GENERAL
 
(The area and population figures are taken from the Nagpur District Census Handbook, 1961.)
 
Situation:

(The section on Geography is contributed by Dr. C. D. Deshpande, Director of Education, Maharashtra State.)

NAGPUR DISTRICT LIES BETWEEN 20°35' AND 21 °44' NORTH AND 78° 15' AND 79° 40' EAST, in the plain to which it gives its name at the southern base of the Satpuda Hills. It has an area of 9,930.0 km.2 (3,834.0 sq. miles) and a population of 1,512,807 according to 1961 census. In size, it ranks 18th in the Maharashtra State and in population eleventh. Administratively it has five subdivisions or tahsils, viz., Katol, Saoner, Ramtek, Nagpur and Umrer. It has 12 urban centres and 1,653 rural settlements.


Boundaries:

The district is bounded on the north by the Chhindwada and Seoni districts of the Madhya Pradesh, on the east by Bhandara, on the south and west by Chanda and Wardha, respectively, and along a small strip on the north-west by the Amravati district.

 
Physical Features, Relief & Drainage
 

Physical Features, Relif and Drainage

The district has an average elevation between 274.50 and 305 metres (900 and 1,000 feet) above sea level and its relief features are characterised, by and large, by the residual hill ranges of the Satpudas and their detached members, enclosing between them undulating black soil valleys. Much of the topography is typically one of the Deccan Trap having flat-topped and terraced features, low buttressed sides and isolated knolls. Eastwards and north-eastwards, the landscape changes in an interesting manner due to the change in the underlying rocks. The rocks of Gondwana series are not only important because of their coal and manganese deposits, but in their surface expression they present a low rolling topography with a poor soil cover and vegetation.

The greater part of the district is an undulating plateau with a variation in height between 652.70 metres (2,140 feet) above sea level on the upland ridges in the north and about 274.50 metres (900 feet) near the Kanhan river. This plateau surface of the district falls into three distinct drainage basins. The northeastern and east-central portion, which is about the two-thirds area of the district, is drained by the river Wainganga and its tributaries; the central and southern portion by the Wunna system which is itself a tributary of the river Wardha. The north-western fringes are drained by the Wardha and its tributaries, the jam and the Kar. The terraced landscape of the Deccan lavas on the west has several flat-topped hills well-furrowed on their sides by streams. In the north, the upland ranges are an extension of the Satpuda ranges; these are narrow in the west but widen to a breadth of about 19 km. (twelve miles) towards the east. Immediately south of these upland ranges, stretch the Ambagad hills, the western extremity of which lies in the Nagpur district. The historic temple of Ramtek is situated on a spur of this range. The western border of the district is marked by a low hill range extending more prominently from the environs of Mohli to the south of Umrer, with the break of the Wunna river almost in the riddle. The Pilkapar hills in the Katol tahsil are a smaller counterpart of this hill range. There are several detached hills, notably that of Sitabuldi in Nagpur City which is visible from a long distance. These isolated hills or knolls attain to no great altitude, hardly rising from 91.50 to 106.75 metres (300 to 350 feet) above the surrounding level country, but they present a characteristic appearance of flat or slightly rounded tops, covered with thin forests or brushwood and in some cases completely bare and stony. The Wardha and Wain ganga rivers flow along a part of the western and the eastern borders respectively, and the drainage of the district is divided between them. The waters of the north-western and western areas are carried to the Wardha by the Jam and the Kar, and of the south-eastern portion by the Wunna and other minor streams. The north-eastern and east-central portion is drained by the Pench and Kanhan rivers, which flowing south through the Satpuda hills, unite just above Kamptee where they are also joined by the Kolar; from here the Kanhan carries their united waters along the northern boundary of the Umrer tahsil to join the Wainganga on the Bhandara border. To the east a few small streams flow direct to the Wainganga. The richest part of the district is the western half of the Katol tahsil, cut off by the small ranges described above. It possesses a soil profusely fertile, and teems with the richest garden cultivation. Beyond the Pilkapar hills, the country extends to the eastern border. Its surface is scarcely ever level, but it is closely cultivated, abounds in mango groves and other trees, and towards the east is studded with small tanks which form quite a feature in the landscape.

 

The Satpuda Hills

The northern range of hills extends along the whole border, being pierced only in two places where the Kanhan and Pench rivers have broken through. On the west it consists merely of the outlying foothills of the Satpudas, the plateau proper lying behind them in Chhindwada. But from the Kanhan to the Pench, it is the major range of the Satpudas themselves which dominates the landscape, and the ascent of the Khamarpani plateau is made in Nagpur. Along this length the hills are well wooded and picturesque, and there is some striking scenery on the Pench river. The old Gond fort of Bhivagad stands on this range. Government-managed forests in this district mainly belong to these hills between the Kanhan and the Bawanthari.The cultivated villages are scattered here and there in the river valleys, and the country is very pleasing and well-wooded, open glades alternating with patches of forest and clearings of cultivation. Mahua trees and tanks abound, and the Gond villages, with their clean little streets and neat back-gardens, have a far more picturesque appearance than the monotonous mud walls of the more imposing houses in the rich villages of the plain country.

A few miles to the south of the main Satpuda range are two minor lines of hills, to the west and east of the Pench. Those to the west lie between Bhivagad and Parseoni, terminating in the peak of Tekadi 508.34 metres (1,669 feet). East of the Pench are the Mansar hills, both these and the western range being now denuded of trees, and, after a gap of a few miles, come the well known Ramtek hills, rising to 427 metres (1,400 feet) at Ramtek proper. Timely measures by the Government have helped in retaining the wooded character of this range. Three miles east of Ramtek the Sur river has forced a passage through the hills. Beyond this point they are called the Ambagad range of Bhandara. The Ramtek hills terminate on the west in the form of a horse-shoe curve, its inner sides enclosing the beautiful and sacred tank of Ambala, one of the most charming pieces of scenery in the district. The temple hill at the extremity of the ranges, rising 183 metres (600 feet) sheer above the level of the plain, is at once a landmark to the surrounding country and a vantage ground from which the great Wainganga plain may be seen spread out below, its irregularities of surface softened into smoothness by the height from which one looks down upon it.

 

Minor Ranges.

The second main hill tract extends along the south-east of the district from Khargad on the Wardha river, where there are some fine waterfalls, to the junction of Wardha and Chanda with Nagpur. They separate the valley of the Kar from that of the Jam up to Kondhali and further south-east form the watershed between the latter river and the Bor. Near Bori they become the Kauras plateau and here terminate to afford a passage for the Wardha river, continuing afterwards southeastwards and dividing the valley of the Nand from the Wainganga plain. West of the Wunna the range is mostly well covered with picturesque valleys and ravines, among which are narrow strips of rich well-irrigated land of great fertility. But to the east towards Umrer the range has lower levels and is uninteresting. It consists of low bare hills which are grass covered and boulder-strewn, except where, overlooking the Nand valley, some excellent teak is grown.

The third main range runs northwards through the Katol tahsil from Kondhali to Kelod, separating the Wardha and Wainganga valleys. The highest part of it is at Pilkapar. The hills are generally clear of trees, but there is a great deal of cultivation scattered among them, and here and there are found upland plateaus covered with stones and with soil of varying depth, suitable only for the production of rain crops. Connected with this range is the hill system which divides the Wunna valley from the Wainganga plain, and bisects the Nagpur tahsil. These hills in part striking eastward from the third range, and in front projecting from the Kauras plateau are low and bare. To them belong those dreary stone-covered downs which shut in the city of Nagpur on the west.

The Wardha and its Tributaries

The Wardha valley proper includes but a small proportion of the district, consisting of the rich Amner pargana to the northwest of Katol. But its tributaries drain the bulk of the Katol tahsil, a half of Nagpur and a small part of Umrer. The principal of these are the Bor, the Wunna, the Jam and the Kar. The Bor rises in the hills near Bazargaon and rushes down a winding and rocky channel between the Kondhali uplands and the Kauras plateau, passing into the Wardha to join the Wunna. Its narrow valley is very fertile and the high well-wooded cliffs on either side render it a wild and beautiful spot in the whole of the district. The Wunna rises near the hill of Mahadagad in the Pilkapar range and flaws along the northern base of the Kauras plateau past Hingna and Bori where it is crossed by the Central Railway. It leaves the district at Ashta. The small Krishna river joins it at Bori. The Jam rises among the hills south of Kondhali and flowing northwards into the centre of the Katol tahsil, takes a westerly turn past Katol and joins the Wardha at Jalalkheda. The Kar rises in the same range, but flaws directly south-west, separating the Wardha and Nagpur districts till it joins the Wardha river at Khargad, the trijunction point of the two districts with Berar. The Nand flows across a small strip in the south of the district and joins the Wunna beyond the border of Wardha.

The Kanhan and its Tributaries

The eastern two-thirds of the district belong to the drainage system of the Wainganga and except for the northern range of the Satpudas consist of an undulating plain of cultivation, broken only by isolated hills and by the hallows and depressions marking the course of the innumerable streams, which traverse its surface and feed the larger rivers. The chief rivers of this tract are the Pench and the Kanhan, both of which flow down from the Satpuda range in the Chhindwada district, and meet near Kamptee, where they are also joined by the Kolar. The upper reaches of the Pench among the hills and jungles north of Bhivagad afford some pleasing views. The Kanhan, entering the district near Baregaon, takes a south-easterly course past Khapa to Kamptee, where it receives the Pench and Kolar and is crossed by two bridges. In its subsequent course it marks the boundary of the Ramtek tahsil, and after receiving the Nag river near the hills of Bhivakund, finally empties itself into the Wainganga at Gandpipri in Bhandara. The Kolar rises in the north-east corner of the Katol tahsil, and after passing through the rocky country of Lohgad in the Pilkapar range, emerges, into the fertile plain of Saoner and separates the Nagpur from the Ramtek tahsil until its place as a boundary river is taken by the Kanhan. Its bed is generally rocky. At Patansaongi it receives the Chandrabhaga, which brings in the drinage of the Kalmeshwar plain. It is bridged at Dahegaon, where it is crossed by the road from Nagpur to Chhindwada. The doab of Parseoni between the Pench and the Kanhan, and the doab of Patansaongi on the narrow strip of land enclosed between the Kolar and the Kanhan. are the most fertile and highly cultivated portions of the Ramtek and Saoner tahsils, respectively.

