Siliguri is situated in Darjeeling district, and though it is the district's largest city, the district headquarters is located at Darjeeling. Siliguri is a unique city as 15 out of 47 wards of Siliguri Municipal Corporation falls in neighbouring Jalpaiguri district. The Indian army, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Shashatra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Assam Rifles have bases around the town. The Bagdogra Airport is located within the Indian Air Force (IAF) cantonment area. Siliguri has an Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOC) oil depot near the southern edge of the town. Siliguri is the second largest city of West Bengal after Kolkata.
Siliguri is described as the gateway to the North East of India. The strategic location of the city makes it a base for essential supplies to the region. Siliguri has gradually developed as a profitable centre for a variety of businesses. As a central hub, many national companies and organizations have set up their offices here. Recently a number of movie-multiplexes are being planned to be opened in Siliguri. The Hong Kong market located here is a chief hub for buying low cost Chinese goods and illegal imported goods, nearby Seth Srilal Market is a prominent place to buy daily use goods, and is very popular among people from nearby areas. 4 "T" s - Tea, Timber, Tourism and Transport are the main businesses of Siliguri. Recently many hotels had mushroomed up & a very good increment had been seen in this sector at past. Siliguri is the headquarters of FOCIN (Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of North Bengal). The latest development is the mushrooming of shopping malls in the city, though multiplexes are yet to arrive. Some popular shopping malls are the Cosmos, City Style, Sun Flower situated on Sevoke road and Vishal Mega Mart on the Burdwan road.
Siliguri is experiencing a rapid expansion of its population. In a 2001 India census, the number of residents was 420,275. According to estimates for 2008, 559,275 people live in the city.. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Siliguri has an average literacy rate of 70%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; male literacy is 75%, and female literacy is 65%. In Siliguri, 12% of the population is under six years of age.
Siliguri is a cosmopolitan city with Bengali, Bihari, Marwari, and Punjabi people living peacefully. The Rajabanshi people, who originally owned most of the land, have decreased in population. Biharis, Marwaris, Punjabis and Bengalis are the most prominent business communities here. Bengali, Hindi and Nepali are the languages spoken.
Siliguri has seen floods of different people coming in over the years. Bengalis from Bangladesh and Assam. Besides, people from Bihar and districts of Northern Bengal are coming to the city in search of livelihood. The influx has led to an abnormally high population growth.
Siliguri has three important railway stations:
1. Siliguri Town - This is the oldest station in the area. Opened on 23 Aug, 1880 during the British Raj, this station used to be the terminus for the trains coming from Kolkata, and the starting point for the world-famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway for journey to Darjeeling. It is this station where such world-renowned personalities as Rabindranath Tagore, Chittaranjan Das and Subhash Chandra Basu set their feet on their way to Darjeeling and other places.
2. Siliguri Junction - This station opened in 1949, and used to be the point of departure of all trains to the north-eastern states, until the broad gauge was extended to Dibrugarh. Siliguri Junction is the only station in India with all the three gauges of tracks.
3. New Jalpaiguri - Opened in 1961 as a totally greenfield project 6 km south of Siliguri. Initially named New Siliguri (but, later renamed New Jalpaiguri as it is located in Jalpaiguri District) this is now the most important station in the region. This station connects Siliguri to every nook and corner of the country by railway. The city has now been expanded and included New Jalpaiguri as one of its ward of Siliguri Municipal Corporation. The Toy train is the main attraction of this station.
With the extension of broad-gauge railway track to the Siliguri Junction station, people can now travel directly to the heart of the city without having to alight at New Jalpaiguri. This new broad-gauge track extends to the old Dooars metre-gauge track up to Alipurduar and beyond. Travelling over this railway line is a beautiful experience as it passes through the picturesque tea gardens of the Dooars area in the backdrop of Darjeeling and Bhutan hills.
The Sikkim Government buses run to various destinations of Sikkim from the Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) bus station near the Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus. There is another Bus Terminus named P C Mittal Bus Stand on Sevoke Road. All Buses heading for the Dooars region via the Sevoke Coronation Bridge originate here.
