Kolkata–Delhi and Kolkata–Chennai prongs of theGolden Quadrilateral, and National Highway 34 start from the city.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, located in Dum Dum some 16 km (9.9 mi) north-east of the city centre, operates domestic and international flights. In 2013, the airport was upgraded to handle increased air traffic. The Port of Kolkata, established in 1870, is India’s oldest and the only major river port. The Kolkata Port Trust manages docks in Kolkata and Haldia. The port hosts passenger services to Port Blair, capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; freighter service to ports throughout India and around the world is operated by the Shipping Corporation of India. Ferry services connect Kolkata with its twin city of Howrah, located across the Hooghly River.