The state of Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh: Highlights

Location: Central India
Area
: 1,46,361 sq. km including 59,285 sq. km of forests.
Population
: 17.60 million
Literacy
: 79.23% (urban), 36.56% rural.
Capital
: Raipur

Districts: 16 (Bastar, Bilaspur, Dantewada, Dhamtari, Durg, Janjgir-Champa, Jashpur, Kanker, Surguja Kawardha, Korba, Koriya, Mahasamund, Raigarh, Raipur, Rajnandgaon. Of these, seven have already been declared as affected by Naxalite activities of the Peoples' War Group and Maoist Communist Centre).

Mineral resources: dolomite 525 million tonnes, bauxite 73 million tonnes, iron ore 2,000 million tonnes, coal 29,000 million tonnes, tin ore 27,000 million tonnes – all in terms of reserves.

Agriculture produce: Rice, Tendu (crude tobacco) leaves, chironji, harra, baheda, mahua flower and sal seed.

Tourism spots: Amarkantak, the source of holy river Narmada; Banjari Baba, a monument famous for magical Dowers ; Boramdev temple built during 11th century; and Dhudhadhari Math, Shwetambar Jain temple.

Compiled by Amitabha Sen

Chhattisgarh, formerly part of Madhya Pradesh, became the 26th of the 28 states of the Indian federation on November 6, 2000.

Known as the Rice Bowl of India, Chhattisgarh feeds foodgrains to as many as 600 rice mills within the state as well as in neighboring Madhyay Pradesh. The state’s income from forest resources is estimated at around Rs 215.67 crore.

The state is rich in minerals also. Income from minerals (bauxite, corundum, dolomite, diamond, limestone, iron ore, tin ore, gold, china clay, quartz, silica, fireclay, fluorite and coal) is around Rs 450 crore.

Chhattisgarh is likely to witness a see change in its economy once the diamond exploration at Deobogh in Raipur gets its pick in the next two years time. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) study report has already indicated this prospect. The prospecting works have already started and extraction would take another two years or so. The revenue from this sector alone is expected to be around Rs 2000 crore per annum at full commercial extraction. Tokapal in Bastar district is yet another diamond bearing zone under close watch the state mining department. The state accounts for 70% of the country’s total production of Tendu leaf used for making bidis. Chhattishgarh will get 27% of the allocation provided to Madhya Pradesh by the 11th Finance Commission.

Critics say that despite being rich in agriculture and mineral resources, Chhattisgarh remained a backward region largely because the resources generated there was never ploughed back in that region by the state government when Chhattisgarh was part of Madhya Pradesh. Profits were taken out of Chhattisgarh, the critics point out.


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