2 Resource Inventory of the District
2.1 Location and Extent
It lies between 91˚ 58E to 92o 50‘E longitude and 25o 02’N to 25o 45 ‘N Latitude. It is bounded on the north and east by the state of Assam, on the south by Bangladesh and on the west by the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. Jowai is its headquarter. The district has an area of 3819 sq.km, accounting for 17.0 percent of the total area of the state.
The general Geological formation of the District is characterized by the presence of rocks belonging to the age group of Achaean and tertiary. The plateau is composed of granites, phyllite, genesis, sandstone and limestone. This is more or less identical with the other parts of Meghalaya plateau
2.3 Physiographic features and drainage
The relative relief of the District is 1200 m. The elevation ranges from 76m (at Dawki) and 1627m (at Maryngksi).Physiographically the District is divided into three broad divisions. They are (i) the Northern Hills (ii) the Central plateau or the central Jowai upland and (iii) the Southern escarpment. The Northern hills exhibit undulating topography. Denudational Hills and less dissected topography cover the Northern part of the District. The area is less dissected showing youthful topography with denudational Hills, highly dissected undulating topography with denudational Hills trending N-S, E-W, NE-SW. The Central plateau is characterized by rolling mounds and hummocks of gentle height and show flat topography. The Southern escarpment exhibits denudo structural Hills, highly dissected undulating topography with sharp crested hills, deep gorges and waterfalls. The region is at higher elevation than the northern hills.
Physiographically the district may also be divided into Highlands-80.389(000ha), Midlands -233.57(000ha), Lowlands -67.941(000ha) and Hilly tract-67.940(000ha)
The District is drained in the north by the Mynkhen river, in the Northeast by Kupli River and its main tributaries like Kharkor, Saipung, Umïurem, Myntang, Mynriang, and Litang.In the Southern part, the District is drained by Myntdu river and its tributaries. The main tributaries are Umlatang, Lynriang, Lubha, Umlanar, and Lukha. In the West Mynngot River separating the East Khasi Hills District with the Jaintia Hills.
The District experiences a temperate to sub tropical monsoon climate. From the prevailing weather conditions, the rainy season occurs during mid May to September. October and November is the transition period between rainy and winter seasons and it represents the autumn. The period between December and February is characterized by cold and dry weather conditions. The period between March to mid May is warmer. The annual rainfall from 1991 to 2001 varies from 3797mm to 7912mm. December is the driest month as it contributes an average rainfall of 18.8mm and June is the wettest month with an average rainfall of 1326.2 mm. It is observed that summer months (May to September) only contribute more than 70% of the total rainfall. August is the hottest month of the district with an average minimum and maximum temperatures of 18.4ºC and 24.5°C respectively. The coldest month is January where the average minimum and maximum temperatures are 7.8°C and 15.6°C. The average relative humidity is highest in the month of July (85.2%) while December records the lowest relative humidity of 61.2 percent.
Table 2: Critical periods for plant growth in Jaintia hills district
Entisol, Inceptisol and Alfisol are the Soil group classifications present in the district. Black soils (16082.4 ha), Red soils (264899.4 ha), Alluvial soils (16631.6 ha), Sandy soils (36522.6 ha), and Acid soils (381100 ha) are found in the district. Soil fertility status is generally low to medium.
The soil is mostly sandy, reddish brown to yellow brown in co lour, acidic in reaction with low water holding capacity and has poor contents of organic matter and nutrients. The PH value ranges between 4.1 to 5.6 .The concentrations of organic carbon content varies from 0.28 to 3.1 percent. Low phosphorus content is the characteristics of the soil of the District varying between 1.8 and 4.5 Kg/ha. The Potassium content ranges between 28.0 and 112.0 Kg/ha, which is quite lower than normal soil.
