The physiography

The physiography of Bangladesh is characterized by two distinctive features: a broad deltaic plain subject to frequent flooding, and a small hilly region crossed by swiftly flowing rivers. The country has an area of 144,000 square kilometers and extends 820 kilometers north to south and 600 kilometers east to west. Bangladesh is bordered on the west, north, and east by a 2,400-kilometer land frontier with India and, in the southeast, by a short land and water frontier (193 kilometers) with Burma. On the south is a highly irregular deltaic coastline of about 600 kilometers, fissured by many rivers and streams flowing into the Bay of Bengal. The territorial waters of Bangladesh extend 12 nautical miles, and the exclusive economic zone of the country is 200 nautical miles.

Roughly 80 percent of the landmass is made up of fertile alluvial lowland called the Bangladesh Plain. The plain is part of the larger Plain of Bengal, which is sometimes called the Lower Gangetic Plain. Although altitudes up to 105 meters above sea level occur in the northern part of the plain, most elevations are less than 10 meters above sea level; elevations decrease in the coastal south, where the terrain is generally at sea level. With such low elevations and numerous rivers, water–and concomitant flooding–is a predominant physical feature. About 10,000 square kilometers of the total area of Bangladesh are covered with water, and larger areas are routinely flooded during the monsoon season

The only exceptions to Bangladesh’s lower elevations are the Chittagong Hills in the southeast, the Low Hills of Sylhet in the northeast, and highlands in the north and northwest The Chittagong Hills constitute the only significant hill system in the country and, in effect, is the western fringe of the north south mountain ranges of Burma and eastern India. The Chittagong Hills rise steeply to narrow ridge lines, generally no wider than 36 meters, 600 to 900 meters above sea level. At 1,046 meters, the highest elevation in Bangladesh is found at Keokradong, in the southeastern part of the hills. Fertile valleys lie between the hill lines, which generally run north-south. West of the Chittagong Hills is a broad plain, cut by rivers draining into the Bay of Bengal, that rises to a final chain of low coastal hills, mostly below 200 meters, that attain a maximum elevation of 350 meters. West of these hills is a narrow, wet coastal plain located between the cities of Chittagong in the north and Cox’s Bazar in the south.

About 67 percent of Bangladesh’s nonurban land is arable. Permanent crops cover only 2 percent, meadows and pastures cover 4 percent, and forests and woodland cover about 16 percent. The country produces large quantities of quality timber, bamboo, and sugarcane. Bamboo grows in almost all areas, but high-quality timber grows mostly in the highland valleys. Rubber planting in the hilly regions of the country was undertaken in the 1980s, and rubber extraction had started by the end of the decade. A variety of wild animals are found in the forest areas, such as in the Sundarbans on the southwest coast, which is the home of the worldfamous Royal Bengal Tiger. The alluvial soils in the Bangladesh Plain are generally fertile and are enriched with heavy silt deposits carried downstream during the rainy season.

 

INFORMATION BRIEF

Official name: People’s Republic of Bangladesh (Gana Prajatantri Bangladesh)

Capital Dhaka.

Government :Parliamentary form of government, president is head of the State and the prime minister is head of government.

UNO Member UNO membership no 136, admitted on 17 September, 1974.

Geographical location In South Asia, between 20°34′ to 26°38′ north latitude and 88°01′ to 92°41′ east longitude. Maximum extension is about 440 km in E-W direction and 760 km in NNW-SSE direction.

Time GMT +6.00 hours.

Administrative units: division 6 (Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Barisal,Sylhet); district 64; upazila and thana 507, union 4,484, mouza 59,990, village 87,319; city corporation 6 (Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Barisal); municipality 223.

Rivers: Total rivers including tributaries and distributaries are about 700 under three mighty river systems.

Climate: subtropical monsoon. Average maximum and minimum winter temperatures are 29°C and 11°C respectively; average maximum and minimum summer temperatures are 34°C and 21°C respectively. Annual rainfall 1,194 mm to 3,454 mm. Highest humidity 80% to 100% (August-September), lowest 36% (February-March).

