Tangra Chinatown Kolkata

About five kilometres from the city centre, Tangra Chinatown, Kolkata lies towards the east zone of the City of Joy. Well-known for the tanneries established at this locality, Tangra at present gets these in surplus.However, there is a reason behind the name of this area as Chinatown. Since the local inhabitants of Tangra is dominated by the East Asians who have settled here, the area is sometimes called as the Chinatown of Kolkata. For Chinese community established in the state and beyond, there is no place better than Tangra in Kolkata.

In the last few decades, in a magnificent way Tangra Chinatown, Kolkata has been undergoing speedy changes. Regarding the pulse of this place, it has to be admitted that the long-established professions as well as values have been nearly deserted and the township is fast pulling itself on the lies of modernity. And this is happening because of an increase in the commercial and trade activities. Schools, Colleges and technical institutes have multiplied many folds.

However like the major portion of West Bengal, the health conditions continue to be degrading among the local populace of this area, which itself is situated in the city like Kolkata. Moreover, this locale faces serious problems due to toxic waste caused by the surplus of tannery units. That’s why after reviewing the health status in the region; it was in response to the government orders that many tannery factories were shifted from Tangra to Bantala.

However, one of the famous foods to be found at Tangra Chinatown, Kolkata is the traditional Chinese food. The eateries in the area have been serving the popular Chinese preparations for years. Some young entrepreneurs that have migrated to other parts of India have earned a name for themselves and the food which everyone relishes.

source: AsianRooms.com


  1. Ian says:

    The articles below is not new, but rightly serves as a constant reminder to the Civic Authorities’ pledge to continue to make amends and other facilities for the Chinese community.

    Mayor pledges to make amends
    Source: The Telegraph, Kolkata

    Chinatown binds Calcutta to several cities in the world, including London, Bangkok, Paris and Yokohama.

    But while in every other city the pocket of Chinese habitation is a major tourist draw, it’s an eyesore in Calcutta, thanks to the apathy of the civic authorities.

    The two-sq-km walled township in east Calcutta, which once housed tanneries, is not linked with the civic water supply system and is overrun with filth, as there is no sewerage network. Even the roads there are not maintained by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC).

    But the situation is likely to change, with mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya deciding to make amends for the civic neglect extending over 50 years.

    “I think we should have thought about the locality much earlier,” said the mayor, who claimed the neglect was a fallout of the Sino-Indian conflict in 1962.

    “Drains, water and roads are the areas the civic body will primarily focus on to improve the condition of Chinatown,” said municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay, who has held a meeting with civic engineers to chalk out the upgrade plan.

    Chinatown, comprising wards 58 and 66, extends from Chingrihata in the north to EM Bypass in the south and from Hatgachhia in the east to Christopher Road in the west.

    Even 10 years ago, when the tanneries were thriving in the area, there were over 2,000 Chinese in Chinatown.

    Following the Supreme Court ban on tanneries within the city limits, the number has dwindled to 1,000. While several tannery owners refused to shift to the Bantala leather complex and turned their establishments into eateries, quite a few young Chinese from the area left the city to settle abroad.

    Of the 550-odd tanneries that operated from Chinatown, only 45 have shifted to Bantala.

    Local councillors Javed Ahmed Khan (Trinamul Congress) and Lakshmimoni Banerjee (CPM) have welcomed the CMC’s decision to extend civic services to Chinatown.

    Banerjee, however, claimed that she on her own had started a few slum development projects in the area.

  2. Dan says:

    Chinatown: food fave yet forgotten
    From the Telegraph – Kolkata May 28, 2010

    Open drains choked by effluents from tanneries in Tangra and (below) garbage piled on Gobinda Ghatak Road in the same area.

    Pictures by Aranya Sen

    You may fight with your wife but never with the van rickshawpuller who supplies drinking water to your home — goes a common joke in Chinatown. But Tangra’s condition is no laughing matter.

    “If we ever scold the van rickshawpullers for their tantrums, they will stop supplying drinking water to us,” says Chinese businessman Chen Khoi Kui, who lives on Matheswartala Road, in the heart of Tangra.

    The Calcutta Municipal Corporation does not supply drinking water to most of Tangra and the residents say they have been buying drinking water “for decades”.

    Drinking water is one of the many civic amenities missing in Tangra, an area once well known as the hub of the Chinese community in the city. Today, Tangra is merely a place where you go for lip- smacking Chinese food, hurriedly entering the eateries through dark, narrow alleys, holding your breath to avoid the stench from open drains clogged with effluents from tanneries.

    “Tangra is a mess. We are staying as second-class citizens,” says Kui, whose forefathers had migrated to Calcutta from Guangdong in China.

    Kui drives a sedan, lives in a two-storeyed house and his business of PVC window fittings is spread across West Bengal, Sikkim and Bhutan. He says he pays his taxes on time. But that’s not enough in these times of “vote-bank politics”, he says. With less than 2,500 voters spread over two wards, his community hardly has any electoral power.

