Though the district is essentially industrial, agriculture shares no less importance in building the economic set up of the district. The regional topography, with an average elevation of about 200 meters, drained by river Hugli and Damodar offers a favorable landscape for agriculture.
About 70% of the population derives their living from the agriculture and therefore Hooghly holds one of the remarkable positions in the arena of agriculture. The continuous increase of pressure on the land, due to the industrial development, the agricultural families became the victims of loosing the land. The farmers therefore are engaged in the cultivation of the major crops making the fullest utilization of the available land and the natural resources. Though rice is the principal crop, it only supplies the local need of the district.
The agriculture economy of Hooghly mainly depends on the cultivation of the cash crops like jute, potato, and vegetables. Orchard plantation holds a prominent position in the economy of the district. Jute is however prominent among the cash crops. After independence the major area cultivating jute falls under the area of Bangladesh. However in West Bengal, it was only Hooghly where the jute cultivation makes a progressive advancement. Hooghly is the hub of the jute trade in West Bengal and even in India.
Vegetable is the primary crop in the blocks of Haripal, Singur, Chanditala Polba and Dhaniakhali. The vegetables are grown here in the relay system throughout the year. Potato, though cultivated in the district, much of its output are used for the domestic purpose. Tarakeswar is a largest producer in the production of potato, which is even more than the average production of potato in the state. Therefore the domestic economy is completely served by the products produced locally.
However, in the recent years the agricultural scenario of Hooghly has undergone an effective change. The response of the tenant farmers to the upcoming market of Kolkata has made this region a field of diversified commercial agriculture. The fertility of the western part of the river Hooghly was evident from 1850 but became more pronounced from the second half of the 19th century. By adopting scientific measures seizable amount of unutilized land has been brought under cultivation. Those lands incapable of producing rice are used for the orchard plantation, which constitutes a major part of export. With the instrument of "Land Development agenda", the government has been initiating plans by which the intensity of the used land is increased and the increasing use of scientific technology, thereby supplementing the agriculture growth. The utilization of the modern expertise augments the agriculture growth, thereby serving the economy.
Hooghly was once the industrial hub of Bengal. Presently, though it does not have the past glory, yet, it surely shares a significant position in the industrial panorama of West Bengal. Due to its advantage of raw materials, skilled laborers, easy finance, power and having proximity to Kolkata, Hooghly is becoming the key site for the entrepreneurs to set up industries. Hooghly is becoming the principal center for the large, medium and the small-scale industries.
There had been a rapid expansion in the jute industry in India around the wide belt of the Hugli. From one mill in 1855, there are about 59 mills in the first decade of the 20th century. Jute industry and Hooghly was almost inseparable from each other and the largest export of the jute goods in India are made from Hooghly.
However, with the decreasing demand of the jute products, the engineering industries have crept over the industrial scenario of the district. "Hind Motor" is the famous automobile industry of the district, which supplies maximum of the automobile parts in Bengal. Major heavy industries are springing up in the region, which at the same time supporting the domestic purpose also export the surplus, thereby supporting the country's economy.
Hooghly is becoming the software hub of Bengal. The booming progress of the software industries has changed the situation of industrial atmosphere of the district. Recently the industrialists like Ratan Tata have set up industry in the district. The Nayachar subdivision of Hooghly is proposed for the chemical hub.
The growing industries of the district provide ample scope for the employment. The industries at the same time providing employment also account for the large quantity of export. Bandel Thermal Power Station in Tribeni, under Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation provides electricity to Serampore, Seoraphuli, Uttar Para, Baidyabati, Mankundu, Bhadreswar and in some parts of Rishra.
Hence the agriculture and industry both constitute very basis of the district's economy.
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