Location of Noakhali in Bangladesh
|• Total||4,202.70 km2 (1,622.67 sq mi)|
|Population (2011 census)|
|• Density||740/km2 (1,900/sq mi)|
|Time zone||BST (UTC+6)|
Noakhali (Bengali: নোয়াখালী জিলা) is a district in South-eastern Bangladesh. It is located in the Chittagong Division. Noakhali district, whose earlier name was Bhulua, was established in 1821. It was named Noakhali in 1868.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Administration
- 4 Administrative Subdivisions
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Transport
- 8 Flora and Fauna
- 9 Places of interest
- 10 Notable People
- 11 References
Noakhali District is bordered by Comilla district to the north, the Meghna estuary and the Bay of Bengal to the south, Feni and Chittagong districts to the east and Lakshmipur and Bhola district to the west. The district has an area of 4202 km². The District represents an extensive flat, coastal and delta land, located on the tidal floodplain of the Meghna River delta, characterized by flat land and low relief.The area is influenced by diurnal tidal cycles and the tidal fluctuations vary depending on seasons, being pronounced during the monsoon season. Around Noakhali on three sides is an alluvial plain that is annually inundated and fertilized by silt deposits from the Meghna estuary. The district of Noakhali has actually gained more than 28 square miles (73 km2) of land in the past 50 years.
The ancient name of Noakhali is Bhulua. In the 1660s, the agricultural activities of the north-eastern region of Bhulua were seriously affected by floodwater of the Dakatia River following from the Tripura hills. To salvage the situation, a canal was dug in 1660 that ran from the Dakatia through Ramganj, Sonaimuri and Chaumuhani to divert water flow to the junction of the river Meghna and Feni. After excavating this long canal, Bhulua began to be known as "Noakhali". The name "Noakhali" was originated from the term Noa (New) and Khal (Canal).
Two hundred years back from now Noakhali district was known as ‘Bhulua Pargana’. South Shahbazpur, Lakshmipur, mainland of Noakhali district and a portion of present Feni district were included in the Bhulua Pargana. In 1821 Mr. Plyden, the then salt agent, got the additional charge of collectorate of Bhulua from the Governor General. He proposed to the Governor General to establish a new district when some administrative problems arose with other salt-agents of Bhulua. On 29 March 1822 the Governor General passed an order in this regards and accordingly a new district was constituated with south Shabajpur, Sudharam, Begumganj, Ramganj, Raipur, Lakshmipur, Feni, Parshuram, Elahabad pargana of Tippera and Hatia, Sandwhip & Bamni of Chittagong district. The District was named Noakhali in 1868. In 1876 Noakhali district was divided into two sub-divisions. Feni Sub-division was constituted with Chhagalnaiya thana of Tippera, Mirshari of Chittagong, Feni Pargana, Parshuram & Sonagazi. Sadar Sub-division was formed with the remaining areas. At the census of 1901 its area was 1,644 square miles and its population was about 1,141,728.
Noakhali was the site of the Noakhali riots in 1946 in which thousands of people were killed. Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal role in cooling down the situation. He along with his other aides, toured the genocide-stricken area, and was instrumental in calming the communal tension.
Noakhali town, the headquarters of Noakhali, got vanished in the river-bed in 1951, as a result of erosion of mighty Meghna. After that the headquarters of Noakhali was established at Maijdee. In 1964 Sadar Sub-division was divided into two sub-divisions, namely Sadar and Lakshmipur.
During the War of Liberation many direct and guerrilla encounters took place between the Pakistani Armed Forces and the Liberation Forces (Mukti Bahini). About 70 Freedom fighters (Mukti Joddha) were killed in a direct encounter with the Pakistan army on 15 June 1971, in front of the Sonapur Ahmadia School. Noakhali was liberated on 7 December 1971.
For administrative convenience, according to Government's decision Noakhali district was divided into three districts, namely Noakhali, Lakshmipur and Feni in 1984.
District administration is headed by an accomplished professional having long and laudable experience called Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate who is expected to be highly talented and enriched with good leadership quality. The responsibility is vast and varied. S/he represents government at the field level, conduct all polls and act as Collector, development co-coordinator, disaster manager, and guardian of criminal administration at the lower level. S/he is the chief protocol officer representing government ceremonies on behalf of the national government.
The basic unit of administration of the country is locally named as Upazila, which is an integral component of the district. Field level functionaries of the development departments operate here at the grass-root level under guidance from the respective functional heads stationed in the districts as coordinated by the UNO (Upazila Nirbahi Officer). All decisions are discussed and finalized in a forum called Upazila Parishad which is presided over by an elected chairman and assisted by a mid-level seasoned executive of professional excellence-called UNO, who plays a pivotal role in shaping decisions that conform to government policies and cohere to the financial constraints and regulations.
An area covering several square kilometers having several thousand populations is named as Union that is administered by an elected Chairman. These Chairmen are the dominant and voting members of the Parishad (counseling body) apart from various upazila level functionaries representing respective district counterparts.
Deputy Commissioner (DC): Badre Munir Firdaus 
Administrator of Zila Parishad: ABM Zaforullah 
Noakhali District consists of 9 upazilas, 8 municipalities, 72 wards, 153 mahallas, 91 unions, 882 mouzas and 967 villages.
Noakhali District is divided into the following Sub-districts (Upazilas):
- Noakhali Sadar Upazila
- Begumganj Upazila
- Chatkhil Upazila
- Companiganj Upazila
- Senbagh Upazila
- Hatiya Upazila
- Kabirhat Upazila
- Sonaimuri Upazila
- Suborno Char Upazila
A municipality is usually an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government or jurisdiction. Noakhali district has eight municipalities (Paurashavas). Every municipality consists of 9 wards.
