Sunday, May 12, 2013

Details of Noakhali District

Background, Geographic Area and Location: Noakhali, the deltaic zila is situated at the fringe of the Bay of Bengal. It became a zila in the name of Bhulua or Bhola (south Shahbazpur) comprosing of areas from the neighbouring Comilla (Sudharam, Begumganj and Lakshmipur), Bakerganj (Dakshin Shahbazpur and host of islands) and Chittagong (Hatiya and Sandwip) on the 29th March, 1822. The zila headquarters was situated on the Bank of Noakhal meaning New Cannel which might be the origin of renaming the zila as Noakhali. It is bounded on the north by Comilla Zila, on the east by Feni and Chittagong zilas, on the south by the Bay of Bengal and on the west by hola and akshimpur zilas. It lies between 22° 07' and 23° 08' north latitudes and between 90° 53' and 91° 27' east longitudes. The total area of the zila is 3,685.87 sq. km. (1423.00 sq. miles) of which 1557.18 sq. km. is under reserve forest.

Temperature and Rainfall: Annual average temperature -maximum 34.3°C, minimum 14.4°C and rainfall 3302 mm.

Main Rivers: Bamni and MEGHNA.

The town has an area of 12.61 sq km. The ancient name of Noakhali Sadar was Sudharam. In 1948 when the upazila headquarters were extinct by the erosion of the Meghna River, it was shifted 8 km to the north to its present place at Maijdi. The town has five dakbungalows.

Administration: Noakhali zila, whose earlier name was Bhulua, was established in 1821. It was named Noakhali in 1868. The zila consists of 9 upazilas, 91 unions, 946 mauzas, 987 villages, 8 paurashavas, 72 wards and 123 mahallas. The upazilas are NOAKHALI SADAR, BEGUMGANJ, CHATKHIL, COMPANIGANJ, HATIYA, SENBAGH, KABIRHAT, SONAIMURI and SUBARNACHAR.

Archaeological Heritage and Relics: Noakhali Public Library (1895), Bajra Shahi Mosque (1153 AH, Chatkhil), Kali Statue (18th century) at Sirajpur union of Companiganj upazila).

Historical Events: The ancient name of Noakhali was Bhulua. Once the agricultural activities of the north-eastern region of Bhulua were seriously affected by floodwater of the river Dakatia flowing from the Tripura hills. To save the situation a canal was excavated in 1660 running from the Dakatia through Ramganj, Sonaimudi and Chaumuhani to divert water flow to the junction of the rivers Meghna and Feni. After excavating this long canal Bhulua was renamed "Noakhali" after "Noa" (new) and "khal" (canal) in 1668.

The people of Noakhali actively took part in Jehad Movement in 1830 and Khilafat Movement in 1920. Mahatma Gandhi visited Noakhali (Begumganj upazila) in 1946 to ease communal riots.

Noakhali zila was seriously affected many times by natural disasters like high tidal bore, tornado, flood, cyclone etc since 1790. In 1970 devastating tornado and tidal bore took lives of about 10 lakh people of the zila. During the War of Liberation many direct and guerilla encounters were held between the Pakistani Army and the freedom fighters. About 70 freedom fighters were killed in a direct encounter with the Pakistani Army on 15 June 1971 in front of Sonapur Ahmadia School. Noakhali was liberated on 7 December 1971.

Marks of the War of Liberation: Mass grave at a place adjacent to the sluice gate of Companiganj, memorial monuments 4, at the premises of Sonapur Ahmadia Model School, Maijdi Primary Training Institute, Chaumuhani and Sonaimuri; three roads named after martyr freedom fighters (Shaheed Nur Mohammad Road, Shaheed Major Mesbahuddin Road and Shaheed Jasimuddin Road).

Main Crops: Boro and Aman paddy, peanut, varieties of pulses, chilli, sugarcane, potato, phelon.

Extinct or nearly extinct crops Linseed, sesame, jute, local varieties of paddy, mug (pulse).

Main Fruits: Mango, jackfruit, papaya, coconut, banana, litchi, betel nut, palm.

Traditional Transport: Palanquin, horse carriage, bullock cart and buffalo cart. These means of transport are either extinct or nearly extinct.