Tuesday, October 30, 2018

FAQ / All you want to know about Land and its terminology in West Bengal

I. What is the meaning of “Danga or Bastu (or Vastu land)” Shali in West Bengal ?

It is the classification of lands : Danga, Bastu, Dahola, Sali etc .

Literally Danga is an non agricultural high land. It is the land just beside a Pond. For constructing house, the nature must be converted from Danga to Bastu ( or Vastu).

If you want to convert these lands to a specific category of land ( as per Govt  classification list of lands  ), whether  the land is really convertible or not, as per extant / existing rules  ,  you have to apply for ‘conversation' to the office of the Land and Land Reform Office (e.g. BLLRO upto a certain limit ) under your jurisdiction.

II. What is the meaning of Sali or Shali or Danga land in West Bengal ?

"Shali" land, means agricultural land  mentioned in the Land Record or Porcha  . Houses are built on Bastu land and not on Shali land. Shali land is 2 crops land. Sona land is more than 2 crops land.

III. Nine-fold Classification of Land in West Bengal

1. Net sown area (or area actually under cultivation) is 63%
2. Current Fallow land - unculturable land and pastures (in West Bengal it is very low)
3. Fallow, other than current fallows,
4. Culturable waste land,
5. Permanent pasture and other grazing land and
6. Barren and unculturable land
7. Land put to non agricultural use – 19%
8  Forest -13%
9. Misc tree crops and Groves

IV. F. A. Q:

1. What is land conversion ?

Permission is necessary for change in land use - which is called Land Conversion; say from Sali / Danga / Pukur / Dobato Bastu

2.Whom should I approach for my land conversion and how should I apply ?

An enterprise desirous of making any change in the area, character or utilization of any land under its ownership may apply to the ADM(LR) and DLLRO i.e. District Land and Land Reforms Officer (for above 1 acre of land) ; SDLLRO i.e. Sub District or Divisional Land & Land Reforms Officer (for above 10 decimal to 1 acre of land); BLLRO i.e. Block Land & Land Reforms Officer (for land up to 10 decimal) of the concerned District/ Sub District or Division / Block for permission in the prescribed format.

3.   When should I apply for land conversion ?

 An enterprise may apply for land conversion, after mutation of the land.

4.   What are the documents required for application for land conversion ?

      It is guided by section 4C of WB Land Reforms Act 1955 read with section 5A of The West Bengal Land Reform Rules 1965.

i. An application in Prescribed Format
ii. with requisite payment of process Fee for Conversion in court fee affixed on it or in cash,
iii.a copy of the registered deed of transfer,
iv. copy of the Rent Receipt showing the payment of upto date revenue of the land in question,
v. copy of the Mutation Certificate,
vi. EM-I /IEM acknowledgement,
vii. copies of map of the said plot of land along with adjacent plots of land and
viii. any other documents that may be required for disposal.

5. Is NOC from the adjacent plot holders required ?

No, the system of obtaining NOC from the adjacent plot holders has been discontinued. Instead adjacent plot holders may be called for hearing.

6. What is the procedure of land conversion ?

An enquiry will be made by the field officer.

7. What is survey ?

Survey means Measurement .Whenever there is any dispute, Court orders Lawyers who has passed Surveryorship exam to report on the land with map. The person does the survey are called Amin. There are 4 types of Survey : Bakbastu survey, Cadastral Survey, Revenue Survey and Revisional Survey/ Revisional Settlement or RS (it means old maps are corrected and revised )

As per section 51 of West Bengal Land Reforms Act, to make a revision in Khatian (page of ledger) you need to use Cadastral or Traversal survey by using Theodolite machine


8. When is mutation required and what is the meaning of mutation ?

Mutation means change. As per section 50 of West Bengal Land and Land Reforms Act, Mutation is required after purchase/Gift of land or exchange of land or getting a land as per inheritance. Mutation comes under State Law, whereas Registration comes under Central Act ie Registration Act 1908. Before mutation, registration is a must. Building Plan cannot be sanctioned unless mutation is done.

