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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 10, p. 175.


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CHAP-RA TO WX
175
severe epidemics of plague in 19oo and 190 1. The density is 928 persons
per square mile. There are two towns, CHAPRA (population, 45,901),
the head-quarters, and REVELGANJ (9,765); and 2,179 villages.
SONPUR, at the confluence of the Ganges and Gandak, is an important
railway centre and the scene of a great annual fair and bathing festival.
Chapra Town:--Head-quarters of Saran District, Bengal, situated
in 25 47' N. and 84 44' E., on the north or left bank of the river
Gogra, close to its junction with the Ganges. In 1901 the population
was 45,901, or nearly 12,000 less than in 1891, the decrease being
mainly due to a temporary exodus of the population which took place
in consequence of an outbreak of plague just before the Census. Of
the total, 34,862 are Hindus and 10,934 Musalmans. The Gogra
formerly flowed close by the town, but it has shifted its course a mile
to the south ; the river inundated the town in 1871 and again in 1890.
In the eighteenth century the French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Eng-
lish had factories at Chapra ; but a severe blow was dealt to the con-
mercial prosperity of the place when it was deserted, first by the Ganges
and later by the Gogra. The railway, however, now affords new facilities
for trade. The principal imports are rice, kerosene oil, gunny-bags,
Indian and European cotton piece-goods and twist, and salt; and the
principal exports are saltpetre, opium, linseed, gur (raw sugar), and
shellac. Chapra is the head-quarters of a troop of the Bihar Light
Horse, and of a detachment of the Bengal and North-Western Railway
Volunteers.
The town has in recent years suffered severely from plague, which
made its first appearance in March, 19oo. It disappeared at the end
of May, but again broke out in epidemic form later in the year; and
during the months of October, rgoo, to March, 1901, 1,984 deaths
were reported. A serious panic ensued, trade was dislocated, and
thousands of people left the town. In 1902 a less serious outbreak
occurred, and again during the winter of 1902-3 there was another
very severe epidemic, 2,138 deaths being recorded between November
and February.
Chapra was constituted a municipality in 1864. The income during
the decade ending 1901-2 averaged Rs. 44,ooo, and the expenditure
Rs. 41,000. In 1903-4 the income was Rs. 59,000, including Rs. 30,000
derived from a tax on houses and lands; and the expenditure was
Rs. 50,ooo. The main drains are flushed and some of the public tanks
filled by the flood-water of the Gogra, which is admitted through the
Sahibganj sluice. A fine sarai is under the management of the muni-
cipal commissioners, who also own two municipal markets and a dis-
pensary. The District jail has accommodation for 305 prisoners; a
large building is occupied by the Government English school ; and
there are also two private high schools. Chapra is the head-quarters
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