AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION
(a) LAND UTILIZATION AND RECLAMATION :
Agriculture is the key industry and the backbone of the economy of the district. More than three-fourth of the population derives its livelihood from it. In the later part of the nineteenth century , there were large tracts of waste lands which were subsequently cleared up and brought under cultivation with the increase in population. Following are the land utilization statistics of United Mikir and North Cachar Hills.1
|2||Barren and uncultivable land||13,68,984||NR||NR||27,92,535|
|3||Net area sown and cultivated||77,693||95,441||97,444||1,36,163|
(a)Figures for the year 1951-52 only.
There is a vast tract of land which is lying uncultivated as current fallows and other uncultivable area in both Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills. The majority of the population of the district are hill tribes who live on hill tops practising jhuming or shifting cultivation. They do not like to face any difficulty by reclaiming such lands when there are sufficient fertile lands available in the hills for jhumings. Moreover they are not equipped with proper tools and implements to reclaim such areas as most of them perform their agricultural operations with simple tools like Dao and Kodal. Hilly terrain of the region presents another difficulty in reclaiming such waste lands.
The people of Karbi Anglong especially those who live in hills are of migratory habits. They are prone to shift their villages to other places on any conceivable pretext like the outbreak of any disease, failure of crops, or in search of new jhum lands, mauling by tigers etc. Moreover when in a village ten or twelve houses sprang up, four or five families shift to another hillock and start a new village of their own with their new gaonbura. Each cluster of houses situates sufficiently away from another. These conditions preclude the possibility of any social and economic betterment. Schools and wells can not be given to a cluster of few houses. The existence of countless clusters of villages makes communication extremely difficult. To make the matter worse, when the people shift villages ; even the existing schools, wells, roads are left behind never to be used again. Villages in North Cachar Hills have more or less permanent sites.
Govt. of Assam have therefore taken up schemes for land reclamation and rehabilitation through Agricultural Department. One land reclamation scheme was taken up in Karbi Anglong in 1957. This aimed at establishing two planned and permanent villages of hundred families each in plain areas. The villages were Tarabasha and Bahini. Govt. of Assam sanctioned a sum of Rs. 1,10,000/- only out of which Rs. 64,000/- was given to 200 families @ of Rs.320/- per family, Rs.5,000/- for purchase of implements @ of Rs. 25/- per family, Rs.23,000/- for purchase of 46 pairs of bullock ; Rs. 4,697/- for purchase of seeds and Rs.2,000/- for purchase of plants and grafts. The scheme was completed in 1959- 60 and about 2,000 acres of cultivable waste was reclaimed.
Another scheme of rehabilitation and reclamation for tribals was taken up in 1959. Under the scheme four model villages, two in Karbi Anglong and two in North Cachar Hills, were established with adequate homesteads land and terraced and plain land for raising cash and food crops. One hundred families were rehabilitated in each village and for reclamation including terracing and contour bunding, subsidy of rupees one hundred was provided to each family besides free supply of improved seeds, manures and fertilizers, pesticides and a pair of bullock. The land was made available by the rspective District Councils at the following places.
|Karbi Anglong||--- Honkram and Semelangso|
|North Cachar Hills||--- Nabalaidisa and Vetabhomor.|
The District Council of Karbi Anglong in 1959 has passed a resolution for regrouping of small villages with sizable ones, each containing a minimum of fifty houses. According to it house tax at double the existing rate on villages having less than fifty houses is levied. This applies only to the hill areas where house tax is levied in lieu of land revenue. Out of 993 villages 609 villages have since been re-organised and double the house tax is being levied on the remaining small villages. The selection of sites for the reorganised villages is completed and the preliminary notifications to fix the village boundary are being published. It is expected that regrouping of the remaining villages will also be completed shortly
(b) IRRIGATION :
Without an adequate and regular water supply agriculture is precarious. Development of irrigation becomes indispensable where rain water is not adequate , certain, or assured for raising multiple crops. The average annual rainfall in Karbi Anglong is about 1200 millimetres which is far below the all-Assam level and is not considered sufficient for agricultural operations. North Cachar Hills has an average rainfall of about 2,525 millimetres. Rainfall is heavy during the months of June to September. This is considered sufficient for the purpose of agriculture during the period but not adequate for winter and spring crops. However, in places where there exist small streams or rivulets, irrigation is done by constructing a small dam across the rivers or streams thus diverting the whole or part of the accumulated water through channels to fields. There is no major irrigation project either in Karbi Anglong or in North Cachar Hills. Formerly medium irrigation projects were executed by Embankment and Drainage Department, later on by Flood Control and Irrigation Department ; and minor irrigation projects were controlled by the Agricultural Department through their Irrigation Wing. Now there is a separate Department of Irrigation which looks after all the irrigation works in the district including survey, execution and maintenance of irrigation projects. The following is the account of irrigation projects, executed or under execution in the United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district.
1. Census of India, 1961 , Assam District Census Hand Book, United Mikir & North Cachar Hills, p.318 , and Statistical Abstract of Assam, 1961-61 , and 1967-68, pages 73 and 117 respectively.
Irrigation Projects in Karbi Anglong :
Jamuna Irrigation Project : It is a medium irrigation project described as the first of its kind executed in the district. The waters of the Jamuna river has been harnessed to irrigate the areas of Langphar mauza of Karbi Anglong and Hojai, Namati, Jugijan, Kapahibari, Kaki, Lumding, and lanka areas of Nowgong district. Though the headworks of the project are located at Bakulia in Karbi Anglong, the benefits of irrigation are enjoyed largely by the people of Nowgong district. The gross estimated area under the Jamuna Irrigation Scheme is 27.089.64 hectares and the area benefited by the scheme is 20,200 hectares. The cost of the project was initially estimated at Rs.195 lakhs in 1962 when construction began. The scheme is still under the preliminary stage of construction. The main crops grown in the area are paddy, jute , sugarcane, oilseeds , ans pulses.
Langparpan Irrigation Scheme : It is located about 30 kms. from Diphu and the source of water is the Langparpan river which is perennial one. It is a diversion flow type scheme with a gross commanded area of 750 acres. Water is supplied through four canals as follows :
|1||Main Canal (right side)||12.84 metres.|
|2||Main Canal (left side)||6.00 metres|
|3||Public canal||6.00 metres|
|4||Canal from right tail cluster to Dilangsonala.||15.56 metres|
The scheme was completed in 1963 with an estimated cost of Rs. 1.40 lakhs.
Borjan Irrigation Scheme : This is located at about 24 kms. from Diphu. It is a lift irrigation scheme . Water is lifted at Borjan from the river Jamuna through 3 diesel pumps of 66 H.P. each. The length of main canal is 8.626 kms. The scheme was completed in 1967 with an estimated cost of 4.64 lakhs.
Harina Irrigation Scheme : It is a diversion flow type scheme on the river Harina. Its main head-works is located at Sanjuri at a distance of about 3 kms. from Dengaon. It has one main canal, length of which is 8.5 kms. The scheme when completed will provide 45 cusecs of water for irrigation. The scheme is likely to be comleted in 1973 with an estimated cost of Rs. 24.75 lakhs.
Patradisha Irrigation Scheme : The scheme is located at about 7 kms. east of Bakulia. It is a flow type irrigation scheme and will provide water to an area of 3,400 acres in Karbi Anglong. The work of the scheme was started in 1965 and was completed in 1968-69 with an estimated cost of 33.4 lakhs. The total length of the canal is 25 kms.
Horguti Irrigation Scheme : It is flow type irrigation scheme likely to be undertaken in 1972 to harness the water of river Dikhari for irrigation purposes. It will irrigate an area of 6,270 acres in mauzas of Namati, Duar Dikharu and Duar Bamuni. The scheme will be completed by 1973 with an estimated cost of Rs.43 lakhs.
Kanjukpathar Irrigation Scheme : It is located at Kanjukpathar under Howraghat Development Block at a distance of 80 kms. from Diphu. The headworks of the scheme will comprise of a semi permanent earthen dam of 81 metres in length and 2 metres in height. The crest sides and the aprons of the dam will be provided with boulder pitching so to dispose of the surplus amount of water in the form of overflow spillway. On one flank of the dam , there will be a head-regulator fitted with a controlling gate, The network of feeder canal will have a total length of 4,000 ft. and will command an area of 350 acres. The scheme is likely to be completed in 1970-71 with an estimated cost of Rs.1.20 lakhs.
Hongkram Irrigation Scheme : It is located under Rongkhong Development Block at a distance of 160 kms.from Diphu. It is being installed at the mountaineous course perennial streamlet known as Langherai. The head-works will comprise of a semi-permanent dam, 80 metres in length and a parmanent over-flow spillway span of 25 ft. to dispose of the surplus water. Water to main canal will be fed through head regulator fitted with control gates. The total length of the main canal will be 12,000 ft. and that of the branch canals 2,000 ft. There will be another head regulator installed at the juncture of the main and branch canal by means of control gate to feed the water to the fields. The net commanding area of the scheme will be 1,800 acres. The scheme is likely to be completed in 1970-71 with an estimated cost of Rs. 2.04 lakhs.
Donka Irrigation Scheme : The scheme is under construction and is likely to be completed in 1973 with an estimated cost of Rs.4 lakhs. Its head works would comprise of permanent diversion weir fitted with numbers of sluice gates and a head regulator with control gates with a net works of canals to convey water to the fields. Deohari Irrigaion Scheme : The scheme is located in Nilip Development Block at a distance of 230 kms. from Diphu to harness the river Deohari for irrigation purposes. The salient features of the schemes comprise of submerged weir, sluice gates, bunds and a head regulator fitted with control gates, supplemented with a net works of canal system. The scheme is also likely to be completed bt 1973 with an estimated cost of Rs. 2.7 lakhs. It will irrigate an area of 350 acres.
Sarihajan Irrigation Scheme : It is a lift irrigation scheme loacated at Sarihajan under Bokajan Development Block. The salient features of scheme would be a storage type of reservoir from which water would be lifted by means of electrically operated pumps. The scheme would cost about Rs. 0.75 lakhs and irrigate an area of 200 acres.
Irrigation Projects in North Cachar Hills :
Taragahadi Irrigation Scheme : This is a flow type Irrigation scheme. The site of the project is approximately eleven kilometres from Maibong Rly. Station towards the north. Water is bein g tapped from the Mahur river by constructing a boulder sausages weir across the river. The benefited area of the scheme is 150 acres and the expenditure so far incurred is Rs.3.66 lakhs only against the estimated amount of Rs. 4.44 lakhs. The scheme is likely to be completed in 1969-70. The scheme would benefit the area lying on both the banks of the Mahur river and the length of canal in the left bank would be 1,000 ft. and that on the right bank 4,800 ft.
Hajadisha Irrigation Scheme : Hajadisha irrigation scheme in N.C. Hills is a flow type irrigation scheme. Water is being tapped from a perennial hill stream named Digornalla. The site of the scheme is approximately 45 kms. from Maibong Rly . Station and can be approached by jeepable road. The benefited area of the scheme will be 700 acres and the expenditure to be incurred in completing the scheme is estimated at Rs. 3.08 lakhs. It is to be completed in 1969-70. Length of canal will be 7.16 kms. The people of the adjoining villages has started reclaiming areas and the demand for supply of water is expected to be increased considerably on completion of the scheme.
Khejurbond Lift Irrigation Scheme : This is a lift irrigation scheme. Water is lifted from Mahur river by double staging lifting system. there nos. of engines and pumps are operating in each stage with suction pipes of 6// dia. and delivery pipe is 4// dia.
The site of the scheme is about 8 kms. away from Maibong and can be approached by the P.W.D. road to Lumding . The total benefited area of the scheme will be 300 acres and the estimated expenditure to be incurred is Rs. 3.59 lakhs only. The scheme is likely to be completed in 1969-70 . Length of the irrigation canal is 2.55 kms.