    Chinatown is made up of parts of two wards: 58 and 66. The area with a 2km radius extends from Chingrihata in the north to the Park Circus connector in the south and from Hatgachhia in the east to Christopher Road in the west.

    “We have been facing so many civic problems for so many years that we have learnt to expect nothing from the CMC,” says Tong Achi, who owns a shoe shop in Tangra.

    Achi says that the abysmal living conditions are driving members of the Chinese community out of Calcutta. “The Chinese community was once vibrant and thriving in Tangra. Today, it is difficult to find a young Chinese in the locality. Most have migrated to the UK, Canada or Taiwan. Only those who could not afford to go stayed back,” he points out.

    Kui says his two sons have moved to Taiwan and London. “Why not? Living conditions are so good there, coupled with better job prospects,” he says. Achi too plans to send his eight-year-old daughter to a western country once she grows up.

    Elections don’t mean much in Chinatown. “People vote in the hope that things will look up. But politicians have failed us election after election,” says Wun Chin Mian, a 60-year-old Chinese woman who has spent a lifetime in Tangra making Chinese sauces.

    Ask her about the state government’s plan to turn Chinatown into a tourist attraction and Mian gives a wry smile. “And what will they showcase? Our state of neglect and decay?”

    The tourism department has decided to turn Chinatown into a tourist destination. The estimated bill of Rs 1 crore is to be partly footed by the Centre. But the news doesn’t excite the local Chinese population. “By the time the project is completed, there might not be a single Chinese left in Tangra,” says Kui.

  3. ycl1688 says:

    Politicians are politicians, every election comes around in rural india, they promise villagers electricity will come to their houses, elections came
    and gone still nothing. Same sentiment here in Tangra. More like nuclear winter scenario.

    During recent visit to Kolkata, I walked past Kolkata Corporation the license fees office almost daily, seemed to be busy collecting taxes, yet not much improvement has been done to the city. No wonder it is called CHORporation.
    What else is new ?

  4. Lexus says:

    Poor Chen Khoi Kui, he is one of the 8 not allowed to enter PeiPay school from now on and will be arrested if doing so due to the altercation in the “Youtube” sery with that “Liu” for the control of the school. And hopefully the “CHORporation” not involved in taking over at the end too.

  5. Dino says:


    Does this mean that Chen Khoi Kui – the good guy for the community is now forbidden by judicial means to enter Pei May School Premises while the notorious Liu Kao Zhao and the CHORporation are colluded to take over the school site for their personal gains ?

    It was long said that the school would be named Liu Kao Zhao Building and this is now becoming reality.

    Can you update further please. Thanks.

  6. abhishek says:

    Election polls are just a gimmick in politics, especially all those corrupted candidates who present themselves out to vote.

    Indian politicians now no longer look up to the Indian Chinese for votes because of their small no., thus making no difference or impact on winning.

    So, who suffer – the Indian Chinese residents of Tangra who will forever live in dump under unhygienic conditions without water, proper sewage system, undulating roads with potholes, electricity outage etc.

    Tangra is a renown dump in Kolkata and will remain one forever.

  7. ycl1688 says:

    So what is next for Mr. Chen ? under house arrest ? with all the corrupted politicians help, it is no surprise, a public property can become a private one, what a great deal. Next time they can make dogs marry cats. Already enough external pressure to live in that part of the world. What more could young people with grim future do ? just vote with the feet. That ‘exodus’ started many decades ago, nothing could stopped. What a sad commentary.

  8. Slyvester says:

    A very SAD scene is emerging for the Chinese left in Kolkata – giving a stronger case for Indians to treat them like dirt than before.

    While this small community left in India is being constantly neglected and rubbed from all sides externally and internally (for personal gains and jealously among the clan); the pressures seem to be getting stronger year after year without any ends in sight.

    The sad thing is that the in-house fights and conflicts are triggered by the Hakka Chinese themselves whom some of them so pride to be the community leadership and collude with the corrupted Indian officials. At the end, the whole community suffer including those involved because they still bear Chinese features.

    Exodus is the only means for the community children to have a better future abroad with the exit trends speeding up.

  9. rahul says:

    It is a joke of the new century to bind Chinatown in Calcutta to either London, Bangkok, Paris or Yokohama as stated in above article.

    One has to be in Tangra (Dhapa) to withness the truth. Things are stagnant and in perpetual decay as they were decades ago while there is no development let alone maintenance or improvement in vogue.

    The Civic Authority, as usual and always, have had big mouths ONLY. Nothing said or committed even if signed in MoU’s would ever be executed.

    So, the only thing that is happening is the conspiracy of those corrupted Indian officials filling up their coffers and pockets with briberies – the norm in modern India; and that’s what make India GREAT as the world’s largest democracy.


  10. ycl1688 says:

    Hopefully ‘new queen of kolkata’ mamta will change something, or still old wine in new bottle.

  11. dripta says:

    the special care that had to be given to china town was never given. i am doing urban planning in delhi and want to do a thesis on this topic. i need help of someone who knows china town and its people well ( preferably a Chinese).i will be very thankful if there is someone who can help me…