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Meghalaya, India

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Avdisha, 8th Standard, Wisdom World School, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India - 136118

Area: 22,429 sq. km

Population: 29.67 lakh (census 2011 - provisional)

Capital: Shillong

Jurisdiction of High Court: Falls under the jurisdiction of Guwahati High Court. There is a High Court Bench at Shillong.

Principle language: Khasi, Pnar, Garo, English

State flower: Lady’s Slipper

State tree: Coomb teak

State animal: Clouded leopard

State bird: Hill myna

Official website: http://www.meghalaya.gov.in

Meghalaya was created as an autonomous state within the state of Assam in 1970. The full-fledged state of Meghalaya came into existence in 1972. It is bound on the north and east by Assam and on the south and west by Bangladesh. Meghalaya literally means the ‘Abode of Clouds’ and is essentially a hilly state. It is predominately inhabited by the tribal Khasis, Jaintias and Garos population. The Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills which form the central and eastern part of the state form an imposing plateau with rolling grassland, hills and river valleys. The southern face of the plateau is marked by deep gorges and abrupt slopes, at the foot of which, a narrow strip of plain runs along the international border with Bangladesh.

Carved from the erstwhile state of Assam, Meghalaya became a full fledged State on January 21, 1972. Bounded on the north and east by Assam and on the south and west by Bangladesh, Meghalaya is spread over an area of 22, 429 square kilometers, and lies between 24° 57’ and 26°10’ north latitude and 89° 46’ and 92° 53’ east longitudes.

Agriculture

Meghalaya is basically an agricultural state with about 81 per cent of its total population depending entirely on it for their livelihood. The hilly terrain and land conditions of the state do not offer much scope in bringing additional area under wet condition, but the state has a vast potential for developing horticulture. The agro-climatic variations offer much scope for cultivation of temperate as well as tropical fruits and vegetables. Besides the major food crops of rice and maize, the state is also renowned for its horticultural crops like orange, lemon, pineapple, guava, litchi, banana, jackfruit and temperate fruits such as plum, pear, peach, etc. Potato, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, areca nut, tezpata, betel, short-staple cotton, jute, mesta, mustard and rapeseed etc., are some of the important cash crops. Apart from these, the state has achieved success in the cultivation of nontraditional crops like tea, cashew nut, oilseeds, tomato, mushroom, wheat, etc.

Forest

The total forest area is 9,49,56,000 hectares which includes reserved forest, protected forest, national park and unclassed forest. The principal timber species are sal, teak, titachap, gomari, bol, pine, birch and makri-sal. The principal forest products include timber, bamboo, reed, broomstick, cane, ipecac, medicinal herbs and plants, cinnamon and thatch grass. Azaleas and rhododendrons grow wild in the forests of Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills forest and many kinds of wild and rare orchids are also found in many parts of the state. Pitcher plants, the insecteating plants of botanical wonder is found in plenty in the Jaintia Hills, West Khasi Hills and South Garo Hills and it is said that such a plant is found nowhere else in the world. Many rare and interesting plants like wild citrus and pygmy lily are also found.

Wildlife

The state is also rich in wildlife. There are elephants, tigers, bears, wild-boars, leopards, golden cats, leopard cats and jungle cats, deers of various kinds, binturongs, slow loris, monkeys of different types including cappedlangurs, golden langurs and hoolock, flying squirrels and giant squirrels. There are also many rare and interesting birds including the hornbills, partridges, pheasants, teals, snipes, geese, ducks and quails. The state has two national parks, viz, Nokrek and Balpakram and two wildlife sanctuaries, viz, Nongkhyllem and Siju.

Industry

The most important non-agro based industry is cement. Because of its rich limestone deposits, the state has a number of cement plants operating in different parts. The number of small scale industrial units covering service industry, bakeries, furniture making, iron and steel fabrication, tyre retreading etc., are increasing. The Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation encourages private entrepreneurs to register themselves so that they may benefit from support and training to set up industries in small and tiny sectors by way of financing and equity participation.

Places of Interest

Meghalaya is dotted with a number of lovely tourist spots. Shillong, the capital city, has a number of beautiful spots. They are the Ward’s Lake, the Phan Nonglait Park, the expensive Polo Grounds, the Elephant Falls, the Shillong Peak over looking the city. Umiam, lies 17 km away from Shillong and has been developed into a popular tourist centre in the state. Shillong Peak, an ideal picnic spot rises 1960 metres above the sea level and is 10 km from the city. Sohra, 56 km from Shillong, is noted for its heavy rainfall. It is 1,300 metres above sea-level. Mawsynram, is situated on the South West of Shillong by the side of ShillongMawphlang-Balat road. It closely rivals Sohra in annual rainfall. Jakrem, 64 km from Shillong, is a popular health resort with hot springs of sulphur water which is believed to have medicinal properties. Ranikor, 140 km from Shillong. It is also a place of scenic beauty. Dawki, 96 km from Shillong. It is an excellent picnic spot with silver streams and deep waters with magnificent views of the Khasi Hills on one side and Bangladesh on the other.

Transport

Being a hilly state, with 4/5th of the population living in the rural areas, the necessity of proper road network is of utmost importance. The state is not served by railways and river transportation is not feasible. Hence roads are the only means of bulk transportation here.

Roads: Six national highways pass through the state. The state has 9350 km of road length with road density of 41.69 km per 100 sq. kms.

Aviation: the only airport in the state at Umroi, 35 km from Shillong is functional.

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