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Regional Geography,What I need to know

Regional Geography
A region is a wide area having some universally accepted homogeneous character.
The purpose of the regional concept is to distinguish similar regions making them clear and well arranged from adjacent regions on some particular basis. The term ÔregionÕ is of course, used in a wide sense. Regions are classified into different types such as, physical region, political region, cultural region etc. Hill, mountains, plateaus, plains, rivers, lakes, seas are studied in the physical regions. All these are gifts of nature having no roles for human beings to play. On the other hand, the political regions are the borders of different countries and soverign area of government. The cultural region is based on culture of human beings. In the same manner, industrial region is the accumulation of a number of man-made factories that produce a number of products. So political regions, cultural regions and industrial regions are based on particular ideas. 
The Continent of Europe 
Location : The continent of Europe is located between 35° to 71° North latitude and 25° West longitude to 66° East longitude. 20° East longitude and 55° North latitude has passed the middle of the continent. The continent has the North Sea to its north, the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea to its south, the Caspian Sea and Asia to its east   the North Atlantic Ocean to its west. The Ural mountain has seperated Europefrom Asia. Area : Europe ranks third among all the continents in respect of its area. The area of Europe is only 2,32,27,496 square kilometres. It is about 0.24 part smaller than Asia in area, 0.35 part of Africa, 0.43 part of North America and 0.59 part of SouthAmerica while it is 1.37 times larger than Australia and 7.45 times larger thanAntarctica. 
Coastline : In comparison to its size, Europe has a very long and broken coastline. The coastline is 41,204 kilometres i.e.1kilometre of coastline for every 242 kilometres of its area. In many places, there are inland, seas and bays and gulfs so that no part of Europe is more than 1,690 kilometres from the sea. This has resulted in the formation of many natural harbours and ports along the coast. There are many peninsulas, islands archipelagoes along the coast of this continent. In the north coast, the majors ones among others are White Sea, Bothnia Peninsula, Baltic Sea, North Sea, Iceland Island, Scandinavian Peninsula (Norway and Sweden) and Denmark Peninsula. Besides, there are Novaya Zemlya and Pittsburgen Island, North Cape and Northkin Cape. In the west coast, there are Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). In the south coast, there are Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Genoa, Tyrrhenean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Ionian Sea, Aegean Sea, Sea of Marmara, Black Sea, Azov Sea, Balearic group of Islands, Corsica Islands, Sardina Island, Sicily Island, Italian Peninsula, Ionian Archipelago, Balkan Peninsula and Crimean Peninsula. As the continent of Asia is located in the east, there is only Caspian Sea surrounded by land on all sides. 
Physiography : Europe is divided into four divisions on the basis of its physical structure 
1. The Rocky Plateau of North-West Europe 
2. The great plain of Central 
3. The plateau of Central and West Europe; and 
4. The mountainous lands of South Europe. 
1. The Rocky Plateau of North-West Europe : The Scandinavian Peninsula (Norway and Sweden), the northern part of Scotland and Ireland are included in this region. In the past, this region was consisted of old metamorphic rocks. Owing to their long exposure to the external agents of denudation, these ancient rocks have been worn down to form plateau. The Kiolen mountain is in the north Scandinavian plateau and the Dover Field mountain is in the south. The landmass of this region slopes to the south-east. The rift valley of Glenmore has divided the Scotland plateau into two parts. The north part of the United Kingdom is known as the Scottish Highland, while the southern part is Graspian range of mountains. Nevis (1,344 metres) of Graspian mountain is the highest peak in the United Kingdom. 
2. The Great Plain of Central Europe : This great plain stretches from the coast of the Bay of Biscay in the west to the eastern border of Europe in the east. In fact, this plain has joined the plains of Asia and formed the greatest plain in the world. The plain includes North France, Belgium, Netherlands (Holand), Germany, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukrain and most of the places of Russia. The surface in this plain is mostly flat and in most cases is not more than 152 metres above sea level. Much of the surface of the lowlands is covered by glacial deposits and moraines because the glaciers moved over this area. 
3. The plateau of Central and West Europe : The region is formed of five small and big diffused plateaus. This region includes Meseta plateau of Iberia, Central Meseta Plateau of France, Bavaria, Plateau of Germany and Bohemia Plateau of Czech and Slovakia. 
4. The Mountainous Lands of South Europe : The Alps Mountain is situated at the central place of this mountainous lands. The Alps Mountain is about 1,116 kilometres Long and in width it varies from 56 to 64 kilometres. A number of branches from this mountain have spreaded to the different directions of South Europe. The Dinaric and Pindus mountain in the south-east of Balkan Peninsula, Balkan mountain in the east of the Dinaric, the Republican of Czech and Slovakia to the east of the Alps, the Carpethian mountain covering West Ukraine and the central east of Romania, the Transylvania mountain in South Romania, the Caucasus mountain, Jura mountain and Vosges mountain to the east of Black Sea are all determining the border of France, Switzerland and Germany. The Evergen and the Siveneze mountains are located in South France. The Mount Blank (4,807 metres) situated in the border of South-East France and Italy, is the highest peak. This peak remains under ice throughout the year. 
The Meseta plateau of Spain is situated in the highlands of Pyrenees in the border of France and Spain, in the highlands of the Cantabrian Mountain in North Spain and the Sierra Nevada in South Spain. The Apennines, a branch of the Alps has passed through Italy towards south. The Hungary Plain is located in the river valley of Daniube within the Carpethian and the Dinaric Mountains, the Lombarde Plain in between the Alps and the Apennines, and the Romania plain between the Balkan and the Transylvania mountains. Visuvius of Italy, Etna of Sicily, Strombly of Lepery Island and Hekla of Iceland are the notable volcanoes of Europe. 
Climate : Europe is situated at the Temperate Zone. Difference in climate is found to occur in different places of Europe due to the distance from the sea, influence of warm currents, location of the Arctic circle, and the mountains etc. On the basis of the mentioned situations, the climate of Europe is divided into four climatic regions 
1. The Tundra Climatic Regions : This climatic region is included in the Frizid zone as the northern parts of Norway, Finland and Russia being situated in the north of the Arctic circle, and this type of climate is known as the Tundra Climate. The winter season is long and the intensity of winter is very high. There is a heavy snowfall in this season and the surface remains covered with snow for about nine months of the year. 
2. The Temperate Climate of North-West Europe : The countries in this region are those located along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the north-western Europe that include Norway, southern part of Sweden, Germany, France, northern part of Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Iceland. The climate of this region is equable as the warm North Atlantic Stream flow along this region and no place is far off from the ocean. The amount of rainfall is higher more during winter but the intensity of winter cold is not much. 
3. The Continental Climate of East Europe : This climatic region include Poland, Southern Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan of East Europe. The region is far from the sea. The cold wind of the north blows over these countries. The intensity of cold during winter is very high. It rains a little under the influence of westerly wind during summer, but in the east the rainfall gradually decreases. So the climate of this region is called Extreme Continental Climate. 
4. The Mediterranean Climatic Region : This region includes Portugal, South Spain, South France, Italy, Albania, Greece, the European Turkey, the Mediterranean Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Crete of South Europe not far from the Mediterranean Sea. Though there is scorching sun during summer but the temperature remains less due to the influence of the sea. The intensity of cold during winter is not felt high. There is rainfall in winter but the summer goes dry Political divisions and population : There are 46 large and small states in Europe. The former Soviet Union broke up in 1991 giving rise to 15 independent Republican States. Similarly former Czechoslovakia formed two states such as, Czech and Slovakia after break up and Yugoslavia formed 5 states. 
The Continent of Asia 
Location : We live in the continent of Asia. Bangladesh is located in this continent. Asia lies between 10° South latitude to 80° North latitude and 25° East longitude to 170° West longtitude. The Pacific Ocean is in the east of this continent, Europe and the Mediterranean Sea in the west, Africa and the Red Sea in the south-west, the North Ocean in the north while the Indian Ocean in the south. Europe and Asia are jointly called Eurasia since they are connected by land. Only the Ural Mountain, the Ural river and the Caspian Sea have seperated Europe from Asia. 
Area : Asia is the largest continent of the world. Its area is 4,64,91,180 square kilometres. This continent is 8,528 kilometres from north to south while in east to west it is 9,654 kilometres. The continent of Asia is 1.5 times larger than Africa, 1.82 times than North America, 2.4 times than South America, 4.19 times than Europe, 5.73 times than Auatralia and 3.12 times than Antarctica. 
Coastline : The coastline of Asia is not very much indented. Naturally, the coastline is much shorter in comparison to its area. The total coastline is 57,924 kilometres that means it has 1 kilometre coastline per 773 square kilometres. The number of the developed sea ports is much less since the coastline is very short. 
Physiography : Asia can be divided into five divisions according to its physical structures. 
1. The low plains of North Asia : If we draw a straight line from the Bering strait to the south of the Caspian Sea, we shall see a great low land to its north. This plain has gradually sloped to the north. 
2. The highlands of Central Asia and the mountains : The height of Pamir, a plateau in Central Asia is 4,813 metres and it is called the Ôroof of the worldÕ since it is the highest plateau. The plateau is called the Pamir Knot, because different mountain ranges radiate from Pamir Knot to different directions. The Tien Shan Mountains have stretched towards north-east direction from here. Of the ranges of this mountain, Altai, Yablonovy and Stanovoi are the major ranges. The Karakoram lies in the south-west of the Kunlun running towards east from the Pamir and the Himalayan Mountains in the south. The Tarim plateau is situated between the Altyntag Mountains and the Tien Shan and the plateau of Tibet lies between the Himalayan Mountain and Kunlun. The Himalayas is the highest mountain in the world. It is about 2,414 kilometres long and 241 to 402 kilometres wide. The Mount Everest (8,884 metres) is the highest peak. Besides, there are about 22 such peaks whose height will not exceed 6,016 metres. K2 or Godwin Austin (8,619 metres) of Karakoram Mountain is the second highest peak in the world. Few branches from the east end of the Himalayas turning towards south passed through Myanmar as the Arakan Yomas and Pegu Yomas. Two mountain ranges viz., Hindu Kush extending towards south from Pamir Knot and the other one towards south-west as Sulaiman and Khirthar. The Elburz mountain of north Iran and the Zagros mountain of south Iran have joined the Armenian Knot to the west. The Iranian Plateau is located in between these two mountains. The mountains of Pontic and Taurus originating from the Armenian Knot extend towards west. The plateau of Anatolia is between these two mountains. 
3. The low plains of South Asia : The deposits of alluvial soil by the rivers of Tigris (Dazla) and Euphrates (Forat) basin of Iraq, Indus-Ganges-Brahmaputra basin of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh and Hwang Ho-Yangtze-Sikiang basin of China have developed this plain. Tigris and Euphrates plain slope towards south-east, the Indus basin towards south-west, the Ganges basin towards east, the Brahmaputra basin initially towards south-west then towards the south. The alluvial soil has made this plain very fertile. 
4. The Plateau of South Asia : The Arab, Deccan and Indo-China plateau of the southern part of Asia is formed of old rocks. Most of the area of the wide Arab Plateau is barren and sandy and this plateau slopes to the east. The West Ghat Mountain is situated to the west of the Deccan plateau, East Ghat Mountain in the east and Vindhya range in the north. This plateau slopes to the east while the Indo-China Plateau slopes to the south. 
5. The Volcanic Islands : Forming ÔfestoonsÕ down the east coast of Asia, there are rocky islands of Aleutian, Kurile, Japan, Riukieu, the Philippines and Borneo. Most of these islands are adorned with volcanoes. 
Rivers : According to the flow, the four great river systems of Asia are as follows : 
(a) Rivers flowing to the North Sea : The Obb (with tributary Irtish 5,569 kilometres) and the Yenisey (with tributary Angara 4,989 kilometres) rising from the Altai Mountains and Lena originating from the lake Baikal (4,264 kilometres) flow to the North Sea. The mouth of the rivers remain frozen most of the time of the year. 
(b) Rivers flowing to the Pacific Ocean : The Amur river (4,344 kilometres) originating from Yablonovy Mountain has flowed to the Orkhotosk Sea in the east. This river remains frozen for six months of the year. The Hwang Ho (4,668 kilometres) rises from the Kunlun Mountains and has fallen into the Yellow Sea. The Yangtzekiang (5,525 kilometres) originating in the Tibet Plateau has fallen into the East China Sea. Yangtze is the longest river in Asia. The Sikiang rises from YuananPlateau of China and flows to the South China Sea. The Mekong river and the Menam both rise from the Tibet Plateau, have fallen into the South China Sea and to the Bay of Thailand respectively. 
(c) Rivers flowing to the Indian Ocean : The Salwin (2,816 kilometres) river of Myanmar originating from the Tibet Plateau has fallen into the Bay of Martaban. The Irrawaddy (2,092 kilometres) rises from the Naga Mountains and flows through Myanmar falls into the Bay of Martaban. The Brahmaputra (2,896 kilometres) rises from lake Manash of Tibet and mingles with the Ganges flows through Tibet, Assam and Bangladesh. The Ganges (2,505 kilometres) rising from the glacier ÔGangotreeÕ flows to the Bay of Bengal through India and Bangladesh. The lower part of the river is known as the Padma. The Indus (2,896 kilometres) rises from the Himalayas and flows to the Arabian Sea through Kashmir and Pakistan. The Tigris (Dazla, 1,900 kilometres) and the Euphrates (Forat) rise in the highlands of Armenia in East Turkey. The combined course of these two rivers is known as Shat-el-Arab and flows into the Bay of Persia. 
