Noabad literally means newly cultivated lands hitherto under forest. In Bengal revenue history noabad technically means lands brought under plough subsequent to the last measurement. It was basically a phenomenon of the agrarian history of Chittagong. Most lands of Chittagong region were under the state of nature. The Mughal government always encouraged extension of agriculture into fallow land. In Chittagong the movement for clearing process was called noabad. Chittagong came under the east india company rule in 1760. From that time onward, it was the consistent policy of the Company to increase revenue by way of extension of agriculture. pattas were granted to parties interested in clearing the cultivable jungle lands and bringing them under cultivation.
As an inducement to the measure, no revenue demand was made until the lands were could yield sustainable return. The concession was known as pattadari. The cultivators who actually brought the land under plough were charged no rent during the pattadar's concession period. The new lands were duly measured and assessment made according to the resources thus created. The pattadars were then tenurially turned into noabad talukdars, and even zamindars when a significant amount of land was brought under cultivation through their enterprise.
The noabad entrepreneurs received a certain amount of rent-free lands or Nankar as a permanent gift. Similar incentive was extended to noabad raiyats as well. Their homesteads were made rent-free. Such a privilege was called khanabadi. One very extraordinary noabad event was the zamindari sanad to a Calcutta banian Joynarayan Ghoshal, the nephew of Gokul Ghoshal, who was the banian to Harry Verelst and also the diwan of Chittagong from 1760 to 1765. He claimed to have received a sanad from Harry Verelst in 1760 to the effect that all lands reclaimed after 1760 would be part of Joynarayan zamindari and all noabad talukdars would be required to obtain pattas from the said zamindar.
But the reclaiming zamindars and talukdars protested such a privilege granted to Joynarayan Ghosal. Their protests sometimes took the form of local uprising and violence. Under the circumstance, the Chittagong Council cancelled the sanad in 1797 on the ground that it was really a false document. But the lands actually reclaimed until the time of cancellation of the sanad remained as integral parts of Taraf Joynarayan. The land revenue history of Chittagong is, in fact, the history of noabad characterised by successive measurements, reassessments, cancellation of deeds and resettlements and so on. The noabad tenure is largely comparable to hawla tenure of other reclaimed districts in the southern districts of Bengal. [Sirajul Islam]
Bibliography Alamgir Muhammad Serajuddin, 'The Revenue Administration of the East India Company: Chittagong 1761-1785' (University of Chittagong 1971).