9. What is Raiyat ?

As per definition-al section 2 of The West Bengal Land Reforms Acs, 1955, "raiyat" means a person or an institution holding land for any purposes whatsoever  . They cannot change the nature of land without conversion. In https://banglarbhumi.gov.in/ Raiyat has been described as Owner.

For conversion of nature of land, section 5A of The West Bengal Estates Acquisition Act, 1953 is applicable. (http://www.bareactslive.com). Under the WB Estate Acquisition Act 1953 one should not hold more than 25 acres. This is per person. 

However as per West Bengal Land Reforms Act  1955 it is 25 acres non agricultural land : per family of 5 people. If the family size is less then 5, then maximum permissible limit is less than 25 acres.  As such the formula is 1.4 non Agricultural land = 1 agricultural land.

As per wikipedia Ryot (alternatives: raiyat, rait or ravat) was a general economic term used throughout India for peasant cultivators. While zamindars were landlords, raiyats were tenants and cultivators, and served as hired labour. A raiyat was defined as someone who has acquired a right to hold land for the purpose of cultivating it, whether alone or by members of his family, hired servants, or partners. It also referred to succession rights. Ryot originates from Arabic word ra`īyah, translated as "flock" or "peasants".

10. What is Jot / Jotdar ?

Jot or Holding is land under Tenant and Jotdar is owner of agricultural land

11. What is Bargadar ?

The farmers who work with Barga (Barga means sub-lease) land. That is the genesis of Bargadar. "Bargadar" means a person who cultivates the land of another person on condition of delivering a share of produce of such land to that person. Operation Barga was a land reform movement throughout rural West Bengal for recording the names of sharecroppers (bargadars) in official records. It bestowed on the bargadars, the legal protection against eviction by the landlords, and entitled them to the due share of the produce. Operation Barga was launched in 1978 and concluded by the mid-1980s.  Whereas Te-bhaga movement means establishing the right that  2/3rd  of the produce, will go to the farmers, from 1/3rd, which was the norm.

12 What are the consequences of abolition of Zamindari system ?

Zamindars cannot hold more than 50 Bigha of land.

13. What is Dag no. ?

Dag numbers are  plot numbers. Every Plot or Dag has a particular number. What is (LR) Dag no. in rural area is Plot no. in Urban area. The Govt of WB website https://banglarbhumi.gov.in has all this information.

14. What are the different divisions in a State ?

i. State 
ii. Many Districts or Zila or Jela make a State 
iii. Many Sub Districts or Sub Division or Mahakumas make a District
iv. Many Blocks make a Sub Districts or Sub Division or Mahakuma
v. Many Mouzas (or village or villages) make a Block
va. &> = 1 villages make 1 Mouza
vi Many Dag or Plots make a Mouza/Village

## Khatian is a page of a ledger in Land Reforms office. So the concept is one man one Khatian (Personal ledger). Khatian is obviously unique and under one Khaitan there is name of one person and all the "Plots or Dag" he is holding under his name in that Mouza. One can have number of plot No. or Dag No. in a Khatian. Obviously Plot is also unique. But a plot/Dag can be owned by many person.

So if you buy any agricultural land, it has  to  start  with :

District South 24 Parganas, Block Bhangar II, Mouza : Tara Hadia,  JL No. 13, LR Dag No. 617 , LR Khatian no. 895, Area of Land 0.06 acre , Description : Shali. 
One of the owners or Ryot of LR Plot no. 617 is Asadul Molla - who has Khatian no. 895 (under this Khatian he hold some other plots also) holds only 0.0133 out of 0.06 acres of Land

Mouza (No. of plots make a Mouza) : Tara Hadia,  JL No. (no. of JL nos. in a PS. JL is basically the serial no. of Mouza. ) 13, LR Dag (Hal Dag or New Dag ) / RS Dag (Sabek Dag or Old Dag)  No. 617 (or Plot no. , if urban) , LR (or RS)  Khatian no. 895, Area of Land 0.06 Acre , description : Shali. Previously Britisher used to equate a land with Police Station or Tauzi . It has been done away with. So if you mention Tauzi it has no significance.

e.g. HIDCO has only information about RS Dag no. and not LR Dag number. So one should quote only RS Dag number for the purpose of HIDCO. Normally they are same. However https://banglarbhumi.gov.in/ only mention LR Dag number - which is the computerized umber.