(d) Rivers flowing into the lakes : The Amudarya and Sirdarya rising from the Pamir plateau and Tien Shan mountain respectively fall into the Aral Lake, while the Ural river, coming up from the Ural mountains flows to the Caspian Sea, the Tarim river (2,735 kilometres) to the Lapnor Lake from the Karakoram Mountains, the Helmond river from the Hindu Kush mountains to the Hamun and the Jordan river from the highlands of Lebanon to the Dead Sea. Besides, many small rivers from the different parts of the continent of Asia have flowed to different directions. 
Climate : Asia, being a large continent, has diverse physical features. The barriers tothe free flow of air current have created different climates in different areas. According to the prevailing climate, the continent can be divided into seven climaticzones. 
1. Equatorial Climatic Zone : The equatorial type of climate is found in Singapore, Malaysia Peninsula and Indonesia within 5° North and 5° South latitudes. The termperature here is high and heavy shower occurs throughout the year. The variation of temperature between winter and summer is less. 
2. The Monsoon Climatic Zone : The countries in the Tropical zone and the eastern part of Asia are included in this climatic zone. The countries included are South and East China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Heavy rains occur during summer and the rains make the summer cooler. Neither summer nor winter is extreme here. The climate is warm and wet. 
3. The Desert Climatic Zone : The prominence of dryness in this type of climate is  the major characteristics. Less growth of vegetation is found here due to no rainfall or less rainfall and the prevalence of drought. This type of climate is divided into two. 
(a) Hot Desert Climatic Region : This climate includes the Thar Desert of Pakistan and India, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and South-West Iran. Here the climate is extreme. Extreme hot during day and very cold during night is found to prevail here. 
(b) Cold Desert Climatic Region : This type of climate includes Mongolia of Central Asia, Sinkiang of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. These regions experience less rainfall being far away from the ocean. The air of this region is dry due to less amount of rainfall. The climate of this region is cold due to height. The Gobi desert is located in Mongolia and Sinkiang of the cold and dry climatic region. 
4. The Mediterranean Climatic Zone : This climatic zone includes Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and North Iraq of West Asia. Here rain falls in winter and the summer goes dry. 
5. The Continental Climatic Zone : The climate of West Siberia is extreme. Winter is very cold here and there is heavy snowfall. Summer is hot but short. There is scarcely any rainfall. 
6. The Cold Temperate Climatic Zone : This climate is found in East Siberia. Winter is extreme here. Extreme cold wind flows from the Arctic in winter. There is snowfall instead of rainfall. The eastern part is colder and drier than the western part. 
7. The Tundra Climatic Zone : This climate is found in the north of Siberia. Winter is very long here and cold is very extreme. Verkhoyansk in Siberia is the coldest place in the world. The snow in the north of Tundra does not melt even in summer. This area is unfit for human habitation. Political division and population : The states of Asia have been divided into five regions for the sake of discussion such as (1) The SAARC countries, (2) South-East Asia, (3) Far East and Siberia, (4) Central Asia and (5) South-West Asia. The area under SAARC, a forum for the development of South Asia regional countries is 52,21,391 square kilometres and more than 159.90 crore people live hi this region. All the seven states are independent and sovereign and help each other for mutual development. 
There are 11 states in South-East Asia with a total area of 45,10,560 square kilometres and population of 59.70 crore. Each of the states is independent and sovereign. 
There are 8 states in the Far East and Siberia. The total area of these countries is 2,65,71,415 square kilometres with a total population of 158.01 crore. The total area of five countries in Central Asia is 39,94,400 square kilometres and the population is 6.25 crore. The total area of the 16 states of South-West Asis is 61,93,414 square kilometres and the population is 29.36 crore. The Soviet Union broke up in 1991 creating 15 sovereign states. Of these, the countries included in Asia are (1) Siberia (the part of the Republic of Russia in Asia), (2) Kazakhstan, (3) Uzbekistan, (4) Turkmenistan, (5) Tajikistan, and (6) Kyrgyzstan. In 1993 some parts of Israel in the Middle East have been given self-rule status in the name of Palestine. 
Introduction : Malaysia has been formed of the southern part of South-East Asian  Peninsula and Sabah of Borneo Island and Sarawak. The Malay Peninsula is West Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak is East Malaysia. Malaysia is one of the friendly countries of Bangladesh. The people of this country freed themselves from the foreign rule and supremacy and then they have accelerated the pace of economic development by their untiring toil. Bangladesh is rapidly expanding her economic co-operation with this country. 
Location : The South China Sea is in the north of Malaysia, Celebis Sea in the east. Java Sea in the south and the Isthmas of Malacca in the west. The country is located between 2° South latitude to 8° North latitude, and 100° East longitude to 120° East longitude. 
Area and inhabitants : Malaysia is a country having an area of 3,29,750 square kilometres. The total population of Malaysia is 2.89 crore and density of population is 79 per square kilometres. The state language is Malay. People of different religious beliefs such as, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism, Sikh, Bahai, Hinduism live in this country. However, the majority is Muslims. 
Physiography : Malaysia is formed of coastal plains while the central region has high plateau. There is a narrow plain in the east and west coast of Malaya Peninsula, while the plains in the south coast is relatively broader. The southern part of the western coast of Sarawak is quite broad and the northern part becomes narrower gradually. The northern part of Sabah is a wide plain. There are only a number of plain lands of considerably large size in mountainous or hilly Malaya Peninsula. The principal mountainous water-shed is located near the west coast. Some of its parts are more than 2,100 metres high. There are many mountain ranges parallel to the coastline. The land in the western part of the principal water-shed is undulatory and fertile and has been developed considerably. But the eastern part of the same water-shed is forest covered mountainous land and less developed. The principal mountain ranges of the Malaya Peninsula are extended from north to south and is mainly formed of granite rock. But some of the mountains in the east are formed of quartzite and shale. However, there are some regions formed of limestone with steep flank in the west of the peninsula. The small basins formed of new rocks are found here and there. One of such basins can be found near Kuala Lampur. The regions of Sabah and Sarawak of North Borneo may be divided into three parts such as (1) the coastal plains, (2) the piedmont regions, and (3) the hilly regions. Alluvial soil has formed the coastal plains and small hills have made up the piedmont regions. The coastal plain is formed of alluvium and the piedmont region is formed of parallel mountain ranges extending from north to south have gradually elevated to a height more than 1,805 metres. The Kinabalu mountain is 4,050 metres high. 
Climate : Malaysia is located in the north of the equator. Naturally, the climate is equatorial and rain falls the whole year round and most of the rainfall occurs in the form of convection rain. Although located in the equatorial region, Monsoon blows over this country. The North-East and the South-West Monsoon bring rain in both the seasons of winter and summer. The eastern coast of Malaysia is under the direct influence of North-East Monsoon and hence wet season prevails from November to March and flows strongly over the neighbouring seas. Average rainfall in most of the areas of Malaysian Islands is 2,540 millimetres. The amount of rainfall increases in some open areas upto 6,860 millimetres but in the covered valleys, the rainfall comes down to 1,524 millimetres. The average temperature varies from 25° to 27° Celsius. In the low lying areas, the average temperature is around 27° Celsius throughout the year. The west coast of Malaysia is under the influence of Indian Oceanic South-West Monsoon. The wet season lasts from May to September. The western part of Malaysia remains partly outside the direct influence of the wind as Sumatra Island stands as a barrier to the flow of South-West Monsoon. As a result, the strait of Malacca located between the Island of Sumatra and Malaya Peninsula remains relatively calm. For this, it has actually accelerated the economic growth of this region. The change of the direction of the windflow occurs during the months of April and October. Average temperature in the north coastal area of Sabah remains at 27° Celsius. Two seasons prevail there one during October to April when there occurs heavy rainfall under the influence of North-East Monsoon, the other one during May to September when relatively dry weather prevails. January and February are the time for heavy rainfall.
Natural vegetation : Natural vegetation of Malaysia is dense and evergreen. This forest extends from sea plain to the high mountains. There is huge aquatic mangrove forest in the west coast plain of Malaya Peninsula and a narrow ring ÔCassiua BinaÕ tree of tamarisk group in sandy shore of east coast. In the equatorial forest of this country, the tall, straight and branchless trees of different species have a dense growth. About 50 per cent of the trees have a height of more than 30 feet. The big trees grow up with a canopy of thick leaves which the rain can penetrate but no sunlight ever reaches the ground. As a result, the land under these trees gets less light like twilight. Under the canopy of thick leaves, there is the under growth of creeper-like plants as well as bamboo and cane. Since in the equatorial forest, trees of different species have dense growth, one cannot find many trees of a certain species at a particular place. So, it is very difficult to collect a great number of tree trunks of a particular species and many trees are destroyed while bringing the trunks out of the forests. It is an economic loss. The valuable hard wood trees like Iron wood, Rose wood, Ebony, Mahogany and Rubber are procured from the forest of Malaysia and besides Palm,Bamboo, Malayan cane, Malaccan cane are also collected. But the plants of commercial use are not available in abundance in such a natural environment of the forest. 
Agriculture : The agricultural system in Malaysia is divided into (1) Indigeneous system of agriculture and (2) Arable agriculture system. Rice grows in the west coast valleys and east coast of the peninsula. The farmers grow rice just to meet their own need. Malaysia imports three eigths (3/8) of its total need of rice from abroad. Besides, the farmers grow tobacco, camphor, sago, spices, coffee, cocoa, tea and tapioca. There is little farming in the areas far from the coast and valleys. Some of the areas of the forest are inhabited by backward ÔSemangÕ, an aboriginal tribe who are not used to farming. The Malaysians live mainly in the village. The extensive progress in the cities is carried out by the Chinese. Rubber plantation started in Malaysia in 1895 as an arable system of Agriculture. Rubber is produced commercially in the big farms. Rubber plantation is practised in 30 lakh acres of land mainly in the low hilly regions and low plains of the west coast. The trees having big trunks are cut down and other plants are burnt to prepare lands for rubber plantation. Steps have been taken carefully so that soils are not washed out. In fact, some other temporary plants are used as cover to check soil erosion. Rubber cannot be collected from the trees less than 7 years old. One is to wait several more years to get good quality of rubber. Rubber production in Malaysia has got much importance due to the location of the gardens just in the vicinity of the coast, improved transport system, no impact of tidal water, easy availability of labour force, fast transportation of rubber products to the ports, abundant demand of rubber outside the country etc. Of the other arable plants, coconut, palm tree, pineapples and tobacco are worth mentioning. The farming of coconut has steadily increased in the sandy areas of the coast. The farming of African palm trees producing edible oil has a strong economic possibility. Comparatively the pineapples are cultivated in the low quality land.
Rubber and tobacco are produced as arable crop in Sabah and Sarawak. Besides, sago
and black pepper are also produced in this part of the country.
Mineral resources : Mineral tin is the principal mineral product of Malaysia. Vast
quantities of tin ore to produce tin are available. Most of the tin ore available in
Malaya are procured from alluvial stratum. The high quality ore is deposited in the
valleys of west coast. The procured mineral tin ore sent to Penang for refinement. The
ore is very important for producing tin sheets. Coal is procured from the ancient lake basins of Malaya Peninsula. This coal is used in the railway engine and other self propelled vehicles. The petroleum fields in the hilly slopes of Sabah have earned considerable importance. The important oil fields are located in the anticlines of the folds in the hilly slopes of Sarawak. Moreover, mineral iron and gold are mined in Malaysia.
Industry : Tin refineries and petroleum production are the chief industries in
Malaysia. This country has occupied first place in tin production in the world.
Malaysia is famous for small and cottage industries. It is one of the countries in Asia
that produces computer parts and electronic goods.
Transport and communication : Land communications are well developed in the
country. Railway and roads have reached all the places. Metalled road is about 25,446
kilometres and railway is about 1,488 kilometres. Railway lines and roads have
connected the rubber plantations, tin, petroleum, coal, gold, mineral iron producing fields, refineries, towns, cities, ports and commercial centres. The railway lines of this country are connected with that of Thailand. The sea routes connect the two seperate parts of the country. 
Foreign Trade : The most important exportable items of Malaysia are rubber, tin and palm oil. She also exports tobacco, sago, different spices, coconut kernel and oil, coffee and products of cottage industries. Recently Malaysia has earned the fame for becoming one of the most industrially advanced countries of Asia by exporting equipments, computer parts, electronic goods and other industrial products. Rice is the main imported commodity. Cloth and ready-made garments, paper and medicine are also imported. Most of the rubber is exported to the United States of America.
Cities, ports and commercial centres : Kuala Lampur is the capital of Malaysia.
Georgetown is the main city of Penang and Penang is one of the main sea ports.
Malacca founded in 1511 is now an old city and has less importance, Sutenham, near
Kuala Lampur is an important port. Clang is the biggest sea port. Epoh is a tin  centre and a main city. Jacelton is the principal city of the west coast of Sabah. Miri, city of Sarawak is the main centre of oil fields. Kuching and Sibu are the important river ports.
Population and Development Trends
Population : High fertility, less mortality and migration are the factors of population
growth. This country records 2.24% for the rate of population growth, 27.95% for birth rate, 5.56% for death rate, and 24.70% for child mortality. Family planning is practised to stabilize population growth. Various steps are taken for population control
so that birth rate is reduced and family size is kept small. These are necessary to
achieve planned human resource development. 59% are Malaya and other native people, 32% are Chinese and 9% are of Indian origin. 78% of the population are
literate of which 86% are males and 70% are females. All above the age of 10 years
can read and write.
