Diocese of Bongaigaon
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Population

Bongaigaon Diocese covers an area of 13,630 square kilometers, comprising the civil districts of Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Dhubri Districts in the western part of Assam.

Bongaigaon is the biggest town in the diocese. Kokrajhar and Nalbari are the other main towns.

Language

Assamese, Bodo, Hindi, Santhal, Garo, Oroan, Khadia, Munda, Rajbonshi and Bengali are the languages used in the diocesan territory.

History

Augustinian priests from Dhaka are credited with bringing Christianity to the Bongaigaon area, and Rangamati Dhubri district had a vibrant Christian community in the 16th century. Later Salvatorian priests and then Salesians stayed in Dhubri as they traveled the reaches of the Brahmaputra River.

The first priests to take up residence at Dhubri were Salesian Fathers Archimede Piannazzi and L. Rocca, who were appointed to work among Garos. In 1932 they made Dhubri the base for their apostolate in the Garo Hills, where Catholics were denied permission to work. The Barpeta Road Mission was established in 1936, covering the whole area of the present diocese. Bishops Orestes Marengo, Joseph Mittathany and Robert Kerketta as well as Father Remo Morra made noteworthy efforts to develop the Church here, and Father Joseph Zubizzaretta’s name will be always remembered among the most outstanding missionaries in the area. All were Salesians, as is Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati, under whose leadership the area experience further growth and was split off from Guwahati as a separate diocese on May 10, 2000.

the diocese's Catholic population comes mainly from tribal communities, with Bodos forming the single largest group. Muslims form a majority in Dhubri and Barpeta districts.

Political

Cities are managed by corporations. Villages and small towns are administered by panchayat and municipalities, respectively. These local bodies are elected.

Transportation

Roads and railways form the basic transportation infrastructure. The nearest airport is in Guwahati, Assam's commercial hub.

Economy

Annual per capita income is 13,925 rupees (about US$300 as of October 2009). Rice, jute and tea cultivation are mainstays of the local economy. An oil refinery also provides work.

Telecommunication

Government and private operators provide extensive telecommunication facilities, and the area is served by local cable TV networks

Education

58.51 percent literacy rate

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