Canning Railway Station
|District||South 24 Parganas|
|Elevation||6 m (20 ft)|
|• Official||Bengali, Hindi, English|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
|Telephone code||+91 3218 255/256/257|
|Vehicle registration||WB-19 to WB-22, WB-95 to WB-99|
|Lok Sabha constituency||Jaynagar (SC)|
|Vidhan Sabha constituency||Canning Purba, Canning Paschim (SC)|
Canning is a city of South 24 Parganas district in the Indian State of West Bengal. It is situated on the southern banks of the Matla River. Canning is the gateway of Sundarban. It is the headquarters of the Canning subdivision and also the seat for the district's Sub-Divisional Court.
H. E. A. Cotton writes, "The year 1864… It witnessed also the speculative mania over an unlucky scheme for the reclamation of the Sunderbans, of which nothing remains but the deserted wharves of Port Canning, but which resulted in ruin to many". The idea of developing a major port at the city faded with the choking of the Matla River as a result of inadequate headwater supply.
Lord Canning had wanted to build a port that would be an alternative to Kolkata and a rival to Singapore. What no one heeded were the warnings of a lowly shipping inspector Henry Piddington, who had lived in the Caribbean and knew all about hurricanes and storms. He wanted the mangroves to be left alone, as they were Bengal’s defensive barrier against nature’s fury and absorbed the initial onslaught of cyclonic winds, waves and tidal surges. The settlement was built with a strand, hotels and homes, but in 1867 the Matla River surged and reduced the town to a "bleached skeleton".
In 1862, the Eastern Bengal Railway opened a southward line from what was then known as Beliaghata station to Port Canning. In the same year, the East Bengal Railway had opened its line from Sealdah to Kushtia. The East Bengal Railway was taken over by the government in 1887. Services on the eastern side of Hooghly River were unified under the Eastern Bengal State Railway and after further amalgamation in 1942, the Bengal Assam Railway.
Canning city is located at . It has an average elevation of 6 metres (20 ft).
Canning is gateway to the Sundarbans. It is situated on the southern bank of the Matla River. One can cross the Matla River and then proceed to Basanti for a boat to the interior of the Sundarbans or hire a motor launch for travel to Sundarbans at the city itself. The first watch tower at Sajnekhali is about 5 hours away.
The Matla River is so silted up that during the dry season, boats cannot come to the jetties. They have to be stationed 500 yards away. During the monsoons, the river becomes so turbulent that boats cannot ferry people across the river. The Sunderban Development Authority decided to build a bridge on the River at an estimated cost of Rs. 290 million. The 644 m road bridge was inaugurated by Buddhadeb Bhattachajee, Chief Minister, in January 2011. It links the city with Basanti.
Canning is not idetified as a separate place in 2011 census records. The map of CD block Canning I on page 333 in District Census Handbook for South 24 Parganas shows Canning as being a part of Matla and Dighirpar census towns.
Canning city is a major market for supply of fish to Kolkata. The fishermen of the area bring their catch to the all-night fish market at the city. Here the commission agents receive the fish and auction them. It is bought by the wholesalers and transported to Kolkata for sale to retailers, who sell it in the different markets.
Canning city is a host to many festivals and fairs. Most of them are timed during winter season. "Sunderban Mela" is the biggest fair of the city. This fair is conducted by the "Bandhumahal Club" from 3 to 12 January every year. Another festival is "Sunderban Utsav."