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Natural Resources

Flora & Fauna

Flora

Bamboos are tall arborescent grasses belonging to the family Graminaceae. They have an extremely wide range of distribution and are found as an understorey in many types of forests occurring in the state. They form rich belts of vegetation in well-drained parts of tropical and subtropical habitats and rise upto the highest point in Meghalaya. Bamboos are perennial grasses, with woody and pointed stems. Stems or culms are mostly hollows from inside with few exceptions. Thickness or thinness of the culm determine utility.

In East Garo Hills the forest under the control of District Council have been badly mauled by the practice of shifting cultivation. The tree species in these areas have been replaced by pure bamboo crop, over vast areas. On abandoned Jhum areas pure crops of Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, Melocanna bambusoides and Oxytenanthera nigrociliata have sprung up.

Fauna

The elephant is perhaps the most interesting animal in India. There are about 2,000 elephants in Garo Hills. The average height of an adult male elephant is about 270 cm. The favourite habitat of the elephants is tall forest areas and undulating grounds. They can live in steamy humid jungles as well as in cool elevated forests. Thick bamboo forests are liked by them for food. During the rains, they come out into open valleys and often enter into cultivations.

Mineral Wealth

Limestone

Limestone is the main raw material required for production of cement. Rich limestone deposits occur in a narrow but continuous belt in the Garo Hill from Athabeng in the East through Siju to Dapri Garure, west of Tura. But the largest deposit of limestone lies near Siju Arteka and Siju Songmong in the Simsang valley. In addition, a few isolated deposits are to be near Rongrenggre Jarkhare, Rongthek and Darrang-Era-Aning in the West Darranggre coal field.

Coal

The Coal of Garo Hills can be utilized for smokeless domestic coke and for a fertilizer project. The non-cooking coal is available in the west Darranggre coalfield.

Pozzolana Cement

Lithomargic clay and dry hydrated limestone is available in Nongalbibra and Siju respectively.

The Lime Burnt Clay Pozzolana mixture (L.B.C.P.M) can be used for making masonry motar and plaster building blocks, etc., as foundation concrete in levelling courses under floors, for soil stablization in the construction of roads and airfields, as pavement base as well as for other sundry purposes. It cannot, however be used for reinforced concrete work. The Burnt Clay Pozzolana when ground without the addition of lime may be used as partial replacement for cement (upto 25% by weight) in the cement and motar and concrete work.

Clay Kaolin

Important clay deposit are concentrated in the central parts of Garo Hills. Of the inferred reserves of clay in the State which are over 80 million tonnes, the major occurance is in the Garo Hills. Recent detailed investigations and ceramic tests on this clay have shown that most of the samples range from high-heat duty to super heat duty refactory clay suitable for making refactory bricks. This clay can be fruitfully utilised for producing crockery, sanitaryware, insulator, stoneware, pipes, tiles, white-ware, etc. This clay can be used even in the manufacture of aluminium sulphate. The huge amount of Lithomargic fireclay which is likely to be mined along with the coal in the Simsang Colliery Project in the Garo Hills should favour the setting up of a refactory brick industry in the area.

Kaolin or China clay can be extracted by washing Kaolinized rocks. The deposits of Kaolinized rocks in the state yield 20% of Kaolin the quality of which may be compared with best Kaolin deposits any where else in the world. The Kaolin thus obtained is found suitable in the manufacture of high quality chinaware and porcelainware. Kaolin can also be used in the paper and rubber industries. Important Kaolin deposits are found in Darugre