Noblidisha Irrigation Scheme : This is a lft irrigation scheme. Water is lifted from the Langting river. The site is about 40 kms. away from Maibong and can be approached by jeepable road of the P.W.D. The scheme commands an area of 300 acres against proposed 675 acres of commandable area. As the present lifting system of supplying water an not cope up with the full quantity of water needed, proposal for convertion of the lifting system to a gravity flow is made and accordingly survey and investigation has already been taken up. The detailed estimate is in process of preparation.
The scheme requires improvements and remodelling as more areas were reclaimed by the people of the adjoining areas. The scheme is likely to be completed in 1969-70 and an expenditure of Rs.4.46 lakhs only is estimated for this scheme. There are two nos. of canals and the total length of both of these canals is 7.2 kms.
Natunhaja Irrigation Scheme : It is a lift irrigation scheme. Water is lifted from the Langting river by lifting devices. The site of the scheme is 5 kms. away from Langting Railway Station and can be approached by jeepable road. This scheme is likely to be completed in 1969-70.
The scheme will be commanding an area of 300 acres and an expenditure amounting to Rs.2.43 lakhs only is to be incurred for its completion. Total canal length is 2.43 kms. There is a proposal to convert the scheme from lift to flow. Detailed survey and investigation of the scheme has already been completed and the detail estimate of the scheme has been prepared.
Mailu Irrigation Scheme : It is also a lift irrigation scheme. Water is lifted from the Langting river. The site can be approached by a road under this Division and is about 20 kms. away from Langting Railway Station.
The scheme is likely to be completed in 1969-70 and the expenditure for this scheme will be only Rs. 6.87 lakhs. The total benefited area of the scheme is estimated to be 300 acres and the total canal length 1.86 kms. The people of the adjoining villages are reclaiming more areas and the present lifting system is not expected to be in position to cope up with the increased demand of water supply. Moreover in the absence of high tension lines in N.C. Hills, the lift irrigation schemes by diesel operated engines are very costly and there is a proposal to investigate and to study the possibility of converting the existing lift irrigation scheme to flow.
Further due to peculiar soil condition of the North Cachar Hills, the loss of water by way of percolation etc., is very high and as such limited supply of water by lift in many cases fail to meet the requirement.
Dairangibra Irrigation Scheme : This is a flow type irrigation scheme. Water is being tapped from the Dairangi river by constructing a boulder sausage weir across the river. The site of the scheme is about 45 kms. from Maibong and can be approached by P.W.D. Road. The benefited area of the scheme will be 141 acres and the expenditure to be incurred in completing the scheme will be Rs.1.18 lakhs only. The scheme is likely to be completed during the year 1972-73.
Motibra Irrigation Scheme : This is a flow type irrigation scheme. Water is being tapped from the Mahur river. The site of the scheme is about 16 kms. away from Maibong Railway Station and can be approached by Departmental road to Taragahadi.
Benefited area of the scheme will be 120 acres and will cost Rs. 2.87 lakhs. The scheme is likely to be completed in 1971-72. Length of the irrigation canal is 930 kms.
Extension of the Mahur River Irrigation Scheme in Kalachand and Solikantapur area (Phase 1) : This is a flow type irrigation scheme. Water is being tapped from the Mahur river by constructing a boulder sausage weir across the river.
The original scheme was completed in the year 1956-57 and since then it was functioning very effectively. But in course of time it was found that more and more new areas were reclaimed by the people and the discharge for which the scheme was made became gradually insufficient to meet the full need. As such the extension of the scheme will be taken up during the year 1971- 72 with an estimated cost of Rs. 9.31 lakhs. The present benefited area is 1,500 acres. The total canal length of the scheme is 6.12. kms.
Remodelling of Mahur River Irrigation Scheme in Kalachand and Solikantapur area : This was originally a lift irrigation scheme. Water was being lifted from Mahur river with lifting devices and it benefited an area of 300 acres. The scheme was functioning effectively.
Gradually as the local people started reclaiming more and more areas the machineries failed to cope up with the requirement of demand for supply of water.
As such to cope up with the demand , the existing lift irrigation system is converted to a flow type system. At present the scheme is benefiting an area of 700 acres. The estimated cost of the project was Rs. 7,37,790.00 The canal length is 6,000m.
Manderdisha Irrigation Scheme : It is a lift irrigation scheme designed to irrigate an area of 410 acres. The project has been taken up in 1971-72. The estimated cost of the scheme is Rs. 8,65,423.00. The length of the canal will be 3,111 m. The purchase of machineries is in process.
Schemes under investigation : Besides the above noted schemes, investigation for the following schemes were made and accordingly estimates were submitted to the higher authority for sanction and approval.
1. Combined Amlambra, Thaisiling Hower, Dangding Hower Irrigation Scheme
2. Extension and Improvement of Hajadisha Irrigation Scheme.
3. Dausut Irrigation Scheme.
4. Remodelling and Extension of Mailu Irrigation Scheme.
Investigation of the following medium irrigation schemes are going on and the project report is under preparation.
1. Kopili Valley Irrigation Project.
2. Daorani Irrigation Scheme.
Protective bunds : The Karbi Anglong there is embankment on the left bank of the river Kaliani starting from Sildubi to the out- falls of the Panjan. The length of the embankment is 25,000 ft. It protects about 1,500 acres of cultivable land from flood. Its cost was Rs. 1,49,290.00
The paddy fields on the left bank of the river Jatinga near Harangajao in North Cachar Hills are protected from erosion and flood by constructing boulder sausages and boulder pitching and a small earthen embankment along the bank. The lenggth of such protection along the bank of the river is 4,800 ft. Another protection work in North Cachar Hills is at Mahur Bazar which is situated on the right bank of the river Doiang near railway station. It was threatened by erosion. The bank is now protected by constructing boulder sausages. The length of this protected bank is 1,267 ft.
There is a great scope for exploitation of water potential as there are sufficient rivers and streams flowing through out the district. A thorough survey entailing considerable amount of money is required to estimate availability of the water potential for irrigation and power projects. The Central Water and Power Commission have already completed the survey of the river Kopili . The work on the Kopili river project has commenced recently.
(c) AGRICULTURE ( INCLUDING HORTICULTURE )
(I) Soil and crops :
The most important characteristic of the soil is its acidity. generally on the hills which are slowly undergoing a withering process and are constantly washed down by rain, the soil is more acidic than the soil of the low lying areas. The soil in the hilly tracts has high contents of organic matter and nitrogen. It is because of the virgin nature of the soil. Particular types of soil are not known, but it is supposed to be fairly a clayloam with high percentage of organic matter and nitrogen. A red laterite soil is also not uncommon. As the soil is acidic and contains high percentage of organic matter and nitrogen, a variety of crops including paddy, sugarcane , mustard, til, cotton, maize etc., and fruit plants like citrus , orange, pineapple, cashew-nut, banana etc., are grown. But for want of irrigation facilities all cropscan not be grown successfully. It is also to be noted that a large majority of rural families have small holdings. This is the greatest impediments to agriculturists and prevent them from making full use of even their meagre resources
II) Major and Subsidiary crops :
Rice is the staple food crop of the United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district. The other important crops in the district are mustard, sugarcane, potato, sesame, cotton, jute, ginger, vegetables etc.
|Name of the Crops||1955-56||1960-61||1965-66|
|Rape & Mustard||A||1.52||2.13||2.50|
|Sugarcane||A|| 2.18 1.55 2.23 |
AY 28,020 35,196 38,631
P 6.12 5.44 9.30
|Potato||A|| 1.01 0.83 0.40 |
AY 4,739 4,780 2,184
P 4.79 3.97 0.89
A : Area in Hectares.
AY : Average yield in kg. per hectare.
P. : Production in tonnes except jute, mesta, and cotton in bales of 180 kg.
Rainfall and textural peculiarities of the soil and above all the farming practices are the factors upon which the cultivation of the crops largely depends. During the raining season all the usable lands, in plains or hills, are covered with paddy. But in winter there is scarcity of water. Rabi crop is cultivated in small patches. Minor irrigation projects have been taken up to augment the water supply only in some areas , whereas the large areas of the district are yet to derive the benefit from such projects. Moreover in the hilly terrail where jhum cultivation is practised, soil erosion poses another problem. These are only a few of the handicaps peculiar to the district preventing better utilization of land. The crop cycle of the district depends upon all these factors so much so that most of the fields practically lie fallow from December to April.
Paddy : It is the staple food crop grown extensively all over the district. It falls in to three categories i.e., winter paddy, autumn paddy and summer or spring paddy. The winter paddy can be divided into Sali and Bao. Sali is mainly cultivated in plain areas and low tracts of the hills by transplantation. Bao is sown by broadcast in the month of June and July and it gets ready for harvesting by December i.e. with Sali. Autumn paddy consists of two types i.e. plain Ahu and hill Ahu . The plain Ahu is taken up in the hills by jhuming in April and May. The cultivation of spring or summer rice is of recent introduction and comprised Boro cultivation. The process of the cultivation in the plain areas of the district is more or less the same as practised in the neighbouring plain districts of Assam. In the hill areas of the district, the Jhum cultivation or shifting cultivation is practised which is as follows :-
In most of the cases selection of sites for jhum is associated with village administration. It is usually done in December or January. The Gaonbura calls a meeting of the village elders and then decides which part of the land is to be cultivated in the ensuing year. This is usually the practice in well organised villages, otherwise the villagers select sites as they like in scattered places and the jhum never form continuous block. Then begins the cutting operation at the selected sites. The implements used in this operation are simple daos made of ironbar with sharp edge on one side. Such daos have wooden or bamboo handles. Axes are used for felling big trees. Daos and axes are manufactured locally by the village blacksmith or purchased from the market.
The cultivators have their early meal in the morning and start for days work. They carry with them their lunch packets which consist of rice wrapped in leaves of jungle plants, curry in bamboo tube and a gourd or bottle of water in case there is no river or stream in the vicinity of the jhum site. In cases where jhum sites are too far to be operated from home, temporary huts or sheds are made for night stay The cultivators starts reclamation of his area from the below and gradually advances upwards , cutting trees and bamboos and other living weeds and plants.
After this, a period of four to five weeks is allowed to get the felled trees, bamboos etc. dry. Then a day is fixed for burning . This is usually done in March or April. on the appointed day, all the villagers assemble in jhum ground and set fire to their jhums at noon when the heat of the sun is at its peak to ensure thorough burning. It is interesting to watch the jhums that burn with tremendous intensity of fire producing vast clouds of smoke. After the burning of jhums, the sky becomes ladden with clouds and rain usually falls.
Some logs, woods, bamboos etc., that remain unburnt are collected and reburnt. Boundaries of individual plot is demarcated and each villager contructs a jhum house within his jhum land. It is a resting camp. In cases where jhum lands are too far for a cultivator to come and return home daily it also serves as a temporary settlement for the season.
As a rule, mixed cultivation is followed i.e. many crops are cultivated in the same jhum lands in the same year. Sowing of paddy is usually done by dibbling . Here a person hoes with a small country hoe which he holds in his right hand and drops the seeds which he holds in his left hand.The hoeing is spontaneously followed by dropping of seeds. In some cases holes are made with the help of a pointed stick. The pointed end of the stick is driven into the soil and seeds are dropped into the holes thus made.
Sowing of paddy is also done by broadcasting. For this soil is loosened and big clods are broken and pulverized. A condition of good tilth is brought about. Paddy seeds are then broaDistrict Councilast. This method has got its disadvantage also. Rain water easily carry away the soil nutrients from such pulverized soils and it becomes extremely difficult to regain the fertility. The land thus cultivated turns into pasture and not into forest.
