Read More About Kolkata & it's Real Estate Property Market
Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the state of West Bengal.
Located on the east bank of the Hooghly river, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India.
The Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port as well as its sole major riverine port.
As of 2011, the city had 4.5 million residents; the urban agglomeration, which comprises the city and its suburbs, was home to approximately 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India.
As of 2008, its gross domestic product (adjusted for purchasing power parity) was estimated to be US$104 billion, which would be third highest among Indian cities, behind Mumbai and Delhi.
As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Kolkata confronts substantial urban pollution, traffic congestion, poverty, overpopulation, and other logistic and socioeconomic problems.
In the late 17th century, the three villages that predated Kolkata were ruled by the Nawab of Bengal under Mughal suzerainty.
After the Nawab granted the East India Company a trading license in 1690, the area was developed by the Company into an increasingly fortified mercantile base.
The city was the centre of the Indian independence movement and till date it remains a hotbed of contemporary state politics.
Following India’s independence in 1947, Kolkata which was once the centre of modern Indian education, science, culture, and politics witnessed several decades of relative economic stagnation.
Since the early 2000s, an economic rejuvenation has led to accelerated growth.
Many people from Kolkata, among them several Nobel laureates, have contributed to the arts, the sciences, and other areas.
West Bengal's share of the Bengali film industry is based in the city.
It also hosts several respected cultural institutions of national importance, such as the Academy of Fine Arts, the Victoria Memorial, the Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum and the National Library of India.
Though home to major cricketing venues and franchises, Kolkata differs from other Indian cities by giving importance to association football and other sports.
POPULAR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Fort William: It is a must visit tourist attraction place of Kolkata. Situated at the banks of river Hooghly, it was named after King William III of England. Fort William of Kolkata, India, was established during the tenure of British Raj in 1696.
Birla Planetarium: It is one of the largest museums in Asia. It came into existence in the year 1962 and the credit for establishing this wonderful center of science, communication & environment goes to Birla Education Trust. It is situated at the Eastern metropolitan bypass of Kolkata.
Howrah Bridge: Located over the Hoogli River, it is said to be the busiest bridge of the world. It got its name owing to the fact that it connects the city of Howrah to Kolkata. It stands on two 270 feet high pillars and is used primarily as a road bridge.
Marble Palace: Built in the year 1835 by Rajendra Mallick, it is an exquisite art gallery. It hosts several objects d’ art, sculptures, pictures & oil paintings. Its major highlight includes the Reuben's masterpieces. You can also find the original paintings of Rembrandt, Reynolds and Van Goyen among others.
National Library: It is the largest library in the country, supported by the Dept of Culture, Ministry of Tourism & Culture. Constructed on the massive 30 acre-Belvedere Estate in Kolkata, it was basically set up to collect, distribute and preserve material that is produced within the country.
Nicco Park: Also known as Jheel Meel among locals this popular amusement park at Salt Lake is the Disneyland of the state with a slew of games and rides. Spread across a 40-acre plot, it is one of the biggest amusement parks in the country and was opened in the year 1991.
Shaheed Minar: Located near the Esplanade on the Kolkata Maidan, was initially known as Octerloney Monument. It was named after its founder, Sir David Ochterlony. This magnificent monument was established in the year 1848 so as to mark the founder's victory in the Nepal War (1814-1816).
Writers Building: This Gothic structure came into existence during the tenure of Lt. Governor Ashley Eden (1877). The construction of Writers building began as early as in 1690. It got its name owing to the fact that it served as the dwelling place for the junior writers of the East India Company. The present Calcutta Writers' Building is located at the northern end of Dalhousie Square and serves as the Secretariat of West Bengal Government.
Victoria Memorial Hall: One of the finest art museums in Kolkata. It is a 184 ft tall edifice that was constructed on 64 acres of land. The museum houses a group of figures above the north porch that epitomize prudence, learning and motherhood. Established in the year 1921, this hall was designed by Sir William Emerson, President of the British Institute of Architects.
Eden Gardens: It is one of the major tourist attractions in the city and a popular cricket stadium that has hosted many a memorable match featuring the Indian team taking on the cricketing might of other famous international teams. The Kolkata Eden Gardens Cricket Club came into existence in the year 1864.
As per the 2011 National Census, Kolkata district, which occupies an area of 185 km, had a population of 4,486,679 with a population density of was 24,252/km
The sex ratio was 899 females per 1000 males—lower than the national average.
