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History

In the year 1835 Darjeeling was selected and acquired by the then British India Govt. for the purpose of establishing health sanatorium and summer residence for their officers and the soldiers. The first road to Darjeeling via Kurseong was constructed from Titalya, which is also known as Military Road, as it was also meant for the Military purposes. But it has remained unplayable for the last five or six decades due to non maintenance and on constructing one more road, Hill Cart Road now known as Tenzing Norgay Road, connecting the plains of Bengal with Darjeeling via hilly sub-stations viz. Tindharia, Kurseong, Sonada and Ghoom. As far as the history goes, Darjeeling area including Kurseong was a part of Sikkim and it was in the year 1835 leased to the British India Govt. by the then Rajan of Sikkim on yearly remuneration. The original inhabitants of Kurseong and Darjeeling were the Lepchas and the word ‘Kharsang’ now known as Kurseong comes from the Lepcha word, meaning ‘The land of White Orchids’: botanically known as Ceologeny, which grows

abundantly in the trees and rock crevasses here. As per records it is known that in the 18th century Kurseong was a small village in Sikkim. ‘Kurson-Rip’ means the small white orchid which grows in forests around in April-May and thus Kurseong means “ The place of white Orchids” . Around 19th century , the Nepalese conquered and annexed the Terai and lower hills including Kurseong. At the end of Gurkha War in 1817 , the British restored the country to Sikkim . Finally in the year 1835 , on the request of the Governor General of British India , the Rajah of Sikkim ceded a strip of hill territory of 5-6 miles of Kurseong in the District of Darjeeling. In the year 1861 the Cart Road between Kurseong & Darjeeling was opened for traffic and the road down to Siliguri was opened in 1869. The D.H.R. started the Toy Train to Kurseong in 1880. The population of Kurseong was 4033 in 1881. During 1939 to 1942 Kurseong started growing rapidly.

Gradually the town started growing with a Club , Sanatorium , Guest House , Hotels , Cinema Hall , Railway H.Q. etc, Small flow of Tourists in summer started their visits. Very noted people like Netaji Subash Ch.Bose , Senior ICS Officer B.R.Sen , A.S.Bam , Film personalities like Tapan Sinha , Leela Desai , Begumpara & Rajahs of Burdwan , Chanchal , Kakina built their cottages in this town. Kurseong gave first lady M.P. Smt.Maya Devi Chettri and an Olympian Player of Hockey Sri C.S.Gurung . All India Radio was set up their relay station & studio at Kurseong. The town is having nearly 50 schools , having about 2000 residential students. It is a tiny but a beautiful town which can be developed a positive tourists place.Kurseong is a virgin place from the point of view of its development for tourism in upper hills near Chimney & in down hills near Ambootia & Balasun.

It is a matter of pride for the Citizen of Kurseong town that this Municipality is the oldest Municipalities in the undivided Bengal. Even before Kurseong became a Sub Divisional town in 1890.The Municipality was established in the year 1879 and in 1890 only Kurseong Sub-Division was constituted when District of Darjeeling was in Rajsahi Division (Now Bangladesh). The then S.D.O. of Kurseong Mr.A.Earle was appointed as the Chairman of this Municipality by the Lt.Governor vide notification dated 14the April, 1891. On 8th December, 1891 in a special meeting of the Commissioners Mr. A.H.Wathan , who was not a Govt. servant , was elected the new Chairman.

In Pre-independence period 12 commissioners used to be in the Municipality of which 4 used to be Nominated by Govt. In 1908 the relation between the Government and the Municipality took a turn when one Commissioner Mr.H.T.Kerr resigned. The Commissioners resolved and appointed one Rev.W.H.Careless , the Chapline of Kurseong as Commissioner and forwarded his name to the Government. The Darjeeling District was then placed under the administration of Bhagalpur Division. Both the Divisional Commissioner and District Commissioner of Darjeeling did not accepted the proposal and appointed Mr.J.Byrne , SDO of Kurseong as a commissioner of the Municipality in the said vacancy. All the commissioners of the Municipality jointly wrote to the Lt.Governor that the resolution of the Commissioners has been ignored and brushed aside. But the Govt. did not listen and then Mr.Wathen , who served the Municipality for 17 long years as the Chairman , resigned in 1908 and the SDO was nominated as the Chairman.

In 1939 by which Bengal was declared a full fledged province of British India and the practice of nomination of SDO as the Chairman continued. In 1950 a major amendment came into force in the B.M. Act Reservation for Minority communities was introduced. Interestingly , Kurseong Municipality adopted a resolution  and informed the Govt. that ‘No such reservation is necessary’. The practice of the appointment of SDO as the Chairman was discontinued.

The General Election of Kurseong Municipality was held on 14th March , 1953. Then the Municipality had 9 seats to be elected from 6 Wards. and 3 commissioiners used to be nominated by Govt. Sri B.B.Kumai , Sri D.B.Chettri , Sri D.B.Khati , Sri P.T.Lama , Sri N.C.Agarwal , P.B.Lama Sri C.K.Goenka , Sri K.B.Bhandari & Sri K.K.Sharma were elected in 1953.The nominated commissioners were Sri C.S.Prasad , Dr.A.C.Guha & Md.Saddique.

In the year 1953 the number of Voters were like this in 6 Wards ,in bracket the number of seats in each ward and number of Male/Female Voters are mentioned below :

(2)  1              (1)   2                (1)  3                 (2)  4                 (2)  5                 (1)  6____
M         F          M         F          M         F          M         F          M         F          M         F

295   195    207    109    166     91      302    102     340   167      98       51

In 1957 the election was held for 12 seats from 12 wards Mr.P.T.Lama served from 1957 to 1977 (Till super seeded) as its Chairman for 20 long years. Another note worthy person Sri C.B.Gurung served as Vice Chairman from 1964 to 1977 and Chairman from 1984 to 1994. For the first time in the year 1994 , the Municipal Elections were fought by the Political Parties. In the year 1999  only when the Reservation of seats was introduced and the Municipality was delimited into 20 Wards and which is still continuing .

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