Sowing of paddy in the case of Ahu is done in the months of March- April but hill Sali paddy is sown in the months of April- June. The Kacharis in the North Cachar Hills , sometimes, follow a slightly different way of cultivation. In the first year grow cash crops like cotton, sesamum, ginger, chilli etc. In the second year only they cultivate paddy and other cereal crops such as millets Jowar etc. Maize is also grown by dibbling.
Seeds of cotton, sesamum,chillies, mustard, millets Jowar etc., are sown broaDistrict Councilast. Sometimes chillies are raised in nursery and seedlings are transplanted. The above seeds aresown at the beginning of monsoon i.e. during the month of April-June. In jhums some vegetablese such as cucumber, pumpkin, bittergourd, snakegourd watermelon, pigeon pea, soyabean ,cowpea are also cultivated. Seeds of these plants are sown by dibbling . Some condiments like mallow, pudina etc., are sometimes raised around the jhum house.
The country hoes are used in dibbling . Bags are used for carrying seeds while sowing. Sometimes baskets are also used. the sowing operation is usually associated with social activity. Appropriate songs are composed for this occasion and beating of drums lead the members to dig the soil and drop the seeds in accordance with the rhythm of songs. Sowing starts from the bottom of the jhum and gradually advances upwards till it is finished at the top.
As the jhum thus reclaimed newly from jungle has got very fertile soil, weeds grow very quickly. Weeding is done at least three times in a year. The same country hoe is the most common implement used for this operation. The weeds are removed and collected in bundles and kept in spaces between the crops. Wherever logs or stumps are met with, the bundles of weeds are kept over them. This ensures total de-composition of the weeds. The first and the second weedings are thoroughly done. The third one is not so thoroughly as by this time the paddy comes to the flowering stage.
As jhum is usually located at the heart of the jungles, protection of the crops is always a difficult job. It requires sharp vigilance and alertness on the part of the cultivators. Apart from insects, pests and diseases, which the cultivator thinks are just beyond his control, denizens of the jungles such as wild pigs, rats, monkeys, elephants,birds etc., are to be prevented from doing harm to the crops.
The protection measures include shootin , trapping, frightening, arrowing etc. Wild pigs are shot with guns by watching night and day. Sometimes, the border of jhum is fenced with bamboo splits fixed to the ground at both ends in a bending fashion. This is to frighten the beasts from entering jhum.
In another form a nominal fence is made by placing down bamboos and trees along the border of the jhum and locating traps at intervals. Such traps consists of a springy tree shoot whose top portion is cut off and a rope one end of which is tied to the top of the springy tree- shoot is knitted at the other end in such a way as to fasten at the leg of the prey when the springy tree shoot is suddenly released from its load. the springy tree shoot is bent down when the knitted end of the rope is brought to a hole in the earth which is purposely made and where it is fixed in a trigger mechanism. When a beast tramples with its leg on this hole, the trap all on a sudden goes off binding the animals leg around with the rope. The beast then could be caught and killed.
In case of wild elephants , the probelms is too big for the cultivator and the devastation it causes to the crops is appalling. Those who happen to visit the interior regions of the Karbi Anglong will see the machan huts so commonly met with. They are constructed on the braches of big and tall trees to serve as watch - towers to see the movements of the wild elephants and to drive out them by beating drums, blowing horns, amd lighting torches etc. Sometimes village cultivators made bon-fire in their jhums especially at night if they knwon that elephants are nearby. They also resort to blank firing so that elephants on hearing the sound might flee away. As to the momkeys they are very clever and as such the traps have to be made more tactfully. The usual way is to erect a bamboo pole in a slanting way. A hill slope presents a convenient site for this. The bamboo pole is so cut around at certain height above the groundas just to sustain the weight. The cut is to be wrapped around with paddy hays or straws so that the monkey may not notice it. At the top of pole some clusters of french beans, paddy ears, maize spikes or the like are kept as a bait. On the ground just below the portion of the pole above the cut, sharp arows made of bamboo splits are vertically fixed leaving small spaces between them .The arrows are covered with a thin layer of paddy straw just to hide them from sight.
As the monkey climbs the pole to get the bait, the pole will break up abruptly at cut dropping the monkey over the arrows. The monkey by then will get itself pierced with the arrows and killed. The rats , above all pests are the most menacing and to control them is difficult. A log trap is the most common form of control measure. For this a fence is constructed and gates are opened here and there. The log traps are located in these gates. One end of the log is rested on the ground and the other end is hung in suspension by means of a string that passes over a horizontal beam which is above the log. One end of the string being tied to the log has its other end taken down to the ground and fitted in the same trigger mechanism which supports a miniature culvert.
The rat passing through the gate will walk over the miniature culvert and will weight it down. This will result in the quick and sudden release of the trigger and the log will all on a sudden fall on the prey.
Another rat trap consists of a railed bamboo split having a triangular frame towards the foot and a string of fibre or thread tied to it in the form of a bow. A lower portion of the string is taken around inside a triangular frame and fitted by a means of a trigger . When trapping is done, the pointed foot of the trap is driven into the ground in order to keep the trap erect, adjustment is made in such a way that the tract of the rays passes through the triangular frame. On entering this frame, the rat will unknowingly disclutch the bearing of the trigger and get entrapped.
Harvesting in the case of Ahu paddy is done in autumn i.e., in August and September. But in the case of Hill Sali paddy the time is November and December . Two accessories are needed for this operation. One is a basket and the other is a sickle. Harvesting can be done in two ways (a) by top (bunch) harvesting, as they call it and (b) by stem harvesting.
In top (bunch) harvesting the basket is carried by a person on his back while cutting the paddy ears which are put into the basket by the left hand. He goes on cutting and putting the paddy ears into the basket until the basket becomes full. An extra basket having bigger capacity is kept by the side. The paddy ears thus cut are collected and accumulated in big basket, this big basket is usually filled only after two or three pourings. When more than one person harvests together, pouring is done at a time. After each pouring the paddy ears inside the big basket are trampled with and pressed down so as to reduce the volume and thus ensure more accommodation. The big basket when full is carried by one person who is usually a male , to the jhum house where all the ears are to be stored until thrashing.
In stem harvesting, the paddy is cut across the stem about 1-1½ feet below the top of the ears. These are collected in bundles and left in the field for half a day or so. This is done so because after keeping the ears under the sun for some time the grains can be separated very easily. Then a person moves in the field with a basket. He separates the grains by lashing the ears of paddy inside the basket. The grains are stored in the jhum house.
But the Karbis in the karbi Anglong sometimes do not separate the grain in this way. They rather collect the bundles and arrange them with their ears inward over a thrashing yard in a tall heap. These are later on thrashed by lashing the ears of the paddy on the yadr and the grains are collected and stored in the jhum house.
If reaping is done by flower (bunch) harvesting , the paddy ears in the jhum house have to be thrashed. This is what a proud cultivator wants to do with pomp and enthusiasm. A day is fixed for it. Neighbours including children are invited. Some domestic animals like pigs, chickens or goats are killed and a feast is prepared and served at the jhum house. Prior to that the owner has to keep his thrashing yard ready. A portion of the ground just in front of the jhum house islevelled. This may be simply smeared with cowdung and water slur and used for thrashing. But in most cases in the hills a floor made of plainted bamboo is used. For this a layer of paddy straw about 1-2 inches thick is spread over the ground. Leaves of canna or plantain are then placed over this and a covering with bamboo plait is then placed. This floor is usually made rectangular. Along the border a beam of bamboo is tied on to the stands for resting hands at about 3/4 feet above the ground. The men stand along the border in a row and rest their hands on the beam. At the foot of the first man of the row just in front of the jhum house sits a girl or lady to make a ball of paddy ears which are thrown out from inside. She now passes the ball to the feet of the man standing next to her and without waiting for long she just makes another ball and then passes it on the feet of the man. The man in his turn passes the balls one after another to the man who stands next to him. In this way there is a chain of balls passing from man to man and getting trampled. Another girl or lady sits at end of the row. She collects the balls that have passed through all men in the row unloosens them and drops the grains on the floor and throws away the straws. Some other person will be there to clean thegrains by fanning the heap of grains with cloths or sieves.
There is another method of thrashing which is also in common practice. Here a machan is constructed over the thrashing floor at a height of about 10/15 feet in front of the jhum house. The floor or the machan has sieve holes which will allow the grains to pass through but not the strains. A ladder is constructed between the jhum house and the machan so as to enable a man to carry the paddy ears from inside the jhum house and pass them on to the machan. A sufficient quantity of the paddy ears is poured into the machan at a time. Two or more persons jump on it to trample on them. The grains pass through the sieve holes of the machan and fall on the floor. When the grains have fallen apart completely the straws are thrown our and new ears are taken in. This method has the advantage that the grains fall from a certain height and as such the chaffy ones are blown away by the wind. The grains collected are only those which are plumpy.
A celebration is sometimes held by certain growers to mark the harvest home. A brisk preparation takes place, enough quantity for country beer is stocked. He invites his relatives and kins, even from other distant villages. On the fixed date, he slaughters domestic animals and prepares a feast. His neighbours and all the invitees are entertained.
In the plains Sali paddy or transplanted winter rice is first sown in seed-beds or nurseries (kothiatoli) near the homestead or in the field. The land is prepared in April or may and puddled by 3 to 4 ploughings and carefully manured with cow-dung and composts. The rpoportion borne by the seedling beds to the ares under transplanted rice varies from 4 to 10%. This is due to the fact that in poor fields close transplanting a span apart ( bigutiya ) is necessary. In ordinary good land the seedlings are usually a cubit apart ( hatiya ) , while in exceptionally good soil they are sometimes placed at the width of a fishing basket apart (pala chabiya), nearly 20". The seed which has been selected from the largest ears of the previous years crop, is sunk in water for two or three days and then lifted up and kept dry for two days duly covered and allowed to germinate, and then the germanated seeds are sown broad-cast over the bed in the puddled field. It comes up a rich emerald green and at the beginning of summer these patches of the brightest green herbage are a striking feature in the rural landscape. In the meanwhile the fields are made ready for the transplantation of the seedlings. The male members start ploughing as soon as the soil is softened by the spring rain and repeats the process from four to eight times till he has reduced tha land to a rich puddle of mud. After the third ploughing the field is harrowed, the small bunds a few inches high, intended to retain the water are repaired and if the fields adjoin the road or the village site they are fenced in with split bamboo. When the seedlings are about six to seven weeks old they are taken from the nursery bed and carried in large (akhi) to the field. Here they are planted out in handfuls (muthi) each of which contains six to eight plants. It is usually the practice to steep the young plants in water for a day or two before they are planted out and unless they are weak and stuned, the tops are cut off at the times of transplantation. The transplantation goes on from the beginning of July to the end of September, and is generally carried out by women. The works is of a most arduous description, and involves stooping for hours in a field of liquid mud, under the rays of the burning tropical sun. In places where the transplanting is feared to be delayed either due to drought or some other reason the germinated seeds are sown broaDistrict Councilast on the field. Before the end of the rain the crop is fully grown, though the ears are still empty, but by the middle of October, they begin to fill and the field turns to a rich green and then achieve the flowering age. From the middle of November to the middle of January harvesting takes place. Women grasp a handfuls (muthis) are tied up with a piece of straw and left in the field for a few days to dry. When the grain is ready to be transported to the granary or thrashing floor, the muthis are made in larger sheaves. Six to eight muthis from a thor or jhap,and five or six thors a dangari. A dangari is then affixed to either end of a sharp pointed bamboo called 'birva' and the load which is called a 'bhar' carried right to the homestead by the men.
The different kinds of Sali paddy fall under two main divisions, lahi nad bar. Lahi ripens earlier than bar, and though the grain is of a finer quality, the yield is appreciably less. It is planted on the field which are not usually effected by flood. Altogether there are said to be not less than 74 different varieties of Sali dhan in the district amongst which the varieties recommanded by Agriculture Department for better yielding are mainly (1) Prasadbhog, (2) Swarnsali, (3) Andrew sali and (4) Laudumra.
