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|Area||1,36,034 sq. km|
History and Geography
Chhattisgarh, carved out of Madhya Pradesh came into being on 1 November 2000 as the 26th State of the Union. It fulfills the long-cherished demand of the people. In ancient times the region was known as Dakshin-Kausal. This finds mention in Ramayana and Mahabharata also. Between the sixth and twelfth centuries Sarabhpurias, Panduavanshi, Somvanshi, Kalchuri and Nagvanshi rulers dominated this region. Kalchuris ruled in Chhattisgarh from 980 to 1791 AD. With the advent of the British in 1845, Raipur gained prominence instead of capital Ratanpur. In 1904 Sambalpur was transferred to Orissa and estates of Sarguja were transferred from Bengal to Chhattisgarh.
Chhattisgarh is bounded by southern Jharkhand and Orissa in the east, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in the west, Uttar Pradesh and western Jharkhand in the north and Andhra Pradesh in the south. Areawise Chhattisgarh is the ninth largest State and population-wise it is seventeenth State of the nation.
Agriculture and allied activities account for nearly 80 per cent of the work force in the State. Out of the geographical area 13,790 thousand hectares, gross cropped area is about 35 per cent of the total geographical area. Kharif is the main cropping season. Rice is the predominant crop of the state. Other important crops are maize, wheat, niger, groundnut and pulses. The State has one of the biggest collections of rice germplasm. Horticulture crops are grown in an area of about 303.57 thousand hectares.
Irrigation and Power
When the State came into being, the total irrigation capacity was 13.28 lakh hectares, which has now increased to 16.81 lakh hectares. Major completed projects are Tandula, Kodar and Pairy.
The total capacity of the State Electricity Board is 1,681.05 MW, out of this the thermal power share is 1,260 MW and the rest is hydel power. The electricity board is investing in modernisation, strengthening transmission and distribution networks and creating more generating capacities. The Board itself is adding 500 MW installed generating capacity area 2 X 250 MW unit in Korba. The private sector has been encouraged to setup generating capacities and to make third party sales outside the state. Around 93 per cent of 19,720 inhabited villages of Chhattisgarh have been electrified.
Chhattisgarh hosts a wide variety of minerals found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic terrains. Large deposits of coal, iron ore, limestone, bauxite, dolomite and tin ore are located in several parts of the State. Lately diamondiferous kimberlites identified in Raipur district are likely to yield substantial quantity of diamonds. There are also present medium to small deposits of gold and base metals. Satite furn corundum, graphite of workable size, is likely to graduate to the category of large deposits after prospecting. Twenty per cent of the country’s steel and cement is produced in the State. It is the only tin ore producing State in the country. The mineral resources have immense potential for large investments in mining, setting of mineral based industries and generating employment. Chhattisgarh nestles atop the world’s largest kimberlite area. Eight blocks have been demarcated for diamond exploration.
Apart from diamond, four blocks of gold exploration and five blocks for base metal investigations have also been demarcated.
Chhattisgarh is generously bestowed with natural resources like forests, minerals and surface water. The State has undergone a radical change and is thriving with industrial activities now. Chhattisgarh produces 15 per cent of the steel made in the country. Many Government of India Undertakings like Bhilai Steel Plant, National Mineral Development Corporation, south-eastern Coal Field Limited, NTPC and a number of large cement plants by groups like ACC, Gujarat Ambuja, Grasim, CCI and La-farge of France and 53 steel projects (sponge iron/pig iron route) in private sector are also under different stages of implementation. There are approximately 133 steel re-rolling mills and a number of mini steel plants. The State also boasts of 11 ferro-alloy units, steel/cast iron casting units, engineering and fabrication units apart from large number of agro-based and food processing, chemical, plastic, construction material and forest produce based units.
Due to its conducive industrial environment, Chhattisgarh is now fetching huge amount of industrial investment. Approximately 80 MOUs worth Rs.85000 core were signed for establishing new industries and expansion of existing units. Chhattisgarh stood first in Industrial Entrepreneurship Memorandum (IEM) report released by Ministry of Industries, Government of India with the proposed investment of Rs.1,07,899 crore during the period Jan-Dec 2006
Strategically located in central India, Chhattisgarh is able to supply power to units for all the time. About 17 per cent of the countries coal reserves in the State, offering cheap pithead power generation opportunities with the potential to produce up to 50,000 MW of power. NTPC is now installing a new power generation unit, the largest ever, by it in Bilaspur district. NTPC has started construction on its 2,640 MW Super Thermal plant in Sipat and another 600 MW plant in Korba. Several other States are also interested in installing plants here. Private sector MoUs for more than 25,000 MW and more projects are in the pipeline. Chhattisgarh State Industrial Development Corp. Ltd. is managing approximately an area of 3,500 hectares of industrial land. More than 925 industries with investments of more than Rs.18,000 million providing direct employment to 80,000 persons have already been setup on the land developed by this corporation.
E-Governance in Chhattisgarh is oriented towards ensuring people access to government. This makes the government even more responsive and transparent. Chips (Chhattisgarh Infotech and Biotech Promotion Society) was setup with a high powered governing council under the Chief Ministers chairpersonship, to act as a prime mover for IT and Biotechnology in the State. All citizen services of e-governance are under one umbrella project called CHOICE (Chhattisgarh On-line Information for Citizens Empowerment). Chhattisgarh got the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Award 2007 for its Human Development Report, using Information technology for the betterment of citizens.
Roads: The total length of the roads in the State in 34,930 kms. The length of the national highways is 2,225 kms, State highways 3,213.50 kms, district roads 4,814 kms and rural roads is 27,001 kms. Two north-south and four east-west road corridors are being constructed in the state for better connectivity having a total length of 3106.75 kms.
Railways: Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg, Rajnandgaon, Raigarh and Korba are important railway stations.
Chhattisgarh situated in the heart of India, is endowed with a rich cultural heritage and attractive natural diversity. The State is full of ancient monuments, rare wildlife species, carved temples, Buddhist sites, palaces, water-falls, caves, rock paintings and hill plateaus. Bastar, with its unique cultural and ecological identity; Chitrakote Falls, a spot where the river Indravati has an abrupt fall of 96 ft; Tirathgarh Falls, the picturesque waterfall of Kanger river from a height of 100 ft in the form of steps; Keshkal valley; Kangerghati National Park; Kailash caves; Sita Bongara and Kutumbsar caves are rich in natural beauty.
Mahamaya Temple, Ratanpur
Other important places of tourist interest are: Mahamaya temple at Ratanpur, Bambleshwari Devi temple at Dongargarh, Danteshwari Devi temple at Dantewada, Sirpur an important centre of Buddhism from 6-10th century, Champaran, the birth place of Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya, Khutaghat waterfall, Dindneswari Devi temple of Malhar and the Achanakmar sanctuary, Udanti sanctuary near Raipur, Pali and Kendai waterfall of Korba district
The Sabari temple of Kharod Janjgir-Champa; Nar Narayan temple of Sheorinarayan; Vishnu Temple of Janjgir are important religious places. The State has set up a State Tourism Promoting Board as the nodal agency for the sustained development of interrelated sectors in tourism.