Archaeological sites: paharpur (5 km west of Jamalganj railway station in Joypurhat district, actually the site includes the badalgachi upazila of Naogaon district), mahasthangarh (about 12 km north of Bogra town, the site includes partlyshibganj and partly bogra sadar upazilas of Bogra district), bhasu vihara (about 4.8-6.4 km northwest of Mahasthangarh), mainamati (8 km west of Comilla town),halud vihara (about 14.5 km west-south-west of Paharpur), sitakot vihara(nawabganj upazila of Dinajpur district), Wari-Bateshwar (Narsingdi).

Tourist spots: cox’s Bazarrangamatichittagongsylhet, Kuakata (patuakhali), sundarbans (Khulna). The 120-km long Cox’s Bazar sea beach is considered to be the longest in the world. Kuakata is a unique beach for viewing sunrise as well as sun-setting.

Population: (2001) total population 123.1 million; density 834 persons per sq km, annual growth rate (1991-2001) 1.47%, male-female ratio 106:100, urban population 28.8 million, rural population 94.34 million. Life expectancy at birth (1998) 61 years. At the point of ethnicity Bangladeshi people are an amalgamation of Dravidian, Proto-Australoaid, Mongoloid, and Ariyan. Tribal people with a population of just over 1.2 million.There are some 45 tribal groups in BangladesB

Religion: Muslims 88.3%, Hindus 10.5%, Buddhists 0.6%, Christian 0.5% and others 0.1%.

Language National Language: Bangla (99.5% speak Bangla and 0.5% other dialects). English is the second most important language.

Literacy (7 years and above) 65.5 % (2001).

Educational institutions Public university (1998) 14, private university (2001) 19, government medical college 16, private medical college 19, engineering college 6, polytechnic institute 21, college (general education) 2288, secondary school 14069 and primary school 65610.

Health facilities (1999) Hospitals 1,289 (of which Upazila Health Complex and Rural Health Complexes are 398); hospital beds 43,143; registered physician 30,864; households per physician 674;

Employment and occupation (Labour Force Survey 1990-91, in million) technical and professional 1.46; administrative and managerial 0.19; clerical works 1.10; sales works 4.02; service works 1.68; agriculture, forestry and fisheries 34.35; production and transport 6.98; not adequately defined 0.38.

Mineral resources natural gascoalpeatlimestone, hard rock, beach sand heavy mineral (zircon, rutile, Ilmenite, Garnet, Magnetite, Monazite, Leucoxene, Kyanite), glass sandwhite claybrick clay and metallic minerals.

Energy sources Fuelwood, natural gas, liquid petroleum fuels, coal, hydropower, solar power, biogas, etc.

Financial system one central bank (bangladesh bank), 45 commercial banks (4 nationalised commercial banks or NCBs), 27 private domestic banks and 13 foreign banks), 5 state-owned specialised banks, also known as development finance institutions (DFIs), 23 non-bank financial institutions, 27 merchant bankers, 556 money changers, the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB), 2 stock exchanges (the Dhaka Stock Exchange and Chittagong Stock Exchange), 2 state-owned and 39 private sector insurance companies, about 10 leasing companies, Post Office Savings Bank and the Postal Life Insurance schemes. There are 145,000 co-operatives. Bangladesh Samabaya Bank Ltd is the apex institution of the co-operative sector. There are over 1,200 non-governmental and non-profit micro finance institutions.

Industries Jute, tea, textile, garments, paper, newsprint, fertilizer, leather and leather goods, cement, sugar, fish processing, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Existing: Chittagong EPZ (1983) and Dhaka EPZ. Proposed: Gazipur, Mongolia, Ishwardi, Comilla, Saidpur and Sirajganj. The government has signed an agreement with the Republic of Korea to establish a Korean EPZ in Chittagong.

Exports Ready made garments, raw jute, jute manufactures, tea, leather and leather products, frozen shrimps and other fish products, newsprint, handicraft.

Imports Wheat, oil seeds, crude petroleum, raw cotton, edible oil, petroleum products, fertilizer, cement, yarn.

