Kokrajhar

Kokrajhar is one of the twenty-three districts of Assam and can be described as the gateway to the northeastern region of India. Both road and rail touches this district at Srirampur before they go on to other districts in Assam and the other northeast states. The district has a total area of 3,169.22 sq. km. and a total population of 9,30,404 according to the Census-2001.

Kokrajhar district is located on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra that slices the state of Assam into two, identified as north and south banks. The district lies roughly between 89.46' E to 90.38' E longitudes and 26.19" N to 26.54" N latitudes. The district is bounded on the north by the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, by Dhubri district on the south, Bongaigaon district on the east and the Indian state of West Bengal on the west.

The district can be easily reached as both the mainline road and rail passes through this district. There are beautiful places to visit in the district, especially in the northern side, where the natural scenery is exquisite. There are also numerous natural picnicking spots. It has to be admitted that these places are yet to be developed as tourist spots. But there is a great deal of scope even now for those who are adventurous and willing to witness the glory of nature in all its rugged beauty.

The kingdom of Bhutan is intricately linked with the district of Kokrajhar in many vital aspects of life of the people living both in the Bhutan hills and the plains of Kokrajhar. There is hassle-free movement of the people across the international border for the purpose of business and tours. The Bhutanese town of Gelephu is a nice place to visit from Kokrajhar as it is just across the international boundary. There is a fine road leading from the Shyamthaibari point on the National Highway 31(C) to Gelephu. Further on, inside Bhutanese territory, there is the town of Sarbhang that also can be visited via Gelephu.

The colourful Bodo community comprises the majority in Kokrajhar district. It also has a sizeable Rajbongshi and Santhal population.

Kokrajhar is also the headquarter of the Bodoland Autonomous Council which was created in 1993.



HISTORY

Kokrajhar was originally a part of undivided Goalpara district. Till 1956, it was merely a small village with a railway station that connected it to the rest of the world. In 1957, when Bimala Prasad Chaliha was the Chief Minister of Assam, a new Civil Sub-division was created after carving out the northern part of Dhubri Sub-division and some parts of Goalpara Sub-division. This new sub-division was called Kokrajhar Sub-division. Goalpara district thus became divided into three sub-divisions. The area covered by the then Kokrajhar Sub-division consisted of five tracts of the Eastern Dooars, viz., Bijni, Sidli, Chirang, Ripu and Guma with a total area of 1569.9 square miles or 4065.88 square kilometres.

On the 1st of July, 1983 the Kokrajhar Sub-division was upgraded into Kokrajhar district with the headquarter at Kokrajhar town. There were four police stations in the new district. They were Bijni, Sidli, Kokrajhar and Gossaigaon. The area of the district extended from the Manas river in the east to the Sonkosh on the west.

In 1989, there was further reorganization of the districts and some new districts were created. Thus, about 40% of the total geographical area of Kokrajhar district was carved out for inclusion in the new district of Bongaigaon. The area delimited from Kokrajhar district to Bongaigaon covers the entire Bijni Revenue Circle along with 347.50 square kilometres of Sidli Circle. Later on 20 villages of Naikgaon G.P. with a total area 40.22 square km under Chapar Revenue Circle of Dhubri district was transferred to Kokrajhar district. The present geographical area of Kokrajhar district is estimated to be 3,169.22 square km.

The district now has two revenue sub-divisions--- Kokrajhar and Gossaigaon Sub-divisions. The river Gongia which is known as Tipkai in the southern part is the natural boundary of two civil sub-divisions. Gossaigaon town is the headquarter of Gossaigaon Sub-division.

The demand for regional autonomy by the plain tribes of Assam had its impact on the Bodo people living in this district as well. The Plains Tribe Council of Assam (PTCA) was the organization that first spearheaded the movement for a separate state of 'Udayachal' for the plain tribes of Assam living in the northern bank of the Brahmaputra Valley. Later on, the All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) came to the fore and started a movement for a separate state of Bodoland. The agitation was vigorous and also violent from 1985 to 1992 till the State Government worked out an accord with the ABSU. The Bodoland Accord was signed on 20-02-93 by which the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) came into being. The present BAC area is spread across seven districts of the state.