Other Rivers

The only other rivers of importance are those draining the eastern half of the Ramtek tahsil, the Bawanthari, Sur and Gaotala-Sand. The Bawanthari only passes through the extreme north-east of the district, but it drains the country to the north of Chorbaoli and east of the Seoni road. The Sur, rising in the hills west of the Seoni road, follows a most erratic course, and after cutting its way through a narrow gorge in the Ramtek range, flows eastward past Aroli and Kodamendhi into Bhandara, where it joins the Wainganga. The Sur is remarkable for the shallowness of its bed, the level character of the land immediately on its margin, and the fertile properties of this land in producing sugarcane and garden crops. The Gaotala-Sand issues from the Ramtek tank and joins the Kanhan at the south-east of the Ramtek tahsil near the hill of Sitapahar.

General Characteristics of the Rivers

Most of the large rivers, where they flow through plain country, are characterised by high banks and rapid streams when in flood, but in the hot weather they are mere rivulets, with deep pools here and there where the bed is rocky and hollow among the rocks have been formed by the action of the stream. The wide wastes of sand which are exposed to the sun's rays during the hot weather months seem in the case of the large rivers to neutralise the cooling effect of the small streaks of water in the centre of the bed, and the influence on the country around these rivers, though of course very great, is not directly discernible except in the rugged ravines with short scrub which mark their banks. But their tributaries, the numerous shallow streams with a fringe of vegetation on either side, or winding amidst sindi bans or woods of date palm, exercise a more patently beneficial effect on the surrounding lands, which are generally fertile and are kept moist all the year round. Such streams are however, only to be found in the most level plains, or in deep valleys among the hills. Over most of the great wheat tract of Umrer, where the more marked undulations of the country cause the water to be carried rapidly away, are deep water-courses absolutely dry during half the year, with bare banks devoid of all vegetation. These become small torrents after each heavy fall of rain, and the fields in their neighbourhood are scoured out of all recognition, despoiled of their soils, and speedily rendered unfit for cultivation.

 
 
Regional Aspects

Regional Aspects

The foregoing description of relief and drainage provides a suitable introduction to the understanding of the varied regional aspects of the district. Climate and vegetation, as has been described in the pages that follow, have an interesting regional variation. Conditions of temperature are more or less common to all parts of the district, but the rainfall is heavier in the east than in the West and this coupled with the variation in soils gives, a changing regional landscape. Although the district as a. whole,belongs to the monsoonal deciduous type of flora, forests cling only to the protected areas under Government control in the more hilly parts of the district. Valleys are almost completely occupied by cultivation, but the plateau forms and residual hills of lower order support only scrub and poorer grassland. It is, however, the relief and its orientation through drainage pattern that gives the regional landscapes their characteristic form, and it is, therefore, possible to distinguish four tracts in the district.

(i) The North-eastern and East-central valleys:- Here, bordered at places by the Satpudas in the north, and abutted by the Ramtek hills, the valleys of the Pench, the Kanhan, and the Kolar rivers have encouraged economic development and population settlement, though the immediate banks of these rivers are characterised by intense gully erosion. The agricultural land is a good deal intermixed with forest, scrub and grassland. Rural population is settled mainly in hamlets. The local topography being favourable, tank irrigation plays an important role in agriculture in the eastern margin. Of the irrigated crops, betelnut leaves from the environs of Ramtek are famous. The other leading crops are jowar, wheat and rice, and to some extent oilseeds. Saoner is a route centre situated on the transitional line between this tract and the north-western plateau tract. Immediately south of the Kolar river, the land is more even and agriculturally better, though several knolls like the Dudhbhardi hill are prominent on the landscape particularly because of their bare aspect. Commercial activity follows the Nagpur-Jubbulpore road and the Nagpur-Calcutta rail-route. Locally, of rising importance is the new industrial development. Opening of the Kamptee coalfields has spurred industrial activity in various ways. The location of the State Government's leading Thermal Electric Power Station at Khaparkheda on the left bank of the Kanhan river is due to the availability of water and coal locally and its accessibility through the narrow gauge railways and the nearness of the industrial city of Nagpur. Kanhan town, situated on the other bank of the Kanhan river, facing the old cantonment town of Kamptee, is a rising industrial township with ferro-manganese unit already working. Although the cantonment of Kamptee with its military-type bungalows and barracks now wears a quaint and sleepy look, the surrounding area is full of promise for industrialisation and should in course of time become an extension of industrial Nagpur. In the south, the Nag and the Amb rivers have more open valleys supporting better agriculture. Umrer (population 22,682) situated in an amphitheatre of residual hills is a route centre.

(ii) The North-western plateau tract:- This tract bears, with its trappean land forms and well weathered black soil in valleys, a marked contrast to the north-eastern part. This is a rich cotton jowar area, with an emphasis on dry cultivation. It is more densely populated being in large-sized compact villages ; but the population is rural in character. Katol is a route centre and a commercial town. The Nagpur-Delhi Grand Trunk route takes advantage of the low-lying areas to traverse this region. Separated by a range the Kar valley has an almost similar land utilization characteristics though on a narrower scale because of its deeply entrenched nature. The left bank portion of the Wardha valley belonging to this district is a further enlargement of these land use features, though gully erosion acts as a handicap to cultivation. But upstream, the Wardha left flank in the region of Mowad (population 4,481) has a developed well irrigation belt which supports a variety of crops. The twin town of Amner- Jalalkheda situated at the junction of the Jam and the Wardha is a local market centre.

(iii) The Wunna and Nand river valleys:- This is the south-eastern strip of the district with an extension in the centre through the Wunna drainage. Flanked on both sides by the trappean hill ranges, the valleys widen out towards the border of the district as the rivers approach the Wardha. Black soil landscape predominates. Although this is a predominantly dry cultivation area, with cotton, jowar, oil-seeds as the leading crops, well-irrigation is of some significance. Crops like chillis and turmeric are grown under well irrigaton. But the region as a whole is sparsely populated with large tracts of impoverished grassland and scrub, scattered hamlets and hardly any urban settlement except perhaps Bori and Raipur.

(iv) The Residual hills:- The residual hills of the district offer a distinct topographical and land-use contrast to the valleys. In the north, extension of the Satpudas presents a highly eroded topography covered by the monsoonal forests. Here the cultivation and habitation are restricted to the lower valleys. In the north-east and east, under the influence of the Gondwana rocks they have in most places a rolling appearance and irregular trend and are either bare or covered by scrub. The trappean hills which dominate the west-central and southern margins of the district, with their rounded crestline features and flat shoulders stand in contrast with the hills of the north-eastern portion. The more uneven areas including steeper valley sides are protected Government forests, but the flatter plateau levels have fairly good agricultural land. Kondhali and Kauras plateau tract is typical of this landscape, though further south in the Umrer tract, the plateau areas uniformly belong to the Government forest reserves. These are thinly populated areas of the district served with poor communications and supporting small rural settlements.

Nagpur

The main centre of human attraction in the district is the City of Nagpur, and its suburban extension which now almost reaches up to the industrial nucleus of Kanhan. 19.312 km. (twelve miles) east. Originally, a vantage point for defence, Nagpur grew into an urban centre under the Bhosles of the Maratha confederacy. With the formation of the Central Provinces under the British regime, the town acquired a new importance as the administrative capital. This growth coincided with the economic development of the surrounding region based on cotton. The cotton textile industry made its appearance on account of cotton cultivation, easy communications access to coal deposits and adequate labour supply. The city derived an industrial bias andthe mills and the concomitant labour slums became a characteristic feature of the urban landscape. As is the case of larger cities, Nagpur developed a complex structure based an administrative, economic and social farces, which find expression in its various urban and suburban areas. The administrative changes which resulted in the formation of the Maharashtra State are not likely to affect Nagpur adversely. It continues to be administratively important; it draws a greater strength from the new industrialisation, and rightly competes with Bombay and Poona in its economic and social growth.

 
 
Geology
 
(The section on Geology is contributed by Shri A. K. R. Hemmady of the Geological Survey of India.)
 
Introduction
 
The geological sequence observed in the district is tabulated below:
 
Name of the formation Age
Soil Recent.
Deccan basalt flows (Traps) with Lower Eocene to.
Associated Intertrappean sediments Upper Cretaceous.
Lameta beds Cretaceous.
Gondwana group {Kamthi stage} Permian
{ Barakar stage}  
{ Talchir stage} Carboniferous.
Streaky Granitiegneisses Sausar and Sakoli series of metasediments Archaeans
 
Nagpur city is almost the dividing line between Archaean rocks exposed to the east and younger formations, viz., Deccan-basalts, the infra-trappean Lametas and the Gondwanas on the west.
 
Description of Rock Units
 

Archaean Rocks

The Archaeans of Nagpur district are comprised of two distinct lithological units; the older unit comprising gneisses and schists resulting from repeated metamorphism of ancient sediments (similar to Dharwar formation of Southern India) and a younger group of gneisses representing perhaps a granitic intrusion into above metasediments. As both these rock units have suffered intense deformation and metamorphism it is difficult to distinguish them from each other and consequently are generally grouped together as unclassified metamorphic and crystalline series.

Sausar and Sakoli Series.

Racks of the older metasedimentary group have been mapped in great detail and named Sausar series (occurring in the Northern ‘Nagpur-Chhindwada' region) and Sakoli series (occurring in the Southern' Nagpur-Bhandara' region); the latter, viz., Sakoli series are assumed to be an upward continuation of the farmer, viz., Sausar series. The Sausar series is further subdivided into stages mostly on their litholoagy; the Lohangi, Mansar and Chorbaoli being important in view of their containing manganese ore zones. The rock types comprising these series include biotite-gneiss, quartz-pyroxene-gneiss, calcyphyre, crystalline limestone, quartzite, mica-schist, hematite-schist, pegmatite and various manganiferous rocks known as Gondite.Gondite (named after the aboriginal tribe ‘Gonds’ found in these areas) is a rock composed of quartz and manganese Garnet ‘spessar-tite’. Many other rock types carrying rare species of manganese minerals such as Blanfordite-a manganese pyroxene (from Kachurwahi and Ramdongri), Vrendenburgite-a strongly magnetic manganese ore (from Beldongri), Hollandite-crystalline form of psilomelane (from Junawani) and Beldongrite-black pitch like mineral regarded as an alteration product of spessartite, have been grouped under the Gondite series. Of the other minerals found in the manganiferous rocks of the region, Sitaparite Chiklite, Winchite, Juddite, Rhodonite and Piedmontite deserve mention. An excellent exposure of crystalline limestone containing piedmontite nodules occurs in the Pench river at Ghogra (Gokula) about 3 km. north-east of Parseoni.