Ahu is grown in hills by the people in the method of jhuming or shifting cultivation . Ahu seeds are sown in the month of April and May. In the dry terraces also Ahu is grown in the same season. Ahu is also occasionally transplanted, the system of cultivation employed being substantially the same as that in force for Sali. Transplanted Ahu is generally grown on irrigated land. The crop ripens earlier than Sali and thus gives a quick return on the labour expended on its production.
The Japanese method is a better or improved method of cultivation, the aim and object of which is to increase production in small areas.This method was introduced in the district from 1954-55. The main features are raising of healty seedlings, like transplanting and application of fertilizers. The advantage is less quantity of seeds, easier inter-cultural operation. But despite this , it has been able to attract cultivators in large numbers in view of the fact that the process is some what labourious. The Department has , therefore, been conducting demonstrations in demonstration centres in order to popularise this system of cultivate. The highest yield by this method during 1960-61 was 99 mds. per acre.
Maize : Next to paddy, maize is an important food crop of the district. For some part of the year, the local inhabitants and immigrant Napalies depend on maize grains for their food supply. It is mostly cultivated in jhum though some people cultivate in homestead also. The corns after harvest are shelled and stored. The grains are made into flour or fried and eaten. Until recently maize was solely grown for home consumption but at present quantity of it is exported out side the district. Maize covered an area of 3,237 hectares in the United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district in 1966-67 and produced 1,780 tonnes of grains.
Lesser Millet : There are 3 or 4 kinds of millets grown by the Karbis to supplement their paddy deficiency. It forms a minor place in the cropping mixture , but it is gaining more and more important due to their easy cultivation and poor conditions under which these successfully grow. The area covered by them was 60 hectares in the district in 1966-67 and produced 34 tonnes of grains.
Wheat : The cultivation of wheat is a recent introduction to the district and it covered an area of 24 hectares only with a yield of 13 tonnes in 1966-67.
Deccan Hemp or Mestapat : Next to cereals this crop form an important item in the dietry of the hill people as use of the pulses is almost unknown amongst them. In the cropping mixtures it invariably gets a place in smaller or greater proportion. Leaves, young shoots and fruits are eaten , cooked as pot - herbs and included in their daily meals. No other use of the plant except those mentioned , is made of . At the end of the crop's life , plants are cleared out along with other stubbles for next year's sowings.
Tur (Arhar) : It is neither a cash crop nor a food crop of the Karbis. It is cultivated only for its plants to be used as lac hosts. Arhar being the most important lac hosts, it is grown very widely in the jhum areas. the crop is sown alongwith other crops in March- April and allowed to grow till September/October when they are inoculated with brood lac. Plants used as lac hosts do not fructs satisfactorily. Besides, the variety suitable for and grown as lac host does not posses good edible quality. Even if lac host bears fruits and seeds , scarcely any attempt is made to gather the pods. The Karbis do not even like to eat this variety of Arhar not ot speak of finding any market for its sale. No attempt is also made to grow some edible varieties which may serve dual purpose i.e., plants as lac hosts and seeds for consumption because the impression is that edible varieties do not make good lac host. Arhar is the only mentionable leguminious crop grown in Karbi Anglong. Now a days Arhar is grown in some parts of the district with interest and the area under the crop is also increasing every year. In 1966-67 , Arhar covered as area of 275 hectares with an yield of 148 tonnes.
Rabi pulses : Pulses in the Karbi Anglong are mainly cultivated by the people other than Karbis. In the plains, of course, they have taken its cultivation in small scale. Moong and Matikalai are major series of pulses in the district. The crop is cultivated from the last part of August to the end of September. Harvesting takes place in the months of December and January. Rabi pulses in 1966-67, covered an area of 1,174 hectares with a production of 456 tonnes .
Gram is also cultivated but on a very small scale. During same year it covered an area of 31 hectares.
Soyabean : Soyabean seems to be of recent introduction in the Karbi Anglong . The Napalese settlers in and in the neighbourhood of Karbi Anglong are perhaps the agencies through whom this crop has reached the Karbis. The crop is still grown on a very small scale.
Rape and mustard : Mustard is another important cash crop of the district. It is grown well in the hills as well as in plains. In the hills it is grown by jhuming where after the clearance of the jungle, the seeds are sown (broadcast) in the month of September, October and harvested in January/ February. In the plain areas or in terraces also it is sown alike after proper tillage operation in the same season as in jhum.
The whole of the mustard finds its way into the market and there is no internal consumption whatsoever. The mustard of Karbi Anglong is reputed for its rich oil contents. In 1966-67 , it was grown over an area of 2,630 hectares in the district which produced 2,522 tonnes of rape and mustard seeds.
Castor : Castor crop is grown for dual purpose. It is not only grown in the jhum areas but also in and around the homesteads. It is very thinly dibbled in the jhum area. During the vegetation period of castor plants, leaves are plucked in small number for feeding eri cocoons without completely defoliating the plants. Plants are allowed to beer seeds which are gathered as they ripen at intervals of 1 to 2 weeks between the month of January and March. Large quantities of castor seeds are annualy exported from the Karbi Anglong.
There are generally two varieties of castor found in the hills namely (a) Red stemmed variety with black mottled seeds and (b) White stemmed variety with yellow mottled seeds. Plants of both varieties grow into very large size as much as 20/ - 25/ in height and seeds contain high percentage of oil. these seeds are collected in all the markets and exported outside district.
Sesamum : It is usually taken up for cultivation from June to August. the cultivation is mostly in favour with both Karbis and other tribes only because it requires minimum labour . The jungles are cleared in hill tracts and the seeds are simply broadcasting which gives a very good yield. Some times lands are of course prepared by one to two ploughings. the crop is harvested from October to December and always a good out-turn is obtained.
Linseed also covers a small area of the United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district.
Cotton : Cotton is an old cash crop of Assam Hills. There are two varieties of cotton grown in the district. The large bolled high growing cotton is known an borkapah (gossypum neglectum ) while the smaller bolled speciese is termed horukapah (gossypium harbaceum). The former is sown on level ground and has comparatively small number of seeds . It can be ginned easily than the second variety. It is plucked twice and bears for three season. the horukapah on the other hand yield only one crop in the year. The cotton is cultivated in jhums. Its seeds are sown broadcasting generally in conjunction with that of the other crops such as rice, til, maize, chilly, mustard and melon etc. The field is weeded once or twice and the crop ripens in November to December. Cotton requires rain when it is put into the ground to enable the seed to germinate, but afterwardds it thrives best, if it gets a good deal of sun and heavy rain is liable to rot the stems. generally the cotton is sold unginned. There is also little demand for its seed in the local markets. but there is very good foreign demand not for its spinning value but for its coarseness and low wax content of the fibre. This is not good to spin to thread but ideally suited for mixing with wool. Nearly whole of the product is exported to foreign countries. In 1966-67, cotton coverted an area of 6,475 hectares and produced 2,626 bales of cotton (180 kg. each bale ).
Jute : Jute is grown particularly in the Howraghat area of Karbi Anglong which is mostly inhabited by the immigrants. The cultivation of the crop is taken up from March to May. The land is well prepared with proper tillage. Usually the seeds are broaDistrict Councilast but now advantage of line sowing has been taken up as it requires less seeds rate and less labour for interculturing operations. Improved variety of seeds have also been introduced by the Department of Agriculture which increases and yields better quality of fibre. The cultivation of this crop requires more labour than other crops, still the crops is preferred due to ite easy marketability and good return.
The plants are cut in the months of July to September, stripped of their leaves, tied in bundles and left to rot in pools of water for ten to twelve days. When they are ready, a handful of stems is taken up, broken in the middle and beaten to and fro in the water till the inner part drops out and only the fibre remains. The bundle of fibre are then dried and made ready for use. It was grown over an area of 509 hectares and produced, 5,888 bales of jute in 1966-67.
Tobacco : It is cultivated as a garden crop in small patches in the months of October and November to meet their home consumption throughout the district.
Sugarcane : In Karbi Anglong sugarcane is mainly grown in Bokajan area though some patches are also found in the hills under jhums. North Cachar Hills also has some cultivation of it . Khangori and Co 313 are the common varieties of sugarcane grown in the district, but now some other recommended varieties such as co 419, poj 2,714 are also grown. The crop is propagated from the tops of the best canes which are cut off at harvest time and kept in a shady place. One of these top yields on the average about five canes. Soil is prepared well by ploughing and hoeing till it is reduced to fine tilth and the tops are planted in inches between April and June. The field is properly fenced with bamboo to protect the canes from stray cattle and Jackals. While the crop is growing , it is hoed and weeded from time to time . The larch from the ridges is heaped about the roots to strengthen their hold with the soil and this process is continued until the relative portions of the ridge and trench are reversed and the canesstand up on ridges with the trenches in between. Time of harvest differs according to the variety of sugarcane comencing from January to April. The total area under sugarcane was 1,902 hectares in the district in 1966-67. Almost whole of the sugarcane from karbi Anglong is sent mill at Dergaon in Sibsagar district.
Chillies : The chillies are grown in the homesteads sufficiently primarily for home consumption. The surplus produce finds its way into the market though trade in this commodity is not worth mentioning. The varieties grown are good with regard to pungency and are big and attractive in size.
Potato : The cultivation of this crop is done throughout the district but not on a large scale. The preparing land for sowing starts from September to November with other vegetables. The small size potato is preferred for seed and sown in time. Earthening operation are taken up after three to four weeks and repeated again after about six weeks. The crop is harvested in the months of January and February . The estimated yield of potato is 30 to 40 mds. per acres. Potatoes are imported from neighbouring districts as the local production is not sufficient to meet the requirements.
Sweet potato : Raw tubers of sweet potato though very much liked by the Karbis, it has to be imported into the hills from neighbouring plains. The quantity they produce is not enough to meet the requirements in their long travels through the forests and jungles. Going out on some business, sweet potato is invariably carried in the bags to sustain them during the journey. Inspite of its being such an important article of diet it is still grown on a small scale and people are dependent on outside supply. Nepalese settlers grow this crop in abundance and abandoned jhum areas are generally utilised for this purpose.
Horticulture crops : The major horticulture crops grown in the district are Banana, Orange, Pear, Arecanut, Pineapple, Coconut etc.and monor crops are Guava, Lemons, Papaya, Lichi, Jackfruits, Mango and the like.
Banana : The varieties of banana grown in the districxt are Chenichampa, Malbhog, Jahaji, Athia and other indigenious types. The Jahaji, Chenichampa, and Malbhog are small trees whose fruits are much appreciated by all. The Athia plantain is generally grrown near the home - steads where it can obtain a plentiful supplly of manure but the finer varieties are planted at a little distance to protect them from earth worms whose attack they are hardly strong enough to resist. Sandy soil and heavy clay check the growth of the plant and anything in the shape of water logging is most injurious. The Banana suckers are generally planted in June and July and are manured with cowdung and sweepings and ashes. Young saplings take from thirteen to eighteen months to mature and form flowers take two to three months to mature into a fruit. The plantain tree serves many purposes in addition to that of a fruit purveyor. The flower is much is much esteemed as vegetable, the leaves serrve as plates and the trunks are used for decorative purposes on occasions of ceremony and as food for elephants. An alkaline solution distilled from sheaths and corn is sometimes used in place of salt . For this purpose, portions of the tree are sliced, dried and reduced to ashes. The ashes are placed in an earthen pot in which there are several holes lightly plugged with straws. Water is then poured over, which dissolve the alkaline and trickles the hole into the receiver below. The resulting product which is known as Kharpani is used as spice, as a hair wash and as a mordant with certain dyer.
Banana is grown in most houses in the district. It is also cultivated as a major crop in the private gardens. The area of Bokajan, Lumbajan, Rongkhang in Karbi Anglong are ideally suited for its cultivation. In North Cachar Hills it is mostly concentrated in Harangajao area but due to lack of transportation and marketing facilities, the fruits are not properly disposed of.