Development trend : The country has been gradually moving ahead since its
independence on 31st August, 1957 from British rule. The development in agriculture
is remarkable. The government is particularly active in maintaining the trend of growth in industries, especially small and cottage industries. People actively
participate in development programmes. According to world population data sheet
2010, the Annual Gross National Income (GNI) of this country was 13,740 US Dollar.
Due to the limited availability of labour force, manpower is imported from friendly
countries for employment in agriculture, industries and trade and business. Many
people from Bnagladesh are in employment in Malaysia.
South Korea
Introduction : Korean Peninsula is a country of East Asia. At the beginning of the
20th century, Japan had captured this country. As a result, this country became a
colony of Japan. After the world war is over, Korea became independent in 1945 and this country was divided into two parts in 1948 along 30° North latitude and the
zigzag cease-fire line between South Korea and North Korea was demarcated as
border line. At present, South Korea calls Japan Sea as East Sea.
Location : South Korea is located between
32°20′ to 38°00′ North latitude and124°00′ to 132°00′ East longitude. The  named Tetha-Dongo and Tek Shima which are situated far from the main land are also included in this state. North Korea is situated in the north of this country, Japan Sea in the east, Korea Strait in the south and the Yellow Sea
in the west. 193 kilometres wide Korea Strait connecting Japan Sea and
Yellow Sea is situated between Japan
and South Korea.
Area and Population : Total area of
South Korea is about 1,00,032 square
kilometres occupying about 45 per cent
of the total land of Korean Peninsula.
About 4 crore and 89 lakh people live in
this country and the density of population is about 489 persons per square kilometre. The people are of Mongoloid group.
Physiography : The country is divided into three regions viz. : (1) The Mountainous
Region, (2) The Plains Region, and (3) The East Coastal Region. The country covers
about two-thirds of the mountainous region. Taebaek Hill Tracks of east coast extends from north to south. Gaema plateau is joined with Taebaek mountain in the south.
Many places of hilly region are eroded by the waves of Japan Sea. Though the eastern
slope of the mountain nearer to Japan Sea is steep but the western and the southern
slopes are to some extent moderate which gives birth to the plain land and also created innumerable islands and canyons. The land slopes mainly towards west and south which is evident from the normal flow of the rivers. The plain lands of coastal areas between Japan Sea and Taebaek mountain are very narrow and gradully widens towards south
1. The Mountainous Region : The
mountainous region is consisted of
some scattered peaks, plateaus and the
valleys. The soil of this region is formed of hard granite rock. The height of the main peaks of the mountainous region is more than 2,400 metres. The Gaema plateau joins the Taebaek mountain in the south. The broad, low and long plain seperating the plateau in the south-west has connected the south plains with west plains as a link road. 
2. The Plains Region : This area is formed of sand and rock. The coastal beach formed of sand is used specially for bathing. Most of the places of this region have been eroded by heavy rainfall.
3. The East Coastal Region : The east coastal region is situated between east coastal line and Taebaek mountain.
The east coastal plain land is very narrow. This region is not very wide and gradully widens towards the south.
Rivers : There are many rivers in South
Korea in comparison to the plain land. These rivers had great impact on the life style of the inhabitants and on the national industrial development of South Korea. The main rivers of South Korea are Nakdong (521.5 kilometres) and Han (481.7 kilometres). The Han river flowing through the modern Seoul city helps to centralise the population and to increase the density of population in the central region. The rivers flowing into the
Yellow Sea are comparatively longer and
have widened gradually nearer to the outlet.
The rivers remain navigable for a long
distance, particularly during the high tide
reaching to the height of about 10 metres.
(1) Hantan, (2) Imjin, (3) Soyang, (4)
Hongcheon, (5) Bukhan, (6) Han, (7) Namhan,
(8) Geum, (9) Mangyeong, (10) Dongjin,
(11) Yeongsan rivers have fallen into theYellow Sea in the west,
(12) Seomjin, (13) Nakdong, (14) Geumho, (15) Hwang and (16) Han river have
fallen into the Korean Strait in the South
The rivers falling into the Japan Sea are narrow and short, and the strong current helps
to generate hydro-electricity. 
As the three sides of this country are surrounded by sea, the huge quantity of water has brought diversity in the life of Korean people and it has impact on the development on the navigation and shipbuilding industries of the country. 
Climate : South Korea being located in the temperate zone enjoys fully four seasons viz. Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. The warm and moist climate is felt during the Monsoon summer season from June to September. This season is very comfortable as most of the times, the sky remains clear and the temperature remains moderate. The climate remains stagnant in Autumn (October). The winter (November to March) becomes cold and dry under the influence of Siberian high pressure. The ice flows from north-east to south-west with cold wave blowing along the side of the East coast. As a result, snowfall occours in Northern part and severe cold is felt all over the country. Certainly, the South-east coast of the country remains warm due to the influence of the warm west current. Spring (April-May) remains dry and warm due to the influence of the high pressure. The seasons of low temperature and small rainfall is found to occur due to high temperature and heavy rainfall experienced after the warm and cold weather felt sequentially in four seasons. Due to the evaporation of moisture from the soil, a slight changed continental polar airmass while crossing the Gobe desert of China-Mongolia border, carry fine yellow coloured loess soil from the loess plateau of China and after crossing the Yellow Sea reaches South Korea. Due to the violent flow of this yellow desert storm, dust particles create abnormal situation. During the winter months, there is predominance of dust cloud in Korea for which visibility becomes poor. The tropical cyclone named as Typhoons occuring during summer season from July-August causes heavy loss of crops, households, lives and property. These storms are seen frequently at the fag end of this summer. Heavy rainfall occurs during this time and the wind blows 242.35 kilometres per hour. Typhoons gradually moves away from the continent due to the influence of Siberian high pressure in the month of October. 
The variation of seasonal temperature is felt though the temperature of South Korea remains between 10° to 16° Celsius. The average temperature of the country lies between 23° and 26° Celsius in August and the temperature comes down to minus 6° and 7° Celsius in the coldest month of Januray. Snowfall and rainfall is recorded between 1,000 to 1,800 millimetres in South Korea (100 to 180 centimetres). The central region of the country experiences rainfall between 1,100 to 1,400 millimetres (100 to 140 centimetres) which accounts for about 50 to 60 per cent of the annual rainfall of summer months. 
Natural Vegetation : The predominane of natural vegetation is found in the forest of the mountainous regions of South Korea. The forest has a mixture of both coniferous and deciduous trees. The southern plain regions are mostly covered by rainfed forests. In summer the trees are decorated with deep green, thick and large leaves but the leaves are dropped off during winter. Red pines of straight and hard trunk are also besides, Elm, Maple, Linven, Birch, and Ash trees, found in these forests. 
Agriculture : The slope of the most parts of the mountainous region is steep, covered with thin-soil layer with infertile soil and forest cover. It is difficult to grow rice or even vegetables under this condition. 19.8 per cent of total land is under agriculture. Extensive farming is practised in 8 per cent of the coastal plains and in the valleys. 7.2 per cent people are farmers. The farmers remain busy during summer because of heavy Moonsoon rainfall. Cultivation is practised by means of irrigation during the dry season, particularly in winter. The rice growing land is much more wider in the southern and western parts of the country and Vegetables are cultivated by the side of the hilly areas. Vegetables are grown than rice more in east coastal plain land. Rice is used to cultivate in half of the total agricultural land. Fishing is the second important occupation. Rainfall is least in the month of April but this little rainfall is vital for rice cultivation. With the first shower, the lands are ploughed and seeds are sown. The rice plants grow fast with the rains. The rice growing lands are much more in the southern and western parts of the country. Rice is the main staple food. Rice is grown in more than half of the cultivable lands. The production of rice remains stable due to the invent of new varities of rice and its expansion of new innovative means every year of cultivating rice. Millet, barley, wheat, soyabean, peas or red beans are also grown. Rice is   October and then the land is prepared for growing barley and wheat. These crops are harvested in June and July and rice plants are planted in the rainy days. The total yield of millet, barley, and wheat together is higher than that of rice. Mulberry, cotton, tobacco, flax and jinseng are produced specially as cash crops. Soyabean farming is abundant in South Korea. Recently, soyabean cultivation is decreasing as import of syabean is increasing day by day. The silk industry exits as an ancient glorious industry of South Korea but now it is flourishing. The demand of silk has increased in the internal market due to the increase of national income since 1970. As a result, silk processing industry is developing in the south-east area of the country. Cotton is gown abundantly in this country. Jinseng is an important agricultural product. The juice obtained from its roots prevents many diseases creating a high demand for it in the country and abroad. Jinseng and tobacco cultivation is encouraged by the government. Stock rearing has developed in South Korea. The cattle of South Korea is of high quality. A large number of cattle are exported every year to Japan. Natural Regions : South Korea is divided into five natural regions on the basis of physical features and characteristics of products. These regions are discussed below :
1. Mountainous Region : The density of population is very low in this area though 70 per cent of the total land is mountainous. The region having rugged surface and difficult access, is inhabited sparsely by the native aboriginals. The households in many cases have developed keeping some distance in between due to the scarcity of plain land for the growth of settlement. Though the inhabitants of this region have many problems, they do not only supply the forest and underground resources but still they do supply the oxygen and also play an important role in keeping the environments in balance in controlling the flood and drought. Besides, the charmingbnatural scenery of mountainous region is notable as tourism wealth.
2. East Coastal Strip Region : This narrow coastal region is cut off from the other areas of the country. The inhabitants of the villages are primarily inclined to fishing pursuit. They catch fish off the coast in small boats using traditional methods. They grow rice and millets in the narrow strip of agricultural rings located into hinterland of the coastal area. Tides have little influnce in this coast.
3. South-East Region : This region is formed in the piedmont regions of the mountainous slopes surrounded with Naknong basin. Silk culture has expanded considerably in this part of the country. This area has an excellent transport and communication system. The port of Busan is located in this area.
4. South-West Region : This part of the country formed by the agricultural basins is very important. Two crops are grown annually. Rice is harvested in October and wheat or barley before the start of rain in June. Silk culture is also gaining importance.
5. North-West Region : The Gyeonggi province of Metropolitan area is closely connected with the capital of Seoul. This is a very small area of South Korea. A single crop is grown in this region because of extreme cold weather. Wheat, millet, and soyabean are produced here. This is the mining area of South Korea. Minerals : South Korea has comparatively little deposit of mineral resources. The coal mines are mainly located in the province of Gangwon. The production of coal is highest in this province. A small quantity of limestone, tungsten, silver, zinc, iron ore, copper, lead, graphite and coal are available here. Production of coal is higher than other minerals. The coal is of anthracite quality . Industry : South Korea is trying to progress its development through Labor-oriented light industry, heavy chemical industry and Technology-based Hybrid industry. The availability of coal and iron ore have accelerated the fast growth of industry in South Korea. South Korea is developed in the cotton and woollen industries. Local cotton is mixed with imported cotton and high quality cotton cloth is manufactured to meet the local demand. Extreme cold in winter has created the demand for woollen cloth that has helped the expansion of woollen cloth industry. Production of silk manufacturing of cloth has grown here as cottage industry. South Korea imports silk as a raw materials at a lower price from China, and exports the silk products after meeting the local demand through colouring, desiging and weaving of silk. Besides, Petro￾chemical industry, chemical yarn, machine tools, shipbuilding indurtry, telecommunication, motor car, iron and steel industry, cement and electronics industrybhave flourished here.
Transportation and Communication : The complex geo-physical structure of mountainous area creates great obstacles in communication system. Inspite of constructing many roads, the villages become disconnected from the outer world during snowfall in winter. Railways and roadways are the principal means of communication. The railways in the south and south-east region is connected with the railway system in the west through a wide corridor. According to 2010 census, the country has 1,04,983 kilometres of roads and 3,399 kilometres of railways. After 196Õs, the Communication system is very much developed while the number of  roads, national express highways, motor vehicles are increased along with economic development of this country. In 1960Õs, the industrial railway has been flourished to procure underground resources. In 1970Õs, Bingal Track main railway line was made double and triple track. In 1974, underground railway and recently Express railway have been commissioned. As a result, distance becomes less between place to place.
In 2000 A. D., North and South Korea is connected with railway communication system. So, the transportation of goods gradully is increasing. The neighbouring countries are connected through waterways while the distant countries by sea and air. The communication system by air is comparatively more with the neighbouring countries.
Foreign Trade : Inspite of having a large population, South Korea exports the surplus of food grains and industrial goods to foreign countries. The trade relation with China and Japan is much healthier. It has also trade relationship with Taiwan, Philippines, Bangladesh, India, the oil rich countries of the Middle East and the United States of America. High quality garments, electronics, computer parts and shipbuilding industries have turned South Korea into one of the most prosperous countries of Asia. Foreign markets have been opened for export. Rice, soyabean, silk and fish are imported. Iron, machineries, paper, medicines and cotton of high quality are the main imported items. Cities and Ports : Seoul is the capital of South Korea. Busan is the oldest and biggest port. These two cities are quite different in prosperity and progress in comparision to other cities. Inchon is the second largest port. Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju and Mokpo are other important cities.