Streaky-Granitiegneisses

Rocks of the younger group comprise coarse grained graniticgneisses, prevalent amongst which, is a streaky biotite gneiss which at places covers large areas. These are, however, distinguished from schists and gneisses of sedimentary origin (Sausar series) in view of their not being confined to any particular horizon, and occurring adjacent to any of the stages of the Sausar series. Another feature of these rocks is the occurrence in them of coarse pegmatite intrusive. Based on these and other lines of field evidence, it is thought that these rocks are intrusive into the Sausar series.

Structure of Archaean Rocks.

The Archaean rocks of this district have a very complex structural pattern. The Sausar series (northern belt) generally dips towards south-south-east or south and the Sakoli series to the north-north-west while the middle or axial region may be al zone of faulting or overthrust. In the Sausar series the southern part is composed of isoclinal folds with steep (50º-80º) dips to south; in the middle strip the folds are recumbent, with 30° to 60° dip to the south, while the northern strip shows thrust sheets. There are many steep dipping strike faults which are generally thrust faults. Three ‘Nappe’ units have been recognised in the Nagpur-Chhindwada region at Sapghota, Ambajhari and Deola-par from west to east all of them having a low southernly dip. ‘Nappe’ is a structure wherein a sheet of rocks has been tectonically transported far from its original site. Earlier folds in Sausar series have been refolded by late stage deformation and the resulting ‘cross-fold’ structure is seen at Ramtek, Junawani and Deolapar. Lineations of various kinds are well developed in the Archaean rocks of the district, all of which plunge 20° to 30° towards east.

Gondwana group

Rocks referable to the Talchir, Barakar and Kamthi stages of the Gondwana system of fluviatile and lacustrine origin were deposited in troughs, generally produced by faults, which in many cases form he boundary of Gondwanas with older rocks and therefore known as ‘Boundary fault’. The Kelod-Kamptee line which marks the north-east boundary of Kamthi beds with Archaeans is a boundary fault. The Gondwana formations have been affected by other minor faults as revealed in several drill holes put down to prove the existence of coal seams around the towns of Kanhan and Kamptee. There is a marked unconformity between the Barakars and Kamthis; during the time interval indicated by this unconformity, Barakars were partially or completely eroded away in some areas and the Kamthis rest directly over the Talchirs. At other places absence of Barakar outcrops is due to overlap (extension of a strata in a conformable sequence beyond the boundaries of those lying beneath) by Kamthis.

Talchirs.

Talchir beds are exposed at Kodadongri (north of Patansaongi) and 9 km. north of Nagpur near Suradevi hills, while to 8 km. north of these hills minor exposures are seen. Talchirs comprise green shales and sandstones with minor intercalations of clay and rest unconformably with a basal conglomerate over the Archaean rocks.

Barakars.

Coal-hearing Barakar beds consisting of white and grey sandstones and grits, fireclays and carbonaceous shales are exposed in Tekadi-Silewada-Patansaongi and Bhokara-Chakki-Khapa tract. They are also reported from below the Lameta beds near Umrer. Barakar outcrops are generally lacking in the district, being either overlapped by Kamthis or concealed under the alluvium. About 200 metres north of Kanhan Railway Station a drill hole has revealed Barakars beneath the alluvium.

Kamthis.

These rocks occupy an area which is bounded by Kelod-Kamptee line towards north-east along which Kamthis have been faulted against Archaeans. Southwards they stretch upto Bhokara, 6 km. north of Nagpur. The western boundary is the irregular edge of the Deccan basalts. At Silewada, about 8 km. northwest of Kamptee, a low range of hills is composed of Kamthis. Detached from above, two inliers are seen in the trap area to the west. One of these (about 14 kill. long by 6 wide) lies to the north-east of Bazargaon and the other roughly 54 km. north-west of Nagpur at Ghorkheri (6 km. long by 4 wide).

Kamthis trend in west-north-west-east-south-east direction with 5° to 30° dip towards south-south-west and their estimated thickness is about 1,500 km. Predominantly composed of soft and coarse grained sandstones, Kamthis also contain fine grained mica-ceous sandstones, hard and gritty sandstones and homogeneous and compact shales. Bazargaon inlier contains considerable thickness of conglomerates composed of white quartz pebbles set in a matrix of grit. Interstratified with this conglomerate is a fine red argillaceous sandstone.

Fossil flora include species of Phyllotheca, Vertebraria, Pecopteris, Gangamopteris, Angiopteridium, Macrotaeniopteris, Noeggera- thiopsis and Glossopteris. The best known localities for fossils in Kamthis are the stone quarries at Silewada and Kamptee.

Lametas.

Lametas, also known as Infratrappeans for their subjacent position to traps (Deccan basalts), are fresh water deposits which rest horizontally over the older Gondwana and Archaean rocks with an unconformity. Lametas which rarely attain a thickness up to 8 metres grade from calcareous sandstones to sandy limestones with intercalations of chert and clay. These occur at the foot of Kelod and Sitabuldi (Nagpur) hills, west of Adyal and at Ketapur. A large spread of these rocks is situated immediately to the west of Umrer. Lametas have also been found fringing the trap outliers in the north-west corner of the district. Fossil Mollusca found in the beds at Nagpur are Melania, Paludina and Corbicula and Physa.

Deccan basalts (Traps) and Intertrappeans

The western part of the district is covered by layers or doleritic and basaltic lavas, commonly known as ‘traps’ because of steplike appearance of their outcrops, the term being of Scandinavian origin. Apart from the main area to the west, several outliers are found north-west of Bhivagad, whilst the southern end of the tongue of trap separating the Pench Valley in Chhindwada district just crosses the border into Nagpur.

These traps are of fissure-eruption type, i.e., they welled up through long narrow fissures in the earth's crust and flowed out as horizontal layers one over the other. Individual flows (layers) have been traced for distances of 100 km. in this district. Some layers are hard and compact while others are soft, vesicular or amygdaloidal having cavities filled with secondary calcite,, zeolite and quartz. Columnar joints, sheeting and spheroidal weathering are characteristic of these rocks.

The Deccan traps belong to ‘Plateau basalt’ type, essentially composed of plagioclase (mostly labradorite) and augite with some magnetite. Palagonite is abundant in the basalts near Nagpur. These rocks are generally dark grey in colour having a specific gravity of 2.9.

Intertrappeans

Layers of fresh water sedimentary rocks, are interbedded with the Deccan basalt flows to the west of Nagpur. Such intertrappean beds occur near Dhapewada, between Bhokara and Mahu-jhari, Takli, Telankhedi and Sitabuldi. They range in thickness from a few centimetres up to two metres and are composed of cherts, impure limestones and pyroclastic material including trap detritus. Numerous fossils have been collected from these rocks, the most famous locality being Takli. The collection includes Replitian bones, remains of a fresh water Tortoise, Fish-scales, Coleoptera, Entomostracans. Dinosaurian tooth similar to Mega-losaurs and following fresh water mollusca-Ballinus. Melania, Limnaea, Succinea, Paludina, Phvsa and Vilvala. Fossil flora includes over 50 species of fruits and seeds, 50 species of exogenous and endogenous leaves and stems, some of the latter being six feet in girth, roots and Chara.

Soil

In the Archaean area the rocks are hidden beneath a considerable thickness of alluvial soil, deposited by the tributaries of the Kanhan and the Wainganga rivers. In the trappean area the soil is usually the black cotton soil known as regur with Kankar, which is also found in the soils on the Archaean areas.

Useful Rocks and Minerals.

Industrial minerals and rocks found in various geological formations of the district are tabulated below:

Soil
Brick clays and Kankar.
Deccan basalts
Building material (dolerite and basalts)
Ornamental stones and Ochres.
Lameta
Building material, Limestones.
Kamthis
Building material, Abrasives and Clays.
Barakar
Coal and Clays.
Talchirs
Nil.
Archaean Rocks
Abrasives; Building material; Ores of
Copper, Manganese, Lead and Tungsten;
Limestone; Ornamental stones and Clays.

 

Brief description of the useful minerals and rocks of the district is as follows:

Abrasives

Various types of quartzite in the Archaean formations and some of the sandstones of the Kamthi stage are quarried for making millstones. Garnets found in abundance in the Archaean garnetiferous mica schists may be utilised as an abrasive.

Building Material

The alluvial tracts of the Kanhan and the Wainganga rivers and their tributaries yield excellent brick-making clay, while the Deccan basalts provide excellent building stone and are quarried at several places. The Lameta limestones have been extensively used for making railway bridges in the district. Sandstones, suitable for fine carving is obtained from quarries in Kamthi beds at Silewada and Kamptee. The bridge over Kanhan at Kamptee is of this rock. The crystalline limestones occurring near Chor-baoli and Baregaon would make fine marbles, while beautifully marked serpentine marbles are found near Khorari. Slightly micaceous quartzites forming the Ramtek range of hills may be used as building stones. Kankar occurring extensively on the soil mantle is locally burnt for making lime used in mortar for construction purposes.

Clays.

Pottery clays are worked around Shemda. Chorkhairi, Khairi and Bazargaon. They all have medium to good plasticity, little shrinkage and give light cream colour when burned. The quarries at Chorkhairi and Shemda are 6 to 14 metres deep.

Coal

Exploratory drilling near Kanhan Railway Station and just west of Kandri has proved the existence of several coal seams up to a thickness of 10 metres. These seams were found in Barakar beds (concealed beneath Kamthi beds) at various levels down to 100 metres from the surface. A shaft sunk near Tekadi passed a four-metre seam of workable coal containing 21% ash, having a calorific value of 9408 B.T.U. This seam is estimated to yield about 17.5 million tons of coal of which perhaps 13 million tons can be exploited; however, so far it has been proved that only about a million tons of this can be taken. Coal seams have also been met with in the bore-holes put down at Sonegaon (1.6 kill. west of Umrer) where Gondwana rocks are concealed below Lameta beds. Nearly 300 million tons of coal of which more than 150 million tons is of first grade and the rest of third grade has been proved in an area of 10.36 km.2 in the Kamptee Saoner belt. The indicated reserves in this belt alone are of the order of 1,000 million tons. Several other coal fields in Nagpur district are likely to be proved and the expected reserves may be more than double the above quantity. ‘It will be interesting to note that the coal output in the Nagpur district increased from 70,539 metric tons in 1959 to 89A21 metric tons in 1961.’
(Administration Report, Directorate of Geology and Mining, Maharashtra State, for the year 1960-61, p. 19)

Limestone.

The Lameta beds at Kelod and Chicholi contain workable limestones and several bands of crystalline limestones are found in the Archaean rocks near Koradi, Baregaon and in the north-east corner of the district. Much of these limestones are, how-ever, too impure to be used as a source of lime. Detailed prospecting may, however, bring to light deposits pure enough for burning into lime.

