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Dhemaji District

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About the Dhemaji district

Click on the following link to download district statistics as per NITI Ayog website
http://niti.gov.in/file/238/download?token=ZHvujlYA

Brief About Dhemaji District
The entire Dhemaji district area was originally inhabitated by various indigeneous tribes like Mising, Sonowal Kachari, Bodo Kachari, Deori and Laloong. In addition to this different tribes e.g. Ahom, Rabha, Tai - Khamti, Konch, Keot, Koiborta, Brahman, Kayastha, Kalita etc. were migrated during different moments of time span.

There are a number of mythological and hypothetical believes regarding the origin of the name "Dhemaji". One of the most popular believe is that - there was a river which used to change its course very frequently and resulted unanticipated flood covering different parts of the area. Hence the river was believed to be a kind of evil spirit. The Assamese version of the words flood and playing are "Dhal" and "Dhemali" respectively and therefore the area when flood is a perennial phenomenon may be called as a playground for flood i.e., in Assamese it became to be "Dhal Dhemali" with the ellapsation of time the word "Dhal" was omitted and also the word "Dhemali" started to be pronounced as "Dhemaji".

Initially, the present geographical area of Dhemaji district was a part of the then Lakhimpur District with its headquarter at Dibrugarh. In 1971 Dhemaji was declared as a Sub-Division, Including Jonai and Dhakuakhana (Presently under Lakhimpur District) 14th Aug/1st Oct, 1989 Dhemaji was declared as an independent district covering Jonai and Dhemaji (Sadar) Sub-Divisions.

Geography
The Dhemaji district came into being on 14th August / 1st October 1989. It comprises of erstwhile Dhemaji and Jonai sub-division and parts of Machkhowa mouza and Bordoloni. Forted by arch shaped Arunachal hills on the North and the East, the district emerges from the foot hills and streches to the Brahmaputra river with Subansiri one side and the river Siang on the other. Geographically situated between the 940 12' 18'' E and 950 41' 32'' E longitudes and 270 05' 27'' N and 270 57' 16'' N latitudes, the district covers an area of 3237 Sq. Km and is a basically plain area lying at an altitude of 104 m above the Mean Sea Level.

Physiography of Dhemaji District
The Brahmaputra Valley is of the nature of a “ramp” valley developed during the simultaneous upheaval of the Himalayas on the North and North East and the Patkai ranges on the South and South East. The region is prone to earthquake and shocks of various intensities are felt from time to time. The great earthquake of 1950 brought a trail of devastation causing loss to both life and property. The frequency of earthquakes in Assam is closely related to the geology of the region.

The geological setting of Arunachal Himalaya and evolution of Tertiary Himalaya:
Tectonically the Himalayan extension of northeast India is being divided into Himalayan mountain ranges in the north and the Arakan Yoma range in the east. The mountain belts merge together at its eastern extremity through an arcuate bend (syntaxial bend) where the NE-SW trend of the Himalaya seem to have ridden over the NNE-SSW trending Arakan Yoma orogen. The northern limit of the Himalaya is marked by a lineament along the westerly flowing Upper Indus and easterly flowing Tsangpo (Upper Brahmaputra). This lineament is known as Indus Suture. The Outer Himalaya, also called as Foredeep Folded Belt or Siwalik Range, mostly and extensively covers the western extremity of the range, but appears as a narrow strip on the Southern Arunachal Pradesh. This Foredeep Folded Belt in the West of Arakan Yoma Range comprises the low-lying hills of Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur and comprises of Neogene sediments. The Indus Suture Zone is highly deformed and is characterized by the presence of nearly vertical thrust faults. According to Plate Tectonic theory, the Indus Suture Zone constitutes the subduction zone along which the Indian Plate collides with the Tibetan Plate giving rise to the formation of the Himalayan mountains.

About 70 million years ago, there was a sea in the North of Peninsular India which connected the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal across the northern parts of the subcontinent. The sea started to recede towards the west and east during the early Eocene. This trend of marine regression continued till the final emergence of the Himalayan Mountains by the end of the Tertiary Period. The rise of the Himalayas was accomplished in a series of five or more impulses, intervened by intervals of comparative quiescence. The collision of the Indian Plate with the Asian Plate retarded the pace of northerly drift of the Indian Plate. The drift direction slightly changed. The Indian Plate began its rotational movement, giving rise to the formation of the syntaxial bend at the northeastern extremity of the Himalayan Mountains. The Arakan Mountains in eastern India and their continuation into the Andaman Nicobar Island were also formed during the Tertiary diastrophism. Six pulses of diastrophic movement having a widespread impact on the sedimentation pattern in the Assam Arakan basin have been recognized.