2.6 Natural Vegetation
The District of Jaintia Hills claims to have the biggest forest reserve in the state of Meghalaya. According to the 1991 census, the total area under forest in the District is1436.1Km2, which is 37.6 % of the total area of the District. The natural vegetation of the District is sub tropical .The large scale un-scientific land use practices have resulted in the depletion of primary forest and colonization of the degraded sites by Pinus kesiya, which grows well to develop into secondary forests. Besides, the forest floor is covered with the species like Eupatorium adenophorum, Lantana camera, Rubus species, Paspalum orbiculare, Isachne himalaica, Globba clarkia etc. The presence of isolated patches of degraded forests amidst the grassland imparts a savanna like appearance to the landscape of the region. The acidic and highly impoverished shallow soil layer is neither conductive for regeneration through seeds nor for healthy plant growth.
Table 3: Block wise and town Population and Density of Population
The district is inhabited mostly by Scheduled Tribes. Only 4.03 percent of the people belong to other caste groups. The inhabitants are believed to be the descendants of the first Mongolian migration to India. According to the Census of India, 2001 the total population of the District is 299108 out of which 274051 are the ruralites and 25057 are the urbanites. The population of Scheduled Tribes is 287049 whereas the number of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes is only 456 and others is 11603. The population of male and female is 149891 and 149217 respectively. The demographic figures depicting the occupational structure in the District according to 2001 census is 126877 out of which 59781 are cultivators, 36295 are Agricultural labourers, 2658 are workers in households etc and 28143 are other workers. The Total number of Marginal workers is 31242. The density of population as per 2001 Census is 78 persons per 1km square and the population for Jowai conglomeration is 25057 souls.
Table 4: Block wise Population of Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Caste and others (2001 Census)
Table 5: Distribution of Working Population 2001 Census
Table 6: Block wise Literacy Rate (2001 Census)
The district is educationally backward with a literacy rate of only 51.9 percent as against 62.2 percent in the state. The district has a distinct characteristic of higher female literacy rate as compared to male literacy rate. While female literacy rate is 55.7 percent, the male literacy rate is only 50.1 percent. At the state level the female literacy rate is significantly lower than that of male literacy rate.
2.8 Mineral resources
The District is enormously endowed with coal deposits particularly in Bapung, Lakadong, Chyrmang, Musiang Lamare, Sutnga, Iooksi, Rymbai, Byrwai, Jarain-chkentalang area and a large proportion of agricultural workers are engaged in this activity as a secondary occupation. The District is also endowed with rich limestone deposits in Lumshnong, Nongkhlieh, Sutnga, Lakadong, Syndai and Nongtalang areas .Besides these, the District is also known for fireclay at Larnai. The fireclay is of good quality and is suitable for firebricks. Nodules and outcrops of Phosphorite minerals have also been traced out in the District.
Table 7: Production (MT)and Value of Important minerals(RS)
Coal mining has a serious adverse impact on agriculture as well as environment. It has polluted drinking water. Agricultural lands have become infertile. There is a need for reclaiming the land on which mining activities are completed. Coal mining has adversely affected the paddy area in four out of the five blocks in the district.
2.9 Land use
According to the District Statistical Handbook 2007, the total geographical area of the district is 3.811 lakh hectares which is about 17 percent of the total area of the state. Out of which 40.44% is under forest, 8.10% is not available for cultivation, 35.97% is other uncultivated land excluding fallow land and 7.06% is under fallow land. Net Area Sown is 8.40%, area sown more than once 0.096% and the total cropped area is only 8.50 % of the total area of the district.
Table 8: Land Utilization Statistics (Area in Hectares)
The District is very rich in natural resources. The heavy and long monsoon supports of luxuriant forest of pine over the plateau and deciduous forest along its fringe areas against the plains. Statistically, during 1997-98 an area of 1436.11 Sq.kms is clothed with forest against the State figure of 8919.15 Sq.Kms. The intensity of deforestation has been reduced to a lesser degree and an appreciable extent with the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in December 1996 restricting the wanton felling down of trees for business purposes. However, consumption of firewood being used as fuel for cooking purposes and jhum cultivation are still the principal causes of deforestation and environmental degradation which resulted in poor deliquescence, abnormal hygroscopicity; soil erosion, reduced soil fertility etc etc.