In https://banglarbhumi.gov.in/ one can find RS Dag no. by putting LR Dag no.

To get any information under the above website, first you have to get yourself registered.

## Every block has a Block Land and Land Reform Officer or BLLRO . If you enquire in BLRO office then you will get information about Dag/Plot , Khatian, Shatak (100 Decimal) Land area

## JL = Jurisdictional List. There are number of JL no. or Mouzas under a PS.

### Every land today has been "settled" , so description of Land should start with RS (or LR) or Revisional settlement. Without RS it is not possible to identify any land.

14A. How much is Hectare or Acre or Cottah or Satak or Chittak ?

1 Chittak ( or Chhatak) = 45 sq ft (or half of 10 ft by 10 ft room)
1 Decimal =10 Chittak = 450 Sq ft  ( 1 Cottah= 720 Sq ft )
1 Cottah (or Kattah) = 1.66 Decimal = 16 Chittak = 1.66/100 Acre i.e. 1/60 Acre 720 Sq ft (45x16)
1 Bigha  = 20 Cottah
1 Acre = 3.025 Bigha or 3 Bigha 0 Cottah 8 Chittak or 1 Acre  = 100 Decimal = 60 Cottah
1 Acre = 100 Decimal = 100 Satak / Shatak
1 Hectare = 2.47 Acre 7.5 Bigha (= 2.47 x 3.025 )  150 Cottah  (=7.5x20)

### For conversion calculation , click here convert-1-decimal-to-square-feet-sq-ft.html

15. What is Patta or Porcha ?

Porcha is Record of Rights or ownership rights. Under section 49 of West Bengal Land Reforms Act when a land and agricultural rights are given to a poor man, from land vested with Government, it is called Patta.

16. What is Land conversion ?

Section 4, 4A,4B,4C 4D of WB Land Reform Act 1955 dictates how the land is to be used and how it is controlled by Land and Land Reforms officers. Whenever a land is used for purposes other than prescribed, then land of the raiyat will be vested with Government. If the land is not used for 3 years or more, then also land may vest with Govt. A person can apply for land conversion after mutation is done (see point 1 and 3 above)

Where-ever there is Development authority or Planning authority, there land use is guided by West Bengal Town Planing and Country (Planning  and Development) Act 1979 . The roles of Development Authority and Planning Authority is guided by this Act.

But for conversion of Land nature outside HIDCO project area, you have to apply to Collector/ BLLRO.

In other words, The Collector/BLLRO while considering conversion under section  4C of WB Land Reforms Act 1955, may also consult with Development and Town Planner under section 46 of West Bengal Town Planing and Country (Planning  and Development) Act 1979, if land falls under Planning area .  e.g. HIDCO is a  Developer and Planner in New Town.

HIDCO however does not have the power to give NOC for Land conversion.

NKDA is not the Development Authority of  New Town.  The name is a misnomer. It is only the Tax collecting and maintenance authority of New Town. New Town is not part of KMDA area (rather KMA), rather it is carved out of KMDA and given to Housing Board  (and finally to HIDCO).

For Plan area, NKDA gives NOC, if building height is more than 15 metres and land exceeds 1 Hectare. Then final Panchayat gives the Plan sanction. For less than that , NKDA has not role.

In Project area, NKDA only sanctions plan. Here there is no question of applying to BLLRO etc for conversion of land, if it is in project area.

If it is under HIDCO's project area, then BLLRO has no role to pay since land has already been converted. 

For MLUP or land use in Project area, website of HIDCO should be referred to for layout plan like Plot, Premises, road etc. Even in Project area of HIDCO some land has not been acquired.  AA I, AA II, AA III, CBD is in Project area. In Project area there is no Dag no. - only Plot no.  Dag no. is there only in Plan area (or beyond ). Plan area is an area which is beyond the Project area , which is adjacent to Project Area - where land has not been acquired, but since it is adjacent to Project area, HIDCO  decides the Land use.

