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Nagaland - Geography

The State of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on December 1st, 1963, as the 16th State of the Indian Union. It is bounded by Assam in the West, Myanmar (Burma) on the east, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam on the North and Manipur in the South.

Major land use pattern in Nagaland continues to be shifting cultivation, known as Jhum. Though often considered primitive and unproductive, Jhum is a complex agricultural system that is well adapted under certain conditions, which require exhaustive comprehension of the environment to succeed. The major challenge continuing to face Nagaland is how to adapt its land use pattern and production systems to the increased population and changing lifestyles, making them biologically and economically sustainable.

The North East region is jawed between the two ranges (arcs), the Himalayan Range to the North and the Indo-Burmese (IBR) to the East. The Mishmi Hills occur at the junction between the Eastern Himalayas and the IBR. The northern part of the NS trending sigmoid IBR has been named as the Naga Hills. The Naga Hills link the Eastern Himalayas (Arunachal Himalayas) to the North and the Andaman Nicobar Islands to the South. Belts of narrow tectonised but nearly continuous late Mesozoic-Eocene Ophiolite suite of rocks (igneous rocks) and associated sediments (cherts and lime stones) skirt along the northern margin of the Himalayan range and the Eastern margin of the IBR( the Naga Ophiolite) that owe their origin to the collision history of the Indian Plate with the Tibetan Plate (towards the north) and later with the Burmese Plate (towards the East) respectively, sometimes 30 million years ago, leading to the development of fold- thrust belts of the Himalayas and the IBR. It is the outcome of that plate 11 convergence and collision which makes the NE Indian region one of the most seismically active areas of the world.

The topography of Nagaland is much dissected, full of hill ranges, which break into a wide chaos of spurs and ridges. The terrain is mountainous covered by rich and varied biodiversity of flora and fauna. It is one of the 25 hot spots of the world with respect to its biological diversity, and hence can be termed as the state of true Mega bio-diversity. The state houses the confluence of flora and fauna of the neighboring regions. Geographically, the state largely has vast undulating terrain and hilly landscape and some low lying areas giving rise to a very conducive climate with presence of perennial water and moisture for truly rich variety of flora and fauna.

Agriculture has traditionally been and continues to be the mainstay of Naga life-the numerous festivals are centered on agriculture and have their roots in cultivation practices. Seventy-three percent of the people in Nagaland are engaged in agriculture. Rice is the staple food. It occupies about 70 percent of the total cultivated area and constitutes about 75 percent of the total food grain production in the State. Other crops include maize, linseed, potato, pulses, soya bean, sugarcane, jute, gram, cotton, castor, etc. However, like most of the world's tribal population, the production system in Nagaland has been close to proto-agriculture, which has enabled close links between nature and people from Generation to generation.

The forest cover is 80.49 percent of the total area of Nagaland. As such, forests represent the richest natural resource of the State. Nagaland is also very rich in biodiversity with abundance of animal, insect and plant species. The State has a wealth of herbal, medicinal and aromatic plants with tremendous economic potentials.

Coal, limestone, nickel, cobalt, chromium, magnetite, copper, zinc, and recently discovered platinum, petroleum and natural gas are the major minerals available in Nagaland. The State has huge caches of unutilized and unexploited limestone, marble, granite, petroleum and natural gas. Coal is found in Nazira, Borjan and Teru valley of Mon district. Limestone of grey to whitish grey colour is found at Wazeho and Satuza in Phek district and at Nimi belt in Tuensang district. Ores of nickeliferrous chromite-magnetite occur in the Ultra Basic Belt at Pokhpur in Tuensang district. Nagaland is yet to fully explore its huge estimated reserves of natural oil.

The hydrocarbons are found in the western portion of Nagaland, where connectivity is available in the foothills. The metallic and non-metallic minerals are located in the remote and backward eastern parts bordering Myanmar, ideal for export to the South East Asian region. If the discovered minerals are economically exploited, these would turn out to be a rich resource base and the mineral-related trade can make a huge contribution to the State economy. Unfortunately, though the potential exists, not much has been achieved so far due to funding and planning process constraints. In this connection, the proposed 'X Road' of the Government could provide good connectivity for exploiting the mineral wealth of the State and for trade and commerce both in the State and the country and with South East and East Asian countries.

Nagaland is dissected by a number of seasonal and perennial rivers and rivulets. The major rivers of Nagaland are Doyang, Dikhu, Dhansiri, Tizu, Tsurong, Nanung, Tsurang or Disai, Tsumok, Menung, Dzu, Langlong, Zunki, Likimro, Lanye, Dzuza and Manglu. All these rivers are dendritic in nature. Of the rivers, Dhansiri, Doyang and Dikhu flow westward into the Brahmaputra. The Tizu River, on the other hand, flows towards east and joins the Chindwin River in Burma.

Nagaland is basically an agricultural state, and all the resources depend upon the agricultural output. Water is evidently the most vital element in the plant life and is normally supplied to the plants by natural rain. However, the total rainfall in a particular area may be either inadequate or is ill-timed. Therefore in order to get the maximum yield from a crop, it is essential to supply optimum quantity of water to the crop and to maintain correct timings of water. This is possible only through a systematic irrigation system by collecting water during rainfall and from natural sources and to release it to the crops as and when it is needed.

In Nagaland, State Government has made considerable investment in irrigation. There is no major or medium irrigation project so far constructed in the State. However, the State is in the process of taking up some medium irrigation projects also. The department of Irrigation and Flood Control in the state has undertaken the Minor Irrigation schemes which are most vital and very suitable for the state. The total area in the state under irrigation is 61,152.39 hectares. The irrigation works are mostly meant to divert small hill streamlets to irrigate valleys used for rice cultivation.

Most of the villages are scattered and perched on the hilltop and the cultivators traditionally cultivate the hill slopes either by making terraces or by jhumming. Irrigation is provided only in terraced fields wherever the facilities exist to bring water from the sources by gravity system through M.I. Channels. Due to non-availability of well organized irrigation system, a vast area of land both under forest and jhumlands, which if brought under permanent irrigation, the food grain production in the state could be raised enormously.

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Page last modified: 26-02-2018 18:54:30 ZULU