Pineapple : It is an important fruit crop of North Cachar hills. Area under pineapple crop is about 810 hectares which alone covers 60 % of the total fruit growing area of North Cachar Hills. The average yield is said to be 22 mt. per hectare. Total population roughly comes to 17,800mt. of which about 450 mt. is exported outside the district. Pineapple growing areas in North Cachar Hills are Jatinga, Laikul, Laisong, Harangajao and Hatikholi and Hmarthongmai. no estimate of its production and acreage in Karbi Anglong is available but its cultivation is largely concentrated in the Nilip and Bokajan areas .It is also grown in and around Diphu town. It is grown from its suckers which are planted in hill slopes or terraces from March to may . Both kew and green varieties are grown here.
Orange : Next to pineapple, comes oranges which occupy about 8 % of the total area under horticulture in North Cachar Hills. Its cultivation is mostly located at Laikul, Mahur and Jatinga areas of the Barail range covering its eastern and southern potion having altitudes between 610 m. to 1,067 m. The average yield is about 5mt. per hectare. More than fifty percent of the crop is exported outside the district mainly by rail heads. It is also grown widely in Karbi Anglong but its main concentration is in the Nilip areas. It requires humid climate with annual rainfall of 30// inch. It thrives well in deep, well drained soil. Its slaping are generally planted on hill slopes. The oranges are harvested from November to January. Cultural practices are done by cutting down dead and old branches of the trees and removing the weeds from the base of the tree. But this important fruit crop is facing gradual decrease due to the occurrence of the disease of all India nature for which no remedy to check the disease has yet been evolved . The research is going on to find out the cause of the disease.
Pears : It grows at elevations of 400 ft. and requires deep and warm soil retentive of moisture. It can grow in poor and marginal soils also. The cultivation of pear is mostly concentrated in the Socheng area and partially under Amri community Development Block. It is generally cultivated in hill slopes under rained conditions. Picking up of fruit at the right stage of maturity is of paramount importance. If picked ina very ripe condition, it deteriorates quickly and if picked raw and sent to the market, it shrivels up. The best time for picking is when the fruit is hard and green but mature. Due to lack of transportation there is practically no matter for this fruit.
Coconut : Its cultivation is mostly concentrated in the plains area. It is grown as a garden crop but cultivated in homesteads. It is doing well and there is prospect for more cultivation.
Betelnut : Cultivation of betelnut is localised one . It is grown in low altitude hills and plains and in and around homesteads. The production of betlenut in the district is very insignificant to meet the requirements and considerable quantities of it have to be imported from outsides. Besides, jackfruit, mango, papaya, guave, plum, lemons etc., are also grown in small quantities in the district. Apple cultivation has also been cultured in North Cachar Hills in areas having an altitude of 1,219m and above. Some varieties of apple grafts with low chilling requirements from Kulu Valley are planted in areas having altitudes of 762m, 914m, 1,067m, 1,219m. and above.
Tea : The cultivation of tea is confined only to Karbi Anglong. Tee quality of tea produced is inferior, neverthless, its contribution to the district economy is fairly significant. It also provides employment to a number of people. the process of cultivation and manufacturing tea is the same as practised in the other districts of Assam.
III Progress of Scientific Agriculture :
Agricultural Implements : In hill areas of the district, agricultural operations is carried on with a very few and simple implements. Most important of these implements are dao, axe, hoe, spade and scythe. Daos mainly used for cutting operation, are made of iron bar with sharp edge on one side . Such daos have wooden and bamboo handles. Sometimes axes are also used for felling big trees. Hoes are used for sowing paddy and scythe used for harvesting. All these implements are generally, locally manufactured by the village blacksmith or purchased from the local market.
In the plains desi plough, harrow, hoe, scythe are used. Desi plough is made of hard wood. It consists of 3 parts (a) the handle and body which are usually all in one piece, (b) the pole which joins the plough at the junction of the handle and the body and (c) the yoke which is merely a piece of wood or bamboo, fastened by rope at the right angles to the pole with pags affixed to it to keep it from sliding from the neck of the bullock. In the front end of the body a piece of iron is fastened which is known as phal. These ploughs are drawn by bullocks. generally such ploughs can plough down the soil to a depth of 3//-4// if the soil is not so ahrd. Harrow (moi) is a bamboo ladder about 8 feet in length and 11/2 in breadth at the centre where a man can stand as it is drawn across the field by bullocks or buffaloes. It is used to harrow up or level the field and also to crush the clods. Its place is sometimes taken by a plain log of wood. Hoes (kodals) are used to trim the embankments (alis) which help to retain the water. Sickles (kachi) with which the paddy is reaped have also to be purchased.
The ordinary implement used for husking grain is dheki, a long beam with a pestle affixed at the end , which is supported by two posts at about two-third of the length from the head. The shorter end is pressed by the foot and the pestle is thus raised into a small mortar buried in the ground in which the grain is placed. The dheki is the implement ordinarili employed by the plains people to husk their rice or pulse, but the hill tribes generally used alarge wooden mortar (ural) and a pestle (mari). All these implements are generally made at home.
Agricultural Department has introduced some new and improved types of implements such as mouled board and subash plough, hand hoe, rake, khurpi, spade , sickle, drill machine , weeder etc. These implements are gradually gaining popularity among the cultivators. The following table shows the use of agriculture machineries and implements in United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district during the year 1956.2
|Sugarcane Crushers worked by power||1|
|Sugarcane Crushers worked by bullocks||144|
|Oil engines with pumps for Irrigation||1|
|Electric pumps for irrigation||-|
Seeds and Manures : Generally growers used their own local varieties of seeds collected at the time of the harvest for raising their crops and as a result the outturn is not satisfactory in most of the cases mainly in the plain areas of the district. But now the Agriculture Department has introduced some improved varieties of seeds which are getting popular in the plain areas, for instance, Prasadbhog, Laudumra and Handique sali in respect of winter paddy and Kaimurali, Rangadaria and Kasalath amongst Ahu paddy.
Rotation of crop is not practised by the ordinary cultivators but they adopt the process of mix cropping. From their long experiences, they have found out the suitability of different crop mixtures under different physical and topographical condition of soil, to avoid total or partial failure. A few general cropping mixture followed by them are given below.
|No 4||Cotton .||Sorukapah|
Soyabeen, chillies, sweet potato, gourds and such other miscellaneous minor food crops which cultivators intend toraise, are inter-dibbled in the fields in small numbers.
The district is rich in green matters and also because of the practice of shifting cultivation the cultivators generally get virgin and fertile soil and use of ignorganic manures is very limited. Efforts are being made to popularise these inorganic fertilizers such as Ammonium Sulphate, Super Phosphate, Urea and Muriate of Potash through practical demonstrations.
Rural compost though easy to prepare is used only in the plain areas of the district and in the hill areas ,its use is very rare.
Agriculture disease and pests : As the district is full of jungles, crops are attacked by wild animals , pests and disease. The animals which do most injury to the crops are pigs , elephants and monkeys. Elephants have disastrous traces of their presence, but luckily do not remain in locality.
Serious damage is sometimes done by insects which are called kepnkata, tupalia, gandhi (Leptorisa acuta), charha (Hispa acuesceus), semi- loopper and hairy caterpillar. The gandhi is a small pug which injures the rice plant by feeding on the stems and stucking all the sap from the young grains. It is most prevelant in July and August and is particularly in evidence during a spell of hot dry weather. High wind and rain drive it back into the jungle, and good results are obtained by lighting fires of vegetables refuse to wind ward direction. Another remedy is to collect the insects by smearing a winnowing fan with some glutinous substance and brushing it over the ears of grain, when many of the bugs will be found adhering to the fan. This remedy should be tried in the morning or late afternnon, as the insects do not feed in the heat of the day. The Charha is tiny beetle, which eats away the outer surface of the leaves and stalks, and thus affects outturn of the crops. It attacks the young plants in the nursery and can most easily be destroyed by spraying. Smoking the fields also produces sood results. But must be continued for some days or the beetles will return.
The control measures of the pests have been taken up by the Department of Agriculture in large scale. Pesticides are distributed to the growers when needed at 50 % consession. The following table gives the details of important pests and diseases and their control measures. Important pests and diseaes of Assam and their control
|Crops||Pests and Diseases||Control Measures.|
|Rice||Brown Spot||Treat the seeds with Agrosan G. No @ 3 gm. per 1kg. Ofseed, or immerse the seeds in solution of 1 gm. of Ceresan in litre of water for 12 hours and dry them in shade.|
|Blast||Spray 5 : 5 : 50 Bordeaux Mixture or spray 0.4% solution of Perenox, Shell Copper, Cupravit.|
| Foot Rot and |
| Treat the seeds as in the case of Brown Spot ; uproot and destroy the affected plants. |
|Stem Rot||Destroy stubble, allow water to drain out from the field tocake the soil and treat withany copper oxychloride fungicide, viz. Fytolan, Blitox, Copessan etc.|
| Bunt and False |
Uproot and destroy the affected plants. Burn affected plants, treat the seeds in hot water for 10 minutes in 140 F
|Case Worm and Gally fly.|| (1) Dust 10% B.H.C. |
(2) Spray Edrin or Diazinon @10 c.c in 4.5 litre of water 3 times @40-50 gallons per acre if there is incidence.
|Grasshoppers and Jassids.||Dust 10% B.H.C. or 2 % Aldrin|
| Leaf Roller |
|Dust 5% B.H.C.|
| Mealy Bug |
pillar, Rice- Bug
Dust 10 % B.H.C. or Spray Parathion 0.05%
(1) Spray Edrin 20E.C or Diazinon.@ 10c.c in 4.5 litres of water.@ 40-50 gallons 3 times.
(2) Dust 10% B.H.C. at 7kgs. per acre.
|Stem Borer|| |
(1) Diptreat the seedling blades on 50% (W.P) D.D.T
@ 1 lb in 25-28 gallons of water before transplanting.
|Sugarcane||Termites and Red Ants.|| Dust 5% Aldrin and incorporate it into the soil @ 25 kg. |
per hectare or 10 Kg. per acre.
| Stem Borer , Early Shoot Borer and water for the 1st spray and 30 c.c in 100 litres of water for |
t Top Shoot Borer
Spray Phosphamidon 3 times @ 20 c.c in 100 litres of water for the 1st spray and 30 c.c in 100 litres of water for the 2nd and the 3rd sprays.