Outside Plan area (which is the periphery of Project area) , HIDCO has no role to play.

MLUP (Master Land use Plan) in Project area is approved by Board is subject to change, but LUDCP (or Land Use & Development Control Plan) (Plan area) is final and is not flexible. It is a legal document.

In Kolkata Metropolitan Corpn area this power has been vested with KMC. Typically BLLRO issues mutation in rural areas and also approves conversion, if any , after mutation is done.

e.g. In Ward 1-100 of Kolkata, mutation certificate is issued by KMC.

For ward 101-144 it was issued by BLLRO, since they were not part of KMC.

Now in 1984, Kasba, Jadavpur and Behala were merged from BLLRO to KMC.

Joka was added in 2012.

But still the practice till date (July 2019) was to take mutation certificate from both BLLRO and KMC.

If a land is shown as Bastu or Shali in BLLRO records, then you cannot construct Building in that plot (in 101-144) unless he converts the land from Shali or Danga to Bastu , before submitting a proposed plan to KMC. In any case first mutation has to be done.

Now it has been decided in July 2019 that for land which is less than 3 cottah, mutation certificate from BLLRO is not required. Just KMC will do.

If an RTI comes to HIDCO, then it can only write to the applicant, whether it falls under Plan area or Project area.

But whether a land has been acquired or not (ie whether within project area or not) , LA collector is the final authority. Although HIDCO has information about the same.

There are :

# 18 Development Authority (e.g ADDA, SJDA, SSDA,KMDA) http://www.wburbanservices.gov.in

To sustain a consistent industrial growth spread over different areas of the State, the Government has set up various Development Authorities under the West Bengal Town & Country (Planning & Dev.) Act, 1979. The major functions of these Development Authorities are to:

Prepare and enforce Land Use and Development Control Plan (LUDCP)
Prescribe use of land within its area
Prepare development plan for the area
Execute area development schemes directly or through other agencies
Promote industries and housing and commercial complexes
Develop infrastructure like road, electricity, water, sewerage and drainage
Assist in creation of social infrastructure

Co-ordinate development activities of all departments and agencies of the State                       Government or local authorities operating within the Planning Area.

*** Unfortunately, multiple agencies are involved in the development of the same area, city. Lack of clear division of responsibilities often leads to a multiplicity of the role and over-lapping functions resulting in wastage of time and resources, thus duplication of work & long delay in project implementation. 

Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) is the statutory planning and development authority for the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA). KMA, also known as the Calcutta Metropolitan Area and Greater Kolkata, is the urban agglomeration of the city of Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the third most populous metropolitan area in India after Delhi and Mumbai. The area is administered by the KMDA. The area covers 72 cities, and 527 towns and villages. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolkata_metropolitan_area)

#     7 Municipal Corporation http://www.wburbanservices.gov.in

#  118 Municipalities or Urban Local body (under WB Municipality Act) http://www.wburbanservices.gov.in

#      9270 Panchayats (WB Panchayat Act 1973)  

So in Panchayat area, Collector will consult with Panchayat Pradhan.

What is the difference between municipal corporation , municipality and Panchayat in india?

The Constitutional (74th Amendment) Act, 1992 made the provisions relating to urban local governments (Nagarpalikas). Accordingly there are there are only three categories of urban local bodies.

Three tier structure:
Municipal corporations
Municipal councils
Nagar panchayats

All of them are civic bodies and the functions of both of them are almost the same. They are all responsible, in their own way, to generate revenue through taxes and deliver services to the citizens. 
In some states, the state government declares a municipality as a municipal corporation once the population there reaches 3/10 lakhs - depending upon which State you are in.  In Gujarat it is 3 lakh.
Their members are elected by the citizens. Number of members depends on the size of the city. 
In municipal corporations, generally an IAS officer is appointed as its commissioner and thus the better governance comparatively while in municipalities, a state service officer (e.g. WBCS) is given the post of commissioner. 

