Dichotomy of Migration in Kolkata City, Indian Bengal Delta

Shouvik Das, Sugata Hazra, Tuhin Ghosh
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Contrary to other coastal cities in India, Kolkata, the largest city of India until 1990, has been showing a persistent trend of outmigration over the last decade. The paper attempts to explore reasons behind the present trend of depopulation in the erstwhile preferred migration destination in the perspective of climate Change. This research distinguishes between ‘Kolkata City’ (census district) with 4.5 million residents and ‘Kolkata Megacity’ which encompasses also the peri-urban areas and home to almost 14.1 million people. From the ongoing research activity under DECCMA project, an overall ‘in-migration’ pattern can be deciphered in Kolkata ‘megacity’. On the contrary, the Kolkata ‘city’ located right in the heart of the megacity exhibits negative net migration (5.11%). The causes for the movement of people from Kolkata ‘city’ to peri-urban areas have been assessed from the perspective of various ‘pull’ factors. Growth of population in the Kolkata Megacity area is also accomplished by rural to urban migration due to various ‘push’ factors of exacerbating impacts of climate change around Sundarban. Thus, in spite of the declining population in Kolkata city, Kolkata megacity is emerging as a ‘major setting of human habitation’ in a 21st century world stressed by climate change.