A new four-lane road, named Vivekananda Road, has been rebuilt connecting Burdwan Road to Mahabirsthan bringing much relief to the chaotic section of the city. The road is planned to join to the west with Matigara, through the proposed 4th Mahananda Bridge which is scheduled to come up by March,2010. The eastern wing of the Vivekananda Road will connect the Eastern by-pass, thus fulfilling a major demand of the vehicular traffic. Also a newly constucted fly-over over the Rail Gate connecting Hashmi Chowk to Mahabirsthan, provide seamless communication from the Station Feeder Road in the South and Deshbandhu Road in the East to the Hill Cart Road in the central part of the city.
National Highway no. 31, 31A passes through Siliguri.
Ashok Bhattacharya is now the Minister-in-Charge, Urban Development & Municipal Affairs, Government of West Bengal. Siliguri is part of Darjeeling (Lok Sabha constituency).
Mr. Bikash Ghosh of CPI(M) is the Mayor of Siliguri for his third consecutive term.
Bikes / Motorcycles too are a favorite sports of the young generation of Siliguri. To cater the needs http://xKmph.com - An Indian Bikers Community runs an offline Base to bring all the bikers from all over Siliguri and neignbouring cities together and spread the news of Biking. Teach traffic Rules, Group Riding, Touring, Stunts and teaching how to ride is their activity. Its a non-profit organisation. All Boys and Girls who are really interested in the motorcycles/bikes/scootis or any too wheelers are always welcomed.
Siliguri has always been the “hub” of education in the Terrai as well as the Dooars region. Apart from the residents of the town, students even from states like Sikkim, Nagaland and Assam come here to pursue education. While previously there had been just a handful of schools, of late, there has been a spurt in the same, with schools coming up in every nook and corner, catering to the ICSE, ISC, Central and West Bengal Secondary and Higher Secondary courses. However, the ones that have stood the test of time and worth mentioning out here are:
The list is not in any order of merit, academic or extra curricular.
In and around Siliguri, there are a number of colleges, viz., Siliguri College, Siliguri College of Commerce (classes held at night in the premises of the Siliguri College), Siliguri Women’s College, Surya Sen College. All these deliver general degrees as well as specialization (Honours) in the fields available under the University of North Bengal.
The University of North Bengal, located in a serene backdrop of the Terai foothills and tea gardens, was established in 1962, 10 km away from the main Siliguri town, in Raja Rammohan Pur. Approximately 80 colleges are affiliated to the University, with approximately 36,000 and 1,500 students enrolled in graduate and post graduate courses respectively, every year. A sprawling campus, this University boasts having the second largest campus in the country. Huge stretches of green, in the form of quite-dense vegetation, lakes, and seasonal flowers are woven in between the buildings housing the departments.
The North Bengal Medical College, located in Sushrutnagar is the sole medical college in the region and is connected to the main city through the 3rd Mahananda Bridge. Students from across the state as well from neighboring sates come to study here, after having cleared the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations for engineering and medicine. The recently set up Siliguri Institute Of Technology (SIT) located at Sukna, a few kilometers away from the city has fast become one of the major and regular centres for the state’s corporate houses to recruit fresh engineers.
Various all India reputed Management Colleges have their centre in Siliguri. ICFAI offers MBA courses and their campus is located at Mallaguri area. IIAS offers mainly Hospitality Management courses and is a very renowned name with their alumni working worldwide, IIAS is situated beside Hill Cart Road 2 km from Darjeeling More in Siliguri towards Darjeeling.
In addition to All India Radio, Siliguri has three private FM radio stations: Radio High 92.7FM ,Radio Misty 94.3, and FM 91.9.
Siliguri receives almost all the television channels that are received by the rest of the country. Apart from the state-owned terrestrial network Doordarshan, cable television serves most of the homes in the town, while satellite television is common in the outlying areas and in wealthier households. Besides mainstream Indian channels, the town also receives Nepali Television Channels and Bangladeshi Television Channels. Local news broadcasts, sporting events, and concerts are broadcast live or delayed via cable to many households. DTH services both by Government and private companies are also available.
Internet cafés are well established in the main market area, served through broadband services provided by BSNL and other private companies like Sinet(CCN). The area is serviced by local cell phone companies such as BSNL, Reliance Telecom, Reliance Infocomm, Vodafone, Aircel, Tata Indicom and Airtel.