Mayor is the first citizen in municipal corporations while the designation is Chairman in municipalities. 

1. Muncipal corporation or  Mahanagar Palika or local government body are the governing body for big towns like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata etc. They govern metropolitan cities with population more than 1 million. 
They have a wide range of functions , starting with basic infrastructure like Town roads , transport , street lighting , water, drainage , primary health care , education institution, sanitation , Town planning , regulation of land use etc. Often since municipalities depend to a large extent on state governments for funds , they fall abysmally short of fulfilling the basic civic needs of the area.
With increasing urbanisation and formation of bigger cities , the Corporations have come into being with more financial and administrative powers. The expectations from Municipal corporations are much more starting with a long term urban planning model , urban transportation , affordable housing , avoiding slums / making alternate arrangements , planning to meet major disasters etc
They collect property tax and fixed grant from state government. Mayor is the head of the corporation.

2. Municipality or Municipal Council or Nagar Palika or urban local body are for small or medium cities. They administer a city with population around 1 lakh or more. 
Generally small districts or large towns have municipality. Its functions are almost same as Municipal corporations. 
Like Municipal corporation, municipalities also get their income from tax levied on water, house, market, entertainment, vehicle and grants from state government.

3. Nagar Panchayat  or City Council are for small towns 

4. Very small village : Gram Panchayat

17. What are the officers under WBLR Act 1955 ?

i.  Collector - normally an IAS offer is appointed
ii. District Land and Land Reform Officer (DLLRO)
iii. Deputy Land and Land Reform Officer  
iv. Sub-District Land and Land Reform Officer (SDLLRO)
v.  Block Land and Land Reform Officer (BLLRO)
vi. Special Land and Land Revenue Officer Gr II
vii. Land Reform Officer - Gr II


 The main sources of new demand for land at present are from industry, housing, urban spaces and infrastructure. The provision of land for each of these purposes will require the conversion of land from other uses.

The factors to be considered when land is converted to any of these uses from other current use include the following :

1. The current use to which land is being put and the social costs of land conversion. Where land is agricultural, the factors to be considered are the number of crops grown on the land, irrigation facilities current levels of employment and income generation and the productive potential of land.
2. The impact of land conversion on the present users of the land, particularly when they belong to the working poor. Full and just compensation must be provided for any land that is converted to alternative purposes. This is a matter of the people’s entitlement.
3. The benefits from the alternative uses to which the land will be put, particularly with regard to employment and income generation.
4. Environmental considerations, particularly with respect to fragile or endangered ecological zones.
5. Identify vacant land first. As stated, the Govt. has initiated action to create an inventory of land that is not currently in use.

Enhance Agricultural Productivity

The demand for land for industrialization and urbanization creates a special responsibility with respect to agriculture for the Government. The State can afford to convert land to non agricultural purposes only if it is able to enhance agricultural productivity, and to implement an agricultural policy that will  

# protect and extend the achievements of the Stage with regard to rice production, thereby contributing to the food and nutrition security of the people of West Bengal.
# improve productivity in food production, thus releasing a significant proportion of cropped area in the Stage for the diversification of crop production, and, in particular, the production of oil seeds, pulses, fruit, vegetables and flowers and other non-food crops; l
# protect bio-diversity in West Bengal and develop agriculture and related activities – and, in general, plan land use – in an ecologically sustainable way; and
# ensure that the development of agriculture and related activities is a key instrument of employment-generation, income-enhancement and, in general, qualitative improvement in the living standards of the working people of the countryside.

See youtube channels :

1.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuSBmuaib1L-ZGmzIK9DkbQ
2.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq-j04W7f3j0LjqTeYtK5cg



Friday, August 31, 2018

Retirement Planning - how much is enough ?

source : economictimes.indiatimes.com

By Dhirendra Kumar 
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how conventional wisdom on retirement savings is condemning Indian savers to old-age poverty. During decades of retired life, inflation destroys the value of your savings relentlessly. Many people find that their savings are not enough. Eventually, at some point, they realise that they are running out of money. Nothing is worse than a long period of old age, where an old couple gradually loses prosperity and then faces poverty. Yet, all around us, we can see many senior citizens in a similar situation. 