Population and Development Trend
Population : National industrialisation and urbanization has improved a lot in South Korea during the decades of 1960 and 1970. Besides, huge population migrated from the village to the towns specially in Seoul. As a result, population has increased rapidly in metropolitan area. In recent years, many of the inhabitants of Seoul has immigrated in the Suburb areas of the city. According to the census of 2009, it is found that the countryÕs population accounts for 16.8 per cent in the age group of 0-14, 72.6 per cent in 15-64 age group and 10.7 per cent in 65+ age group. The rate of population growth in South Korea is 0.29 per cent, birth rate 15.63 per cent, death rate 4.98 per cent, net migration rate 0.9 per cent, infant mortality rate 20.9 per cent and the life expectancy is 80.08 years. A number of different tribal people live in this country. The Chinese population is about 20,000. All above the age of 10 years, can read and write. 95 per cent of the total population is literate.
Development Trends : South Korea achieved its independence from foreign rule in 1945. Since then, the country has recorded consistent economic growth. Behind this growth, there has been the export oriented planned economic development. According to world population data sheet of 2010, the Annual Gross National Income (GNI) of this country was 28,120 US Dollars. The economy of the country has been kept enliven through stable labour market, strong pressure of inflation and rapid growth of savings in banks. According to the census of 2008, about 2 crore 43 lakh and 47 thousand people used to participate in economic activities which accounts for 61.8 per cent of the total population of which 75.9 per cent are indirectly engaged in social, capital and other services, 10.9 per cent in mining and industries, 7.2 per cent people in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
The Middle East
Introduction : Afghanistan, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus and Egypt are combinedly known as the Middle East.
Location : The Caspian Sea and the Black Sea are situated on the north of the Middle East, Aegean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Libya, and the Red Sea on the west, Sudan, Arab Sea, and the Gulf of Persia on the south, and Pakistan on the east. The whole of the Middle East is located between 13° North latitude to 42° North latitude and 25° East longitude to 74° East longitude and 50° East longitude has crossed through the middle of the Middle East.
Area and Population : Total area of the Middle East is 78,42,364 square kilometres. The region is 4,505 kilometres long from east to west while from north to south it is3 ,379 kilometres. There are 18 states of which all except Israel are Muslim states. Israel is Jewish state. In respect of area, Saudi Arabia ranks first, Iran second, Egypt third, Turkey fourth and Afghanistan fifth. At resent, the total population of this region is 40.31 crore and the density of population is 51 persons per square kilometres, but the density of population is much higher in the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris. In respect of population, Egypt ranks first, Iran second, Turkey third, Iraq fourth, and Saudi Arabia fifth. Again in respect of density of population Bahrain is placed first, Palestine second, Lebanon third, Israel fourth and Kuwait fifth. Christianity, Judaism and Druz live here, but 96 per cent of them are Muslims having two sects namely Sunni and Shia. The people speak Persian and Postu according to their places of origin. However English speaking people are few in number.
Physiography : The Middle East is divided into three divisions according to its physical features. (1) Mountainous region, (2) Plateau and highlands, and (3) Plains.
1. Mountainous Region : The Hindu Kush mountain extending to the west from the Pamir Plateau is located in the north of Afghanistan. The mountains Elburz and Zagros proceeding towards west have met the Armenian Knot. The two mountains Pontic and Taurus coming out from the Armenian Knot to the west, are situated in the north and south of Turkey respectively
2. Plateau and Highlands : The Iran Plateau located between Hindu Kush and Elburzin the north and Zagros in the south have actually occupied most of the areas of Baluchistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The height of the plateau ranges from 902 metres to 1,504 metres with average height of 1,200 metres and its central part is relatively low. The Anatolian plateau stands between Pontic and Taurus mountain. Its average height is 750 metres. The plateau slopes down to the west. Arabian plateau is formed nearly of the entire Arab and Senai Peninsula. The western part is quite high and slopes gradually to the direction of the Persian Gulf in the east to meet the plain. In the east there are some highlands to the east of the river Nile of Egypt.
3. Plains : The river basin of the Nile of Egypt and Mesopotamia between the river Euphrates and the Tigris is the principal plain region of the Middle East. These two plains washed by rivers are very fertile because of alluvial soil. There are plains of North Iran near the Caspian Sea, plains of South Iran in the east of Persian Gulf, and the Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait plains in the west of Persian Gulf, the narrow plains of the Arabian Peninsula by the Red Sea and the small plains in the north of Afghanistan by the south of Amudariya. The Nile basin is the principal plain of Egypt.
Climate : It rains in winter in the narrow west coast of the Middle East. In other places, the rainfall is very little. The wide difference between the winter and summer temperature and extreme weather is the main characteristic of this region. The small amount of rain mostly fall as frost in Afghanistan. The cold is extreme in the plateau of Iran and there is frost at night. In summer, the sky-remains cloudless and the wind is dry and as such extreme heat is felt. The cyclonic wind from the Mediterranean Sea causes rainfall in winter in Iraq but scorching heat is the general characteristic of summer. The Mediterranean coast of Turkey is the warmest. The valleys in the coast of the Aegean Sea has cool summer and cooler winter season. In the Syrian coast it rains in winter but the interior is without rain and remains dry. Southern part of Syria is becoming desert. Jordan experiences no rain in summer and gets rain in winter. The Mediterranean climate is felt in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. Saudi Arabia is also without rain, dry and arid.
Climatic Regions : Distance from the sea, the continental location and the influence of local land formation have created three climatic regions in the Middle East.
1. Hot Desert Climatic Region : The Arabian Peninsula and Egypt are included in this climate. The difference between winter and summer is extremely felt in South Syria, South Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The air remains always dry and without aqueous vapour. Cyclonic winds rarely produce rain.
2. Cold Desert Climatic Region : This region includes Iran and Afghanistan. Aqueous vapour has no access because the place is surrounded by the mountain walls. So there is no rain but the place is very cool because of height. The difference of temperature between summer and winter is very wide and so the climate here is extreme.
3. Mediterranean Climatic Region : Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, SinaiPeninsula, Cyprus and part of Egypt are included in this climatic region. The westerly wind causes rain in winter but the dry trade wind coming from land cannot bring rain in summer. Since not a single part of the region is far from the sea, the climate is not extreme.
Agricultural System : Since plain land is scarce, agriculture has not flourished much in all the countries of the Middle East. Agriculture has actually developed in the river valleys and deltas. Most of the places of the Middle East have dry agriculture system. Irrigation farming is practised in the river valleys. Crop rotation system of agriculture is followed in Iran. Wheat is the main staple food of the people of this region. Wheat is grown in every country. Barley, maize, rice, millet, beet, cotton, tobacco, dates, silk, and different kinds of citric fruits are other agricultural products depending on places. Stock farming is also found in suitable areas. Agricultural land in Afghanistan records one-fifth of its total land holding. The northern plains and river valleys in that country are widely used for farming. Sometimes irrigation is needed. Wheat, barley, rice, maize, beet, cotton and tobacco are the leading agricultural products and fruits as grapes, pomegranate, pear and walnut are also grown. Stock farming is also practised for wool and meat. IranÕs agricultural land accounts for only 10 per cent of the total land. Excepting the coast of the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, crops are grown elsewhere by irrigation. Wheat, rice, maize, fruits, cotton, tobacco, opium, grapes and tea are the principal agricultural products. In the dry grassland, sheep and goats are tended. Fishing has developed considerably. Iraq is chiefly an agricultural country but only one, sixth of the land is used for agriculture. Inspite of its soil being alluvial, the production is not very high. In the southern part barley, rice and date while in the northen part barley, wheat and juicy fruits are produced. Among the cash crops, cotton is placed next to date. Fine quality Egyptian cotton is grown in the area between the Euphrates and Tigris river. Kurdistan produces lot of tobacco. Mulberry plants are grown for silk worm in the district of Baghdad. In Turkey farming is done only in 30 per cent of its total land area though agriculture is the chief means of livelihood of its inhabitants. In the plateau region the principal product is the wool and skins of the goats known as Mohair. Wheat and crops are also grown in favourable environment. Tobacco, olive, silk, fig, grape, nut and other dry fruits and cotton are produced in the coastal areas. Syria is also mainly an agricultural country. Crops are grown in the Euphrates valley with the help of irrigation. Tobacco is grown in the coast but cotton is produced in North Syria. Camel, horse, sheep, goat and thick tailed sheep are raised in the grassland areas. Dates are grown in abundance in the oasis. The valleys are developed into intensive farming areas of Lebanon. Wheat, barley, tobacco, grape, olive and orange are grown. Farming is also practised extensively in the plains near west coast and Beka valley. Tobacco is grown extensively in abundance in the coast. Agriculture has not developed much in Jordan. Wheat, barley, maize, turnip, oat, grape and olive are the principal agricultural products. Farming has developed in the plains of Israeli coast. Wheat, barley, millet, potato, olive, orange, fig and grapes are grown in the fertile lands of Palestine. Scarcity of water has, however created some obstacles in the agricultural practices. Wheat and barley are grown in winter and maize and turnip in summer in the plain lands. Intensive farming of fruit has developed in the northern part. Fruits are grown in plenty in this country. In Saudi Arabia, crops are grown in highlands and oasis. Dates, wheat, barley, maize and millet are the main products. Coffee is grown in favourable condition.
Natural Vegetation : No vegetation excepting grass and thorny shrubs are grown in the hot and cold desert areas extending from the Arab desert to the border of Afghanistan. In the Mediterranean climatic region comparatively smaller trees grow. But there is no grassland because the summer is totally without rain. Temperate mixed tall plants grow in the north of Turkey and Iran. In the dry plateaus of Iran, thorny bushes are the only vegetation. Gum Arabia is collected from these thorny bushes. Valuable trunk wood are collected from the forest in the slopes of Elburz mountain. Deciduous trees grow in the coastal plains and Elburz mountain. Turkey has a number of forests in the north, north-west and south. Fine quality oak, beech, far, elm, lime and pine are available in the deep forest of the east of Pontic mountain. Soft and hard wood are collected from the plains in the south.
Mineral Resources : The Middle East has a very rich deposit of mineral substances in different countries. But due to underdeveloped communication system and lack of proper technological knowledge, these valuable minerals could not be tapped. Although in Afghanistan there are deposits of copper and iron ore, lead, silver, sulphur and salt in plenty but they are not mined. Iron ore is deposited in Kurdistan, copper ore in Hindu Kush, and lead ore in Hazara. Iran is rich in mineral deposits but there is not much progress in mining excepting petroleum oil. Majority of the oil fields of this country are located in the south-western part. Masjid-e-Sulaiman, Haftkhel, Pachshara, Agazari, Naft-e-Safid and Lali are the famous oil fields. The largest oil refinery of the world is in Abadan of Iran. Oil is pumped through pipes to Abadan from different oil fields. Coal and iron ore are mined in north-west Iran. Lead, manganese, copper, nickel, borax, chromite, zinc, sulphur, salt, rock and marble stones are available in Iran. Petroleum is the principal mineral product of Iraq. Kirkuk, Khanakil, Hadita, Habburnia, Bosra, Khurram Shah and Mosul are the reputed oil fields. Petroleum is taken to Haifa of Israel and Tripoli of Lebanon through 1,850 kilometres long pipe from Kirkuk and exported abroad. Naft Kharech is an important oil field in South Iraq. Kifri produces lignite. This country also produces a little quantity of mineral salt and gypsum. Turkey is also rich in mineral substances. Coal, iron ore, copper, petroleum, chrome ore, manganese, lead, zinc, antimoni, mercury and sulphur are the major mineral products. Lebanon produces a little quantity of lignite, asphalt and bitumen. Potash, mineral salt and phosphate rock are mined in Jordan. Israel has limited production of the mineral substances such as manganese, gold, copper, chromium, lead and magnesium, sulphur, limestone and gypsum are also available. This country also produces potash, bromite and petroleum. Petroleum is the major mineral product of Saudi Arabia. Shower, Ab Quaik, Damman, Hufuf, Saphania, Bahrain, Katik and Khurmania are the principal oil fields.
Industry : Recently there has been considerable development of industry in the Middle East. Iran has developed production of modern machineries. Among many industries cement, sugar, cotton, silk, wool weaving and turpentine production are famous. Cigarette, soap, glass, fruit, and leather preservation industries have also flourished in this country. Tabriz, Ispahan, Tehran, Shahbad, Kerman and Samused are the principal industrial towns. Iraq has not developed much in machinery producing industry. The weaving industry, cement, soap, cigarette, vegetable, oil industries are worth mentioning. Of the weaving industries blanket, carpet, wool, cotton, and silk cloth are famous. At present, Iraq has set up chemical industries, sugar industries and oil refineries. 90 per cent of the industries are located in Baghdad while Mosul, Kirkuk and Bosra are other industrial cities. Turkey has developed sugar, cotton weaving, wool weaving, glass, fig preservation, milk products and rose elixir processing industries. Lebanon has also developed cotton, silk and rayon industries. The metal work has become a cottage industry in Beirut and Tripoli. Food processing industry is another important addition. Salt refineries, oil refineries, tannery industries have grown up in Jordan besides food and fruit processing plants and cotton weaving industry. Israel has cotton and woollen weaving industries in Haifa and Tel Aviv. There are many small industrial plants and cottage industries in the Jewish settlement area. Small weaving plants have been set up in Majdal in Arab settlement. The small lace industry in Nazareth has earned good reputation. The diamond industry has grown up in Nathania and Tel Aviv. Motor cars factory and household utensils assembly plants have developed with the help of imported parts. The industries in Israel are glass, paper, fertilizer, chemicals, rubber and plastic industries. Palestine is famous for small and cottage industries. There are many cottage industries in the highlands of Judaea. The small weaving industries of Gaza are well known.