Manganese.

It was in 1900 that the extraction of manganese ore started in the district. Some of the most famous mines are located in the district. The ore bodies occur in rocks of the Gondite series (forming a portion of Sausar series), regarded as metamorphosed manganiferous sediments of Pre-Cambrian age.

Much of the workable ore bodies occur as lenticular masses and bands intercalated in quartzites, schists and gneisses and appear to have been formed at least in part, by chemical alteration of the rocks of Gondite series. The ore bodies are often well bedded parallel to the strike of the enclosing rock and several of them are often disposed along the same line of strike. An example is the line of deposits stretching from Dumri Kala to Khandala for about 20 km. and includes the valuable deposits of Beldongri, Lohdongri, Kachurwahi and Waregaon. Along with the enclosing rocks, the ore bodies have suffered repeated foldings. The deposits attain great dimensions as at Manegaon where it is about 2 km. long, the thickness, however, never exceeds 16 metres. The depth to which these ore bodies may persist is unknown but it is certain that in many cases they persist from 40 to 140 metres below the outcrop. The ore consists essentially of braunite, psilomelane and cryptomelane occasionally with hollandite and vrendenburgite. Frequently the ore bodies pass both along and across the strike into partly altered or fresh members of Gondite series. Manganese deposits of above types are mainly being worked at Kodegaon, Gumgaon, Ramdongri, Risala, Nandgondi, Kandri, Mansar, Parsoda, Borda, Parseoni, Bansinghi, Satak, Beldongri, Nagardhan, Nandapuri, Lohdongri, Kachurwahi, Ware-gaon, Khandala, Mandri, Panchala, Manegaon, Guguldoh and Bhandarbori. At Sitagondi and Dumri pebbles and fragments of ore not ‘in situ’ have been found.

A second type of ore associated with piedmontite and occurring as bands and nodules in crystalline limestones is found at Moh-gaon Pali, Gokula, Mandvi Bir, Junewani and Junapani. These deposits are not large enough for profitable working, except the one at Junewani where ore bed is of much greater thickness.

The quality of the ore in the district may be judged from an average of 30 samples, analysis of which is given below:

  Percentage
Manganese 42.28 - 56.52
Iron 2.09 - 16.34
Silica 2.90 - 18.48
Phosphorus 0.04 - 0.65
Moisture 0.11 - 1.32
 
 
The ore from Pali is particularly suitable for the glass industry. Much of the ore produced in the district is exported, while a part is employed in the indigenous Ferro-manganese industry. The reserves of manganese ores of all grades in the district are of the order of 3,048,000 metric tons (3 million tons).

Ochres.

Yellow Ochre is associated with the Deccan lava flows at Kalmeshwar, and is locally used as a cheap distemper.

Ornamental Stones.

The large variety of marbles that occur in the Archaean rocks of north-eastern portions of the district and the Gondites with Rhodonite and Spessartite in the manganese belt provide excellent ornamental stones. The Rhodonite has a beautiful rose pink colour, often marked with black veins and spots due to alteration and is often spotted with orange due to the inclusion of Spessartite. Agates and Chalcedony found in the trappean portion of the district, may be cut and polished into ornamental objects of considerable beauty.

Minor occurrences of other ores.

Tungsten Ore.

Wolfram, associated with traces of Scheelite is found 1.2 km. west of Agargaon (51 km. south-east of Nagpur) on a low ridge on the right bank or the Kanhan river. The ore occurs in quartz veins intruding the phyllitic tornaline schists belonging to Sakoli series and can be traced for about 1,300 metres. Maximum width of a cluster of ore is about a metre.

Copper and Local Ores.

Chalcopyrite occurs in a basic dyke at Mahali about 6 km. north-east of Parseoni while specks of the same mineral occur in quartzose matrix in a cutting near Mandri. Fragments of Galena (Lead ore) are reported to have been found at Nimbha (27 km. north of Nagpur).

Ground water

On the basis of the mode of occurrence of ground water, which is controlled by the type of geological formation present, the district can be classified into three distinct areas as detailed below :

Archaean area

The ground water may be capped in the weathered and jointed zones in these rocks, generally within 80 metres of the surface. The granite-gneisses and schists are commonly weathered to depths of 30 metres and this weathered mantle though constituting a large reservoir is not a specially permeable zone. The wells dug in this zone tap water at depths varying from 8 to 30 metres from the surface. A well of about 3 metres in diameter may afford a sustained daily yield. The quartzites and marbles are the poorest water-bearing rocks. Being massive they are devoid of permeable zones for circulation of water.

Gondwana (including Lameta) area.

Although the Talchir shales and Lameta beds are compact and impermeable, they carry some water along the joint and bedding planes and in the weathered mantle. The Barakars and Kamthis generally consisting of medium to coarse-grained friable sand-stones constitute the most important aquifer in the district. In fact, the water-bearing Kamthis are dreaded by coal miners in the adjacent district who take special precautions not to puncture Kamthis so that they may not flood the mine. In these formations dug wells are capable of yielding up to 4,550,000 litres (one million gallons) a day and tube wells should be a success.

Trappean area.

Deccan basalts are poor water-bearing rocks. The weathered basalt ‘Mooram’ joint planes and flow contacts widened by weathering collectively constitute the ground water reservoir. Generally basalts hold very little or no water below 50 metres from the surface.

 
 
CLIMATE
 
 
(The section on ‘Climate’ is contributed by the Meteorological Department of the Government of India, Poona.)
 
Seasons:
 
The climate of this district is characterised by a hot summer, well distributed rainfall and dryness except in the rainy season. The cold season is from December to February and is followed by the hot season from March to May. The south-west monsoon season is from June to September while the period October-November constitutes the post-monsoon season.
 
 
Rainfall:
 

Records of rainfall in the district are available for ten stations for periods ranging from 27 to 94 years. The details of the rain-fall at these stations and for the district as a whole are given in tables 1 and 2. The average annual rainfall in the district is 1,161.54 mm. (45.73 inches). The rainfall generally increases from the west to the east in the district. The south-west monsoon usually reaches the district in the second week of June. The rainfall during the period, June to September constitutes about 90% of the annual total, July being the month with the highest rainfall. The variation in the annual rainfall from year to year is not large. In the fifty-year period 1901 to 1950, the highest annual rainfall amounted to 133% of the normal for the district and occurred in 1917 and 1944. The lowest annual rainfall in the same fifty-year period was in 1920 and was 59% of the normal. The rainfall was less than 80% of the normal in nine years out of fifty, of which two were consecutive. But at some individual stations two or three consecutive years of rainfall less than 80% of the normal have occurred on more than one occasion. Rainfall less than 80% of the normal occurred practically throughout the district on two consecutive years, 1920 and 1921, while in the Parseoni-Ramtek-Khindsi region 1922 was also a year with rainfall less than 80% of the normal. It will be seen from table 2 that the rainfall in the district as a whole was between 899.92 mm. and 1,400 mm. (35.43 inches and 55.12 inches) in 29 years out of 50.

On an average there are 59 rainy days (i.e., days with rainfall of 2.5 mm.-l0 cents or more) in a year. This number varies from 55 at Parseoni to 63 at Tharsa and Nagpur.

The heaviest rainfall in 24 hours recorded at any station in the district was 330.20 mm. (13.00 inches) at Umrer on August 14, 1953.

Temperature.

The only meteorological observatory in the district is at Nagpur, records of which are available for a long period of years. The cold weather commences towards the end of November and December is usually the coldest month with the mean daily maximum temperature at 27.7°c (81.8°F) and the mean daily minimum at 14.0°c (57.2°F). In the wake of western disturbances which pass across North India in the cold season, the district is sometimes affected by cold waves when the minimum temperature may go down to 4°C (39°F). From the beginning of March, temperature begins to rise rapidly. May is the hottest month with the mean daily maximum temperature at 42.7°c (108.8°F). The heat in the summer season is severe during the day, the nights being comparatively cooler. The afternoon heat is sometimes relieved by thundershowers. The onset of the south-west monsoon by about the second week of June brings welcome relief from the heat, with a considerable drop in temperature. With the withdrawal of the south-west monsoon by the beginning of October, the day temperature shows a slight increase in October and thereafter begins to fall, while the night temperature decreases after September.

The highest maximum temperature recorded at Nagpur was 47.8°c (118.1°F) on May 26, 1954 and the lowest minimum temperature was 3.9°c (39.0°F) on January 7, 1937.

Humidity

Except during the monsoon season when the humidities are high, the air is generally dry. The summer season is the driest part of the year when the relative humidities go down to 20% or less particularly in the afternoons.

Cloudiness.

Skies are mainly heavily clouded to overcast in the south-west monsoon season. In the post-monsoon months moderate cloudiness is common. In the rest of the year skies are usually clear or lightly clouded. But the cloudiness increases on many summer afternoons.

Winds

Winds are generally light to moderate with some increase in speed in the later part of the summer season and the monsoon months. During the monsoon season winds are mostly from directions between south-west. In the period from October to December the winds are mainly northerly to north-easterly in the mornings and north-easterly to easterly in the afternoons. In January, winds from directions between north-west and north-east are common in the mornings and between north-east and south-east in the afternoons. While the winds in the mornings of February and March areas in January, the afternoon winds become variable. In the rest of the summer season winds are mostly from directions between south-west and north-west.

Special Weather Phenomena.

In the monsoon months, depressions from the Bay of Bengal move westwards across the central parts of the country and affect the district and its neighbourhood causing widespread heavy rain and strong winds. Thunderstorms occur in all seasons although their frequency is very small in the period from November to January. The frequency of occurrence is highest in June when the incidence of thunderstorm is as high as once in three days. Dustraising winds and less frequently, dust-storms, occur in the summer season.

Tables 3, 4 and 5 give the temperature and humidity, mean wind speed and the frequency of special weather phenomena, respectively, for Nagpur.

