Bhatpara (ভাটপাড়া) is a city and a municipality under Jagatdal police station of Barrackpore subdivision in North 24 Parganas district in the state of West Bengal, India. It is situated on the bank of Hoogly river. It is mainly known for its rich tradions in the field of Sanskrit learning. Actually the name 'Bhatpara' originates from the ancient name "Bhatta-Palli" where 'Bhatta' denotes the sect of bramhin Sanskrit pandits and 'palli' denotes locality or village. It is one of the oldest municipalities in West Bengal and it was constituted a municipality in 1899, when it was separated from the Naihati municipality. In the British era and afterwards it had become an important industrial hub on Hoogly river bank mainly for the high density of jute processing plants.
Bhatpara is located at . It has an average elevation of 12 metres (39 feet
). The main town is sandwiched between the Hoogly river in the east and railway track linking Sealdah and Krishnanagar in the west.
Bhatpara has a rail station named 'Kankinara' which connects it to Kolkata through Sealdah main line to Krishnanagar and Ranaghat. It is approximately one hour train journey from Kolkata to Bhatpara. It also has boat services to the other bank of Hoogly river, connecting it to Chinsura and Chandannagar. The main roadway passing through Bhatpara is called Ghosh Para Road.
Bhatpara features hot and humid summer and dry winter, typical of West Bengal. The rainy season is typically from mid-July to mid or late October. Average temperature during summer can goes as high as 38 degree Celsius and in winter the mercury plunges to below 10 degree Celsius.
As of 2001
, Bhatpara had a population of 441,956. Males constitute 55% of the population and females 45%. Bhatpara has an average literacy rate of 72%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 78% and female literacy of 66%. 9% of the population is under 6 years of age.
The jute mills drew in a large labour force from the neighbouring states of Bihar and Orissa, as well as eastern Uttar Pradesh, quite often forming an overwhelming majority of the population in the area, living in shanty towns and bustees dotting the mill area.
Arjun Singh of AITC won the Bhatpara assembly seat defeating Harimohan Nath of CPI (M) in 2006 and Ramprasad Kundu of CPI (M) in 2001. Bidyut Ganguly of CPI (M) defeated Dharampal Gupta of INC in 1996 and Kedar Singh of INC 1991. Satyanarayan Singh of INC defeated Siva Prasad Bhattacharya of CPI (M) in 1986. Sita Ram Gupta of CPI (M) defeated Debi Ghosal of INC in 1982 and Satya Narayan Singh of INC in 1977.
Bhatpara is part of Barrackpore (Lok Sabha constituency).
Although Bhatpara was renowned for its Sanskrit cultural heritage and learning, much of that ancient tradition has faded. However, modern educational practices are upheld by several high schools such as 'Bhatpara Amarkrishna Pathshala
, Bhatpara High School
, Bhatpara Central Girls' School
, Taraknath Balika Bidyamandir
, etc. Although it does not have any college within its territorial boundary, prominent colleges in nearby Naihati
provide easy access to higher education for the youth of Bhatpara. Many students also go to Kolkata
for university and technical education.
Bhatpara is famous for its Durgapuja
. Although, family-based pujas were more common a few decades ago, it has become a community-centric affair in modern times. The youth communities or clubs organize these pujas and due to sheer number of these clubs, one can find over fifty pujas being arranged within a square kilometer of area.
Bhatpara Young Men's Association (BYMA) and Bhatpara Byam Samity are the prominent clubs in the locality where many young people undergo training sessions of Body Building, Power Lifting, Weight Lifting, Football, Cricket, etc. There are 3-4 local fields and associated clubs which take part in various local soccer competitions.
Earlier, a significant portion of population was engaged in some form of job in the local jute mills. Economic instability related to jute industry in West Bengal forced many of these mills to be shut down. Nowadays, people of Bhatpara are mostly engaged in services in the private and public sector outside the area (in Kolkata and neighborhood) and small personal businesses within the locality. A significant number of Bhatparans have moved on and shifted to cities outside West Bengal and even India, in search of better prospects.