and cities of Assam are situated in this valley whose length and breadth are 725 kms and 80-100
kms respectively. Running through a narrow passage at the Meghalaya plateau and Bhutan-
Arunachal-Himalayas, the valley finally opens out into the North Bengal Plains.
The second natural division of Assam is the Barak or Surma valley which is surrounded by
north Cachar, Manipur and Mizoram. This valley is dominated by the Barak river. It flows
through the valley and finally empties itself to the old bed of Brahmaputra in Bangladesh. This
valley has hills and ‘Beels’ or lakes in plenty. Flood is a common feature lending the quality of
fertility to the valley.
The two valleys are separated by long range of hills. The Karbi Hills and the N.C. Hills are
located in the south of the Brahmaputra valley. Karbi Hills are a part of the Meghalaya plateau.
These hills are dotted with plain areas. The average height of this plateau is 600 metres with
occasional peaks like Chenghehision (1,359 m) and Dunbukso (1,361 m). Greenery is the
hallmark of these hills, slowly reaching their full height towards the middle of the Dima Hasao
district, merging with the Barail range, which is the highest hill range in Assam. The elevation of
the Barail range varies from 1,000 to 1,200 metres above sea level. The south side of the Barail
range is very steep. It attains a maximum height of 1,953 metres in Mahadeo peak to the east of
Haflong. This valley is full of dense forest and rare wildlife.
The state finances have improved considerably. Over the years with industry and businesses
Assam is endowed with abundant fertile land and water resources with a total geographical
area of 78,438 sq. km. The mighty river Brahmaputra and the Barak with their 121 small and tiny
tributaries and branches flow through the two valleys keeping the state fertile and cool all along.
Assam has achieved 40 per cent increase in the contribution of agriculture to state GDP.
Rice production has increased to 54.40 lakh MT. Likewise, production of foodgrains has also
increased from 41.72 lakh MT to 57.22 lakh MT.
Forest & Wildlife
Assam has a total 29,282 sq. km. area of forest and tree cover which covers 37.33 per cent
of total geographical area of the state. It has 13,870 sq. km of Reserved Forests; 3103 sq. km. of
Proposed Reserved Forests; 5,850 sq. km of Unclassed State forests; and 3,925 sq. km of
Protected Area Network. (Source: FSI Data-2009 and “Assam 2011”, page-152).
About 180 species of mammals are found in the state which includes globally threatened
species such as Golden Langoor, Hoolock Gibbon, Pigmy Hog, Hispid Hare, White-winged
Wood Duck, Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Elephant, Swamp Deer, Gangetic Dolphin, etc. More than
800 species of birds and about 195 species of reptiles are found in the state. Strong enforcement
of wildlife conservation measures have resulted increase in the tiger population of the state. The
tiger population has risen to 167 in 2014 from 143 during 2010-11. The rhino population in
Assam stands at 2,624 as per 2015 census. Efforts are also being taken to provide sustainable
livelihood to the forest communities.