 
TABLE No.1
NORMALS AND EXTREMES OF RAINFALL
 

Station
(1)

Number of years of data
(2)
January
(3)
February
(4)
March
(5)
April
(6) 
May
(7)
June
(8)
July
(9)
August
(10)
Nagpur
50
a
11.4
23.4
16.8
16.3
20.8
222.0
376.2
286.3
b
0.9
1.8
1.6
1.5
2.1
9.9
16.3
13.6
Umrer
50
a
13.2
21.8
14.7
13.5
15.2
199.6
395.5
314.52
b
1.0
1.7
1.5
1.14
1.4
8.9
46.5
13.0
Ramtek
50
a
17.4
26.9
17.3
15.5
14.0
184.1
378.9
300.2
b
1.2
1.8
1.9
1.2
1.2
8.9
16.8
14.2
Katol
50
a
15.0
22.6
14.5
12.2
15.0
175.3
292.6
216.4
b
1.0
1.5
1.3
1.0
1.5
8.9
14.8
11.6
Saoner
42
a
16.0
23.1
16.0
12.5
19.1
196.1
311.7
229.4
b
1.2
1.8
1.3
1.2
1.7
10.0
14.9
11.5
Tharsa
35
a
15.2
27.4
19.1
13.7
12.7
191.5
391.7
323.3
b
1.1
2.0
1.9
1.4
1.3
9.5
17.0
14.4
Deolpar
34
a
20.8
19.6
16.3
17.3
12.9
175.3
364.0
285.7
b
1.1
1.7
1.5
1.0
1.2
9.4
16.4
14.5
Parseoni
34
a
18.0
27.7
15.2
10.7
12.9
169.9
365.8
252.0
b
1.2
1.7
1.6
0.8
1.1
8.2
16.7
13.6
Khindsi
37
a
15.2
23.14
16.5
9.9
12.7
189.5
384.6
284.7
b
1.2
1.7
1.6
0.8
1.1
8.2
16.7
13.6
Bori
27
a
10.7
20.1
11.4
18.8
14.7
173.5
318.0
221.2
b
0.9
1.5
1.2
1.0
1.3
9.6
15.2
11.5
Nagpur (District)
a
15.0
23.6
15.8
14.0
15.0
187.7
357.6
271.5
b
1.1
1.7
1.5
1.1
1.4
9.2
16.0
13.0
(a) Normal rainfall in millimetres. (b) Average number of rainy days (days with rainfall of 2.5 mm. or more)
 

 TABLE No.1

NORMALS AND EXTREMES OF RAINFALL

Station
(1)

Number of years of data
(2)
September
(11)
October
(12)
November
(13)
December
(14) 
Annual
(15)
Highest annual rainfall as % of normal and year †
(16)
Lowest annual rainfall as % of normal and year †
(17)
Heaviest rainfall in 24 hours*
Rainfall
(mm)
(18)
Date

(19)
Nagpur
50
184.7
54.6
19.8
9.9
1,242.2
156 (1933)
58 (1902)
315.0
1911, June, 12
10.1
3.2
1.1
0.7
62.8
Umrer
50
210.1
54.1
19.8
7.6
1,279.3
167 (1936)
49 (1902)
330.2
1953, Aug., 14
10.2
2.7
1.0
0.6
596
Ramtek
50
188.7
49.0
17.3
7.1
1,210.7
144 (1937)
55
287.0
1890, Sep., 25
9.8
2.7
1.1
0.6
61.4
Katol
50
176.3
43.9
18.5
8.4
1,010.7
164 (1944)
55 (1920)
261.6
1879, June, 1
9.6
2.6
1.2
0.8
22.8
Saoner
42
167.9
52.1
21.1
9.7
1,074.7
145
53
215.7
1942, July, 11
9.5
2.8
1.2
0.7
57.8
Tharsa
35
201.4
60.2
23.1
4.1
1,283.4
145 (1938)
66 (1921)
222.0
1937, Sept., 7
10.0
3.2
1.2
0.3
63.3
Deolapar
34
197.4
55.6
16.3
2.0
1,183.2
148 (1944)
54 (1920)
152.4
1954, Sept., 22
10.4
2.4
0.9
0.2
60.7
Parseoni
34
162.3
51.8
13.5
5.6
1,105.4
145 (1938)
57 (1950)
318.8
1942, July, 12
8.3
2.7
0.8
0.4
54.6
Khindsi
37
193.0
46.7
13.7
2.8
1,193.4
160 (1917)
58 (1924)
279.4
1942, July, 12
10.4
2.8
0.8
0.3
59.2
Bori
27
163.1
62.0
14.5
5.6
1,033.6
152 (1938)
57 (1920)
162.1
1940, June, 26
9.5
3.2
1.0
0.5
56.4
Nagpur (District)
184..5
53.0
17.8
6.4
1,161.7
133 (1944)
59 (1920)
9.8
2.8
1.0
0.5
59.1
 
(a) Normal rainfall in mm. (b) Average Number of rainy days (days with rainfall of 2.5 mm. or more).
*Based on all availabe data up to 1950.
†Years given in brackets.
 
TABLE No.2
 
FREQUENCY OF ANNUAL RAINFALL IN THE NAGPUR DISTRICT
 
(Data 1901-1950)
 
Range in mm.
(1)
No. of years
(2)
Range in mm.
(3)
No. of years
(4)
601-700
2
1101-1200
7
701-800
3
1201-1300
6
801-900
3
1301-1400
3
901-1000
4
1401-1500
7
1001-1100
9
1501-1600
6
 

TABLE No. 3.

NORMALS OF TEMPERATURE AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY (NAGPUR DISTRICT)

Month
Mean Daily Maximum Temperature
Mean Daily Minimum Temperature
Highest Maximum ever recorded
Lowest Minimum ever recorded
Relative humidity
0830
1730*
oC
oC
oC
Date
oC
Date
per cent
per cent
January
28.7
14.3
35.0
1900, Jan. 29
3.9
1937, Jan, 7
58
37
February
31.2
16.6
38.9
1887, Feb. 28
5.0
1950, Feb. 12
49
31
March
35.9
20.7
45.0
1892, Mar. 28
8.3
1898, Mar. 4
36
23
April
40.3
25.1
46.1
1942, April 30
13.9
1905, April 1
32
20
May
42.7
28.3
47.8
1954, May 26
19.4
1917, May 4
31
19
June
37.6
26.2
47.2
1931, June 10
20.0
1919, June 18
60
50
July
31.2
24.2
40.6
1897, July 4
19.4
1942, July 13
78
75
Auguest
30.7
23.9
37.8
1899, Aug. 25
18.3
1939, Aug. 20
78
75
September
32.1
23.7
38.9
1899, Sept. 29
18.3
1904, Sept. 30
75
67
October
32.8
20.6
38.3
1899, Oct. 8
11.7
1952, Oct. 30
62
46
November
29.8
16.5
35.6
1899, Nov. 2
6.7
1912, Nov. 30
57
39
December
27.7
14.0
33.9
1941, Dec. 25
5.6
1936, Dec. 30
58
38
Annual
33.4
21.2
56
43

*Hours I.S.T.

 
 

TABLE No. 4

MEAN WIND SPEED IN KILOMETRES PER HOUR

(NAGPUR DISTRICT)

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Annual
5.5
6.4
7.2
8.0
10.3
11.3
10.8
9.0
7.4
6.1
5.6
5.1
7.7

 

 
 

TABLE NO. 5

SPECIAL WEATHER PHENOMENA

(NAGPUR DISTRICT)

Mean number of days with
January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Annual
Thunder
1.3
3.1
3.8
4.3
5.2
10.8
4.5
5.4
5.8
2.5
0.1
0.2
47.0
Hail
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
..
0.5
0.1
0.6
Dust-Storm
..
..
0.1
0.4
0.3
0.1
..
..
..
..
..
..
0.9
Squall
..
0.1
0.2
0.1
0.1
0.1
..
..
..
..
..
..
0.6
Fog
..
..
0.1
..
..
..
..
0.1
..
..
0.1
0.1
0.4
 
FORESTS
 
 

Up to December, 1959 Wardhal and Nagpur districts had a combined forest division. Since then two separate divisions were created.

The Nagpur district has at present a total of 2,256.67 km2 (882.88 square miles) of area under forests. It lies approximately between 79° to 80° east longitude and 20° to 21 ° north latitude. Of the total area, 1,326.749 km2 (512.11 square miles) are under reserved forests and 960.786 km2 (370.77 square miles) under protected forests. It has been proposed to declare the latter as reserved forests under section 4 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927.

Territorial Changes.

To exercise a strict supervision over the forests and for efficient management the forest division has been sub-divided into smaller units called ranges, rounds and beat charges. The following table gives the number of ranges, rounds and beats as also head-quarters and area of reserved and protected forests falling within each range:-

 

TABLE No. 6.

Name of Range
(1)
Headquarter
(2)
Area in km2
Number of rounds
(6)
Number of Beats
(7)
Reserved Forests
(3)
Protected Forests
(4)
Total
(5)
1. Kondhali
Kondhali
251.90 (97.26)*
317.81 (122.71)
569.72 (219.97)
3
30
2. Ramtek
Ramtek
274.54 (106.00)
80.54 (31.10)
355.08 (137.10)
3
18
3. Deolapar
Deolapar
305.43 (117.93)
31.96 (12.34)
337.39 (130.27)
3
18
4. Khapa
Khapa
303.72 (117.27)
80.26 (30.99)
383.99 (148.26)
4
24
5. South Umrer
Umrer
152.93 (59.05)
169.23 (65.34)
322.17 (124.39)
3
10
6. North Umrer
Umrer
37.81 (14.60)
280.47 (108.29)
318.28 (122.89)
3
17
Total
1,326.33 (512.11)
960.29 (370.77)
2,286.65 (882.88)
19
117

*Figures in brackets indicate area in square miles.

Composition and condition

The distribution of forests and type of vegetation is mainly governed by the rainfall, climate and geological formations of the tract. The plains in the district are under cultivation and are usually of a park-like appearance owing to the scattered groves of tamarind, mango, mahua and other fruit trees. The courses of the streams are fringed with lines and clumps of date-palm, and the most common tree of the open country is the babul (Acacia arabica). The hills that separate the various plains and valleys are at times bare except for a few grasses and stumpy shrubs, such as flueggea, Phyllanthus and the like, or are clothed with a sparse jungle of which Boswellia is the principal constituent with little or no undergrowth of grass. The forests are mainly situated on a large block on the Satpuda hills to the north-east, while smaller isolated patches are dotted on those extending along the south-western border. The forest growth varies with the nature of the soil, saj (Terminalia tomentosa), achar (Buchanania latifolia) and tendu (Diospyros tomentosa), being characteristic on the heavy soils, teak on good well-drained slopes, Salai (Boswellia serrata) on the steep hillsides and ridges, and satinwood on the sandy levels. Mixed with these are Anogussus latifolia, Adina cordifolia, Butea frondosa and other similar trees. The scrub growth consists of shrubs as woodfordia, Antidesma, clustanthus, Grewia, Nyetanthes, with stunted Diospyros and other trees. The following are the main local types of forests:

(I) Good quality teak with well-stocked mixed forests :-In these forests, the proportion of teak varies from 30% to 60% of the crop and the average height varies from 13.716 m. to 18.30 m. (45' to 60') corresponding to type IV and type III of the standard quality. Other associates of teak are saj, salai, dhaora, tendu, ghat, mahua, tiwsa, achar, bija, shisham, dhaman, etc. These forests are capable of producing big-sized timber. The proportion of this type of forests in trap zone is 13.58% of the total area.

