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The state of Chhattisgarh is spread over an area of 135194 square kilometers and comprises of sixteen districts of Koriya, Surguja and Jashpurnagar to the north, Korba, Bilaspur, Janjgir Chhampa and Raigarh in the North central, Kawardah, Rajnandgaon, Durg, Raipur, Dhamtari and Mahasamnd in the centre and Kanker, Bastar and Dantewara in the South. According to the 1991 Census, the total population residing in the Chhattisgarh was 1.761 crores, which was 2.1 percent of the population of India. The state of Chhattisgarh is carved out of 30.49 percent of the land area and 26.6 percent of the population of the undivided Madhya Pradesh. The state of Chhattisgarh has 20378 village of which 19,720 are inhabited villages. The state have a total of 96 tehsils and 146 janpad panchayats or blocks. Out of the total 465 cities and towns of the undivided Madhya Pradesh, 95 cities & towns is in Chhattisgarh, including 6 Class 12 towns.
The Population of Chhattisgarh was 1.761 crores in 1991 and has a population density of 130 persons per square kilometer. The new state had an urbanisation rate of 17.4 percent in 1991, much lower than that of Madhya Pradesh, which was 25.3 percent. Of the five main rajbhogi towns of undivided Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh has one, Raipur. The largest concentration of population for the state is in the districts in the central and north central parts. Raipur and Durg have the maximum population, which comprises 14.4 and 13.6 percent of the states entire population in 1991. These two districts along with Bilaspur and Surguja make up for 47 percent of the entire population. The spread of urban population also differs in its level of concentration. Raipur and Durg account for almost half of the total urban population in Chhattisgarh. The other districts apart from Bilaspur and Rajanandgaon have less than six percent urban population. The low urbanisation is even more evident when we see that only four districts of Durg, Koriya, Raipur and Bilaspur had an urbanisation rate of over 20 percent in 1991. As per the 1991 census, the state of Chhattisgarh has 28.6 percent of the total rural population of the undivided Madhya Pradesh. Chhattisgarh absorbs 37.1 percent of the scheduled tribes and 22.3 percent of the scheduled castes of the undivided Madhya Pradesh.
The gender ratio for Chhattisgarh according to the 1991 census was 985, which is very high when compared to most other regions of India. Except for Kerala, the new state of Chhattisgarh has a higher gender ratio than all other states. This does not include a comparison with the two other new states of Uttaranchal and Vananchal. The gender ratio in Rural areas is 1000, but the urban gender ratio, on the other hand is very low at just 917. The trend of a very low urban gender ratio is common across different groups in Chhattisgarh. The gender ratio amongst the tribal groups in the state, based on the 1991 census was 1009, but it falls to a low of just 920 for urban areas. Similarly the gender ratio for all scheduled castes was 987, whereas it was 853 in urban areas. It is not only the tribal communities that have a high gender ratio. The non-scheduled tribes and castes have a gender ratio of 971 in 1991. This figure is high and shows that women in Chhattisgarh are in a better condition in comparison to most of India.
Out of the sixteen districts that comprise Chhattisgarh, eight had a gender ratio of over 1000 in 1991. It has generally been seen that Scheduled Tribes have a gender ratio of over a 1000, but in the Chhattisgarh districts that have a relatively lower Scheduled Tribes population, the gender ratios have been higher. Janjgir Chhampa has a gender ratio of 1007, but only 12.2 percent tribals Kawardha has a gender ratio of 996 and a Scheduled Tribe population of 20 percent, Raipur has a gender ratio of 983 while its Scheduled Tribe population is 13 percent. Dhamtari’s gender ratio is 1009 and its Scheduled Tribe population is 27 percent and Mahasamund has a gender ratio of 1015 and a Scheduled Tribe population of 28 percent.
The Infant Mortality Rate for the girl child in Chhattisgarh was 83 per 1000 live births in 1991. Looking at the over all trends in the IMR of undivided Madhya Pradesh, it has dropped from 119 for females in 1991 to 90 in 1997, and we can expect that the female IMR in Chhattisgarh would also have declined by around ten to fifteen percent. The female life expectancy at birth in 1991, according to estimates derived from Census data was 62 years. The Worker Participation Rate of 41 percent for women in Chhattisgarh is much higher than the Worker Participation Rate of 29.6 percent for Madhya Pradesh. About 92 percent of main workers amongst women were engaged in agriculture in 1991.
The scheduled tribes, with a population of over fifty seven lakhs constitute 32.5 percent of the State’s population as per the 1991 Census. Almost 98.1% of this population lives in the rural areas and only 1.9% lives in urban Chhattisgarh. Amongst the larger states in India, Chhattisgarh has the highest percentage of population of people from the Scheduled Tribes. However, Madhya Pradesh is still the home to the largest population of Scheduled Tribes in India. The Scheduled Tribes are concentrated in the southern, the northern and the north-eastern districts. The highest concentration is in the erstwhile Bastar district. The new district of Dantewara has 79 percent tribals followed by Bastar (67 percent) Jashpur (65 percent), Surguja (57 percent) and Kanker (56 percent).
The Gonds at 55.1 % form the largest proportion within the tribal population. They are distributed almost equally, in urban and rural areas. The Oraons the Kawars, the Halbis, the Bharias or Bhumiars, the Bhattras and the Napesias also form a substantial portion of the tribal population. Thirty other Scheduled Tribes have small population residing in various pockets across Chhattisgarh. The Gonds are concentrated in the hilly parts of Southern Chhattisgarh but are also spread across most districts, whereas the Baigas, Bharias, Korwas and Napesias occupy only specific pockets. The Bhattras, Kolams and Rasjas largely live in Bastar and the Kamars in Raipur. The Halba tribe inhabit parts of Bastar, Raipur and Rajnandgaon and the Oraons live in Surguja and Raigarh districts.
