The Konkan Region of India!
The coastal lowland between Daman in the north and Goa in the south together with west facing steep slopes of the Western Ghats comprise the Konkan Coast.
This region had commercial contact with West Asia and Europe. This coastal lowland is generally less than 80 km in width.
The emerged wave-cut platform constitutes this coastal low land which is full of hills or ridges. Continuous level coastal plain, hardly a few km. in width, fringes the sea, in the north of Bassein. This lowland is uneven and is interspersed with river valleys, creeks and ridges.
The hill descend from the Western Ghats and stretch westwards, some even up to the coast, thus separating the valleys from one another. The hills, though irregular at places, do not permit easy access from valley to valley. These relief features peculiar to this region have so far baffled all attempts for establishing road and rail communications in the area south of Mumbai.
However, river valleys or creeks being open to the sea are connected with Mumbai and other areas by boats and steamers. At present Konkan Railway has been started. The hills are flat-topped and descend to the plain in terraces.
The streams are actively busy in cutting back the abruptly rising escarpment of the Western Ghats during the rainy season. As a result of this head-ward erosion, the streams are entrenched in many deep valleys and gorges in the west facing steep slope of the Western Ghats.
Tropical monsoon rain forest climate prevails in this region. Temperature is high throughout year. Normal maximum temperature in these months remains in the neighbourhood of 32°C. The rainfall though seasonal is heavy and is above 200 cm a year.
In the north, the soils are generally black as they are developed on basalt. The alluvial fertile soils are confined mainly to the flood plains of the streams. In the Western Ghats, the red forest soils are highly leached and unfit for continuous cultivation as in case of soil of Ratnagiri.
Only small area is under cultivation due to limited fertile soil confined to river valleys. Rice is the chief crop followed by fodder crops. Of the total cropped area, about 43 percent is under rice, 21 per cent under fodder crops and 8 percent under ragi.
There is a great demand for fodder by dairies supplying milk to Mumbai. Hence, Thane district which is close to Mumbai has about 30 percent of the total cropped area under fodder and hay crops.
Coconut palm trees abounds the coast. Orchards of betel-leaf, betel-nut and plantain are found in the valley plains even in the interior and along the coast as well. Ratnagiri district produces a variety of mango called Alphanso. This mango being of very good quality finds ready market in Mumbai and some is exported.
Fisheries is an important activities carried on with the boats and steamers. Several ice facto ries and cold storage plants have been set up at Malvan on the Ratnagiri coast. Several co-operative societies of fishermen have come into existence. Chief catches north of Mumbai are bombil, pomfret and jew-fish and south of Mumbai mackerel, shark and ray. This region accounts for nearly 17 percent of the total marine catch in India.
The salt is obtained by solar evaporation of sea-water. On the average, sea-water contains 3 percent of salt. Rows of specially built receptacles, bounded with clays are laid out on the coastal belt adjoining the sea. These receptacles are called salt- pans.
At high tide sea-water is allowed to flow into the salt pans. Bhayndar, Goregaon, Kharodi and Wadala are some of the places near Mumbai where a large quantity of salt is obtained from sea-water. A small quantity of iron ore is mined in Ratnagiri district.
Manufacturing activity in this region is confined to Mumbai and its satellite towns, e.g., Thane and Kalyan. Characterised by great diversity, this manufacturing belt is the second most important industrial area of the country.
Mumbai is main textile centre of India. It manufactures cotton, woollen and man-made fibre fabrics. After Ahmedabad, it is the second most important cotton textile centre in India. Hinterland of Mumbai produces a large quantity of cotton.
Availability of cotton, harbour and banking facilities and humid climate have contributed considerably to the establishment of cotton textile industry in Mumbai. Besides it there are almost every kind of industries located in Mumbai and nearby area.
Owing to great congestion of housing colonies and industrial establishments in Mumbai new industries find it cheap to establish themselves at Thane (Thana), Kalyan and Bhiwandi. Already a large number of new industries have been set up in and around these towns. Thane is 34 km. away from Mumbai and Kalyan 54 km. Bhiwandi 15 km. north of Thane is noted for cotton handloom and cotton textile mill industry.
Mumbai industrial complex get power from thermal hydro and nuclear power. Three hydroelectric power stations near Mumbai has been developed. The Western Ghats near Mumbai receive fairly heavy rainfall during four months (June to September) and are almost dry during the rest of the year therefore; the rain-water is stored in lakes or reservoirs which are perched on elevation of about 550 meters on the Western Ghats.
Very steep drop from the edge of the Western Ghats to the coastal lowland is utilized for the generation of electricity. Water is allowed to fall down steeply through pipes to the three power generating stations situated at the foot of the Western Ghats. The drop of water varies from about 503 to 534 meters. The power stations are situated at Bhivpuri, Khopoli and Bhira; they are not far away from Mumbai.
Power generated by the Koyna Project has been made available to Mumbai since 1962.