(II) Poor quality teak forests.-This type is found in dry exposed localities and the quality of the crop is mostly IV b (C. P.). Proportion of teak varies from 50% to 95% of the crop and other associates of teak are lendia, dhaora, bhirra, garai, etc. Preponderance of Salai, especially on hill slopes is noticeable. This type of forest is capable of producing only small-sized poles below 0.61 metre (2) in girth at breast height and firewood. The proportion of these forests is 35.9% of the total area.

(III) Mixed Forests.-This type is confined to poorly drained stiff soil. The main species occurring are saj, tendu, lendia, dhaora, achar, mahua, aonla, birla, bija, shisham, etc. This type of forests is capable of producing small-sized poles and firewood. The proportion of these forests is 22.99% of the total area.

(IV) Poorly and openly stocked forests.-The following local subtypes which are almost pure in composition may be distinguished:

(i) Saj.-Where the soil contains moisture and the drainage is poor, specially in depressions, Saj thrives well.

(ii) Palas.-This is chiefly found in heavy water-logged areas and in areas of black soil subjected to very heavy grazing.

(iii) Khair, Ber sub-type.-Wherever grazing is heavy and fires frequent, this sub-type comes up well, specially on arid soils.

Protection of Wild Life.-In order to protect wild life shooting blocks have been prepared and thus unauthorised and excessive shooting is checked.

Under Third Five-Year Plan, Pench National Park has been established for preservation of wild life in this division.

Fish & Fisheries
 
 

Sources and Prospects.

There are no major riverine fisheries in Nagpur district. Of the rivers of Nagpur only Wainganga, Wardha, Kanhan and Pench are important from the fishery point of view. The fisheries in the district are located along the tanks and lakes. The most important lakes and tanks in the district from this point of view are: (1) Lake Ramsagar, (2) Ambazari, (3) Gorewada, (4) Telankhedi (5) Gandhi Sagar, (6) Mansar and (7) Chakorda. Save in tanks Nos. 2 and 3 fish culture is undertaken on scientific lines. In addition to the above tanks there are several small perennial tanks at Katol, Umrer, Bhivapur, Kuhi, Bhojapur, Bazargaon and Gumgaon, where fish culture has been undertaken either in public or in private sector. There are about 37 perennial and 241 seasonal tanks in the district which provide excellent scope for fishery development.

Fishing Communities

The chief fishing communities are Bhois, Kahars and Dhiwars.Ommunltles. Except at Nagpur and Ramtek the, fishermen population is scattered throughout the district. At places other than Ramtek and Nagpur the fishermen are not wholly dependent on fishing because it does not provide them with full-time gainful employment. They, therefore, keep themselves busy with other petty professions.

Methods of Fishing.

Fishing in tanks and rivers is done by means of cast nets ('bhor Jal'), Drag net, gill-cum-bag net ('pitai') and gill net. The following is a brief description of each type of net:-

Cast net: Locally known as 'Bhor jal' is the commonest gear used in the district. This net when cast in water becomes conical. The periphery of the bottom is provided with heavy beads, used as sinkers, whereby the net sinks quickly and traps the fish. When the net is pulled with the string provided at the top, the peripheral margin forms a series of pockets, and it is in these pockets that the fish get entangled. The mesh size of this net is 1.27 cm. (1/2 inch) to 2.54 cm. (1 inch) depending upon the size of the fish to be caught.

Drag net: Drag net is formed of many pieces joined together, depending upon the width of the water sheet. The net when cast forms a semi-circle around certain area. It is then drawn on the opposite bank and the fish is collected.

Gill-cum-bag net: locally known as 'pitai' is used in tanks having a good stock of fish, especially major carps. The gear consists of 30.48 metres (100 feet) long and 5.49 to 6.09 metres (18 feet to 20 feet) deep webbing with a mesh size of 0.38 metre to 0.61 metre {1 1/2 feet to 2 feet). The floats are made of the bark of tree or of gourds while lead beads are used as sinkers. The nets are spread in a semicircular fashion and are held by two fishermen. Others scare the fish towards the nets by beating the water and shouting aloud. The fishermen make use of two sealed tins tied together which are used as floating seats. When the area is completely encircled by the net the foot rope and the head rope are brought together thus forming a bag in which the fish are trapped. The collected fish are put in the net-bag called ‘Kharya'. This type of gear is rather selective as small-sized fish pass through the net trapping only the bigger fish. The fish is not gilled in this method.

Gill net: was formerly made of cotton twine but the fishermen now make use of synthetic twines of nylon and terylene which are more lasting. The size of the mesh of this net depends upon the size of the fish to be caught. The webbing of the net is fastened with the head-rope above and foot-rope below. The upper border of the net is made to float by means of floats while the lower one tied with the foot rope is made heavy by means of beads of lead. In this way the net is kept horizontally spread in the water in. which the fish get entangled while moving through it and thus serves the purpose. This is now becoming popular among the fishermen in the district.

Fishing Craft: As the water strips are very small there are no special type of crafts. Fishermen use 'dongis' or small boats. Mostly two sealed tins tied together which form a floating seat called 'ghodi' are used.

Co-operatives.

The first co-operative society known as Fishermen's Multipurpose Co-operative Society, Limited, was established at Ramtek in 1944. At present the district has nine such co-operative societies with a total membership of 1,449 persons and a total share capital of Rs.17,336.

Five-year plans.

During the First Five-Year Plan progress made in the culture of fisheries was negligible. At the beginning of the Second FiveYear Plan an extensive survey of the tanks in the district was conducted and these tanks were brought under fish culture. The inland waters were stocked with carp fry and units of nursery and rearing were set up at Takli and Telankhedi. A loan of Rs.30,000 was given to the Nagpur Municipal Corporation for constructing a fish-market. Arrangements were made to establish cold storage plants and for marketing fish in hinterland. The fishermen were provided with fishery requisites and the societies at Ramtek and Jal Kshetra Society at Nagpur were given loan-cum-subsidy for the construction of boats. Private parties and societies at Nagpur were given subsidy for the purchase of nylon and terylene twines.

The Third Five-Year Plan envisages the following different schemes:-

(1) Assistance for purchase of fishery requisites.-This scheme proposes to spend Rs. 44,000 in granting subsidy for the purchase of nylon and cotton twines, and fish hooks.

(2) Stocking of tanks with carp fry.-This has two sub-schemes, viz., (i) establishment of nurseries on which Rs. 23,000 would be spent and (ii) stocking of inland waters with carp fry.

The scheme envisages increase in the yield of fish in inland fisheries. Baby fish (carp fry of select growing varieties) is to be imported from West Bengal and is to be stocked in Government owned tanks and also to be made available to local authorities on sale to be nurtured in the tanks owned by them along with the collection of local fry. The operation of rearing the baby fish up to the fingerling stage is to be undertaken prior to their stocking in larger sheets. The target for the State as a whole is to stock about three crores of imported carp fry, to collect about twelve lakhs of local carp fry and to establish 30 nurseries. The scheme is estimated to cost Rs.10.78 lakhs, half of which is to be borne by the Panchayats and other local bodies.

(3) Preservation, marketing and transport facilities :- Rs.35,000 have been set aside for making one truck available for the transport of fish. The object of the scheme is to assist fishermen in realising full value of their production by providing them with facilities of preservation, transport and marketing of fish from landing sites to fish markets.

(4) Scheme for development of co-operative fisheries.

(5) Grant of loan for fishery co-operatives for which purpose a sum of Rs.40,000 has been set aside.

(Maharashtra State Scheme in the Third Five-Year Plan. 1961, p. 122.) 'The object is to encourage the fishermen to organise themselves into co-operatives in order to improve their productive capacity and to make them less dependent on middlemen for marketing. The total number of fisheries co-operatives will be 137 by the end of the Second Plan. During the Third Plan, it is proposed to organise 25 more Co-operative Societies and to increase the membership of the existing societies.

The scheme consists in share capital participation in fishery co-operatives, grant of subsidy to them against managerial cost in the initial years and grant of subsidy and loans for construction of godowns.

The scheme is estimated to cost Rs.14.48 lakhs.

List of Fishes

Following is a list of common fishes of economic importance found in Nagpur district :-

Order Eventognathi
Family Cyprinidae
Sub-family Abraminidae
Oxygaster clupeoides (BL) Alkut
Oxygaster phulo Alkut 

They are bright silvery colomed with deciduous scales. They grow to about 0.15 metre (6 inches) and are valued much in the market. They are also importamt as larvicidal.

 
 
Sub-Family : Rasborinae
Barilius bendelesis (Ham) Johra.
Perilampus atpar (Ham) Bonkuaso.
Perilampus laubuca (Ham Bankoc.
Danio malbaricus (Jerdon) Noottoo
Danio raTio (Ham)  
Aspidoparia moray (Ham) Chilwa, pichla.
Rasbora daniconius (Ham) GanakhOfnli
Esomus danrica (Ham)  
 
All the above varieties grow to about 10 to 15 cm. (4 to 6 inches) and together form the minor fishery in the tanks of the. district. Some of them are also worth displaying in aquarium due to their varied shapes. They are very much valued in the market and are sold fresh when they can be preserved for about two days.
 
Subfamily : Cyprininae
Puntius ticto (Ham) Tapree, Potiah
Puntius stigma (Ham) Potiah
Puntius. kohls (Sykes) Kolis
Puntius amphibius (C & V) Bhondgi
Puntius tetrarupagvs (McClell) Durhi.
Puntius neilli (Day) Waris, Kusra, Bara.
Puntius hexastich us (McClell)  
Puntius sarana (Ham) Giddi kudali
 
 
Out of the above varieties only P. kolus, P. neilli, P. hexastichus grow big in size but others are small of about 15 to 20 cm. (6 to 8 inches) in length. P. ticto, P. stigma and P. kolus are very common in the catch of minor fish while other varieties are rarely found in the usual catch.
 
 
 
Genus Cirrhina
Cirrhina Rewah, Dongra
Reba (Ham)  
 
The above varieties grow to a foot in length and are found in very small quantities.
 