                                                                                           How can you prevent this from happening to you? 


                                                                                            The first half, which I have written about in detail earlier, is about saving enough during one’s working life and investing this money in equity-backed mutual funds. It sets the stage for a financially comfortable old age. 

Miles to go before I sleep !
The second part, which is the outcome, is deriving income from these savings once retired life begins. If you have appreciated what I’ve been saying about inflation, then this should be self-evident: you must spend, at most, only that part of your investment returns which exceed inflation rate

This is another way of saying that you must preserve the value of your principal. However, you must preserve the real, inflation-adjusted value of your money, not just the nominal face value. Please read the preceding paragraph again, carefully. It’s possibly the single most important input to having a financially comfortable old age. So how do you do this?   

Suppose you retire today with a Rs 1 crore corpus. If you put the money in a bank fixed deposit, a year later, it will be worth Rs 1.07 crore. So you would have earned Rs 7 lakh, which you can spend, right? Not really. 

Assuming a realistic inflation rate of 5%, if you want to preserve the real value of your principal, you must leave Rs 1.05 crore in the bank. That leaves you with Rs 2 lakh to withdraw and spend over a year, which is Rs 16,666 a month. 


Is that enough?  

For a middle class person, surely not. It could be a little worse with some banks, and it could be a little better with, say, the Post Office Monthly Income Scheme, but basically, this is roughly the calculation.  

It’s important to understand that with fixed deposits (and similar investments), this calculation does not change even when interest rates rise because inflation and interest track each other closely. The real (inflation-adjusted) interest rate is not going to be more than 1.5-2% at best. 

If you need Rs 50,000 a month, you need about Rs 3 crore. Of course, at that level of income, tax also has to be paid. So, about Rs 30,000 a year will go as tax. This is the best case scenario. In practice, it’s often worse, as there have been times in the past when the interest rate has been below the real inflation rate. 
Moreover, income tax on deposits has to be paid whether you realise the returns or not. There can be a situation when the interest rate barely exceeds the inflation rate and the income tax on the interest is effectively reducing the real value of money. 
The situation is very different in equity-backed mutual funds. Unlike deposits, these are high-earning, but volatile. 

In any given year, the returns could be high or low, but over five to to seven years, or more, these comfortably exceed inflation by 6-7%, even more. 

For example, over the past five years, a majority of equity funds have given returns exceeding 17%, with about a fourth crossing 20%. The returns may have fluctuated, but that’s something the saver has to put up with for getting rid of fear of old-age poverty. 

In such funds, one can happily withdraw 4% a year  and still have a big safety margin. Besides, there is no income tax and the capital gains tax is 10% on actual withdrawals. Effectively, for a given monthly expenditure through equity funds, you need just half the investment that you would in deposits. So, for a monthly income of Rs 50,000 a month (or Rs 6 Lakh per annum), Rs 1.5 crore (4% of 1.5 Crore is Rs 6 lakh per annum) will suffice. 

Even now, only a small (but growing) number of people have begun to understand and appreciate this idea, and started implementing it. They tend to be those who have used equity funds as their savings vehicle anyway and are used to ignoring short-term volatility in the interest of long-term gains.  

El Dorado

Unfortunately, most retired people are still looking  for the non-existent safety that fixed deposits provide and end up facing hardships as they grow older.                                         

Notes by me : This Rs 1.5 Crore is for a person retiring today in 2018. If your are retiring after 10 years, then multiply this figure by 2 (assuming 7% inflation, the expenditure will be double by after 10 years)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Manas National Forest diary


Kolkata to Guwahati (Indigo) 5.20 am and back (6.35 pm flight by Indigo)  = Total fare Rs 4850/- . Our plane started 15 minutes before the scheduled time.

We took the same Taxi, which we hired last month for Kaziranga. It came to our house near Triangular Park at around 3.00 am. It takes around 40 minutes to reach the airport at this point of time.

