Located in the northeast of Bihar Kishanganj became a separate district in 1990.
Surrounded by West Bengal, Bangladesh and Nepal it occupies a total of 1, 93, 855
hectares (2001 census). As a densely populated region it accommodates a total of
12, 94, 063 people and has a total irrigated area of 27, 018 hectares. In its earliest
phase the place was ruled by the Khagada Nawab.
Accessible by air, rail and road the city is has 6 operational railway stations.
Gaya International Airport and JayaPrakash Narayan Airport are around 90 kms away.
While ginger, turmeric and garlic are the main cash crops, Kishanganj is well-known
for its diversified range of industries. These include
Enriched with a fascinating historical past, the District boasts of some appealing
tourist spots. Some of them are Town Hall, Nehru Shanti Park and Khagra Mela.
- Tea Processing Plants
- Poultry Farming
- Silk Animal husbandry is another main economic activity of this district. With adequate
support from Government institutions this region has grown into a bustling commercial
To achieve an all-comprising development, Kishanganj's educational scenario is changing
rapidly. With 508 Primary Schools, 90 Middle Schools, one Kendriya Vidyalaya, one
Navodya Vidyalaya, two Colleges, one Polytechnic College and one Medical College,
the district provides room for more medical, technical and vocational institutes.
In the coming years Kishanganj will definitely emerge as one of the most developed
districts of Bihar through its industrious efforts.
Most of the villages are scattered over the vast area with distance between two
intervention areas being 60-75 kms.Some of the villages are densely populated while
others are sparsely populated comprising mainly OBC-Surjapuri Hindus and Muslims.
There are few Santhal pockets in between. These villages are relatively peaceful
and co-exist together with little evidence of violence based either on religion
or on caste. Most of the households are very poor and lead simple life. However
being a predominantly Muslim society the people are conservative in their beliefs
Most of the villages do not have pucca roads, as they are located in the interior
part of the district. They become inaccessible during monsoons and floods cutting
them from rest of the district. The villages do not have primary health services
as most of the PHCs are conspicuously absent or dysfunctional. Incase of an emergency
people go either to Kishanganj or to Islampur that is 40-50 kms from the state.
The literacy rate is lowest with female rate at 18% and 2% in Muslim dominated rural
areas. There are primary schools lacking even basic facilities. The girl dropout
level is also high here as they are married off at an early age. Most of the high
schools are located in Kishanganj and Thakurganj towns. The huge distance from the
villages makes it difficult for the girls to continue with their education.
Agriculture is the main occupation and main source of livelihood in the villages.
There are hardly any industries that can provide employment to the people. This
area has witnessed large scale migration to cities like Delhi, Punjab and Mumbai.
There has been growth of large scale tea cultivation. However it is confined to
the marginal and big farmers. The poor landless families work as daily wage workers.
Many girls who come to study at NFE centres also work at the tea-gardens. The emergence
of brick-klins has also seen people working there during lean period. Many farmers
have sold their land-holdings to businessmen from Siliguri etc.
Political orientation along different political parties is present and it has come
out in the open during recent elections. All the villages have prominent local leaders
and Maulanas/Maulavis who are respected in the community. We have seen during course
of our work that without their support it is not possible to work on sexual and
reproductive health issues. Women are not politically much aware and dependent on
their husbands and families for decision-making.
Status of Women
The known problems such as prevalence of dowry system, early marriage, polygamy,
gender inequality and ignorance among women plague the district. The early age for
the females is 15-18 years in rural and urban areas. There is high dependence on
husbands for information, knowledge and decisions. The socio-cultural inhibitions
have led to low mobility of women. The RCH 98-99 have revealed poor nutrition and
health status. About 95.4% children were reported underweight. There is high prevalence
of STI/ RTI symptoms among females (35.7% RCH Survey 1998-99).Kishanganj district
is ranked 588 out of 590 districts in the country on RCH composite index 1998-99.There
is ignorance and indifferent attitude of women towards their own health. The lowest
literacy rate among women is also responsible for various myths and misconceptions
prevalent about health among them.