BRIEF NOTE ON KORAPUT FOREST DIVISION

       The Koraput, considered as ‘Hub of Tribals’ is one of the southern districts of Odisha located bordering Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. Out of total population of the district more than 50 % belongs to Scheduled Tribes and about 13 % are Scheduled Castes. The origin of the name 'Koraput' is obscure. But theories abound. According to Mr. R.S. Bell, the then the Collector of Koraput, the name derived from Kora-Putti meaning "the hamlet of the Kora or Kochila (Strichnus Nux-vomica)" a tree that prevalent once in the region. Another theory suggests Koraput is the corrupted form of "Karaka pento", literally meaning "Hail-stone". While folklore says Koraput is named after Khora Naiko – a valiant warrior of Nandapur kingdom. The history of Koraput goes back as far as 3rd century BC. It originally belonged to the valiant and dreaded ‘Atvika’ people who fought the Great Kalinga War against Maurya ruler the Samrat Ashoka to restore the empire's glory. The region successively came to be ruled by several dynasites: Satavahans, Ikshvakus, Nalas, Ganga kings and kings of Suryavamsha. Finally, it becomes a district of Orissa state on 01st April 1936.

       However, in forest point of view the District Koraput consists of two divisions that are the eastern half is Koraput Forest Division and the western half is Jeypore Forest Division. Though the region was brought under scientific management since long ago but the Koraput Division as such is one of the newly created young Divisions in Odisha i.e. from October 2003.

       Erst-while Rayagada Forest Division has been reorganized and bifurcated into two Forest Divisions vide Govt. Notification No. 1F(A)-100/2003/13228/F&E dtd 08/08/2003 of the Govt. of Odisha, Forest & Environment Department. The two Divisions are Rayagada Forest Division with HQ at Rayagada (Jurisdiction over the entire Rayagada District) and another is Koraput Forest Division (KFD) having jurisdiction over Koraput Revenue Sub-division of Koraput District. These Divisions have come into existence with effect from 01st October 2003. Koraput Forest Division is equal to the geographical area of Koraput Revenue Sub-Division. The administrative set-up of this Division consists of Six (6) Ranges, Eighteen (18) Sections and Seventy Five (75) Beats. The Forest Ranges are Koraput, Laxmipur, Narayanpatna, Semiliguda, Balda and Lamptaput.

       As per the DLC record, the total geographical area of the Division is 3760 Sq km entirely within Koraput District. The total forest area works out to be 31.13 % of the geographical area of the Division which comes about 1170.59 Sq Kms. The 914 Sq Kms Koraput plateaus, whose eastern edge is marked by the hilly regions of Narayanapatna and Kashipur, extend up to the boundary between Koraput and Jeypore Divisions besides Kalahandi Forest Division. In fact, this plateau extends well beyond up to the border of east Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh. Hundreds of little hills are scattered all over the plateau with a remarkably similar appearance. The most notable heights of the hills of this plateau are Deomali Parbat (1673 mts.) and Miamali Parbat (1500 mts.). The Deomali peak is not only the highest peak in the district of Koraput but also the highest peak of the State. The entire jurisdiction of the present Koraput Forest Division comes under this geographic unit.

       Geologically this Division being part of the Indian peninsular shield of Eastern Ghat belt, it forms one of the oldest rock masses on the earth that remained generally stable up to the tertiary era. During the early geological history, back to 1,600 million years, sedimentary and igneous rocks were formed which were later repeatedly subjected to changes in temperature and pressure resulted in the formation of altered or metamorphic rocks such as Charnockite, Khondalite and Granite Gneiss. Later around 1400 million years back, an arm of the sea extended into the western part during the Cuddapah period. Rocks such as Sandstone, Shale and Limestone were formed in it. The Sandstone generally forms the hills, while limestone and shale the valleys. In between the oldest Charnockite-Khondalites and younger Sandstone-Limestone, occur minerals like granite and Mica-Schist of various types. The important economic mineral deposits of the Division are Bauxite, Graphite, Manganese, Quartz and Gemstones. Gem stone occurrence have been discovered in Pottangi area of Koraput Division where in already big open cast bauxite mines of NALCO is in operation.

       The Division is characterized by tropical to sub-tropical climate. Four distinct seasons are generally experienced here. The hot summer season is from March to May when the temperature touches as high as 38˚C in Narayanpatna Range but the temperature in Koraput region is around 35˚C in the summer season but the winters are very cold here, particularly during December & January when the temperature goes down to as low as 4.0˚C. In the chilled mornings, the thick blanket of fog is a common phenomenon particularly around Koraput. The monsoon season is little longer extending from June to September when the average temperature hovers around 30˚C; however, the relative humidity is maximum during this period with average being about 70% but it is more in Koraput area, touching, at times even 95%. The autumn season is from October to November and the winter months extend from December to February when the temperature goes down to as low as 3.0˚C, particularly in Sunabeda & Pottangi areas. In fact, Koraput plateau receives maximum rainfall. However, the normal rainfall of the Divisions is 1521.8 mm.

       The rivers Kolab & Machkund are two major river systems of the present Koraput Forest Division, the former originating from Koraput plateau (Sinkaram Hill) and the latter one entering the Division / State from Andhra Pradesh at Undergedda Reserve Forest of Lamptaput Range. Other important river is Jhanjhavati in Narayanpatna Range of Koraput Division. The major land-use classification consists of Forests, Agriculture, Horticulture, Shifting Cultivation (Podu) and Mining. Podu is mainly practiced on the hill slopes by the Tribal’s. Podu rehabilitation working circle is carrying out on those areas to rejuvenate the original forests.

BOUNDARIES:

North

Kalahandi (S) Forest Division

North East

Rayagada Forest Division

East & South

Srikakulam Dist. of Andhra Pradesh

South West

Malkangiri Forest Division

West

Jeypore Forest Division

North-West

Nawarangpur Forest Division

       This Division is well connected through the wide network of roads and railways. The NH-43 passes through the Division connecting Jagadalpur town of Chhatisgarrh on one side and Vizianagaram town of Andhra Pradesh on the other end where it meets NH-5. The other important roads of the Division are Koraput-Rayagada; Koraput-Vizianagaram via Balda & Araku Valley; Rayagada-Parvatipuram; Rayagada-Muniguda etc. Similarly, there is a good network of Railways. The main railway links are Koraput to Bhubaneswar via Rayagada & Vizianagaram; Rayagada to Delhi via Raipur; Koraput to Kolkotta via Rayagada & Rourkela.