Guess, which is the most densely populated district of Bihar?
Is it Patna? Think again!
Patna with a density of 1,803 per square kilometre, is only at the second place, pipped as it has been by Sheohar, which has 1,882 persons occupying per square kilometer as per the census figures, now available. Darbhanga, the headuqratres of Mithilanchal, follows close behind at third with 1,721 persons for every square kilometre.
These whopping numbers combined with figures of other districts have given Bihar the dubious distinction of being the most densely populated state of India.
With an average density of 1,102, Bihar now ranks way ahead of West Bengal with 1,029, or Kerala which is at third place with 859. Uttar Pradesh occupies the the fourth spot as the most densely populated state with 828 persons occupying every square mile within its boundaries. Interestingly, West Bengal had the densest population in India in 2001.
The provisional census 2011 figures on density, released recently, throw light on an alarming aspect of Bihar's population.
On an average, 211 more people inhabit every square kilometre of Bihar as compared to 2001, when the density was 881.
A sharp increase in population density is a direct result of unabated population growth. It is also a matter of serious concern as it puts immense pressure on natural resources, infrastructure, and adversely affects the quality of life.
"It neutralises growth. It presents upscaling difficulties with regard to public services. Bigger schools, primary health centres and wider roads are needed. Uniform things don't work. Sanitation, drainage, traffic-related problems occur," said Vijoy Prakash, principal secretary of planning and development department.
He said, "Such a high density of population like Bihar, presents a fit case for according special status to the state as lot more resources are needed to provide better quality of life to the people here," added Prakash.
Density usually varies according to climatic conditions, geo-physical characteristics and availability of resources and historicity of high population concentration, as in the Gangetic plains. But, within a state, it also depends on factors like urbanisation and migration.
Though 2011 census figures on urban population and density have not yet been released, Satish Kumar, assistant director, census operations in Bihar says, "If migration decreases in an area, it pushes up the concentration of population. The same stands true if there is growth in urbanisation. It results in enhanced employment opportunities."
Demography experts say, that density could be a major indicator for state governments, pointing out areas where more focused approach on taming the burgeoning population is needed, or areas where more emphasis should be given on improving public services.
As far as the least densely populated district is concerned, if you guessed Kaimur, you are bang on target. Its average per square kilometre population is just 488.