Genus Labeo.
Labeo fimbriatus (Bloch) Tanbra.
Labeo calbasu (Ham) Kanoshi.
Labeo rohita (Ham) Rahu Ruee
Labeo bata (Ham) Bata
Labeopntail (Sykes) Dotondi
Labeo bogut (Sykes) Kolees.
 
 
They are an excellent table fish and grow to very big size. Especially L. rohita grows the longest of all of them and attains a length of about 0.91 metre (3 feet) or more. It fetches a very good price.
 
The important varieties belonging to this family are Catla catla Labeo rohita and Cirrhina mrigala, locally called as Catla, Rohu and Mrigal are imported from Calcutta every year and are introduced in many tanks in the district. Due to their fast growth they are cultured on a very large scale and form a great portion of the major fishery. All of these three varieties are highly esteemed and fetch good returns to the pisciculturists in the district.
 
Family: Cobitidae
Lepidocephalichthys Guntea (Ham).. Gurgutchi.
Nemachilvs botia (Ham) Teli-mura
Nemachilus beavani (Gunther)  
Nemachilichthys ruppelli (Sykes)  
 
They are small varieties growing up to 7.6 em. (3 inches). They are bottom-feeders and dwell on sandy and gravelly bottoms. They are supposed to be of medicinal value and are rarely available.
 
Order Ostariophysi
Sub-order Siluroidae
Family Siluroidae
Nemachilichthys ruppelli (Sykes)  
   
Ompak bimaclllatus (BP) Gugli
Clarius batrachus (Linn) Wagar, Mangri
Sacchobranchus tassilis (BP) Singee
Wallago attu (BP) Bojari
Eutropiichthys Varsh (Ham) Butchua
 
 
 
These are carnivorous fishes and make a good eating. They grow to about 0.30 metre (one foot) in length. Wallago attu is found to grow 1.83 metres {6 feet} in length and it being a voracious predator is caned fresh water shark. The first three of the above are live fishes and are sold alive in the market. They are put in 'thalis' with little water just to keep them active. They are also equally valued as major carps in the market though they are less preferred in cultural ponds. However, they are locally available in plenty.
 
Family Bagridae
   
Mystus Seenghala (Sykes) Seenghala
Mystus Gavasius (HB) Shingata
Mystus Vitatus (BP) Tengra
 
These grow to about 0.30 metre (a foot) in length. They are also predatory.
 
Family Sisoridae
   
Bagarius bagarius (HB) Bodh
 
 
It is very big-sized fish and attains a length of 1:83 metres (6 feet) or more. It is a very ugly-looking fish and is known to be one of the largest fresh water fish and is highly predatory.
 
 
 
Order Apodes
Family Anguillidae
Arzguilla bangalensis (Gray) Aheer
 
 
It grows to 1.22 metres (4 feet) in length. The young ones have brownish colour above, yellowish on the sides and below. Larger specimen are olive brown, covered with black spots and blotches. It is very common in Khindsi lake at Ramrek and also in other tanks. It forms a sizeable portion of the catch sometimes.
 
 
 
Order Synehtognathi
Family Xenentodontidae
Xenentodon cancilla (H & B) Suwa
 
 
It has a long beak-like mouth and is greenish white in colour. It is a tasty fish growing to about 22.86 cm. (9") in length.
 
 
Order Labyrinthici
Family Ophicephalidae
Chana leuco-punctatus (Sykes) Botri
Chana marulius (Ham) Phulmaral
Chana gachua (Ham) Dhok
Chana striatus (BP) Maral or Dhadkya
 
Except C. gachua, other species grow to about 0.30 metre (a foot) in length and even more than that. They have got a peculiarly shaped head resembling that of a snake and hence are called snakeheaded fishes. They are live-fishes and are sold alive in the market. They are highly predatory, very common in most of the tanks and are greatly esteemed as food. They exhibit parental care.
 
 
 
Order Percomorphi
Family Nandidae
Nandus marmoratus Sawar macchi
 
 
They are very common in Khindsi lake and in Ramtek and are caught in large numbers.
 
 
 
Family Ambassidae
Ambassis ranga (H & B) Kanghi macchi
Ambassis baculius (H & B) Kanghi macchi
Badis badis (H & B) Kala potiah
 
They grow to about 7.6 cm. (3 inches). They are beautiful in appearance due to their transparent glassy body. Hence they are important as aquarium fish.
 
 
 
Order Gobioidea
Family Gobiidea
Glossogobius giuris (Ham) Dhasra
Kharapa
 
It grows to about 15 to 20 cm. (6 to 8 inches) in size rarely available and not important commercially.
 
 
 
Order Opisthomi
Family Mastacembelidae
Mastacembelus armatus (Lacep) Vaml
Pancalus (H & B)  
Rhynchobdells aculeata (B 1) Gaichee
 
 
Common in tanks and rivers. It attains a size of 0.61 metre (2 feet) or more in length and is highly priced.
 
 
Family Notopteridae
Notopterus notopterus (Pallas) Pulli chambaree
 
It is rarely found in tanks. It grows to 0.61 metre (2 feet) or more and is tasty. Since it is rarely available it is not commercially important in Nagpur district.
 
 
WILD ANIMALS AND BIRDS
 
Fauna of Nagpur district is quite varied in nature and can be classified mainly into Big game and Small game. The former includes all wild animals except small rodents such as hares, while the latter includes all birds and rodents.
 
 

Habits and habitats.

Names of wild animals and birds found in the district along with the description of their habits and habitats, etc., is as follows:

 
 

 Felis Tigris.-Tiger is perhaps the most majestic animal of this forest division and occurs in sufficient numbers specially in two ranges, viz., Deolapar and West-Pench. In one single night tiger moves from 8 to 16 km. {5 to 10 miles) in search of a prey, taking more often, paths, cut lines of forests, so that swift-running animals can be easily caught. Tiger makes surprise attacks on other animals at waterholes or salt-lich. Tiger is a silent killer and kills the animal practically instantaneously by breaking its vertebral column at the neck joint with the help of its powerful jaws and body weight.

Tiger is a clean feeder. This is clear from the kills of the tiger wherein the entrails are seen taken out and placed 9 to 18 metres (10 to 20 yards) away from the kill.

Normally, tiger avoids direct encounter with man. However, when injured by poachers and other shikaris it is unable to catch swift animals like deer, sambhar, etc., and under such circumstances it takes to man-eating.

The growl of a tiger will turn to a snarl or a short roar when angry or to a loud whoop when surprised. The animal also makes a belling sound, like the call of the animal on which it preys.

Felis Pardus (Panther).-It is a nocturnal animal having black cloudy spots on the body. When compared with tiger, it is smaller in size but more cunning and dangerous. It has the habit of taking the kill to roofs or over branches and cover it with leaves. Its prey is varied and includes all small game, pigs, deer, monkeys, young. domesticated live-stock, and porcupines. It is often found on the outskirts of villages carrying away village dogs and prefers scrubby jungles to dense forests.

Unlike the tiger it is a filthy feeder and eats away even the entrails along with the other parts of the body.

Melursus Ursinus (Sloth Bear).-This is found in some numbers particularly in West-Pench range of this- division. It digs out termites with its powerful claws, blows the earth from around them and sucks them up with its moveable lips. During the fruiting season it is seen eating away Bor (Zizyphus Jujuba) or Mahua (Madhuca Latifolia) fruits, etc. It attacks the intruder when surprised, lashing out with its powerful claws, more often because of its short-sightedness. It is also hard of hearing.

Bos gaurus.-There are found in small numbers in the WestPench range and occur in small herds. It is a shy herbivorous animal of the size of a buffalo or even bigger with a prominent ridge on the back and rounded horns. The males are black, with white stockings, while the young ones are 'chestnut red. These animals are noted for their wariness and savagery when wounded.

 
 
Deer.-
Cervus duvancelli (Barasingha).
Cervus unicolor
(Sambhar).
Cervus axis
(Chital).
Cervus muntjak
(Barking Deer).

This deer-family is remarkable in that most of them produce and shed annually very large antlers with numerous points or tines. Barasingha, for example, has got forked horns with twelve points on either side. These antlers (horns) rise from bony pedicels on the skull, just behind the eyes. These antlers in the beginning are covered with soft hairy skin called "Velvet". When the full length is reached, velvet dries up on the horn and becomes brittle. It is finally scrapped off against bushes and trees.

Barasingha is often known as swamp deer, for it occurs near the marshy swamps. However, its occurrence on the dry ground is also not uncommon.

Sambhar and Chital occur in the flat country as well as on the hills in this division, often coming out in open grassy areas in the evenings.

Barking Deer is a dark chocolate-coloured deer, so named because of its alarm call, resembling the bark of a dog. This alarm call is given when it feels the presence of carnivora in the near vicinity. Thus this animal is supposed to be a friend of other herbivorous animals as well as those of shikaris.

Antelopes.
(1) Antelope Cervicapra (Black Buck).
(2) Gazella bennetti (Chinkara) or Indian Gazelle.
(3) Tetraceros quadricornis (Four-horned Antelope).
(4) Boselaphus Tragocamelus (Nilgai).

These have hollow horns seated on bony cores, and are never shed.

Black Buck is having spiral horns running to 0.76 metre (30 inches), and the glossy back of the upper two-thirds of an old buck's coat contrasts sharply with the white of the under parts.

Chinkara.-It prefers mostly scrubby parts of this division. Four-horned antelopes (Chousinga), mistaken for Chinkara, have no black colour on the face. They have two pairs of upright horns. The front pair is 5 cm. (2 inches) long and the rear pair is 10 cm. (4 inches) long. More often the front pair forms merely small knobs. They move solitary or in pairs.

Nilgai (Blue bull).-It is a big clumsy beast. The males are dark blue grey and the cows brown.

Hyaena.-Morphologically it resembles a dog, but has yellowish grey-coloured body with black stripes like that of a tiger. It lives mostly on the kills killed by either tiger or panther, eating all the putrified flesh left over by them. Often it eats bony portions left over by tigers or panthers. It also prowls at night near the outskirts of villages for fowls or stray dogs.

Sus cristatus (Wild Boar).-It is perhaps the most menacing animal in this division, damaging fields of jowar and other crops overnight. They are brown grey or brown with stiff, rather scanty hair and weigh as much as 181 kg. (400 lb.) These have powerful tushes which are often 12.7 to 20 cm. (5 inches to 8 inches) long.

Canis aureus (Jackals).-It is a dull brownish black-coloured animal. They occur in pairs or in small groups and live mostly on left-over tiger-kills and village fowls, etc.