Transport and Communication : Since ancient times, the camels, horses and mulesbwere used as beasts of burden to transport goods in the Middle East. Band of merchants ran between the capital and the ports in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Now the communication system has developed as bus and trucks ply in wide metalled roads and highways. Roads are the only means of communication in Afghanistan. There are about 6,700 kilometres of road. Airways are used to travel to the neighbouring countries. Iran has 2,600 kilometres long railway but roads have greater importance for transportation and the motorways are as long as 24,200 kilometres. Motorways and roads play comparatively more effective roles in internal trade. Teheran, Tabriz, Meshed and Ispahan are the main airports and one can go abroad by air. The two rivers Tigris and Euphrates are lifeline of communication system of Iraq. Tigris is navigable round the year. The riverways have contributed considerably towards the development of trade and commerce in this country. The railways are extended northward from Bosra. Some of the railways are partly metre gauge. The railway stretching from Baghdad to Bosra is of standard gauge. Turkey depends mainly on railway communication though it has 74,000 kilometres of roads. The trade and industry centres are connected by roads and railways. Airlines maintain communication between Ankara and Istambul. Roads, railways and airways have developed in Syria considerably. Goods are transported by caravans of camels in the desert areas. Lebanon has got roads, railways and airways. Roads and railways are developed in both the plains and mountainous regions. Standard gauge of railway lines are used in the plains while the mountainous regions have metre gauge lines. Beirut is the main airport. Jordan has got roads, railways and airways. Camels are extremely used in the plateaus. Roads have passed through the settlement areas. The western part of the country has a long railway line having a number of branches. Amman is a principal airport. The roads in the plains of Israel are straight and wide having been 3,500 kilometres long. The railway lines in Israel are of standard gauge. Palestine : An agreement was signed in 1994 in the United States of America between Izac Rabin, Prime Minister, Israel and Yasir Arafat, President, PLO on the understanding that self administered Palestine is formed of Samara and Jerico of Israel, the two occupied small cities located on the west coast of Jordan rivers and Gaza strip. The area of Palestine during that time was 2,410 square kilometres and the total population was only 17.31 lakh. At present, the total area is 6,220 square kilometres and the total population is 0.40 crore. Palestine has to depend either on roads or caravan of camels. The principal cities of Saudi Arabia are linked by improved road communication. One can go from Jeddah to Mecca and Medina by motor car. Motorways have connected Nazaf near Baghdad with Medina while railway hasc onnected Dahrain, a port in Persian Gulf, with Riyadh capital of Saudi Arabia. Majority of the habitations in Egypt have been developed in the Nile valley and so, the river Nile has become the leading means of communication. The Suez Canal of Egypti s very significant in respect of international trade. The main railway line runs from Alexandria to Aswan via Cairo. Another railway line runs parallel to Suez Canal connecting Suez port in the south with port Said in the north. Cairo-Suez railway is also important. Egypt has both unmetalled and metalled roads and in the desert has camel path.
Foreign Trade : The hides and skins, cotton, carpet, dates, fruits, gums, wool, marble stone, including petroleum are exported from different countries of the Middle East.Cotton cloth, tea, sugar, machineries, railway carriage, motor cars, consumer goods, spices, medicine, paper etc. are imported. Middle East countries have trade relationship with the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and other countries.
Manpower : The countries in the Middle East have considerable limitations in technological know ledge and moreover manpower is also limited. This has resulted in large number of manpower import. Many engineers, doctors, nurses, technicians, skilled and unskilled labour and drivers from Bangladesh are working in different countries of the Middle East. The country is being benefitted by the foreign currency they sent, particularly in the field of economic devxelopment and standard of living.
Location : Bangladesh is located in South Asia in the southern part of the continent of Asia. Bangladesh is an independent sovereign country. This country is situated between 20°34′ North latitude and 26°38′ North latitude and between 88°01′ East longitude and 92°41′ East longitude. The Tropic of Cancer passes through the central part of Bangladesh.
Area : The total area of Bangladesh is 1,47,570 square kilomitres. According to Bangladesh Statistical Bureau, 1996-97, the area under rivers is 9,405 square kilometres and that of the forest is 21,657 square kilometres. The total area of Bangladesh excluding rivers and forest is only 1,16,508 square kilometres. A huge area is rising slowly due to accretion in the coastal region to the south of Bangladesh. It is expected that with such accretion in the south, the total area of Bangladesh would increase.
Boundary : Bangladesh is surrounded by sea on one side and by different states of India on other three sides. To the north of Bangladesh, there is West Bengal, Meghalaya and Assam, to the east there is Assam and Tripura, Mizoram and also Myanmar, and to the south the Bay of Bengal and to the west the state of West Bengal. The total length of the boundary of Bangladesh is about 4,711.18 kilometres of which about 3,715.18 kilometres is found to exist between Bangladesh and India, whereas, the coastal boundary extends for only 716 kilometres.
The physiography influences agriculture, industry, trade and commerce, transportation and communication system. The influence of physiography in the economic development is immense. Bangladesh is one of the largest deltas of the world. The Padma, the Brahmaputra, the Surma and the Kushiyara flowing from the west, north and south-east respectively  have together formed this huge delta. The plains are ideal for permanent settlement. The whole area of Bangladesh is a great plain, but there is little highland in Bangladesh. Bangladesh can be divided into three major physiographic divisions :
1. The Hills of the Tertiary Age,
2. The Terraces of Pleistocene Period, and
3. The Recent Flood Plains.
Detailed descriptions of these divisions are given below
1. The Hills of the Tertiary Age : This region covers the hills of the south-east and north-eastern parts of Bangladesh. These hills were formed along with the formation of the Himalayan Mountains, and so, these are called the hills of Tertiary age. It is assumed that Lusai hills of Assam and the Arakan of Myanmar are considered to be of the same age. These hills are formed of the sandstone, shales and mud. The hills of this region are divided into two, such as (a) Hills of the South-East, (b) Hills of the North and North-East.
(a) Hills of the South-East : Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachhari, CoxÕs Bazar and the eastern part of Chittagong cover this region. The average height of these hills is 610 metres. The peak of Keokradong (1,230 metres) of Bangladesh is located in the south-eastern part of this region. Recently, another peak named as Tajiodong (Bijoy) of 1,231 metres in height has been discovered in Bandarban. This is now the highest peak of Bangladesh.
(b) Hills of the North and North-East : The heights of the hills in the north of Mymensingh and Netrokona districts, in the north-east of Sylhet district and the hills of the south of Moulavi Bazar and Habiganj are not more than 244 metres. The hills of the north are locally known as Tila. The height of these Tilas varies from 30 to 90 metres.
2. The Terraces of Pleistocene Period : The Pleistocene period is over 25,000 years old. The Barind of the north-west, the Madhupur and Bhawal Garh of the central part and the Lalmai hills or highland of Comilla district cover this region. It is thought that these terraces were formed during the Pleistocene period. The description of these highlands are given below :
(a) The Barind : The Barind covers an area of 9,320 square kilometres in the north￾western region of the country. The height of this region above the flood plain is about 6 to 12 metres. The colour of the soil is grey and red.
(b) The Madhupur and Bhawal Garh : The Madhupur Garh is situated in Tangail and Mymensingh districts and the Bhawal Garh is in Gazipur district. The area is about 4,103 square kilometres. The height of this region above the plain land is about 30 metres. The colour of the soil is grey and red.
(c) Lalmai Hills : The Lalmai Hills stretch from Lalmai, 8 kilometres to the west of Comilla town to Maynamati. This region covers an area of 34 square kilometres and the average height is 21 metres.
3. The Recent Flood Plains : Excepting the hills of Tertiary Age and the Pleistocene Terraces, the whole of Bangladesh is a plain land drained by rivers. Innumerable small and big rivers are found everywhere in Bangladesh. These rivers flow through the plain land causing floods during rainy seasons. This flood plain has been formed due to the deposition of the sediments brought down by the rivers for years together. The total area of this flood plain is 1,24,266 square kilometres. This plain land slopes towards the coast from the north of Bangladesh. The Sunderban region stands almost at sea level. The other regions such as Dinajpur stands at a height of 37.50 metres, Bogra at 20 metres, Mymensingh at 18 metres, Narayanganj and Jessore at 8 metres. Innumerable marshy and lowlands are scattered throughout this region. Some of these are abandoned Ox-bow lakes. Locally, these are known as beel, jheel or haor. Of these, the Chalan Beel and the haors of Madaripur and Sylhet are remarkable. These are submerged during the rainy season and turn into lakes. The layer of the soil of the whole flood plain is very deep and very fertile. The recent flood plain can be divided into several divisions, viz. (a) Piedmont Plain of Rangpur and Dinajpur. (b) The Flood Plain of Dhaka, Tangail, Mymensingh, Pabna, Jamalpur, Comilla, Noakhali and Sylhet. (c) The Deltaic Plain comprising of some parts of Faridpur, Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna and Dhaka. (d) The Flat Coastal Plain of Chittagong extending from the lower part of Noakhali and the Feni rivers to CoxÕs Bazar. (e) The Tidal Plain or the Mangrove Forest comprising of some parts of Khulna and Patuakhali region and Barguna district.
Bangladesh has got about 700 rivers. Due to the presence of a large number of rivers, Bangladesh is called a riverine country. The rivers influence the life style of the people of Bangladesh. The Padma, the Brahmaputra, the Jamuna, the Meghna and the Karnaphuli are the major rivers of Bangladesh. These rivers have also got their tributaries and distributaries. The total length of all the rivers including tributaries and distributaries. The total length of all the rivers including tributaries and distributaries is about 22,155 kilometres. The description of the rivers of Bangladesh is given below. The Padma : The Padma is one of the largest rivers of Bangladesh. This has originated from the Gangatri glacier. Then it flows to the south-west and then to the south-east taking the name of the Ganges at Haridwar and enters into the plain lands. From this point, the Ganges flow through Uttar Pradesh and Bihar State leaving distributary named the Bhagirathi (Hooghly) river at Dhulian of Murshidabad district in West Bengal. The Bhagirathi falls into the Bay of Bengal. The main flow of the Ganges takes the name of Padma at the south-western point at Rajshahi region and flowing for about 145 kilometres through West Bengal and along the border ofB angladesh enters into Bangladesh through the north-western point of Kushtia district. Then it meets the Jamuna river at Daulatdia ghat. This combined stream flows towards the south-east as the Padma and meets the Meghna at Chandpur. Afterwards, the combined flow of these three rivers fall into the Bay of Bengal as the Meghna. The Padma drains an area of 34,188 square kilometres. The Kumar, the Mathabhanga, the Bhairab, the Gari, the Madhumati, the Arial khan etc. are the distributaries of the Padma river and the Mahananda is the main tributary. The Punarbhava, the Nagor, the Pagla, the Kulik and Tangan are the tributaries of the Mahananda.
The Brahmaputra : The Brahmaputra river originates from a glacial part of Kailash Peak of the Himalayas, then flows to the east over Tibet and finally passes through Assam to the west. Thereafter, the Brahmaputra rivers enters into Bangladesh near Kurigram district. Thereafter, this river takes a turn towards south-east near Dewanganj and then flowing through the district of Mymensingh falls at the Meghna to the south of Bhairab Bazar. The Dharla and the Tista are the main tributaries and the Bangshi and the Shitalakhya are the major distributaries of the Brahmaputra river.
The Jamuna : The main branch of the Brahmaputra near Dewanganj of Mymensingh district flows towards south as the Jamuna to meet the Padma river near Daulatdia. The Karotoa and the Atrai are the major tributaries of the Jamuna and the Dhaleshwari is its distributary. Whereas the Buriganga is the distributary of the Dhaleshwari.
The Meghna : The Barak river of Assam originates from Naga-Manipur region and being divided into two branches as the Surma and the Kushiyara, enter into Sylhet district of Bangladesh. The Surma, the northern branch, flows towards west by the side of Sylhet, Chhatak and Sunamganj. The Surma of north Sylhet, the Kushiyara of South Sylhet, the Kalni of Habiganj meet together near Ajmiriganj. Then the combined stream of the Kalni, the Surma and the Kushiyara after flowing some distance to the south as the Meghna, joins the old Brahmaputra in the south of Bhairab Bazar and flowing to the south-west it meets the Padma near Chandpur and ultimately falls into the Bay of Bengal as the Meghna. The Meghna drains an area of about 29,785 square kilometres. The Monu, the Baulai, the Titas, the Gumti, are the tributaries of the Meghna.
The Karnaphuli : Two hundred and seventy four kilometres long the Karnaphuli river having originated from the Lusai Hills in Assam and flowing through Rangamati and Chittagong region falls into the Bay of Bengal. This is the main river of Chittagong and Rangamati. The major tributaries of the Karnaphuli river are the Kassalong, Halda, and Boalkhali. A Hydro-electric Project has been constructed at Kaptai on the Karnaphuli river. The main sea port of Bangladesh is situated at the south of the Karnaphuli river.
The Sangu : The origin of the Sangu river is in the Arakan Mountain. Originating from the boundary of Myanmar and Bangladesh and flowing through Bandarban and Chittagong, the river falls at the south of the mouth of Karnaphuli into the Bay of Bengal.