Foreign trade Export: 5 billion US$; Import: 7 billion US$ (1999).

Currency Taka (Tk 78.00 = US$1, July 2005)

Per-capita income US$ 1700 (2012-2013)

Transport and communication Metalled road 10,000 km; Railways 2,891 km. Waterways 8,900 km.

.Major inland riverports Dhaka, Chandpur, Barisal, Khulna, Narayanganj, Bhairab Bazar, Ashuganj, Sirajganj.

Seaports Chittagong Port and Mongla Port.

Airports Zia International Airport, Dhaka; Amanat Shah International Airport, Chittagong; Osmany Airport, Sylhet; Cox’s Bazar Airport; Jessore Airport; Barisal Airport; Rajshahi Airport; Saidpur Airport, Nilphamari; Ishwardi Airport, Pabna; Tejgaon STOL Port, Dhaka; Shamsernagar STOL Port, Maulvi Bazar; Comilla STOL Port, Comilla; Lalmonirhat STOL Port; Thakurgaon STOL Port.

Radio stations Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Sylhet, Rangamati, Comilla and Thakurgaon.

TV stations Transmission centers: Dhaka and Chittagong. Relay stations: Chittagong, Sylhet, Khulna, Natore, Mymensingh, Rangpur, Noakhali, Satkhira, Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati and Thakurgaon.

Satellite station Three communication satellite ground receiving stations: Betbunia, Chittagong; Talibabad, Savar, Dhaka, Mohakhali, Dhaka.

Food Staple diet: rice, wheat, vegetable, pulses, fish and meat.

Principal crops jute, rice, wheat, potato, tea, tobacco, sugarcane.

Principal fruits mango (am), jackfruit (kanthal), blackberry (jam), pineapple (anaras), banana (kala), litchi (lychee), lemon (lebu), guava (peyara), papaya (pepe), tamarind (tentul), watermelon (tarmuj), rose apple (jamrul), jujube (barai).

Principal fishes Freshwater fishes: hilsa (Ilish) [Tenualosa ilisha]; carps (Rui, Catla, Mrigal, Kalibaus, etc.); barbs (Punti, Mahashol, etc.); minnows (Darkina, Chela, Mola, etc.); catfishes (Tengra, Aid, Shingi, Magur, etc.); Climbing Perch (Koi), [Anabas testudineus]. Saline water fishes: Jew fishes (Poa), thread-fins (Tapasi), mullets (Bata), pomfrets (Rupchanda), etc.

Flora 6000 species (5000 flowering plants).

Fauna Vertebrates: about 1600 species; Fish: 266 inland species and 442 marine species; Amphibians: 22 species; Reptiles 126 species (109 inland and 17 marine); Birds: 628 species (388 resident and 240 migratory); Mammals: 113 species (110 inland and 3 marine).

Forest Total 21403 sq km. Hill forest land 13,617 sq km; Inland forest land 1,220 sq km; Littoral forest 6,566 sq km.

National days Shaheed Dibas (Martyrs’ Day) on 21 February now observed as the international mother language day; Swadhinata Dibas (Independence Day) on 26 March; Pahela Baishakh or Bangla Nababarsa (Bangla New Year); Bijoy Dibas (Victory Day) on 16 December.

Festivals Common: Navanna, pahela baishakh (Bangla Nababarsha). Religious: Muslim eid-ul fitreid-ul azhashab-e-qadrshab-e-barat, Eid-e-Miladunnabi,muharram; Hindu durga pujakali pujalaksmi puja, Saraswati puja, Doljatra, Holi; Christian christmas; Buddhist buddha purnima.

Games kabadi is the national game; football, cricket, hockey, tennis, badminton, volleyball, handball, chess and carom are also popular games.

National flower Shapla or water lily (Nymphaea pubescens).

National fruit Kanthal or jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus).

National bird Doel or magpie-robin or Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis).

National fish Ilish hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha).

National animal Bagh or bengal tiger, wellknown as Royal Bengal Tiger (Pathera tigris). [Masud Hasan Chowdhury]