Kolkata's literacy rate of 87.14 percent exceeds the all-India average of 74 percent.
The urban agglomeration had a population of 14,112,536 in 2011.
Bengali people form the majority of Kolkata's population while Marwaris and Biharis compose large minorities.
Among Kolkata's smaller communities are Chinese, Tamils, Nepalis, Oriyas, Telugus, Assamese and Gujaratis are some of the smaller resident communities here.
The city had a Jewish population of approx 5,000 during World War II, but it has since declined after Indian independence and the establishment of Israel.
The country’s only Chinatown is in eastern Kolkata, once home to 20,000 ethnic Chinese, its population dropped to around 2,000 as of 2009.
The Chinese community here has traditionally been employed in the local tanning industry or run Chinese restaurants.
Bengali, the official state language, is the dominant language in Kolkata.
English is used by the white-collar workforce while Hindi and Urdu are spoken by a sizeable minority.
According to the 2001 census, 77.68 percent of the population is Hindu, 20.27 percent Muslim, 0.88 percent Christian, and 0.46 percent Jain.
The remainder of the population includes Sikhs, Buddhists, and other religions; 0.19 percent did not state a religion in the census.
In 2010, the crime rate was 117.3 per 100,000, below the national rate of 187.6, the lowest among India's largest cities.
According to the 2005 National Family Health Survey, around 14 percent households in Kolkata were poor, while 33 percent lived in slums.
Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding and working with the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata—a world-renowned charitable organisation whose primary task was to love and care for people nobody was prepared to look after.
JOBS & EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Kolkata is the main commercial and financial hub of East and North-East India
It also houses the Calcutta Stock Exchange, is a major commercial and military port, and the only city in eastern India to have an international airport.
The city's fortunes improved after the Indian economy was liberalised in the 1990s and changes in economic policy were enacted by the West Bengal state government.
Flexible production has been the norm in Kolkata, which has an informal sector that employs more than 40 percent of the labour force.
As of 2001, around 0.81 percent of the city's workforce was employed in the primary sector (agriculture, forestry, mining, etc.), 15.49 percent worked in the secondary sector (industrial and manufacturing); and 83.69 percent worked in the tertiary sector (service industries).
As of 2003, the majority of slum households were engaged in occupations belonging to the informal sector; 36.5 percent were involved in servicing the urban middle class (as maids, drivers, etc.), and 22.2 percent were casual labourers.
According to some estimates, almost a quarter of the population lives on less than INR 27 (equivalent to 45 U.S. cents) per day.
As in many other Indian cities, IT has become a high-growth sector in Kolkata.
In the late 1990s, the city's IT sector grew at 70 percent p.a, a rate that was twice the national average.
The turn of the millennium saw a surge of investments in the real estate, infrastructure, retail, and hospitality sectors; several large shopping malls and hotels were launched.
As of 2010, Kolkata, with an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) by purchasing power parity of 150 billion dollars, ranked third among South Asian cities, after Mumbai and Delhi.
Kolkata is home to many industrial units operated by large public- and private-sector corporations; major sectors include steel, heavy engineering, mining, minerals, cement, pharmaceuticals, food processing, agriculture, electronics, textiles, and jute.
ITC Limited, Coal India Limited, National Insurance Company, Exide Industries and Britannia Industries are some of the corporate majors headquartered in the city.
The Tea Board of India and the Ordnance Factories Board of the Ministry of Defence are also headquartered here.
Kolkata hosts the headquarters of three major public-sector banks: Allahabad Bank, UCO Bank, and the United Bank of India.
Adoption of the – Look East – policy by the union government, opening of Sikkim's Nathu La mountain pass on the border with China, bi-directional international trade; and the interest shown by South-East Asian countries in expanding into Indian markets are factors that are expected to benefit Kolkata’s economic and employment fortunes going forward.
TRANSPORT & CONNECTIVITY
Public transport in the city is provided by the Kolkata Suburban Railway, the Kolkata Metro, trams, and public transport buses.
The suburban rail network reaches the city's distant suburbs.
According to a 2013 survey conducted by International Association of Public Transport, Kolkata ranked at the top among six Indian cities surveyed in terms of the efficiency of their public transport systems.
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.
As of 2009, five Metro rail lines were under construction.
Kolkata has three long-distance railway stations, located at Howrah (the largest railway complex in India), Sealdah, and Chitpur, 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 Railways regional divisions—the Kolkata Metro Railways, Eastern Railway and the South-Eastern Railway.