Car from Guwahati to Manas National Forest to Guwahati = 4x2 hours journey ( Rs 9600/- for Xylo for 380 Km). The car stayed inside Manas National Forest throughout the tour with us. We stayed in Mathanguri lodge of Assam Tourism Deptt. inside the core area of the Park. There are three places to stay inside the Core area - Upper Bungalow, Middle (Dormitory), Lower Bungalow . They are all within walking distance. Since there was no room available, we had no option but to stay in the dormitory. The rooms are absolutely basic. There is only a bed. There are 9 beds in the dormitory. Each bed is Rs 200 per day. There is no attached bathroom. But the location is heavenly. 

Just beside the resort there is Manas River - which separates India from Bhutan.  Mathanguri is the point through which the River Manas enters India from its source in Bhutan. 

Manas National Park, is located in Assam - on the foothills of Eastern Himalayas. It not only offers spectacular views of Manas River overlooking the hills in Bhutan but is also famous for the Indian Rhinoceros as well as other endangered species. Manas National Park is a very unique one. This designated sanctuary also has the singular distinction of being a biosphere hotspot, a natural world heritage site - it is UNESCO World Heritage Site. The forest suffered due to the Bodoland agitation till 2013 or 2014, although thankfully, now matters have improved greatly because of local and government initiatives.

The forest extends further into neighbouring Bhutan, where it is known as the Royal Manas Park. 
To the south of the park, NH31 adjoins Barpeta Road, where the Field Director’s office is located. It is from here that you get permits to enter the park in case you plan to stay at Mathanguri (core Area of Manas National Forest) , where the Inspection Bungalow is located.  We had talked to the forest officer, Mr Kripanath at least 20 times before coming here. So he recognized us easily.We only booked for Entry fee/Permit of the car. There are many Resorts near Bansbari gate.
Tourists enter the forest through the Bansbari Range Office gate (the only gate to my knowledge, to enter the forest) , where an armed ranger joins them. There are no forest department jeeps or guides available for tourists, but private jeeps can be hired from near the Bansbari Range Office or at Barpeta Road. Permits to enter the park are also arranged from here. For car hire you have to pay separately to the car owner at the end of the trip. We could not hire the famous guide Rustam, because he was booked long time back. We hired two safari cars for 8 people, so that enough space is available for viewing and taking pictures.

The area was once the hunting ground of royals. Formerly known as North Kamrup, it was made a reserve forest in 1928, declared a tiger reserve under Project Tiger in 1973, and eventually made a national park in 1990.It is home to tigers, elephants, rhinoceros, wild buffaloes and gaur, apart from sambar and swamp deer.The core area of the tiger reserve spreads over 321sq km of the Manas National Park. 

Entry Indians  50; Foreigners  500 (half day)
            Indians  200; Foreigners  2,000 (full day) 

Timings 7.30am–5.30pm 

Jeep hire  4500 (6 person maximum, full day) 
Photography Indians  50; Foreigners  500 
Videography Indians  500; Foreigners  1,000.

Unlike Tadoba, Bandhvgarh etc you cannot book the safaris online. You have to come here before the tour starts. 

Before reaching our dormitory, we had our lunch outside the forest. Immediately after reaching our resort at Mathanguri we left for Evening safari. No armed guard accompanied us. We proceeded towards the Bhutan side of the forest. We saw Capped Langur - which looks somewhat like famous Golden langur. Then what we saw is unique - hundreds of Great hornbill and Wreathed hornbill. The view from this part is heavenly and unique - which I have not come across before, in any forest.

We had our dinner at the dining hall, just beside upper Bungalow. The prices here are expensive - like any forest in India.


Next day we left for Morning Safari at 9 am, little late, mainly because of inadequate toilet facility at the resort. We opted for whole day safari. In between we  had lunch near Bansbari gate.

Today we saw Water buffalo, Giant squirrel, Common Hoope, Elephant, Serpent eagle, peacock, Vulture, Oriole, Cormorant, Green pigeon, spotted dover, Drongo, White breasted Kingfisher, Gaur, Bulbul.