The Feni : The Feni river is situated in the district of Feni. The origin of this river is in Tippera Hills. Flowing through the eastern side of Feni, this river falls into the Bay of Bengal at the north of Sandwip.
The climate of Bangladesh is more or less moderate. As the Tropic of Cancer passes through the centre of the country, the climate prevailing is tropical. The influence of the Monsoon wind on the climate of this country is so strong that as a whole, the climate of Bangladesh is known as tropical monsoon climate. The characteristics of the monsoon climate is the appearance of different seasons in a year. A little variation in the climate in different seasons is well marked. But Bangladesh never experiences extreme climate like the cold and warm countries. In fact, hot and humid summer and dry and comfortable winter are the remarkable characteristics of the climate of Bangladesh. The average annual temperature is 26.01° Celsius and the average rainfall is about 203 centimetres. The rain occurs from June to October due to the influence of the monsoon in this country. Maximum rain occurs in Sylhet region in Bangladesh. The climate of Bangladesh, on the basis of Monsoon wind, rainfall, annual temperature is divided into three seasons, viz. (a) Summer Season, (b) Rainy Season and (c) Winter season.
(a) Summer Season : The summer season in Bangladesh extends from the month of March to May (Falgun to Jaishtha). The temperature gets increasing in this season, as the sun gives vertical rays over the tropic of cancer during this period. The temperature, wind direction and the rainfall of this season is discussed below :
Temperature : The summer is the hottest season in Bangladesh. During this season, the maximum temperature of 34° Celsius and the lowest of 21° Celsius is recorded. The average temperature of 28° Celsius is found to prevail in the month of April. During this time, the temperature increases gradually to inland from the coastal region of this country
Rainfall : The Kalbaishakhi thunderstorm or the Norwester is one of the important characteristics of summer weather. This Kalbaishakhi thunderstorm occurs with high intensity during the months of March to April. About 20 per cent of the total annual rainfall occurs due to Kalbaishakhi storms. About 20 per cent of the annual rainfall of Bangladesh comes in summer. During this time, the average rainfall recorded is about 51 centimetres.
Wind : A change in air pressure is found to occur due to the northward movement of the sun in the northern hemisphere. The hot and humid air coming from the south rises upward due to high temperature and comes in collision with the cold and dry air coming from the north-west causing rainfall with thunderstorms.
(b) Rainy Season : The rainy season extends from June to October (Jaishtha to Kartik) in Bangladesh i.e. the interim period between summer and winter with rain is known as the rainy season. During the first half of June, the rainy season starts with the advent of Monsoon wind. The characteristics of rainy season is discussed below :
Temperature : The sun gives vertical rays during rainy season in Bangladesh. As a result, the temperature increases. But due to cloud cover and heavy downpour, the high temperature is not felt. The average temperature is 27° Celsius. The month of April is the hottest month.
Rainfall : During the rainy season, south-west monsoon wind blowing over Bangladesh brings heavy moisture from the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. This moisture causes heavy convectional rainfall. 80 per cent of the total annual rainfall occurs during this time.
Wind : There is a change in air pressure due to the location of the sun over Bangladesh in the month of June. The rainy season begins when the south-west trade wind starts blowing from the Bay of Bengal. During this time, the north-east trade wind subsides and the south-east trade wind after crossing the equator, according to FerrelÕs Law, is deflected towards right and it becomes south-west monsoon wind. After the rainy season is over, the cyclone hits Bangladesh occasionally.
(c) Winter Season : The period from the end of November to February (Kartik to Falgun) is known as winter. The temperature starts declining after September and October. The lowest temperature is found to prevail in January
Temperature : The minimum temperature is found in winter is our country. During this season, the maximum temperature of 29° Celsius and minimum of 11° Celsius is recorded. The coldest month is January and the average temperature recorded is 17.7° Celsius. During winter, the temperature decreases towards north from the coast to inland. In the history of Bangladesh, the lowest temperature ever recorded was 1° Celsius in 1905 in the district of Dinajpur northern region.
Rainfall : During winter, Bangladesh does not normally experience any rainfall. At this time, the north-east cold monsoon wind blows over Bangladesh. A little amount of rainfall occurs in the coastal and in the mountainous regions during winter. The rainfall accounts for not more than 10 centimetres.
Wind : During winter season, the humidity in the air is less as the cold Monsoon wind blows from the north-east over Bangladesh. The lowest humidity recorded during this time is 36 per cent. Sometimes, very cold wind blows over the northern region and as a result, it experiences very cold weather.
Forest Resources
The accumulation of trees is known as forest. The resources which are produced or collected from the forest is known as forest resources. Forest resources have a greatp art to play in the economic development of the country. 25 per cent of the total land should remain under forest cover for the economic development of a country. During 1995-96, the area of the forest was 21,914 square kilometres. At present, the area of the forest of Bangladesh is 25,000 square kilometres i.e. about 62 lakh acres of land remians under forest which accounts for only 17 per cent of the total land. The forest cover in Bangladesh is remarkably less compared to the demand. The forest cover is diminishing day by day to meet greater demand for timber for housing and furniture and wood for fuel caused by the increase of population. The following table shows the area of the forest in Bangladesh in comparison to other countries of the world. Account of forest resources of Bangladesh : Due to the variation of the soil and climate, different types of natural vegetation is found to grow in different regions of Bangladesh. According to the characteristics of the vegetation, the forests of Bangladesh has been classified as follows.
1. Tropical Evergreen and Deciduous Forest : The trees which do not shade theirbleaves at a time and the leaves remian more or less evergreen are known as Evergreen Deciduous Forest, but trees which shade their leaves at a time are known as Deciduous Trees. In Bangladesh too, there are two types of forest. These forests cover the major parts of Khagrachhari, Rangamati and Bandarban and a considerable part of Chittagong and Sylhet districts of Bangladesh. The area of this forest is 14,102 square kilometres. Due to heavy rainfall, evergreen trees have developed in this forest Evergreen trees like Chapalish, Moyna, Telsur etc. are found in this forest. Gamari, Shimul, Koroi, Teak. Jarul etc. are among the deciduous trees. Besides, bamboo, cane, wax, honey and medicinal herbs are collected from this type of forest.
2. Tropical Deciduous Forest : The trees of the tropical regions which shade their trees once a year are known as Tropical Deciduous Forest. The Pleistocene Terraces of Bangladesh are covered with this forest. This type of forest is found in Mymensingh, Tangail, Gazipur, Rangpur and Dinajpur. This forest has been divided into two parts viz. (a) The forest cover of Mymensingh, Tangail, and Gazipur districts is known as Madhupur Tract and Bhawal Garh, (b) The forest cover found in Dinajpur district is known as the forest of Barind region. The Sal trees are perdominant in both the types of forests. The trees of Madhupur and Bhawal Garh forest region is locally known as Gajari. Moreover, Koroi, Hizal, Bohera, Horitoki, Kathal, Nim etc. trees are found in the forest of Madhupur and Bhawal Garh. The total area of this forest is 1,338 square kilometres. About 95 per cent of the trees in the forest of Barind region is Sal. The area of this forest is only 22 square kilometres.
3. Mangrove Forest or the Sunderban : The area of this forest is 6,474 square kilometres. This forest covers the districts of Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat and Barguna. This forest occupies 95 square kilometres of the south-west of Barguna and the rest covers the southern parts of Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat districts. The Sunderi and the Garan are the main trees of this forest. Among other trees, Gewa, Passur, Dhundal, Keora, Garan, Bayen etc. are remarkable. Golpata is abundantly grown in the Sunderban.
Importance of the forests : Forests play a great role in the economic development of a country. The forest resource is limited in Bangladesh, yet its role in the economic development of the country cannot be ignored. The forest of Bangladesh contributes 5 per cent to the national income of the country. The importance of the forest resources to the economic development is discussed below :
1. Collection of consumable goods : To meet their daily needs, people collect wood, bamboo, cane, honey, wax etc. from the forest. The skins of animals and the medicinal herbs are also collected from the forest.
2. Construction materials : The people collect wood, bamboo, cane etc. from the forest for the construction of houses and for making of furniture. The people collect valuable timber from Sal, Teak, Mehogani, Garjan, Gamari and Koroi trees for construction purposes and to make furniture.
3. Agricultural development : The forest of the country keeps the climate humid. As a result, there is abundant rainfall which is essential for agriculture. Besides, the forests prevent soil depletion and control floods.
4. Development of industries : The forest resources are used for the production of paper, rayon, match, fibre board and the accessories for toys and have thus accelerated the development of industries. The Karnaphuli Paper Mill and the Newsprint Mill of Khulna have been established on the availability of forest resources.
5. Transportation and communication system : The wood collected from the forest is used to make railway slippers, frame for buses, trucks, boats, launches, ships, electric poles, bridges etc.
6. Sources of government revenue : The government can have income from the forest resources. For example, the government can increase its revenue by selling or disposing of the forest resources and by imposing taxes on such resources.
7. Foreign currency earnings : Bangladesh is earning huge amount of foreign currency by exporting the hides and skins, tooth, horns, feather of different types of animals, industrial raw materials and the live animals from the forests.
Power Resources
At the root of the modern civilisation, there is power resources. The economic development has been accelerated with the progress of civilisation and the invention of sources and uses of new energy resources. In the beginning, the people would depend on their muscle power. Afterwards, they started to use the animal for different works. Indeed, economic development started through the use of inanimate energy. The people from the very ancient times they have been producing energy by burning wood. Besides, Energy is produced form waterflow. The coal, mineral oil and natural gas are considered as the prime sources of power. There are hardly any coal and oil resources in this country. There is however, significant reserve of natural gas. The country is said to be rich in gas resources. But it is not possible to meet the energy demand by gas alone. Hydro-electric power is one of the main resources of energy. Hydro-electric power accounts for only 6 per cent of the total energy of the world. Bangladesh is a riverine country. There is every possibility of producing hydro-electricity in the riverine country of Bangladesh. It is possible to produce hydro-electricity by putting dam on the hilly rivers. Besides, Bangladesh being abundant in natural gas, thermal plants have been established using gas. The total electricity production capacity in the country was 2,908 megawatt during 1996-97. But actually 2,148 megawatt of electricity was produced in the country. The energy capacity increased to 4,230 megawatt during 2001-02 and in 2007-08 to 5,262, and 2009-10 (March, 10 till), it has increased to 6,033 megawatts. Of the total electricity production 88.24 per cent was gas based, 3.18 per cent hydro-electric based, 3.81 per cent coal based and 4.77 per cent fuel oil based. During 1991-92, the per capita electricity production was only 79 kilowatts hour which increased to 99 kilowatts hour during 1996-97. On the other hand, 2001-02, per capita electricity production was 136 kilowatts hour which increased to 165 kilowatts hour during 2007-08. At present, the per capita electricity production 220 kilowatts hour
A. Hydro-electricity : In general, the electricity which is produced by harnessing the running water is known as Hydro-electricity. The hydro-electricity is produced by constructing a dam over the Sangu river in Bandarban district.
B. Thermal Power : Thermal electricity is another most important source of power. Thermal electricity is more profitable where the production of hydro-electricity is either difficult or expensive. Generally, the electricity which is produced by burning natural gas, mineral oil, coal etc. is known as thermal electricity. The production cost of thermal electricity is more in comparison to hydro-electricity. To meet the countryÕs demand of electricity, the production of thermal electricity is more necessary. There are some thermal plants to meet the countryÕs demand of electricity. Coal, natural gas and mineral oil are used to produce thermal electricity. During 2008-09, Bangladesh produced 5,496 megawatt of thermal electricity (Source : Bangladesh Statistical Yearbook, 2009/July 2010, Table 6.03).
Brief description of the main thermal plants of Bangladesh are given below :
1. Ashuganj Thermal Plant : This thermal plant is located at Ashuganj in Brahmanbaria district. The first unit went into production in 1970. The production capacity of this unit is 1 lakh 10 thousand kilowatts, Natural gas is used in this plant.
2. Ghorasal Thermal Plant : This unit is located at Ghorasal in Narsingdi district. Natural gas is used for production of electricity. The capacity to produce electricity is 1 lakh 10 thousand kilowatts.
3. Siddhirganj Thermal Plant : This unit was established at Siddhirganj of Narayanganj district. Natural gas is used for the production of 80 thousand kilowatts of electricity.
4. Shahzibazar Thermal Plant : This unit is situated at Shahzibazar of Sylhet district. Natural gas is used in this unit as fuel. The gas is supplied from Habiganj. The production capacity is 1 lakh 4 thousand kilowatts.
5. Chittagong Thermal Plant : The electricity is supplied to Chittagong city and to its neighboring areas. Its production capacity is 80 thousand kilowatts.
6. Goalpara Thermal Plant : This thermal unit was established by the bank of the Bhairab river at Goalpara of Khulna district. The production capacity is 80 thousand kilowatts. The electricity is supplied to Khulna and its surrounding areas. Bangladesh is not self sufficient in power resources. The electricity produced by hydro-electric plants and the electricity generated by thermal units using natural gas as fuel is not sufficient in comparison to requirements. At present, Bangladesh is producing 4,296 megawatts of electricity. Many countries in the world use atomic energy to produce electricity. It has not yet been possible to produce electricity in Bangladesh using atomic energy. The role of power resources is important for the economic development of any country. Electricity, now-a-days, is used in modernising the agricultural system i.e. in switching over to mechanised cultivation, in irrigation and in other projects. The use of power resources is extensive in industrial and rural development, in transportation and communication, in fuel and in trade and commerce.