Kolkata also boasts of excellent rail and road connectivity with Dhaka, the capital of neighboring Bangladesh.
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 an operational tram network 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 old-fashioned Ambassadors, newer air-conditioned radio taxis are also in service.
In some parts of the city, cycle rickshaws and hand-pulled rickshaws are also used 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.
However the city has witnessed a steady increase in the number of registered vehicles since 2002.
As of 2004, after adjusting for population density, the city's road space was only 6 percent compared to 23 percent in Delhi and 17 percent 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 the Golden Quadrilateral and NH-34 begin from the city.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, at Dum Dum some 16 km 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 other parts of the world are operated by the Shipping Corporation of India.
Ferry services connect Kolkata with its twin city of Howrah, located across the Hooghly River.
The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority, the city’s nodal development agency has conceptualized and planned several civic infrastructure improvement projects in the city which include:
The Hooghly Riverfront Beautification project on Grand Foreshore Road.
The Trans Municipal Water Supply project in New Barrackpore, Barasat, Madhyamgram and Titagarh.
Three flyover projects – One is a 7km long flyover between Brace Bridge and Batanagar, another on Raja SC Mullick Road in Jadavpur and a third flyover to be constructed in Kamalgazi extending up to EM Bypass.
Storm water drainage projects in Rajarhat, Madhyamgram, Rishra, Barasat and Baruipur are also in the pipeline.
The KMDA is simultaneously working on two other flyover projects: The Vivekananda Road flyover and another one connecting Parama Island and Park Circus.
The former flyover plan is expected to ease the traffic congestion between Howrah and Girish Park along the Vivekananda Road.
KMDA also has proposals to develop the city's peri urban regions. The officials are now focusing to develop the Baruipur township and drawing other plans for the city's development progress.
The state government has handed over a concept plan to develop Rajarhat New Town as a smart green city to the Union urban development ministry.
The plan incorporates the development of an intelligent public transport system, complete Wi-Fi coverage, an underground solid waste management system, sensor-based street lighting, energy conservation modules, a web-based property tax system, video-based health consultation clinics, synchronization of the land and tax data database and a drone-based surveillance system.
A 16-point list was earlier placed before the Centre on the initiatives that the authorities were taking to develop New Town as a smart city.
The initiatives include a vehicle-tracking system for solid waste management and use of more energy-efficient devices like LED street lights and solar panels on rooftops.
The authorities are also planning to set up a monorail system for better connectivity.
The state's only online building plan sanction system has been introduced in the township and the authorities are working to make the arterial road fully Wi-Fi-enabled.
Apart from Rajarhat New Town, the state government has also identified nine other places across the state to develop smart cities. These are Raghunathpur, Jaigaon, Sagar, Kalyani, Baruipur, Durgapur, Bolpur, Debanandapur and Fulbari.
The state government has also planned to develop -theme-based- townships at other locations including Bolpur, Kalyani, Asansol, Dumurjala, Baruipur and Debgram.
REALTY MARKET OVERVIEW
The city is likely to witness a slow off-take of residential units despite the state government's efforts to give a push to the sector.
As per a 2014 industry survey, Kolkata will have a demand of less than a lakh of residential units over the next five years, the lowest among all the metros in the country.
The survey projected a demand of approx 97,300 units in Kolkata between 2014 and 2018.
The report also projected that more than half of the demand would come from the low-income group.
Around 34 percent of the demand is projected to come from the middle-income group while the balance will be from people in higher-income brackets.
As per the report, supply of residential units in the city will remain low between 2014 and 2018 at 65,600 units.
More than half of the supplies are likely to be in the MIG category, while the demand is projected to be most in the LIG segment.
In Kolkata, residential units priced below INR 30 lakh come in the LIG category, while the units in MIG segment are priced between INR 30 lakh and INR 1 crore.
A subdued demand in the under INR 1 crore category is forcing developers to focus more on constructing affordable housing units.
Industry expects new micro markets to be created once new routes of the Metro railway become operational.
Developers are of the view that areas within a 3-5 km radius of a Metro station will emerge as potential areas for new residential development.
They are also optimistic that the government's clearance of Section 14Y of the West Bengal Land Reforms Act for townships will help in promoting affordable housing.
The state government's decision to relax FAR norms is also expected to help properties priced at a premium.
Kolkata saw CBD absorption growing by more than 4 times in 2014, vis-a-vis the previous year.