We did not go for elephant safari. We returned to our lodge at around 6.30 pm - it is already dark. 

We had our dinner at the dining hall, just beside upper Bungalow. But we walked all the way to the Bungalow - later we learnt that a Buffalo was moving nearby - so it was poor thinking on our part to walk all the way to the dining hall. We learnt there is also a tiger trail here. 

In fact some of the group members, after the dinner sat beside the Manas river in the moon lit, but windy night and apparently they saw a tiger on the Bhutan side.


Today before starting our morning safari, we kept our luggage in our safari car (since we won't come back to the resort) and at around 11.30 am left for Bansbari gate for our lunch. 

Anybody who is staying longer can have these options:

You can take a walk along a 5-km long jungle trail by the river around Mathanguri, where you will spot a plethora of birds and flowers. Otherwise, your guide may take you along the streams to track animals – it is an absolutely wonderful experience.
Tea Plantations
This area is excellent tea country, and the plantations begin right outside the park. Stop by the Fatemabad Tea Estate adjacent to the Bansbari Lodge for a tour of their factory, or take a walk through their pretty estate.

Where to Stay & Eat
There is limited accommodation in Manas. The government-run Forest Lodge (Cell: 09435124949; Tariff:  1,200) is 22km inside the park at Mathanguri, by the Manas river. It has six double rooms and a canteen. You have to pay for diesel to help run the generator. However, it is the most picturesque place to stay. 
The Bansbari Lodge (Guwahati Tel: 0361-2667871–73, Cell: 092070 42330/ 31; Tariff:  2,450) is a private hotel right outside the park gate. It has 16 double rooms with hot and cold water and room service. Meals are provided at extra cost (breakfast for  158 per head, lunch/ dinner  289 per head). Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisine are served. The lodge organises dance performances in the evenings on request as well as offers transfers from Guwahati.
Birina Tourist Lodge (Tariff:  2,200–2,500) has a superb location near the Fatehabad Tea Estate, close to the entrance of the Bansbari Range. The rooms are large, clean and airy with a dressing room and attached modern bathrooms. The Lodge arranges jungle safaris, birdwatching treks, bonfire and village tours. They have an open-air theatre for cultural programmes.
Another property close to the park is Florican Jungle Cottage (Tariff:  2,000), managed by a grass root conservation NGO, based in Bansbari range. The cottages consist of a cluster of six Assam-type thatched cottages with en suite bathroms. 
The outfit is totally managed by local villagers trained by Help Tourism. Jungle rides, birdwatching treks, village and cultural experiences are organised. Meals are charged extra. Bookings for both the properties can be made through Help Tourism (Kolkata Tel: 033-24550917, 24549682/ 719, Cell: 09733000442/ 43; helptourism.com). Packages on full board and Jungle Plan are also available here.
Musa Jungle Retreat (Cell: 08761950655, 08811882266, 08811882277; Tariff:  3,500–9,000) is a new property in Bansbari. This too has a great location, near the park and the tea gardens, with clean, comfortable rooms and good food. The resort arranges jeep safari, river rafting as well as nature walks to the Manas National Park.
On the eastern edge of the national park in Kokilabari, lies the Eco Camp Cottages (Cell: 09864034614, 09435875539; Tariff:  2,000) managed by the Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society. They organise river rafting and jungle safaris for guests.
When to go November–April. Park closed from May – October
Tourist/ Wildlife offices
Tourist Information Office
Tourist Lodge
Barpeta Road
Tel: 03666-260300

Field Director
Manas National Park
Barpeta Road
Tel: 261413
STD code 03666

After having our lunch we left for Guwahati airport. The road towards the airport is not bad.We reached Guwahati airport within 3.30 hours by 4 pm.

Our flight left at 6.35 pm and we reached Kolkata at 7.15 pm. Anindya's plane is at 6.50 pm. That fifteen minutes made all the difference. Before reaching Kolkata, Cyclone started and they had to land at Bhubaneswar and came back to Kolkata at around 12 pm !
(Source :  www.outlookindia.com )

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