Mineral Resources
Among natural resources, mineral resources are particularly remarkable. But, mineral resources in Bangladesh are not abundant. Economic development is hampered due to the scarce quantity of mineral resources in Bangladesh in comparison to requirements. A detailed discussion on the available mineral resources is given below
1. Coal : Coal is one of the sources of energy. Coal is used to run the machineries, factories, railways, steamers etc. Coal is also used as fuel. Bangladesh is not rich in coal resources. A low grade peat coal in good quantity is available in Baghia and Chanda Beel of Faridpur, Kola Beel of Khulna and in few places of Sylhet. Besides, a reserve of high quality coal of bituminous and lignite variety has been found in Rajshahi, Bogra, Naogaon and Sylhet district. Recently the production of coal has been started at Barapukuria coal field in Dinajpur.
2. Mineral oil : The experts think that there is mineral oil in the coastal region of Bangladesh. Oil was found in the seventh well of Haripur of Sylhet district in 1986. Everyday about 600 barrels of crude oil from this well is extracted and sent to Chittagong Refinery for processing. Petrol, kerosene, bitumin and other products are produced from crude oil. The second oil field of Bangladesh is located at Baramchal of Moulavi Bazar district. About 1,200 gallons of oil is extracted everyday from this field.
3. Limestone : Limestone is available in Jafflong and Zakiganj of Sylhet district, in Bhangarghat, Baglibazar, Lalghat and Takerghat of Sunamganj district, in Sitakunda of Chittagong district and in St. MartinÕs Island of CozÕs Bazar district. Limestone is also available in Jamalganj of Jaipurhat district and in Jaipurhat of Rajshahi Division. Limestone is used as a raw material for cement. Besides, limestone is also used in glass, bleaching powder, soap and paper industries.
4. China clay : White clay is available in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Mymensingh. This white clay is used for the production of Chinawares (Crockeries), electric insulators and sanitary materials.
5. Copper : Copper is available in Ranipukur and Pirganj of Rangpur district and in Madhyapara of Dinajpur district along with hard rocks.
6. Hard rock : Hard rock is used in the construction of the railways, roads, houses, bridges, dams and in flood control projects. This hard rock is available in Ranipukur and Shyampur of Rangpur district and Madhyapara of Dinajpur district. Arrangements have been made to extract hard rocks in Ranipukur of Rangpur district with foreign assistance. The experts think that from this field, about 17 lakh tons of hard rock may be extracted. Attempts have been made to extract hard rock from Madhyapara of the district of Dinajpur with foreign assistance.
7. Silica sand : Generally, silica sand is used in glass production. Besides, silica sand is also used in producing paints and chemical materials. The sand is available in Nayapara, Shahzibazar, Kulaura, Chhatian of Sylhet district. Balizuri in the south of Sherpur district and Dohazari of Chittagong district. About 1 lakh 18 thousand cft. of silica sand is produced annually in Bangladesh.
8. Atomic minerals : Generally, atomic minerals are used in heavy metallic industries. Huge quantity of mineral sand is found to occur in the area extending from Kutubdia of Chittagong district to Teknaf coastal region. Zircon, monazite, ilmenite, magnatite, leokcen etc. are the atomic minerals. In collaboration with the AustralianG overnment, a pilot scheme is going to be taken up to collect the atomic mineral.
9. Sulphur : Sulphur is generally used in chemical industries. It is used for producing explosives, insecticides, acid, purification of petroleum, match etc. Sulphur is available in Kutubdia Island of Chittagong district.
10. Natural gas : Bangladesh, in comparison to other countries of the world is lagging behind in mineral resources. But, Bangladesh is rich in natural gas. Natural gas is an important fuel resources which accounts for 75 per cent of the total commercial consumption. The total number of gas fields so far discovered upto June, 2010, was 23. But at present, gas is being tapped from 79 wells of 17 oil fields. During 1997-98, actual production was 282 billion cft. and during 1998-99, this increased to 308 billion cft., 2001-02 years this was 392 billion cft. and 2006-07 years this was 562 billion cft. Presently, total reserve is about 28.85 trillion cft. (Source : Bangladesh Economic Survey, 2010, Page 129). The gas fields of Bangladesh are Sylhet, Chhatak, Rashidpur, Habiganj, Kailashtila, Bakhrabad, Titas, Begumganj, Kutubdia, Kamta, Semutang, Feni, Beanibazar, Fenchuganj, Jalalabad, Meghna, Narsingdi, Shahbajpur, Sangu, Saldanadi, Bibiana, Moulavi Bazar and Bangura.
1. Fuel in industries : Natural gas is used as fuel in our industries. The fuel problem is thus relieved to some extent. Natural gas is used in commercial installations. At present, about 75 per cent of the total fuel in Bangladesh is natural gas.
2. Electricity production : The importance of natural gas is not insignificant in the field of electricity production. Natural gas, instead of furnace oil is used in few of the electricity producing centres such as in Siddhirganj, Shahzibazar, Ashuganj and Ghorasal. As a result, the production cost for electricity becomes less. Electricity may be consumed at a cheaper rate in industries and in the residentail areas.
3. Industrial raw materials : Natural gas is being used as a raw material in the fertilizer factories. Besides, natural gas is also used to produce insecticides, rubber, plastic synthetic fiber etc.
4. Employment : Gas exploitation and discovery have created employment opportunities for many people. They are engaged in extraction of gas, well digging, maintenance and marketing etc. Natural gas is thus being used in agriculture, in industries, and in domestic purposes. Natural gas is also one of the important sources of revenue. The government earns a remarkable portion of its revenue from natural gas.
Industries;The economy of Bangladesh is mainly agro-based. Though the country is agro-based, yet as a developing country, the importance of industries is no less. Bangladesh still is not rich in industries. The number of industrial units is small. The major industries are :
Jute industries : The geographical factors for the growth of jute industries are : climate, physiography, soil and the abundance of energy resources. The economic factors are the availability of raw materials, skilled and cheap labour force, market, capital, developed transport system and government enterpreneurship. synthetic fiber etc. There was no jute industry in this country up to 1950. The first jute industry with 1,000 looms was established in 1951 in Adamjeenagar of Narayanganj. This was largest jute mill of the world. But the government has closed it down as it was incurring loss. The total Jute Mills in Bangladesh is 99 at Private Sector but at present about 73 jute mills have been running. During 2008-09, the number of jute mills became 93 (Source : Bangladesh Statistical Pocketbook, 2009/February 2010, Page 229). Narayanganj, Khulna and Chittagong are the three major jute industrial centres. Besides, there are jute mills in Demra, Ghorasal, Narsingdi, Bhairab Bazar, Gouripur, Madaripur, Chandpur, Sirajganj, and Habiganj Generally, hessains, guny bags, carpet, ropes etc. are manufactured in jute mills. Moreover, different types of hand bags, sandles, mats, dolls, show pieces etc. are also produced. Recently, the government has banned the use of polythene shopping bags under 100 micron, and as a result, the use of jute bags has increased. At one time, 55 per cent of the total foreign earnings would have come through exports of jute and jute goods.It is mentioned earlier that a great portion of the foreign currency was derived through exports of jute and jute goods. The United States of America, United Kingdom, India, Egypt, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan, France and other countries purchase jute and jute goods from Bangladesh. Due to the widespread use of synthetic fibres in the world, today the demand for jute and jute goods has declined greatly, and as a result, the production of jute in Bangladesh has also decreased to a great extent. Cotton textile industry : The second major industry is the cotton textile industry. Among the basic needs, cloth is placed next to food. Bangladesh is not self sufficient in this industry. The main raw material for this industry is cotton which is produced in small quantity. The climate required for cotton textile industry is favourable. The yearly demand of cloth in Bangladesh is about 823 million metres. But the local industries produce only 450 million metres. The cotton produced is very little in comparison to the total requirement and is of low grade. Therefore, the textile industries are to depend on the imports of cotton. In 1947, there were only 8 cotton mills. These cotton mills had only 2,717 looms. During 1969-70, the number of cotton mills become 44. At present, a total of 63 textile and yarn mills are in operation in Bangladesh Soon after independence, the government of Bangladesh nationalised all the cotton and yarn mills and a little later, the responsibility for management and maintenance was handed over to Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation (B.T.M.C). During 1984-85, some of the mills were de-nationalised and at present, about 25 such mills are being maintained by private sector. About 10 lakh labourers are working in textile industries. But a major proportion of this is engaged in handloom industries working in rural areas. About 75 thousand workers are engaged in textile industries.Source : Bangladesh Economic Survey, 2010.Textile industries have grown up in different places of Dhaka, Comilla, Noakhali and Chittagong of Bangladesh. The factors held responsible for growth of textile industries are mainly the supply of cheap labour, good transport and communication system, humid climate and the availability of local markets. About 24 textile mills have been established in Dhaka and in its surrounding areas. Cotton weaving industries have been developed in Tongi, Fatullah, Narayanganj, Kanchpur, Demra, Savar, and other regions. Fauzderhat, Sholoshahar, Panchlaish and Halishahar are the notable textile industrial centres in Chittagong region. This region is the second major textile industrial centre of the country. There are textile mills at Durgapur, Daulatpur, Halimanagar, Brahmanbaria, Debidwar and Feni in Comilla-Noakhali region. This region is the third textile industrial region of Bangladesh.At present, the quantity of cloth which is produced in Bangladesh is quite insufficient to meet the demand. Bangladesh imports huge quantity of cotton clothes and yarns from Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Pakistan and other countries every year.
Paper industry : Paper industry is one of the largest industries of Bangladesh. The first paper mill was established in 1953. At present, there are 6 paper mills, 4 board mills and 1 newsprint mill in Bangladesh. The paper mills are Karnaphuli Paper Mill at Chandraghona in Rangamati district, the North Bengal Paper Mill at Pakshi in Pabna district, and Sylhet pulp and Paper Mill at Chhatak, Bashundhara, Magura and Shahjalal Paper Mills near Meghna ghat in Narayanganj district. Besides, of the Newsprint Mills, the Khulna Newsprint Mill, and of the board mills the Bangladesh Hard Board Mills, Adamjee Particle Board Mills, Kaptai and Tongi Board Mills are remarkable. The first and biggest mill is Karnaphuli Paper Mill. The bamboo, soft wood, reeds (nalkhagra), bagassee, jute sticks etc. are used as raw materials for the production of paper. Very recently the technology to produce high quality of paper has been invented using raw jute. Writing paper, printing paper, packing and other papers of high quality are produced. There is scarcity of raw materials, chemicals, and power resources in paper industries. Proper supply of raw materials, abundant and regular supply of electricity and the creation of the world market is necessary for the development of this industry. Fertilizer industry : Bangladesh is an agricultural country. Fertilizer has got an important role to play to increase the fertility of the soil. Bangladesh needs more food to meet the demand of the increasing population. Fertilizer is necessary to increase the yield of the crop per acre. Along with the increase of the use of the organic fertilizer, the use of the chemical fertilizer has also increased. The factors for the growth of the fertilizer industries are the abundance of raw materials, availability of energy resources, market, cheap labour and good transportation system. The first fertilizer factory of Bangladesh was established in 1961 in Fenchuganj of Sylhet district. At present, fertilizer is being produced from eight fertilizer factories. The rest of the fertilizer factories are Ghorasal Fertilizer Factory, Ashuganj Fertilizer Factory, Palash Urea Fertilizer Factory, Chittagong Tripple Super Phosphate Fertilizer Factory, Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Factory and Jamuna Fertilizer Factory and Fenchuganj Amonium Sulphate Fertilizer Factory Presently, Bangladesh needs 12 lakh tons of fertilizer. But the production of fertilizer is inadequate in comparison to the requirement. At present, the sugar mills of Bangladesh are not capable of producing sugar to the requirement of the country. As a result, the producing in comparison to annual requirement falls short. Sugar worth taka 150 crore was imported during 1992-93. The main problem of sugar industries of Bangladesh is the uncertainty of supply of sugarcane. At one hand, due to the storage of sugarcane, the sugar mills could not use its full capacity of production and on the other hand, a tendency of produce molasses is observed.
Garment industries : Garment industries have developed here as an important industry. Garment industries were developed to meet the local demand during early sixties and slowly turned into export oriented industries. During the end of the seventies and early eighties, export oriented garment industries started to flourish. About 92 garment industries started to export garments at the end of 1983. In 1984, the number of units were recorded at 455 in one year and in 1985 additional more units were established raising the total units to 715. Since then, this industry very rapidly topped the export list.
Importance of the garment industries : The economic base of Bangladesh is dependent on agriculture. But the food that is produced cannot meet the demand of the people of the country. Every year, we have to import food at the cost of hard earned foreign currency. Since the emergence of Bangladesh, there has been a shortage of exports in comparison to imports. The rapid growth of ready-made garments has been a major contribution to the economic rejuvenation of Bangladesh. At present, there are about 1,000 export oriented garment units in the country. About 75 per cent of the total units are located in Dhaka Metropolitan City. The rest of the units are in Chittagong Port City and few in Khulna. About 7 lakh labourers are engaged in this industry of which about 85 per cent are women. During 2001-02, Bangladesh earned foreign currency worth taka 17,947 crore, which accounts for 52 per cent of the total foreign earnings. But during 2008-10, Bangladesh earned foreign currency worth taka 30,273 crore, which accounts for 38 per cent of the total foreign earnings.
