During the regime of the British Raj, Panchagarh was part of the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal. In 1911, Jalpaiguri was fully established as a thana. At that time, the headquarter of Jalpaiguri thana was situated in Jagdal upazila of the current Panchagarh district. The thana was relocated at the bank of Karatoya River in its current position for environmental and transportation benefits. After the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, Panchagarh was a thana under the Thakurgaon mahakuma. On 1 January 1980, it was established as a mahakuma consisting of 5 thanas named Tetulia, Panchagarh Sadar, Atwari, Boda and Debiganj. The first commissioner of Panchagarh was Sayed Abdur Rashid from 1 January 1980 to 31 December 1982. Later, it was established as a district on 1 February 1984. The first deputy commissioner of Panchagarh was A. S. M. Abdul Halim from 1 February 1984 to 16 June 1985.
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