There are 9500 villages, or 48 percent of all inhabited villages, which have more than half their population belonging to the tribal groups. Thirty percent of all inhabited villages have more than three fourths population from the scheduled tribes. Tribals constitute 100 percent of the population in 1262, or 6.4 percent villages. The districts of Raipur, Durg and Janjgir Chhampa have less than twenty percent tribals.
In 1991, the Scheduled Castes with a total population of 21.5 lakhs comprised 12.2 percent of the total population of Chhattisgarh. Most of the Scheduled Castes are found in the central and north central parts of Chhattisgarh. The districts of Janjgir Chhampa., Bilaspur and Raipur had over 15 percent scheduled castes in 1991. The relatively larger concentration of scheduled castes is found in Raigarh, Kawardha and Mahasamund districts. On the other hand, Koriya, Bastar, Jashpur, Dhamtari, Surguja, Kanker and Dantewara have fewer people belonging to these communities.
Chhattisgarh is situated between 17 to 23.7 degree North latitudes and 8.40 to 83.38 east longitude. Chhattisgarh abounds with hilly region and plains. It receives an annual average rainfall of 60 inches. Rice is the principal crop of the state. Uttar Pradesh to the North, Jharkhand to the North East, Orissa to the east, Andhra Pradesh to the south-east and south, Maharashtra to the south-west, Madhya Pradesh to the west and north-west form its boundaries.
The Climate of Chhattisgarh is mainly tropical, humid and sub-humid. The climate is hot because of its positioning on the tropic of cancer. May is the hottest month and December-January are the coldest ones. The state is completely dependent on the monsoons for rains.
Mahanadi is the principal river of the state. Other major rivers are : Sheonath, Hadeo, Mand, Eeb, Pairi, Jonk, Kelo Udanti, Indrawati, Arpa & Maniyari.
Chhattisgarh is rich in forest resources. About 44% of the total area of the state is under forest cover. Chhattisgarh is famous in the entire country for its sal forests. In addition, teak, bamboo, saja, sarai, haldi etc. are also found in large numbers. Tendu leaf, which is used in beedi-making, is a principal forest produce of the state. Chhattisgarh produces a large number of minor forest products as well.
Chhattisgarh has been famous for its rice mills, cements and steel plants. Durg, Raipur, Korba and Bilaspur are the leading districts in the field of industrial development in the state. Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) in Durg district happens to be the largest integrated steel plant of the country. Establishment of BSP in 1950's led to development of a wide range of industries at Raipur and Bhilai. Raipur district has got the rare distinction of having the largest number of big and small-scale cement plants. Bilaspur and Durg districts too are home to a number of large-scale cement plants korba, with a number of power generating units established by NTPC and MPEB, is among the leading power generation centers of the country. Aluminium and explosive plants are also located in Korba district. There are a number of industrial growth centers in the state which host hundreds of industrial units. The principal growth centers in the state are : Urla and Siltara (Raipur); Borai (Durg) and Sirgitti (Bilaspur).
Transportationand Communication Facilities
These facilities are in developing stage in Chhattisgarh. The total length of rail lines in the state is 1000 Kms. Total road length is 32,385 Kms. out of which 21,686 is tarred and 10,699 Kms. is not tarred.
There are a total of 42 tribes in Chhattisgarh, principal among then being the Gond tribe. Besides, a large population of Kanwar, Brinjhwar, Bhaina, Bhatra, Uraon, Munda, Kamar, Halba, Baiga, Sanwra, Korwa, Bharia, Nageshia, Manghwar, Kharia and Dhanwar tribe are also found in the State.
Minerals : (in District)
RAIPUR : Limestone, diamond, alexandrite, garnet, dolomite, granite, iron ore.
MAHASAMUND : Gold fluorite
DURG : Iron ore, lime stone, dolomite, quartzite
RAJNANDGAON : Iron ore, lime stone, fluorite, quartz, granite
KAWARDHA : Bauxite, lime stone
BILASPUR : Dolomite, lime stone
JANJGIR : Lime stone, dolomite
KORBA : Bauxite, coal
RAIGARH : Lime stone, coal quartzite
KORIA : Coal, fire clay
BASTAR : Lime stone, dolomite, tin ore, diamond
DANTEWADA : Iron ore, Corrundum
KANKER : Iron ore, bauxite
Places of Archaeological & Cultural Importance
Sirpur, Rajim, Arang, Sirkatti (Village-Pandula), Bhoramde Temple, Ratanpur, Malhar, Khaod, Pujaripali, Ramgarh, Deepadih, Barsur, Dantewada, Ramgarh etc.
Principal Places of Tourist Interest
Rajim, Champaranya, Sirpur, Ratanpur, Amarkantak, Bhilai, Dongargarh, Arang, Mainpat, Sheorianarayan, Malhar, Tala, Bhoramdeo, Bheemkhoj (Khallari), water falls at Chotrakoot, Teerathgarh, Mandra, Chitradhara, Tamda, Dhoomar; caves at kotamsar, kailash, Aranyak, Sakal Narayan, Tular, Rani, Makar, Kanak & Dongare, Dantewada, Keshkal Valley, Charama Valley, Kanger National Park; Indravati National Park etc.
National Parks and Reserves
Sanjay, Indravati, Kanger, Valley, Badalkhol, Barnawapara, Seetanadi, Achanakmar, Semarsot, Tamorpindla, Bhaiamgarh, Pamed, Udanti and Gomarda.