Population;In respect to population, the position of Bangladesh is nineth in the world. According to 1991 census, Bangladesh recorded 11.15 crore of people. The density of population is high in comparison to the land area. The annual population growth rate of our country is 2.17 per cent. Bangladesh is one of the densest countries of the world (Fig. 92 and 93). According to the Census Report, 2001, the population of Bangladesh is about 12.93 crore, the rate of increase is 1.48 per cent and the density of population is about 876 persons per square kilometre. At present, the population of Bangladesh is about 14.66 crore, the rate of increase is 1.39 per cent and the density of population is about 993 persons per square kilometre (Source : Bangladesh Statistical Pocketbook, 2009/February 2010, Page 7). If the present growth rate persists in the country, then the density of population would be increasing further. Population resource is one of the most important elements for the economic development of any country. If a country has sufficient resources but if the manpower is not available in required number, then the natural resources cannot be utilised properly and as a result the economic development is hampered. On the other hand, if the population is comparatively more than the available resources, then it becomes a burden or a problem for the country. Trained manpower is a resource for any country The distribution of population of a country or a region depends on many factors. The outstanding factors for the distribution of the population are classified into two groups such as : (a) Physical, and (b) Non-physical. The physical and Non-physical factors are discussed below :
(a) Physical factors;
1. Physiography : The physiography of Bangladesh being homogeneous, human settlements are found almost everywhere. The livelihood is tough in the hilly regions of Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Bandarban and in the Sunderban region and therefore the density of population in these regions are very low. As the railways and the road communication system is not well developed in those regions, making a living hard here. Therefore these regions are less densely populated. In the slopes of the hills of Sylhet, where there is tea cultivation, settlement has developed around the tea industries. The plains of the river valleys are fertile. Dense human settlements have developed due to ease of agriculture in these areas. The navigability of the rivers and the advantages of roads and railway communication have attracted people to these regions. 1. Climate : Climate controls the distribution of settlement. People prefer to live in good climate rather than in extreme climate. The climate is almost the same in all over Bangladesh, but the variation of temperature between summer and winter is felt more in the northern region of the country. The plains attract people to live there because of the favourable climatic conditions for agriculture and crop production. (b) Non-physical factors
1. Mineral resources : Labourers and workers have developed dense settlements in the regions where mineral resources are available.
2. Industrial development : Mineral resources, agriculture resources, forest resources and animal resources have attracted people to develop settlements. In these regions, along with the major industries, some other related industries have developed. Due to the development of the industries and trade, the surrounding areas are turned into populous regions. As industrial towns have developed in Tejgaon, Tongi, Narsingdi, Khulna and Chittagong, the density of human settlements is high in such areas.
3. Transportation system : If in a place, the road communication is well developed and if there is easy railway connection and if there are facilities of river communication, then it becomes easy for the place to maintain good linkages with other regions. In such case, the place becomes populous.
4. Cultural effect : Now-a-days, education and culture have great influence on people. The development of science and technology, the bonds of philosophy and culture attract people closer and help to exchange their views. The regions having better education and cultural development will have more people. Necessity to Keep the Population Growth Stable Economic development is being hampered due to high population growth. To accelerate the development of Bangladesh, the population growth is to be arrested and the population should be kept stable due to the following reasons : 1. To raise the standard of living by alleviating poverty; 2. To minimize food shortage; 3. To reduce the pressure on agricultural land; 4. To reduce the rate of unemployment; 5. To maintain the pace of development; 6. To generate capital; and 7. To reduce the dependency rate. For this, it is required to develop the human resources and for which the following strategies are to be considered :
1. To transform the population into human resources through a realistic multi-sectoral approach;
2. To develop the standard of living of the rural people through expansion of education, agricultural development, establishment of industries and extension of medical facilities etc;
3. To reduce the rate of growth of population and to have a planned family size;
4. To increase the basic facilities.
Transport System
In the modern world, the transport system plays a vital role in the spread of the civilisation and in economic development. It is impossible to survive in this modern world, ignoring the transport system. We understand the transport system as the communication linkage between different places and the movement of goods and people. The transportation system may be of different types. The classification of the transport system of Bangladesh is discussed below :
1. Land transportation : It means the road and railway communication system. The bus, lorry, truck, rickshaw etc. are the means of road transportation. Railway train or carriages are used for communication purposes. (a) Road : The construction and the maintenance of roads are very expensive due to the existence of innumerable rivers, khals, beels, abundant rainfall, physical structure of the land, and the financial constraints. In 1947, there were only 1,931.17 kilometres of metalled roads of which all season usable metalled road was only 386.23 kilometres. During 1947-70, the total length of the road was 38,623.45 kilometres. According to 2007-08 the total length of the roadways is 2,86,507 kilometres. The metalled road is 86,498 kilometres and unmetalled road is 2,00,009 kilometres (Source : Bangladesh Statistical Pocketbook, 2009 A look into the transport system of Bangladesh shows that a along with the mechanised transports, there are also the traditional transport like rickshaw, bullock carts, push carts etc. Due to the existence of the rivers, our roads are disrupted in many places. As a result, to keep the road communication in service, ferry services have been introduced. The eastern and the western parts of the country have been linked through Bangabandhu Bridge. As a result, the commodities and the passengers can eagily be transported by road within very short time. To develop the road communication system, an organisation named as the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (B.R.T.C.) was formed. The roads have been categorised as National Highways, Regional Roads, Zila Roads, Upazila Roads, Union Parisad Roads and the Village Roads. All Zila towns are well connected with Dhaka by road. But to go to many of these towns, ferry service is required. (b) Railways : At the time of independence in 1971, there was only 2,857 kilometres of railways. During 1995-96, Bangladesh had 2,706 kilometres of railway and during 2001-02, the total length of the railway line recorded 2,768.37 kilometres. During 2008-09, the total length of the railway line recorded only 2,835.04 kilometres (Source : Bangladesh Economic Survey, 2010, Table 43, Page 283). This is known as Bangladesh Railway. The railways are of three types viz., broad gauge, metre gauge and doual gauge During 1995-96, Bangladesh had 884 kilometres of broad gauge railway lines, but recently, it increased to 659.33 kilometres. This type of railway line is found in Khulna and Rajshahi Divisions. Some broad gauge lines are also found in Faridpur and Rajbari districts of Dhaka Division. During 1995-96, Bangladesh had 1,822 kilometres of metre gauge railway line, but recently it increased to 1,800.88 kilometres. Most of these line in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet Divisions. On the other hand, form Zamtail to Joydevpur the distance of both metre gauge and broad gauge rail lines are 374.83 kilometres. The broad gauge, metre gauge and doual gauge lines in Bangladesh are divided into two parts by the Jamuna river. All of the metre gauge and doual gauge railway lines are on the east and broad gauge railway lines on the west. Direct railway communication between the eastern and the western parts of the country has been established through the Bangabandhu bridge. At present, a ferry service is running between Tistamukh and Bahadurabad ghats and between Sirajganj and Jagannathganj ghats. Railways exist in all the districts excepting the hilly districts of Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Bandarban and the districts of Barisal, Patuakhali and Barguna. There are 440 railway stations in total (Source : Bangladedh Statistical Pocketbook, 2009/February 2010, Table 8.01). Out of these, Laksham, Akhaura, Mymensingh, Bhairab Bazar, Ishwardi, Parbatipur, Santahar, Bonarpara, Kaunia and Kamlapur of Dhaka junctions are particularly notable. Almost all the important towns are well connected with the capital of Dhaka through all these junctions.
2. Waterways : The boats, launches and steamers are used in river communication, sea going vessels are necessary for sea communication. (a) River transportation : There are innumerable rivers in the country, but all the rivers are not navigable. Bangladesh has got 8,400 kilometres of inland navigable waterways. Out of this, about 5,400 kilometres remain usable all the year round and the rest of 3,000 kilometres is used only during rainy season. Navigable waterways are under the control of Inland Water Transport Authority. Small boats, launches, steamers, sea-trucks, ferries, tankers, coasters ply on the internal rivers of Bangladesh. Generally, the rivers in the south and in the east are more suitable for inland communication. Therefore, the important river ports are situated in these regions. Of these Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chandpur, Barisal, Jhalakhati, Khulna, Bhairab Bazar, Ashuganj, Mirkadim, Aricha and Sirajganj can be mentioned among river ports. 94 per cent of the passengers travel by Tamburi boat, passenger boat (Gaina boat) and launches and the rest of 6 per cent by steamers (b) Ocean transportation : Ocean routes are very much important for trade. Heavy duty commercial commodities and the goods of large size are carried through ocean routes. Trade between the countries can be carried over by ocean routes. Bangladesh has got two sea ports for trade. The first one is Chittagong sea port and the second one is Mongla sea port. The Chittagong sea port is situated on the bank of Karnaphuli river. Chittagong port is called the gateway to Bangladesh. This port has got road and railway connection. There are many jetties in this port and about 24 sea vessels can anchor at a time. About 80 per cent of the trade of the country is carried through this port. The Mongla port is situated 50 kilometres south of Khulna at the confluence of the Passur and Mongla rivers. This port is connected by rivers with Barisal, Patuakhali and Faridpur. This port has got water and road connections.
3. Airways : Airways is also known as skyways. During the modern age, the air communication is very important. For fast movement of passengers and cargo, the air is the best medium. The airways in Bangladesh occupies an important place in transportation system. Two types of air services are available in Bangladesh, viz., internal air service and the international air service. Air services between the districts within the country is known as internal air service. Dhaka is connected with Chittagong, Jessore, Sylhet, Ishwardi, Saidpur, CoxÕs Bazar, Thakurgaon, Barisal and Rajshahi under the internal air service system and Jessore, CoxÕs Bazar, Sylhet, can also be travelled from Chittagong. On the other hand, when the Bangladesh Biman operates its air communication with other countries of the world, then it is called International Services of the Bangladesh Biman. Different countries of the world are linked with Dhaka and Chittagong in the international route Kurmitola of Dhaka is an international airport. Its name is Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is the biggest airport of the country, nextt o it is the Chittagong Shah Amanat and Sylhet Osmani International Airport. The name of the Bangladesh Biman Organisation is Bangladesh Biman Airlines.
Selling and purchasing of goods to meet the demands of the people and the related activities are known as trade. Trade have influenced the economy of the country. In ancient times, trade was introduced through exchange of commercial goods due to non-existence of currency i.e. one would receive pulses or any other equal quantity of goods in exchange of same quantity of rice. Ordinarily it can be said that exchange of commodities is the trade. On the basis of kind and nature, trade can be divided into two, viz. Internal trade and International trade.
Internal trade : When the commodities are sold or exchanged between the different regions within the country, it is called internal trade. As for example, if the tea of Sylhet of Bangladesh is sent to other regions within the country for selling, then it comes under the category of internal trade.
International trade : When the commodities or goods are sold and purchased between different countries, then it is called international trade. International trade is of two types- import trade and export trade. Import trade : To meet the requirements of the country when the goods are brought from another country, then it is called import trade. As for example, Bangladesh is to import baby food, machineries, food items, industrial raw materials and goods, medicine, chemicals, consumable items etc. to meet the needs of the country. Some of the major imported items are discussed below : Consumable essential goods : To meet the food shortage, rice, wheat, edible oil, sugarcane, baby food, oil seeds are imported.
Industrial goods : Main imported items for the industrial development are machineries, instruments, coal, cement, diesel, petrol, cotton yarn, electrical goods, iron and steel. Machineries and raw materials : Though Bangladesh is an agricultural country, it is not developed in agriculture. Agricultural implements, insecticides, high quality seeds and fertilizers are necessary to increase agricultural productivity. On the other hand, to increase industrial production, high quality machineries, instruments, raw materials etc. are necessary. Therefore these materials are imported. Besides these, Bangladesh imports medicine, glass, motor cars, bicycles, radioes, watches, televisions, refrigerators, buses, trucks, rubber goods etc, from foreign countries. The countries from where Bangladesh imports the goods are the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., India, Japan, France, Singapore, China and Taiwan. Export trade : When the commodities of our own country are sent to other countries, then it is known as export trade. As for example, the ready-made garments, jute, jute goods, leather and tea of Bangladesh are sent to other countries of the world. Some of the major exportable items are discussed below :
Ready-made garments : At present, Bangladesh earns its maximum foreign currency by exporting ready-made garments. During 1997-98, ready-made garments worth taka 12,924 crore, and during 2003-04 worth taka 20,853 crore were exported. Now, in 2009-10 it the export value has increased to 30,273 crores.
Raw jute : Once, about 75 per cent of the total world production of jute was produced in Bangladesh. The U.K., India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, and Russia are the main buyers of raw jute from Bangladesh.
Jute goods : Bangladesh earns foreign currency by exporting hessains, bags, gunny bags, carpets etc. to foreign countries. About 35 per cent of the total export earnings come from jute goods. The jute goods are exported to Japan, the U.S.A., the U.K.,France, Germany, Italy, India and China.
Tea : Tea stands sixth in respect of earning foreign currency. There are 158 tea gardens in Bangladesh. She exports tea to the U.K., the U.S.A., Russia, Netherlands, Japan and Pakistan. Leather and leather goods : Bangladesh every year earns foreign currency by exporting the cow, buffalow and goat leather. The leather and leather goods have occupied the fourth place in the field of exports. Bangladesh mainly exports leathera nd leather goods to the U.S.A., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Japan.
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