Kolkata - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

There are two complexes in which the consulate leases apartments. There is also some on-compound housing. One complex, which is older, has spacious bedrooms, kitchen, laundry, bathrooms and a combined living/dining area. Is in a more walkable area of the city, near veg. markets and some shops. It is about a 10-minute drive with no traffic and a 20-30 minute walk. The other complex, which is newer, has apartments that are much smaller especially in the kitchen (think small, galley kitchen with virtually no storage space), bedrooms, living space, and laundry. The second complex is in the middle of an 'up and coming' area that still has some ways to go. There are no sidewalks and honestly no place you would want to walk to with the amount of traffic and people on the sides of the streets. It is a 20-minute drive to the mission depending on time of day traffic. It is not advisable to walk to the consulate from the second complex. There are air quality issues being addressed in the housing, by sealing the windows shut, however the larger slider doors and front doors have to remain unsealed so the sensor readings in those areas of the apartments can reach 200+ AQI at times. The on-compound housing has no elevator, so would pose problems to people with mobility issues. - Aug 2021

Housing pool was revamped while we were here. We moved into a brand new large apt with an enormous living room and four bedrooms. There was another newer high rise and then on compound housing, all apts. I was a mere 10-12 mins drive to work. The building was new but the neighborhood not the most pleasant to walk around but doable, large market very close by. - Dec 2020

Options are luxury apartments off-compound or consulate-owned apartments on the compound. - Sep 2015

Good rental units are very hard to find. Traffic can be very congested. - Dec 2010

All apartments, no houses at all. Housing is a bone of contention here. With the growing number of people, there is about a 50/50 split in on and off compound housing. Unfortunately, sometime in the last 3 years management decided to cut three of the four on-compound apartments in half. So the 3 bedroom 3 baths, nice, spacious, light apartments became 2 bed 2 bath caves with little light and no storage. Housing is disproportionate as those off-compound generally have quite nice and spacious housing comparitively. The off-compound people right now are quite happy with their housing. Investigate your proposed housing before coming. If you are single entry-level you will likely be on-compound. The off-compound housing has no play areas for children or grass, or other amenities; unless they move people quite far out of town this will continue. Right now commute time in the morning for off-compound is 10-15 minutes in the morning and 10-60 minutes at night depending on what time you leave. - Jun 2009

A sore point here. Since the growth of the Consulate, there are about half off-compound and half on-compound housing. The off-compound is overall bigger and nicer. However, it is all apartment living, and off-compound absolutely no green areas, no park for the kids, no pool, etc. I feel sorry for my neighbors kids who play in the parking lot, dodging cars. Commute from off-compound is not bad, about 15 minutes in the morning, nights can be from 15-45 depending on the traffic. - Mar 2009

Almost all housing is in apartments, some of which might have a shared yard. Newer compounds have gated communities, shared yards and pools, but are often located far outside the city. Housing is the among the top morale issues in Calcutta and should be thoroughly investigated when planning to move here. - May 2008

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