Cyon dukhunensis (Wild dogs).-These are perhaps the most ferocious animals, occurring in packs of 30 to 40. They do not bark, but give a peculiar whistling cry. They are dull brown in colour with a busby tail which is not curved up like an ordinary dog but remains more or less parallel.

They feed largely on deer, which are run down by these animals for miles around. Even tigers and leopards are sometimes forced to give up their kill by these redoubtable dogs.

Lepus reficaudatus (Hare).- These are rodents living in the burrows made underground and feed on young buds and fruits lying on the ground in these forests. They even attack the young leaves of the neighbouring fields.

Hystrix lecura (Porcupine).-These animals are active during the night only. Their bodies bear powerful claws and quills. The latter when spread over for the defence are sufficient to discourage even such animals as leopards and tigers.

Apart from the animals including big game and small game described above, this division has got quite a few interesting birds also. Their habit, habitats alone with the description, is given below.

Capella gallinago (Snipe).-It is a marsh bird of the size of a quail with straight slender bill. It is dark brown above streaked with black rufous and buff, whitish below. It is found along the paddy fields. It suddenly flushes out on close approach with a characteristic harsh note. It feeds on worms, insects, larvae, etc.

Sarkidiornis melanotos (Duck).-A large duck having black and green colour above and whitish below, head and neck bearing black spots. There is a swollen knob at the base of drake's bill. It walks and dives well and perches freely. It is found in the vicinity of open ponds and feeds mostly on insects and frogs. It gives a low grating croak and a loud honk in the breeding season.

Columba livia Gmelin (Blue Rock Pigeon).-It is quite a common bird of slaty grey colour with a glistening of metallic green and purple on the neck. This bird occupies cliffs and rocky hills. Often it is seen in semi-domesticated condition. It feeds on cereals, pulses etc.

Pavo cristatus (Pea Fowl).-This is a gorgeous tailed bird (in males), with a very beautiful appearance. They usually come out in small packs, either early in the morning or evening out of their hides in open areas on river beds. Their food consists of grains, insects, etc.

Coturnix coromandelica (Rain Quail).-It is a grey coloured quail with upper part of the breast black. It is distinguishable from grey quail by the absence of buff and brown cross bars on the primaries. Usually, it is found hiding in grasslands which provide both food and cover.

Merops Orientalis (common Green Bee-eater).-It is a green coloured bird of the size of a sparrow, reddish brown on head and neck having the central pair of tail feathers prolonged into blunt pins

It is found in open country, along the ponds, fallow lands, launching aerial sallies after bees and after snapping back to. tree-branches where it kills the quarry and swallows it.

Gallus sonneralii (Jungli-murgi).- This bird has a white breast with blackish border and streaked grey back, with metallic black sickle-shaped tail. It is a very shy bird and scuttles into cover at the least suspicion. It feeds on grains, berries, termites, etc.

 
SNAKES
 
 
 (The section on Snakes is contributed by Dr. P. J. Deoras of the Haffkine Institute, Bombay.)
 
 
 

Nagpur district comprises five tahsils each of which has mountain ranges with forest tracts on the northern borders. Besides this the district is drained by a number of rivers, both big and small, and contains many tanks and lakes which serve as excellent breeding places for snake life. Hence Nagpur district contains numerous types of snakes.

The snakes found in the district can be grouped under two broad headings, viz., non-poisonous and poisonous:

 
Non Poisonous
 
Family Typhlopidae
 
Typhlops sp: These blind primitive snakes could be recorded from the rotting leaves in the forest areas beyond Ramtek. These snakes look like earthworms of bigger size, have brown or deep brown colour and could be distinguished from the worm by the presence of imbricate scales on the body. It does not grow beyond 0.15 metre (six inches), lies buried in soil and vegetation and feeds upon insects and worms.
 
 
Family Boidae.
 
Eryx conicus: This “sand boa" snake, locally known as Mandhol or dutondya grows to about three quarters of a metre (two and half feet) in length and 15 to 25 cm. (6 to 10 inches) in girth. Its tail is very blunt and is more or less of the same pattern as the head side; similarly it moves slightly backwards under certain circumstances. Both these characteristics give an impression that the snake has two heads, which is erroneous. This snake is brown with patches of irregular deep yellow patterns all over the body. In fact these patterns give the impression that the snake is a young one of a python. It feeds on rats, frogs and lizards and when cornered bites viciously.

Eryx johni, another “sand boa” is found in the black cotton soil region. It is slightly bigger than Eryx conicus and is rather docile. The colour is uniformly deep brown or black with no patches at all. Many a snake charmer keep this snake for show in this region. .
Python molurus: This is locally called Ajgar. It is met with in water sheds of the lake areas and forest region of Ramtek tahsil. It grows to about 4 metres (14 feet) in length and about 36 em. (14 inches) in girth. It is of deep brown colour with variegated yellow patches all over the body. The head region is pink and two spurs project from the anal region indicating the rudiments of the vestigial limbs. This is a very lethargic snake which kills its prey by its powerful muscles. Many charmers keep this snake and often it could be more or less domesticated.

 
 
Family Colubridae
 
Ptyas mucosus: This rat snake is locally called Dhaman and is extremely common in the area. It has a chrome yellow body with black spots, especially in the hind region. It grows to about 2.75 metres (9 feet), can climb a tree and is extremely agile. When squeezed it emits a faint noise like a kite. It also has the habit of using the tail to tie a scout type of knot probably to take anchor or pull. It feeds on rats and should be protected.
 

Lycodon sp.: This wolf snake is common in the vegetable gardens and orchards in the area. It exists along with oligodon sp. Both are faint brown in colour and grow upto 45 cm. (a foot and half) and have either variegated white bars or straight white bars across the body. These snakes feed on lizards, mice and small frogs and are often mistaken for a krait. It differs from the krait in that there are no hexagonal rows of dorsal scales on its body and the ventral scales beyond the anal region are in pairs.

Natrix stolata: This snake is locally called Naneti or SitechiLut and is extremely common all over the area, especially in the rainy months. It is olive green with black spots intersected by dorsolateral yellow or buff stripes. It grows to about three-quarters of a metre (2 1/2 feet) in length and could be easily handled.

Natrix piscator: This is called Pandiwad in the area. A large number of them have been noted round the tanks at Khindsi, Mansar, Badegaon and Kondhali forest area. They prefer the vicinity of water and feed upon frogs and fishes. The colour is olive yellow with checkered type black spots in the hind region. It breeds in the vicinity of water and grows upto a metre (three feet) in length and 15 cm. (six inches) in girth.

Dryophis nasutus: It is known as Harantol or Sarptol. It is a parrot green long thin whip-like snake that grows upto one and a half metre (five feet) and often lies hidden amongst green foliage. The head is elliptical, eyes have a vertical pupil and the snake rests on branches with raised head kept swinging in the air. The habit of rigidness gives the impression that the snake is mesmerising. It feeds on small birds and being thin could be easily handled. Pipal trees are often its frequent haunts.

Psamophis sp.: It is met with near the Badegaon and Kondhali forests. It is an active pale olive-brown snake with 4-5 dark brown longitudinal stripes. The lower side of the head is yellowish with a black line along each side at the outer margin of the ventral shields. It grows to about 1.371 metres (four and half feet) and feeds on rodents, frogs and lizards.

 
 
Family Elapidae
 
Poisonous
 

Bungarus caeruleus: The common krait. This snake is locally called Manyar and Karayat. It is steel blue with either double or single row of white cross bars across the body. In some areas these cross markings across the body are very faint and in elder snakes, they look like white dots only. In younger snakes the colour is brownish and the cross bars are very close. However, the distinguishing feature about this snake is that the dorsal scales are hexagonal and the ventral transverse scales beyond the vent are not paired.

This snake remains hiding in rocks, brick walls, and even in thatch. It is normally encountered after the rainy season in the evening or at night time. There is a popular belief that it makes a noise early in the morning akin to that of a bird. No authentic data to this effect is available. This is a very shy snake which strikes only on extreme provocation. The poison is neurotoxk and the only antidote is an anti-venin.

Naja naja: This snake, locally known as Nag is quite common all over the district. It is either brown in colour when it is called Gahuwa or black in colour when they call it Domi. This snake can always be identified by the expanded hood. No other snake raises the head so much and expands the neck region to form the hood. A bionoculate mark on the hood is often present on the dorsal side and three cross bands on the lower side of the hood. Sometimes these markings are absent and in such cases one has to rely on the hood, the head scales and the oblong scales of the body. On the head the loral scale is absent and one scale touches the eye and the nasal. This snake grows to 1.6764 metre (five feet six inches) and may have in certain cases faint brown cross bars on the body.

This snake strikes after raising the hood and the distance of the strike runs to about three quarters of a metre (two and half feet). During the day time the aim is very inaccurate. There is a belief that this snake chases when provoked and takes a revenge. There is, however, no truth in this assumption. The poison of this snake is neurotoxic and the only antidote is an anti-venin.

 
 
 
Family Viperidae
 
 

Vipera russelli: Russell's viper. This is locally called Chonas and the snake is normally met with in the forest areas of Ramtek, Kondhali area of Katol and in the forest villages of Saoner also. It has been found near the Telankhedi tank forest in Nagpur town also. This is quite a vigorous muscular snake which is seen to grow even upto one and a half metre (five feet). The girth sometimes ranges to 30 cm. (12 inches). The colour is brown with three rows of elliptical spots all over the body. The central row of spots are complete, tapering at the tail end, while the lateral ones often are not properly formed. Some of these spots have at the periphery white dots like a marginal marking. The head is triangular and the scales are very small. The snake lies coiled up amidst fallen leaves and thick bushes. It is so well camouflaged that unless disturbed and moved, one finds it difficult to spot it. However, it hisses very loudly and continuously. In a cobra the hiss is sporadic and spasmodic, while in this viper it is loud and continuous. This hissing is a warning and the snake remains coiled to take a lever to strike. While thus hissing one could see the reduction and inflation of the snake's body.

The venom of this snake is vasotoxic and the only remedy is; an anti-venin.

Echis carinatus: This “side winder”, is locally called Kander or Phoorsa. It grows to a maximum length of 0.46 metre (18 inches) only. The head is triangular and the important distinguishing mark is an arrow on the head and a row of rhomboid brown marks on the entire body surface. It was collected in Nagpur town itself, but is not a very common snake. During the rainy season one could encounter it in the rural areas. It moves criss-cross and rubs the serrated scales to give the impression of a hissing noise. The bite may not be fatal but the victim may succumb to secondary reactions and after-effects. The only antidote is an anti-venin.