From a tectonic point of view, Assam-Arakan basin is classified as Foreland basin. The Assam-Arakan basin is located between two thrust belts. The Tertiary sediments of the Upper Assam belong to two distinct depositional facies – a relatively shallow water shelf facies and a deep-water geosynclinal facies. Between the Himalayas and the Naga-Disang thrust complex occurs an autochthonous zone, the Foreland Spar containing sediments ranging in age from Eocene to Pliestocene. These are intersected by a number of gravity faults. Further east in the Patkai Range Tertiary sedimentation took place under deeper water conditions punctuated by slight emergence at some places. The sea receded southwards towards the end of the Oligocene. Miocene sedimentation took place mostly under fresh water to brackish conditions. Oligo-Miocene was also the time when the deposits of Assam-Arakan basin were overthrusted towards the northwest over the northeastern extension of the Indian Shield. The outermost of this thrust, the Naga thrust belt consist of a succession of six thrust sheets (Evans, 1932; Berger et al, 1983). The whole discussion leads to the conclusion that the whole of northeast India is a tectonically active zone due to presence of active thrusts, fault planes and very fragile loose sediments, steep slope angle leading to frequent landslides in the hilly areas. The courses of rivers are also influenced by these active tectonic lineaments.

The district is in a strategic location where steep slope of Eastern Himalayas abruptly drop forming a narrow valley, which widens towards the western side. Numerous drainage systems originating from the hills of Arunachal Pradesh flow through this narrow valley ending at the mighty river Brahmaputra. In general the slope of the triangular district drops from northern and eastern corners towards south and western sides. After the confluence the three mighty rivers i.e. Dihing, Dibang and Lohit from their hilly course to the valley exert tremendous impact of peak runoff at the eastern most corner of Dhemaji district, making the district vulnerable to annual flooding. After the great earthquake in 1950 the Brahmaputra riverbed is rising continuously due to deposition of sand carried down from upstream. This has led to the formation of a saucer shaped low-lying zone in the plains of the district.

Physiographically, the area can broadly be divided into three district units :

Piedmont zone: The foothill zone near the northern and eastern parts adjacent to Arunachal Pradesh

Active flood plain: Near the river Bramhaputra and other major tributaries.

Low-lying alluvial belt: Covering the middle plain zone i.e. the saucer shaped built up zone. Innumerable beels and swampy areas are common features.

Soil
The general and average soil character of cultivable land in these districts is mainly alluvial and composed of mixture of sand (coarse to fine) and clay in varying proportions. The general geochemical characteristics of the soil is highly acidic. However, new alluvial soils formed due to inundation of land by river at intervals contain more percentages of fine sand fine silt and are less acidic. Such soils are often neutral and even alkaline. Large expanse of low-lying land characterized by heavy clayish soil with a high percentage of nitrogen is good for rice cultivation. Abundant rainfall and excessive humidity through out the year also greatly favor cultivation of rice in the district .The soil around the Subansiri and Ranganadi rivers are sandy coated with silt which is good for cultivation of winter crops, such as raga, and mustard, potato etc.

The soils of this district can be broadly classified into three different zones viz. The foothill soils, active flood plain soils near the river Bramhaputra and the low-lying marshy lands. A more detailed description is given below:

Demography
Dhemaji district shelters a population of 571944 as per 2001 census, which includes 294643 males and 277301 females, sex ratio being 936 females per thousand males. The average density is 176 per Sq. Km. The Schedule tribe and schedule caste population of the district works out to be 47.24% and 5.33% respectively of the total population.

The urban population is only 1.85%, which indicates the predominantly rural character of the district. The literacy rate is 41.69% while the female literacy rate is 13.6%. The rate of growth of population in the district between 1971 and 1991 was 104.48%, which incidentally, is the highest, recorded in the state. The annual rate of growth of population worked out to be 5.22% compared to the overall state growth of 2.62%.

In general there is a huge chunk of Other Backward Classes (OBC) population comprising of Ahoms, Chutiyas, Konches etc. The Schedule tribes include Mishings, Sonowal Kacharis Bodos, Deoris, Lalungs, Hazongs, Ex-tea garden community makes up only a negligible part of the total population. The principal languages of the region are Assamese, Mishing, Bodo and Bengali. The principal religion is Hinduism. However, Christianity and Islam are also practiced to a limited extent. there is almost no record of Communal violence.

Land Utilisation
Dhemaji and Lakhimpur district have extensive plain areas, suitable for cultivation but due to improper land use planning and unplanned constructions a huge chunk of land becomes water logged due to rain water as well as excessive flood water. Some of these areas dry out during winter while some remain as ditches, cesspools or waterlogged ‘beel’ areas. Both these districts have a good number of ‘beels’ and marshes covered with thick and dense population of weeds, water hyacinth, water lily etc. ranging in height from ten to twenty feet. In addition, some areas are sand casted by flash floods caused by embankment breaches.

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