Agriculture is the major occupation in the district. About 3262 big farmers, 7387 small farmers and 3352 marginal farmers are directly engaged in agriculture in the district with about 0017 individuals indirectly associated with agriculture as labourers.
Table 9: Operational Land Holdings
According to the District Statistical handbook (2007), during 2005-2006 the district has a total cropped area of 32412 Hectares out of which only 366 hectares (1.12 %) is sown more than once or under double cropping and the rest under single or mono cropping system. About 70 percent of the total cultivated area is under rain fed condition and is used mainly for cultivation of Kharif crops like Rice, Maize, and Soybean etc. Land utilization for Rabi crops is very less. The productivity of majority of crops is low. The district experienced steep decline in the cropped area by 7250 hectares due to coal mining activities. Paddy lost its area by 5000 hectares and vegetables by 3000 hectares. The major crop enterprises in the district are Rice, Maize, Turmeric and soybean
Table 9: Principal crops, area, production and productivity
The district is the native of the world famous turmeric Lakadong variety and it has a vast potential for the development of horticulture. On the whole 7282 ha of area in the District is covered under orchards, vegetables etc. Among fruit crops Citrus occupying 15.76 % of the area, Areca nut 21.88 %, Sweet potato 27.65 % Turmeric 12.27 % and the rest are under vegetables and other crops.
2.12 Animal Husbandry And Veterinary
According to the District Statistical handbook (2007) ,there is 1(one) veterinary Hospital, 6(six) Dispensaries, 13 Veterinary Aid centre, 8 key village Centres, and 4 veterinary Block Centres for veterinary services in the district. Besides there is 1 Cattle Farm at Khliehtyrshi ,1 Poultry farm at Jowai ,1 Pig Farm at Thadlaskein.1 Sheep and Goat Farm at Saitsama for rearing of improved breeds of livestocks for producing pedigree stock for distribution to the interested breeders There is 1 Fodder & Seed production Farm at Saitsama for raising of fodders and fodder seeds production for distribution and 1 Dairy Milk Plan at Jowai for Pasteurising of Milk procured from the Dairy Co-operative Societies / Farmers .
The present livestock population in the District is 4.41 lakhs. Out of which 53.52 % are Poultry. 10.75% Pigs, 5.4% Goats, 3.38% cattle, 0.49% Buffaloes, 0.070% Sheep and others 26.39%.The district is backward in the production of milk, meat and egg. But the district is doing well in poultry sector
Table 10: Animal Husbandry /Veterinary livestocks
Source: District Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Officer, Jowai
Table 11: Production of Milk, Eggs and Meat
Source: District Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Officer, Jowai
The district is backward in Fishery and the total production of Inland Fish from community tanks, reservoirs, private tanks etc during 2004-2005 to 2006-2007 average just 366(000tonnes) .
Table 12: Production and price of Inland Fish
Source: Superintendent of fisheries, Jowai
Table 13: Fish seed farm production of spawn and fry fingerlings
Source: Superintendent of fisheries, Jowai
2.14 Farmers Organization
Cooperative movement and farm women groups in Jaintia hills District is having a very strong network in almost all sphere of activities. The District leading the state in the cooperative movement for activities like Bamboo and cane works, Handicrafts, turmeric processing unit, co operative transport, cooperative Agri/credit, etc. There are about 30 numbers of Farm women groups under Agriculture operating in agriculture activities, vermicompost, handicrafts, poultry rearing, mushroom cultivation etc., 2 numbers Cooperative Societies operating in marketing, 2 numbers of cooperative societies operating in bank, 1.number for milk producer, about 13 cooperative societies operating in transportation, 1 co operative society for consumer, and 3-4 processing co operative society.