ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bengal's Industrial Backyard

Urban Development in Howrah: Socio-Economic Perspectives edited by Mahalaya Chatterjee and Anis Mukhopadhyay; New Delhi: Primus Books, 2015; pp xii + 413, Rs 1,595.

Did you ever think that the epithet so liberally used for Kolkata—the city of joy—could have its origins in a slum called Pilkhana near Salkia in the adjoining city of Howrah? Dominique Lapierre had set a major portion of his book The City of Joy on the abysmal living conditions in the slums in Howrah. The reader, however, cannot be blamed for not knowing this. After all, “Howrah cannot be thought of as a city in its own right…it exists independently only in the political sense of its administrative boundaries.”

Given that the west bank of the Hooghly has always faced administrative apathy and academic obscurity, Urban Development in Howrah: Socio-Economic Perspectives assumes a significant position in understanding urban agglomerations beyond their metropolitan counterparts. The book, edited by Mahalaya Chatterjee and Anis Mukhopadhyay, is a collection of research articles compiled after a 2010 conference on Howrah at the Centre for Urban Economic Studies, University of Calcutta, Kolkata. The book also includes a background paper prepared for the Howrah Development and Rejuvenation Plan undertaken by the Kolkata Urban Services for the Poor (KUSP), which was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom.

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