Spray Edrin 20 E.C thrice @2.50 Kg. in 675 litres of water for the 1st spray, 3.75 Kgs. in 870 litres of water for the 2nd spray and the 3rd sprays per hectare.
|Mealy Bug and White Fly.||Spray Basudin 20@ 1 Kg. in 660 litres of water per hectare.|
|Leaf Hopper||Spray 0.25 % B.H.C. or dust 10 % B.H.C.|
|White Borer||Spray 0.4 -0.5 % B.H.C.|
|Red -rot|| Plant disease-free seeds , avoid water stagnation, uproot and and destroy the affected plants. For leaf infection spray |
0.5% 0.5% Copper Oxychloride or 0.4% Dithane Z-78.
|Leaf Spot|| Manure the crop , adopt improved cultural practices and irrigate irrigate when necessary and spray 0.5% copper fungicide |
when infection is observed.
| Mosaic, Smut |
|Root out the affected canes and destroy them by burning, plant disease free seeds.|
| Wilt and Collar- |
|Plant healthy seeds, adopt crop rotation and avoid ratooning.|
|Maize|| Leaf spot and |
|Use disease-resistant varieties,Practise crop rotation.|
|Aphis||Spray Nicotine Sulphate.|
|Borer||Spray Endrin or Diazinon or D.D.T. (50%).|
|Potato|| Early and late |
| Spray B.M. or any copper fungicide viz., Captan 406. Dithane Z-78, Shell Copper or |
Fytolan of Blitox @ 2-4 lbs.in 100 galoons or
water at an interval of 15 days. Use disease- freeseeds.
|Brown-Rot||Plant disease-free tubers.|
|Scab|| Dip tubers in hot Formalin, 1 part in 100 parts |
of water for 4 minutes in 122oF. or Hydro-chloric Acid before planting.
| Leaf Roll and |
|Plant disease-free tubers.|
|Tuber Moth||Dust 5% B.H.C.|
|Greasy Surface||Dust 5% B.H.C. at 7 Kgs per acre|
|Caterpiller Cut Worm||Spray Aldrex 30 E.C.|
|Tobacco||Wilt||Disinfect the seed-bed.|
|Caterpillar and Thrips||Dust 5% B.H.C.|
|Cruciferous Cabbage,||Black-Rot||Treat the seed with Mercuric Chloride (1 in 1000)|
| Cauliflower, |
Knol-Nhol, Turnips etc.
|Damping off||Spray 2 : 2 : 50 B. M. or drench seed-bed with Streptocycline or Ceresan|
|Club Root|| Sterlize seed-bed with Formalin (1 : 50 ) or |
Mercuric Chloride (1 : 2000) @ 2 gallons per sq. yard. Lime the field @ 1500-2000 lbs. per acre. Treat the plants with
1 : 2000 Mercuric Chloride @ 3/4 lb. per acre.
|White Rust||Practise crop rotation.|
|Leaf Spot|| Treat the seed with hot water for 30 minutes (122oF.) |
and spray 4 : 4 : 50 B.M.
|Brown Rot||Apply 20 lbs. of Borax per acre or spray 0.3% solution of Borax.|
|Aphids||Spray 40% Nicotine Sulphate (5to 8oz. in 50 gallons of water ).|
| Caterpillar, Trips. |
|Spray Malathion - I 5 C.C in 1 litre of water. Dust Jassids, Semi, 5% B.H.C|
|Painted Bug||Spray soap solution ( 1 lb of soft soap in 6 gallons of water )|
|Cricket||Use Malathion dust or Aldrin 5% dust.|
|Jute||Stem-Rot, Root-Rot||Treat the seeds with Agrosan G.N. or Ceresan or Flit 406, apply Lime @ 20-30 quintals and Seedling Blight per hectare, apply usual dose of Potash and follow crop rotation. Spray 0.4 Copper Oxychloride.|
|Black Band||Use disease-free seeds , spray 5 : 5 : 50 B.M. or Blue Copper or Cuman or Blitox.|
|Hairy Caterpillar||Dust 5% B.H.C. or spray Endrin 20 E.C twice @ 0.8-1.1 Kg. in 445-667 litres of water.|
|Mites||Dust Lime Sulphur (3.1).|
|Crickets||Apply Endrin 5% at soil preparation @ 45 Kg. per hectare or spray Endrin 20 and bait.|
|Mustard||Downy Mildew||Spray 4 : 4 : 50 B.M. or any copper fungicide.|
|Leaf-Spot|| Treat the seeds with hot water for 30 minutes |
(122oF.) and spray 4 : 4 : 50 B.M.
|White Rust||Practise crop rotation.|
|Aphis|| Spray 40% Nicotine Sulphate (5-8 oz. in 25 gallons of water ) or spray Basudin 20 E.C. or |
Malathion (50% W.P. ) @ 1 litre in 450 litres of
|Caterpiller and Sawfly.||Dust 5% B.H.C. @ 6 Kg. per acre.|
| Pulses : |
|Anthracnose and Leaf – spot|| Spray 4 : 4 : 50 B.M or Perenox or |
|Mosaic|| Sow disease - free seeds, control insect vectors by |
spraying Nicotine Sulphate or
Basudin or Dimecron
Review of the activities of the Agricultural Department and other agencies :
In the First Five Year Plan emphasis was laid on those schemes which had limited objective of increasing food production only. But the Second Five Year Plan aimed at attaining a balanced development of food abd cash crops. Priority was given to the multiplication and distribution of improved seeds, distribution of fertilizer, creation of irrigation facilities etc. During the Third Five Year Plan attempts to put the agriculture of the district on a better scientific plan were made intensive and at the same time more diversified. It is the objective of the Fourth Five Year Plan to increase the production of foodgrains at an average annual rate of 5 percent in the State, to arrest the decline in production of jute by increasing the average yield rather than the area and to increase the production of wheat, oilseed , pulse, fruit and other plantation crops.
Agricultural Deptt. : The Development of Agriculture is the main function of the Agricultural Department . District Agriculture Officer is the head of the district . He is assisted by a number of officers and other staff. The following are the schemes undertaken by the Department of Agriculture in the district .
Distribution of Fertilizers : It has already been mentioned that there is a very limited use of chemical fertilizers. This may be ascribed partly to the ignorance, prejudice and partly to the limited purchasing power of the farmers. Further inadequate irrigation facilities and uncertainty of rain restricts the use of fertilizers. Undeveloped means of communication in the district is another problem . It makes difficult to supply fertilizers to the farmers, especially in the interior areas of the district . For this reason the Agricultural Department grants transport subsidy for distribution of fertilizers.
Distribution of Improved Seeds : The principal agency for the supply of seeds is the Assam Seeds Corporation Ltd., Gauhati. The Agricultural Department purchases the seeds from the Corporation and supplies to the farmers at 50% subsidised rates.
The following is the list of Seeds Farms and Nurseries .
|#||Name of the Farm||Year of Starting||Area in acres||Area under cultivation in acres|
|In Karbi Anglong|
|1|| Diphu Disrtict Seed |
Farm and Nursery,
|2||Tarabasa Seed Farm,||1956-57||30||24|
|3||Bokajan Seed Farm||1957-58||30||25|
|4||Tumpreng Seed Farm||1957-58||30||27|
|5|| Kheroni Large Sized |
|In N. C. Hills|
|7||Maibong Seed Farm,||1957-58||39.23||16|
Agricultural tools and implements : The Agricultural Department has been trying to popularise the use of modern equipments and implements like mould board plough , weeder , seed drill, thresher, power tiller , power pumps etc., through Assam Agro-Industries Development Corporation. Cultivators are also realising the importance of modern equipments and implements in increasing the productivity of the soil A few farmers in the plains have taken up to mechanised farming but in a greater part of area where shifting cultivation is practised, modern implements can not be of much use unless cultivation is converted into terracing or some improved device of cultivation is evolved.
Plant protection measures : The plant protection measure is an important task to save the existing crops. It is carried out through outh the district under different manner of operation to combat the attacks of insects, pests and diseases. Prophylactic measures have been taken up to save crop from the probable attack of diseases, insects and pests. The farmers are becoming conscious of these measures and the demand for plant protective chemicals and equipments etc., is increasing gradually. Sprayers, dusters, pesticides, weedicides and fungicides are made availabe to farmers by the Department of Agriculture at the 50% subsidy through the agency of Assam Agro-Industries Development COrporation Ltd.
Sugarcane development schemes : Procurement and supply of recommended sugarcane sets, crushers at subsidised rates have been envisaged under this scheme. Demonstration plots have also been taken up in different Community Development Blocks under the scheme.
Cotton development scheme : The Hill Cotton Scheme was initiated in 1947 in Garo Hills, jointly financed by the State Government and Indian Cotton Committee. Extensive research work was taken up by setting up a Farm at Tura in Garo Hills. This scheme continued till 1961.
The present Hill research Scheme was take up in 1964 to follow up the work of Hill Cotton Scheme. This time the head quarters of the scheme were established at Diphu in Karbi with branches in Garo Hills and Mizo Hills. The work in Mizo Hills was stopped after the disturbances . Under the scheme one farm has been established in Karbi .
Cotton Research Farm,Diphu : This is situated just near the Diphu and covers an area of 20 acres. The whole area is utilised for conducting trials on long or short staple cotton.
Cotton Research Farm, Dillai : It has been taken up in 1970-71, because area coverage of the diphu Farm is very small and it is found difficult to take up studies on growing long staple cotton in extensive way there.
To study the performance of long and short staple cotton in North Cachar Hills , a part of Agriculture Farm, Maibong is utilized temporarily for conducting a few trials. Besides , exploratory tribals in the fields are also taken to study the performance as well as to familiarise the cultivators. Afew varieties of local cotton with better qualities have been evolved. These are : -
D-46.2-1 : It is selection from Dafala Hills (Arunachal Pradesh) cotton. The ginning percentage is found to be 46% compared to 42% of local. The yield is also comparatively higher than the local variety.
G-54-1 & G-135-49 : Both are selected from Garo Hills cotton. The ginning percentage is 47 % and yield is higher than local variety.
Further a lot of local varieties have been tested and among the varieties selected for release mention may be made of M.C.U.I. Buri - 147, A.C. - 122, etc.
The Assam Agro- Industries Development Corporation Ltd. : The branch office of the Corporation was opened at Diphu , Karbi , on 8th July 1969 with a view to extending technical knowhow to the progressive cultivators in th efield of modern agriculture, to supply agricultural inputs and implements timely and at reasonable price and to facilitate repair works of agricultural equipments and machineries by establishing workshops. This branch office serves Karbi , North Cachar Hills and two States of Manipur and Nagaland. It provides agricultural inputs either directly or through government agencies like District Agricultural Officer, Block Development Officer and also through the stockists appointed by the Corporation. The Corporation also makes available agricultural equipments at subsidised rates. Soil
Conservation Department : The problem of soil erosion is very acute both in the Karbi and North Cachar Hills due to the extensive practice of jhum of shifting cultivation in hill areas. This affects the fertility of the soil greatly. The natural cover of the land is destroyed and the soil being devoid of vegetation loses its moisture bearing capacity. Monsson rains further washes away the soil and erodes the hill slopes . This makes the river beds sited up and the rain water finding insufficient outlets, overtops the banks causing flood in the plains area. To check this soil erosion , The Soil Conservation Department have taken up some schemes both in Karbi and North Cachar Hills
The activities of the Soil Conservation Department started in Karbi Anglong in 1945-55 as a part of the jhum control division of the Forest Department with head quarters at Gauhati. In March 1959 this jhum control division was splited into three divisions and named as Soil Conservation Division. In June, 1960, United Mikir and N.C. Hills Soil Conservation Division was started at Diphu. This Division was again splited into two Divisions namely Karbi Anglong Soil Conservation Division and North Cachar Hills Soil Conservation Division on 1.2.1968 with head quarters at Diphu and Haflong respectively.
Cultivation of cash crop : The people in hill areas are encouraged to grow some perennial crops on land unsuitable forregular crops. The most successful cash crops introduced by this Department so far are coffee and Black pepper. Experimental plantations of para - rubber and cashewnuts have also given good results.
Coffee is considered to be ideally suited as cash crop to the hill areas of Assam. The average yield is about 100 kg per acre and the quality of coffee produced is also considered to be good quality. By 1970, about 110 acres of land will be covered by departmental coffee plantation in Karbi Anglong . The North Cachar Hills will have 150 acres of coffee plantation and the annual yield from these departmental plantation has been expected to be 100 kg per acre.
Black Pepper : About 10 acres in North Cachar Hills and 31 acres in Karbi Anglong is under black pepper plantation and nurseries. The nurseries have been maintained for free supply of vines to the villagers. But the results are not very encouraging as the people are not evincing keen interest in the cultivation of the black pepper.
Cashewnuts : Cashewnuts are growing well in Karbi Anglong and plantation in about 460 acres have been created by the Department. The estimated production in 1969-70 has been 6,861 kg. of cashewnuts. The cashewnuts plantation in North Cachar Hills with only15 acres was created in 1967- 68. Because of poor yield of nuts, the scheme is discontinued. Para Rubber : The cultivatin of rubber has shown very satisfied factory results in the district and so far 271 acres of land in Karbi Anglong has been brought under plantation by the Department.
