The Dooars region politically constitutes the plains of Darjeeling District, the whole of Jalpaiguri district and Alipurduar district and the upper region of Cooch Behar district in West Bengal and the districts of Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Goalpara and Bongaigaon in the state of Assam.
The altitude of Dooars area ranges from 90 to 1,750 m. Innumerable streams and rivers flow through these fertile plains from the mountains of Bhutan. In Assam, the major rivers are the Brahmaputra and Manas. In northern West Bengal, the major river is the Teesta besides many others like the Jaldhaka, Murti, Torsha, Sankosh, Dyna, Karatoya, Raidak, and Kaljani rivers, among others.
The average rainfall of the area is about 3,500 mm. Monsoon generally starts from the middle of May and continues till the end of September. Winters are cold with foggy mornings and nights. Summer is mild and constitutes a very short period of the year.
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Rabha girls performing war dance
The native people of this region generally have Mongoloid features. They are composed of numerous tribes, including the Bodo in Assam, and the Rabha, the Mech, the Toto, the Koch Rajbongshi, the Tamang/Murmi, the Limbu, the Lepcha in Bengal.
Apart from the tribal population, a large Bengali population (mostly displaced from the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by the Partition of Bengal) also populate the Dooars and their culture emerged with local people.
The Dooars are famous for the tea gardens which were planted by the British. For working in the gardens, they imported labour from Nepal and the Chota Nagpur and Santhal Parganas. The Oraons, Mundas, Kharia, Mahali, Lohara and Chik Baraik are the tribals from these areas. The tribal of Chotanagpur origin are employed in tea gardens, which started production during the 1870s. Before the settlement of other communities, these people converted the forests into villages and busties (agriculture village). The remnants of these tribal people form a majority of the population in Western Dooars.
Cities and towns
The Dooars is a large region and is dotted with many towns and cities. The largest city in the whole region stretching from the Darjeeling foothills to the Arunachal Pradesh foothills is Siliguri. This northern Bengal city is well connected with the rest of country by road, air and railway and is the business hub of the region.
The other major cities are Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Goalpara, Barpeta and Dhubri in Assam. Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Dhupguri, Malbazar, Mainaguri and Birpara are the major cities of the Dooars in West Bengal, and Kishanganj in Bihar. Also, the commercial capital of Bhutan, Phuentsholing, near Jaigaon, can be considered a part of this region.
Historically, the region has suffered from ethnic strife. The Bodoland agitation in Assam for a separate state for the Bodo people and the Kamtapur or Greater Cooch Behar movement for a Kamtapur state in northern Bengal for the Rajbongshis are the two most vociferous ones. The Adivasi (Tribal) of Dooars are demanding autonomy under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
Economy of Dooars
Gorumara National Park entrance gate; Tourism is an important source of income for the residents
The economy of Dooars is based on three "T"s – Tea, Tourism and Timber. The main industry of the Dooars region is the tea industry. Thousands of people are engaged in the tea estates and factories. Several people are also engaged in the cultivation of bettlenuts which also contributes to the economy. Cultivation of other crops is done mainly for local consumption.
The area is dotted by several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries which attract a lot of tourists from all over India and abroad, making it an important contributor to the economy and also employer of a number of people.
The timber industry, both legally and illegally, flourishes in this region. A number of saw mills, plywood industries and other allied business also act as an important contributor to the economy.
The Dooars act as doorways to Bhutan; thus, the export-import industry also flourishes in the area. The towns of Jaigaon, Siliguri and Phuentsholing are important hubs of the export-import industry.
As the region is near the international borders of Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh, the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indian army and Indian Air Force maintain a large presence in the area. This leads to a large population of semi-permanent residents who bring money into the local economy.
Uploaded: Apr 8, 2018
Tags: Political geography River Murti Murti river The Dooars region politically constitutes the plains of Darjeeling District, the whole of Jalpaiguri district and Alipurduar district and the upper region of Cooch Behar district in West Bengal and the dist