Land Improvement : With a view to reduce shifting cultivation, the Department has taken up the works of reclamation and terracing to settle the jhumers to permanent suitable agricultural crops. For reclamation usually land upto 5% slope and valley's bottom lands are taken up, terracing is done on the hills having slope of 5 to 30 percent . In Karbi Anglong about 3,500 acres of land is likely to be reclaimed and terraced by 1971. The same in North cachar Hills will be 1,225 acres.
Afforestation : The afforestation works are undertaken by the Soil Conservation Department in the jhum eroded and barren land to stop further deterioration of the soil. These lands became unfit for crop cultivation and if left as it is, serve soil erosion will cause more damage. Under the afforestation schemes such areas are protected by raising valuable plants like tea, Khoir, Bogipoma, Sal, Gomari, Bola etc. Under the scheme 2,063 acres in Karbi Anglong and 1,162 acres in North Cachar Hills will be brought under afforestation by 1970 and 1971 respectively.
Irrigation : Providing water for the developed land is very essential and hence Department has taken some irrigation schemes. Each scheme must benefit at least 10 acres of developed land. In Karbi Anglong , Cinani and Halua are two successful irrigation projects constructed by the Department. The method of irrigation is by gravity flow and channel . Up till now about 2,000 acres of land in Karbi Anglong has been brought under irrigation.
Agronomical works : Under this scheme , various experiments have beeen taken up with different kinds of crops like ginger , maize, groundnuts, matikalai, mustard, pineapple, banana etc. and results obtained have been demonstrated to the people.
Loan and subsidy : The Department has a loan-cum-subsidy scheme for helping the tribal growers in cultivation of cash crops. 50% of the loan recovered free of interest in easy instalments while the remaining is treated as subsidy. The Department provides subsidy for terracing and reclamation of land to be converted to permanent cutivation. Under the Agronomical scheme there is a provision to supply one kodal, one khurpi and one dao free of cost for the maintenance of the terraced land.
The Department has also taken up a pilot project scheme to demonstrate the local cultivators the benefits of soil conserbation practices in cultivation. Under this project, schemes like land development, irrigation , afforestation, agricultural crops, horticulture and foldder development will be taken up on scientific lines
Regional and District Research Station and laboratory : The institute has been arranged to be established at Diphu in Karbi Anglong in 1968-69 with a view to improving the various cultural practices, introducing new crops, and stdying pests and diseases of different crops, with the ultimate object of maximising the yield and improving the qualities of various crops. An area of sixteen hectares of land is likely to be brought under cultivation. Research work presently will be confined to collection of local and improved varieties of different crops grown within and outside the State and to study them under observation in replicated plots.
Agricultural marketings : There is no regulated market in the district. The marketing system for agriculture products is not developed. Poor means of transport and communication stands in the way of development of markets. Agriculturists do not get fair price of their products. They have to sell their products to their creditors at prefixed rates which are much below the prevailing market rates. The development of cooperative sector is also at its infant stage. A few marketing societiees have been organised at selected business centres. The Assam State Warehousing Corporation Ltd., have constructed a warehouse at Howraghat with capacity of 4,14,372 cft. and another at Langhing with capacity of 1,51,362 cft. A branch of the Agricultural Marketing Department of the State Govt. has been established recently at Diphu which conducts the survey of markets and commodities
(d) ANIMAL HUSBANDRY AND FISHERIES :
The United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district has the lowest live stock population among the districts of Assam in the sixties, while Kamrup has the highest. According to the Census of 1966, the live stock population comes to 2,94,022 of whom 2,92,325 in rural areas and only 1,697 in urban areas of the district.
Everywhere in India, cattle are considered to be the backbone of the agricultural economy and the closest and constant companion of the farmer. The economy of the district, though agricultural, cattle do not carry the same importance with the farmers here as elsewhere in the country. It is because in jhum cultivation, cattle are not used and all the processes of cultivation are carried out by the farmer himself. The local tribal population has also a traditional aversion towards milk drinking. The cows and buffaloes are generally reared by the outsiders especially by the Nepalese who have established small khutis in the interior of the district where sufficient pastures are avilable for feecing the cattle. They prepare ghee and sell in the early markets. Male calves are sold for cash money out side the district.
The breed of the cattle in the district is generally of non-descript type. They are neither good milk yielder nor efficient plough puller. The cattle in the areas of Block I and Block II in Karbi Anglong and Garampani in North Cachar Hills, adjoining the Khasi and Jaintia Hills District are good milk yielder. Bulls are also tough and strong then those of other parts of the State. The Following table shows the cattle population in the district since 1945.
From the above table , it is evident that leaving aside the period of 1945-51, there has been enormous increase in cattle population during the last two decades. This increase in cattle population may partly be attributed to under enumeration in earlier censuses and partly to the availability of vast grazing areas inthe hills. The following table shows the details of cattle population in the districts as per the Livestock Census of 1966.
|(i) Used for breeding only||1,193||1||1,194|
|(ii) Used for both breeding & work||3207||3||3210|
|(iii) Used for work only||46034||140||46174|
|(i) In milk on 15th April 1966.||22,970||285||23255|
|(iii) Not calved even once||2351||2351|
|(iv) Used for work only||893||893|
As regards buffalo population, United Mikir and North Cachar Hills District comes to occupy the sixth position among the districts of Assam as per the Liverstock Census of 1966. Darrang district has the highest population. The buffalo population in the United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district has increased considerably in recent years. The population of buffaloes in the district in 1945 was 7,709 . This declined slightly to 6,487 in 1951 but increased considerably to 22,152, 43,541 and 53,228 in 1956, 1962 and 1966 respectively. The following table shows the details of buffalo population in the district as per the Livestock Census 1966.
|(i) Used for breeding only||820||820|
|(ii) Used for both breeding and work||3854||3855|
|(iii) Used for work only||9205||9221|
|(i) In milk on 15th April 1966.||9,844||1||9,845|
|(iii) Not calved even once||1997||1997|
|(iv) Used for work only||2285||2285|
Sheep and Goat :
Practically sheeo are not reared in the district though its natural forests and pastures offers good scope for sheep rearing. According to the Livestock Census of 1966 , there were only 442 sheep in the district. But rearing of goats is widely prevalent and the district in 1966 has 52,594 nos. of goats. In 1945, the United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district had a population of 4,603 goats. This declined to 2,889 in 1951 but rose to 22,907 in 1956 and to 61,748 in 1961. In 1966 it again declined to 52,594. The goats are to indigenous character and non-descript type. Graded Jamunapari goats introduced through Community Development Blocks are thriving excellently in the district. Now a days this breed is becoming quite common.
Horses, Ponies and Mules :
Horses and Ponies are not much in use in the district. In 1966, the district has only 443 horses and ponies but there was no mule or donkey.
Pigs : Pork constitute a portion of the staple food of the tribal people of the district and is considered a must in all the community feasts. Every home keeps some pigs. In 1966, the population of pigs came to 56,349.
Poultry : The deshi breed of poultry is quite common, and in 1966, their population came to 4,06,562 of which 3,82,815 were fowls, 21,240 ducks and 2,507 others. The poultry population in the district has increased consierably during last 15 years. In 1951 the poultry population of the United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district stood at 67,634. This increased to 1,93,033 , 3,80,724, and 4,06,562 in 1956, 1961 , and 1966 respectively. A great majority of poultry belongs to deshi breed. Improved breed which mainly consists of White Leghorn, R.I.R., Black Minarca etc., and their crosses forms a very small percentage of the total poultry population. The per formance of local breed in production of eggs and meat as compared to improved breed is far from satisfactory. But for the performance of religious rites white birds of local breeds are considered must as it is believed that birds of foreign breeds are not acceptable in offerings to deities. The poor economic conditions of the people coupled with the special attention required in rearing exotic birds also stands in the way of rearing the improved breeds of birds.
Area under Fodder Crops : The necessity of cultivating fodder crops is not felt in the district as it possesses natural gifts of forests and pastures. The Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department has taken up the cultivation of fodder crops viz, Guini, Napier para etc., in the veterinary dispensaries and centres for demonstration but the area under such cultivation is negligible. There are grazing reserves in the district under the control of two District Councils of Karbi Anglong and North Cacnar Hills. Grazing reserves in Karbi Anglong are divided into Village Grazing Reserve and Professional Grazing Reserve comprising an area of 3,981 bighas and 19,088 bighas respectively. Taxes at the rate of Rs. 6% per buffalo , Rs.4/- per cow and Rs.15/- per elephant are levied per annum on the professional graziers. In North Cachar Hills there is no demarcated area for professional grazing reserve and village grazing reserve but the taxes at rate of Rs.3/- per buffalo and Re.1/- per cattle annually is realised from the professional graziers. The estimated revenue from the Grazing Tax of two District Councils of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills came to Rs.3,318 /- and 4,916/- respectively in 1964-65. To popularise the nutritious type of fodder, a Fodder Demonstration Farm will be established at Lumbajan.
Dairy Farming :
The need of milk for small towns and bazars is met by the Nepalis goals. They have taken advantage of running small khuties economically due to natural forestry. There is a proposal to establish one creamy centre at Garampani in North Cachar Hills by the Govt. for collection of cream from the khutiwallas. There is a plenty of milk available in and around Garampani but there is keen competition from the private traders who pay advances to the khutiwallas and purchase cream.
The Karbi Anglong though mostly comprises low ranges of hills, is constituted and over flanked by more or less plain area particularly the north eastern and north western sides adjoining Sibsagar and Nowgong districts respectively. In these areas few old tanks and bils are found which may be reclaimed successfully for fisheries. The North Cachar Hills is more elevated with its average height ranging from 1,000 to 1,200 metres, and which offers very litle scope for the development of fisheries. In few natural lakes, fishes of high altitude variety may be tried. It being hilly as a whole offers little scope for development of pisciculture.
Obviously the fishing industry here is not developed on commercial scale. Fish is caught for home consumption by every section of the community. The curing of fish is also undertaken by local tribes. Small dried fish is one of the delicacies of almost all the tribes. The smal fish is not cured or prepared in any way but simply dried in the sun. Sometimes a little portion of dried fish is also sold in the nearly markets but mostly it is consumed domestically.
Fish, fresh , as well as dried , is brought to the local markets by rail heads from Karimganj and Silchar of the Cachar district. The price of fresh as well as dried fish is settled by weights but occasionally the former is also sold by counts. Though it is difficult to give any figure of fish imported in a year it is beyond doubt that major part of the demand for fish is met by imports. Imports from neighbouring districts is also gradually on increase. Its price has also arisen considerably in recent years.
The favourite way of fishing in the hills is to choose a shallow river and built across a dam with gaps here and there in which long basket are placed. the baskets are usually set when the river is discoloured from rain as they are not very effectual in clear water ; thousands of fish of all kinds are yearly caught in this manner.
Fishing by poisioning is also very common in tne hills. At the beginning of the hot weather about April and May, many of the hill streams are poisioned. For this purpose roots of the two creepers are used. Dimasa Kachari in North Cachar Hills call them Rugajao and Makaw where as Karbis in the Karbi Anglong call them Rumiat amd Rutang. The Rugajao is of red colour and Makaw a milky white. The poison of the former is more effective in proportion to the heat of the weather and water. On a cold day, Makaw is preferred. The villagers having collected a sufficient quantity of the roots proceed up the stream, some little away above the place, they wish to fish . These roots containing the poison are beaten out to stone, the juice and sap being allowed to flow down with the water . Almost immediately the fish may be seen rising and splashing above the surface. The effect of a Makaw is to kill the greater number but the effect of Rugajao, if not administered in too large a quantity, is that the fish reocver quickly and is apparently as well as ever. Certain fish do not appear susceptable to the poison. Mahaseen and lasp family generally do not suffer much where as the Baginas is killed in large number. There may be more destrutive agents in the form of fish poison in use among the people in hills.
Another method of fishing is torch light in the night. A sandy shallow river being choosen on some night when there is no moon, two men start in a boat , one pulls a paddle and the second holds torch and spear. On a fish beneath seen on the sand below, the spear is thrown and about four times out of six, the game agged.
In the plain areas of the district especially in Karbi Anglong nets are used for fishing . Cast net and drag net called as oakpe and lungtur or lunghar in Karbi dialect, are commonly used. The cast net known as khewali in plains is a piece of netting at the centre of which a rope is attached while all around the edges there are weights. The net is thrown flat on the surface of the water, when the weight sinks and drag the sides of the net together, it is then drawn by rope to a boat or bank and fish that may have been swimming in the water over which it has been cast, are entangled in the pockets round the edges. The net is called by difficult names according to the size of its mesh. The drag net is generally smaller in size with a rectangular shape and having no pockets and weights. The two ends of the net are held by two persons one standing on the upper side of the river and the other on the lower in the water . It is then pushed and dragged in the water to a desirable distance and then suddenly raised up as soon as the fish is felt in front of the net. It is generally used in shallow water.
Fisheries in Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills, are under the administrative control of the respective District Council. The important fisheries in Karbi Anglong are Dighalpani Arikati bil, Balisa bil, Kalasera bil, Kopilinadi bill part 1 , Era Kopili bil, Memaro bil, Kachari bil, Khanda bil , Dikhrunadi part 1, Jamunanadi part II, Kopilinadi part II, Dikharunadi part II, Amdubi and Langjut Duli, Komari bil, Chengchung pahar bil, Kopilinadi part III, Kolioninadi part I, Kolioni nadi part II, Lutumari, and Barganga. The important fishing centres in North Cachar Hills are Dihing Lake and fisheries located along the Diyung, Jatinga and Langting rivers. These fisheries are leased to private parties by open bid for a period varying from one year to three years depending upon the nature of permanency of the fishery. There are also some natural fisheries which if developed may prove an abundant source of ifsh supply. The natural fisheries are Lankajan, Habaipur, No.1,2,3, Joma bil., Bedengpi, Railway bil, Kachupukhuri, Betpukhari . Haflong lake owned by the town Committee, Haflong also offers a good scope for the development of fishery. Exotic fishes of high altitude may be introduced in this lake on experimental basis. There is also one small lake at Diphu maintained by the Distrit Council, Karbi Anglong. Fishing by angling is permitted on the lake on payment of a certain fees.
The development of fishery is the responsibility of the Fishery Department . For this two Fishery Officers one for Karbi Anglong and another for North Cachar Hills were posted at Diphu and Haflong in 1960 and 1962 respectively. Recently the office of the Superintendent of Fisheries for Hills has been shifted to Diphu in Karbi Anglong. The activities of the fishery unit mainly consist of survey of inland water areas and natural fisheries for the development and improvement , opening of demonstration fish farms and rendering of technical assistance and supply of seeds to the public interested in the development of pisciculture.
The Fishery Department in Karbi Anglong has established three Departmental Fish Farms at Hawraghat, Bokajan and Padampukhuri for the introduction and distribution of Indian Major Carps. Taking into consideration the great deman for fish seeds, two Fish Seed Farms one at Bokajan and another at Taradubi are being established. It will cover an area of 6.15 acres with capacity to produce about 7 lakhs fish seeds annualy. Subsidised in cash and kind are provided to the deserving private pisciculturists. Fish seeds are supplied at 50% of the subsidised rates. Under the scheme to develop the existing derelict natural fisheries, reclamation works of Taradubi bil under Rongkhang Development Block has been taken up in a phased manner. The reclamation of the entire bil is expected to be completed by 1974-75 and on completion it is expected to yield 30-35 metric ton of fishes annualy. Further, three Develoment Blocks has been covered by Applied Nutrition Programme. The aim of the scheme is to produce fishes through private pisciculturists for free feeding to under-nourished children and expectant mothers. Under the schemes the Department has taken the construction of nursery tanks in Karbi Anglong.
In North Cachar Hills Fish Seed Production Centre is expected to be established at Haflong Upper Lake in 1972-73.
The Applied Nutrition Programme has been made applicable to Jatinga Development Block and for this purpose 19 bighas of water area has been created. Till now the Department has been able to create about 70 acres of water area through private pisciculturists.
Measures to improve quality of breeds to secure greater output : Research centres, model farms etc . :
To improve the local breed of live stock, the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department has distributed improved breeds of bulls, poultry, pigs, sheep, goats, heifers etc. The facilities for artificial insemination have been made available in the rural areas currently in the key village centres. Castration of the weedy bulls to prevent degenerated breeding has also been carried out. Cattle fairs and calf rallies are organised on the occasion of Gausambardhana week and exhibitions are held. The district staff visits the interior villages to train up the villagers on various aspects of cattle rearing.
In Karbi Anglong Bull Extension Centres for natural service of the local cows by bull of improved breeds have been established at Lumbajong, Chutianala, Lunghit, and Diphu. Provisions have been made to extend this scheme to the interior areas of the district. Under the Heifer Distribution Programme , heifers are provided to interested cattle breeders on return basis with idea of introducing to produce better type of milk producing animals.
To introduce better breeds of live stock and also to provide milk, meat, and egg to the consumers, the following institutions have been established in the district by the Animal Husbandary and Veterinary Department.
Govt. Pig-Cum-Poultry Farm, Diphu : This farm is situated at about 2 km. distance from Diphu Railway Station on Diphu-Lumding Road. It was originally established as a Sheep and Goat Farm with temporary sheds in 1964. With the establishment of separate Sheep and Goat Farm at Diphu under crash programme, this was converted into a Pig-Cum-Poultry Farm. The Farm covers an area of about 330 acres of which about 4 acres are covered with Farm buildings and 3 acres for staff quarters. The remaining area is utilised for growing various seasonal crops such as maize, til etc. to meet a part of the food requirement of farm animals and birds.
In the Farm, poultry is raised under modern scientific deep-liter system and pigs are maintained in the semi-intensive method. The poultry are of White Leg Horn (W.L.H.) , Rhodea Island Red (R.I.R.) and Austroloop (A.L.) breeds . White Leg Horn breed is considered excellent for its laying capacity but not ideal for meat . The other two breeds are good for both meat and eggs purpose. Pigs are of Yorkshire or Saddle Back breed. The former is good for meat but not preferred by the people of the locality because of its colour. The latter is also good for meat and much preferred by the people than other improved breeds
Sheep and Goat Farm Diphu : The Farm was established at Diphu, Karbi Anglong in 1965-66. Its live stock population in 1970-71 was about 600 nos. of sheep. Both Nellore and Mondula breeds of sheep are reared in this farm.
Proposals are also there to establish one Fodder Farm and Dair-cum-Cattle Farm at Lumbajong, about 16 kms. from Diphu on Diphu-Lumding Road. District Council has already provided the land, and construction of buildings are on the way.
Pig-Cum-Poultry Farm, Haflong : This Farm was established in 1962 for the development of piggery and poultry in the district. It now covers an area of 200 bighas. Pigs in this farm are only of white breed where as birds belong to R.I.R., W.L.H. and A. L. Stock. This farm also sells eggs for table purpose.
Animal Diseases and Veterinary Hospitals : The parasitic diseases such as liver-fluke caused by flat worms and other intestinal parasites that devitalise the animals, are quite common in the district. It is generally caused from the ponds , rivers etc., having stagnant water and from common grazing reserves. It is a tremendous task to treat the water and land with parasiticide. Some contagious and infectious diseases like haemorrahagic septicaemia, anthrax, black-quarter etc. occur sporadically in all seasons in the district and sometimes specially in the rainy season in epidemic form.
Rinderpest is a fell disease of the cattle. Though, the disease is a preventable one, yet it takes a heavy toll of animal lives. The freeze-dried goat-tissue vaccine is a good antidote to the disease. Outbreak of the foot and mouth disease is also reported occasionally in the district.
The following hospitals and dispensaries have been established by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary to control epidemic and provide medical treatment to diseased live stock in the district.
|1||Veterinary Dispensary, Howraghat|
|2||Mobile Veterinary Dispensary, Diphu|
|11||Veterinary Sub-centre, Hidipi II.|
|20||R.A.H. Centre, Phulani.|
|22||Veterinary Aid Centre,Dengaon|
|23||Veterinary Aid Centre,Japarajan.|
|24||Veterinary Aid Centre, Kheroni.|
|25||Bull Extension Centre,Lumbajong.|
|26||Bull Extension Centre,Lunghit.|
|27||Bull Extension Centre,Chutianala.|
|North Cachar Hills|
|7||Veterinary Aid Centre, Asalu|
|8||Veterinary Aid Centre, Gunjung|
|9||Veterinary Aid Centre,Langting.|
|10||Veterinary Aid Centre,Sangbar.|
(e) Forestry :
Total area under State reserved Forest is 2109.94 sq. km. in Karbi Anglong and 644.75 sq.km. in Morth Cachar Hills. In addition to this there is an extensive area of unclassed State Forests. This area is forest in name only, due to the fact that unrestricted jhumming has virtually denuded the area of forest trees. It is covered with dense bamboos and grasses with a few scattered trees here and there. The forests are managed by the respective District Councils of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills.
The forest of the United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district are noted for their forest wealth. Hill economy greatly depends on them. They provide fresh lands for their jhumming. Hill people procure from forests all the materials required for construction of houses. Forests are also the abundant source of shikar which is a must to the sportive life of the people living in the hills. Forests provide valuable timbers which are used for construction of houses and buildings, manufacture of plywood and furniture etc., within the district. Timber is also exported to upper Assam and Calcutta to feed the saw mills, plywood factories and furniture making units. Timber species produced by these forests are teak, hollock, gamari, sam, sonaru, ajhar, poma, bogipoma, bhelu, titasapa, bonsom, amri, korai, khorra etc. Minor forest products are firewood , bamboo, cane, thatch, rema, patidoi, agor, chalmugra, dhuna, banslochan, honey, tezpat , lac and minor minerals like sand and sand stones etc. Bamboo resources of North Cachar Hills are rich enough to support a paper pulp mill in the area. The Langting - Mupa forest reserves covering an area of 1,21,866 acres are very rich in bamboo abd bhelu trees providing excellent materials for the manufacture of the paper. Already bamboos are exported to Calcutta for the Bengal Paper Mill which has its agency at Langting for the extraction of bamboos. A Paper and pulp Mill in Public Sector with an estimated cost of Rs.70 crores is going to be established at Jagiroad in Nowgong district. The raw materials for this Mill will be produced from North Cachar Hills.
Forests are also good source of revenue to the District Councils of Karbi Anglong and the North Cachar Hills. With better management, revenue from forests is likely to increase considerably.
Forests Karbi Anglong are under the control of two forest divisions, namely, Karbi Anglong East Division and Karbi Anglong West Division with their head quarters at Diphu and the forests of North Cachar Hills are under the control of North Cachar Hills Division, Haflong. Divisional Forets Officer , is the head of forest division. He, assisted by numerous other forest official, looks after the scientific development and exploitation of forests under his control. There is a working plan for each division according to which development of forests and extraction of timber are carried out. Some of the scheme undertaken are plantation, road development, building construction, forest protection and regeneration etc.
(f) State assistance to agriculture :
Production oriented scheme implemented through various agencies of the State Government have brought much improvement to the agriculture. Besides, the measures discussed above the State Government also provides loans to agriculturists in the shape of seed loan and cattle loan. Distribution of improved seeds and manures, execution of minor and medium irrigation schemes, reclamation of waste lands, constrution of dams and bunds to control floods, imparting of necessary training to farmers by way of demonstration, supply of improved agricultural implements, and other measures have yielded rich dividends in recent times.