- Noakhali Paurashava
- Chowmuhani Paurashava
- Chatkhil Paurashava
- Boshurhat Paurashava
- Senbagh Paurashava
- Hatiya Paurashava
- Kabirhat Paurashava
- Sonaimuri Paurashava
According to the 2011 census the total population of Noakhali district is 31,108,083 (Male- 14,85,169 and Female- 16,22,914). Male Female ratio is 92:100, Population Density 843/km2 and annual growth rate is 1.86%. Urbanization rate of the district is 15.98%. The Main town Maijdee has a population of 74585 (male 51.50%, female 48.50%) with a population density of 5915 km².
People from almost all religion and faith lives in Noakhali. Around 95.42% of the population are Muslims, while 4.52% are Hindus. Christians and Buddhists constitute 0.02% and 0.03% respectively of the local population. The district of Noakhali has 4159 mosques, 497 Eid Gah, 239 temples, 2 Buddhist pagodas, 1 church.
Christians in this district had Portuguese ancestry. The Portuguese pirates of Sandwip terrorized the coasts of Noakhali throughout the seventeenth century. Later on they inter married with the women of the region. In 1844 the first Christian missionary arrived in Noakhali. The mission maintains two boys' schools and one girls' school at Noakhali and one girls' school at Ewazbalia. It makes few converts.
The people of this district speaks in an informal Bangla dialect. Linguistically, it is connected to the districts of Feni and Lakshmipur as well as some parts of the districts of Chandpur, Chittagong and Comilla. Indian nationals of Bilonia area of Tripura State also speaks in the same Noakhali dialect.
Noakhali dialect does not have any recognized grammar recording. There is no formal use of Noakhali dialect in public, in courts, or in legislature like the existent standard Bangla. It stays as the language of the people of Noakhali region of Bangladesh. The educated, elite, political and influential groups of Bangladesh bearing Noakhali homogeneity or being intrinsically exposed to the sociocultural phenomenon of Noakhali usually prefer the standard form of Bangla for their wider communication and keep this dialect as their private means of linguistic exchange only with the members of the indigenous community of Noakhali.
The Literacy Rate of Noakhali district is 51.30% (Male- 51.40% and Female- 51.20%), school attendance rate is 52.40% for 5 to 24 years age group. The general education system follows the curriculum prepared by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board under the Education Ministry. Students have to go through four major board examinations, Primary School Certificate (PSC), Junior School Certificate (JSC), Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) before moving to higher education.
In Noakhali there are 1243 Primary Schools(Government Primary Schools: 776, Non-government Primary Schools: 329, Community Primary Schools: 76, Satellite Primary Schools: 62), 289 High Schools, 161 Madrashas(Senior Madrasha: 30, Dakhil and Alim Madrasha: 131), 5 Technical Institutions(Youth Training Center: 2, PTI: 1, Technical School and College: 2), 35 Colleges (Government College: 8, Private College: 27), 1 Medical Assistant Training School (MATS), 1 Agricultural Training Institute, 1 Medical College, 1 Homeopathic Medical College, 1 Textile Engineering College and 1 Science and Technology University.
Prominent educational institutions of Noakhali
- Noakhali Science and Technology University.
- Abdul Malek Ukil Medical College, Chowmuhani.
- Noakhali Textile Engineering College, Chowmuhani.
- Noakhali Government University College, Maijdee.
- Noakhali Govt. College, Maijdee.
- Chowmuhani Govt. S.A College, Chowmuhani.
- Noakhali Govt. Women's College, Maijdee.
- Noakhali Zilla School, Maijdee.
- Noakhali Govt. Girls' High School, Maijdee.
- Begumganj Govt. Pilot High School, Chowmuhani.
- Basurhat A. H. C. Government High School, Companigonj
- Noakhali Medical Assistant Training School (MATS), Maijdee.
Noakhali district has 1 Medical College, 1 General Hospital (250-bedded), 8 Upazila Health Complex (Total 331-bedded), 25 Union Sub-Centers, 59 Union Health and Family Welfare Centers, 1 TB clinic, 2 school health clinics, 1 NGO Clinic and 3 Mother and Children Welfare Clinics (Total 30-bedded). There are 60 private hospitals and 115 diagnostic centers. 247 Community Clinics are now functioning. Activities of Medical College Hospital is now in General Hospital.
Coverage of households having access to safe drinking water is 90%, and coverage of households having access to sanitary latrines is 65%.
Agriculture plays a vital role in the regional economy. 40% of the regional GDP comes from agriculture with 80% of the population employed in the sector. Employment in fish sector is also dominant for the extreme poor and poor labor-intensive. 60 -70% labor has involved round the year in this sector (boat roaring, fishing, drying, net and boat making and repairing, transporting fish from one location to other etc.). Most of the poor are involved in crop production during winter but other period they involved in fishing either own or selling labor to the mohajan. Besides main sources of income dependent on non-agricultural laborer 3.43%, industry 0.84%, commerce 14.74%, transport and communication 3.83%, service 16.11%, construction 1.49%, religious service 0.39%, rent and remittance 7.97% and others 10.58%.
The economy of Noakhali is predominately agriculture. Out of total 544943  holdings of the district 65.37 holdings are farms that produce varieties of crops, namely local and hybrid rice, wheat, vegetables, spices, cash crops, pulses, betel leaves and others. Various fruits like mango, banana, jack fruit, coconut and betel nut etc. are grown.
Fish of different varieties abound in this district which enjoys the advantages of marine fishing. Moreover varieties of fish are caught from rivers, tributary channels and creeks and even from paddy field during rainy seasons. Fishes like ruhi, katla, mrigel, kala baush, koi, grass carp, silver carp, telapia, nilotica and different species of local deshi fishes have also been introduced for commercial pisciculture in ponds and waterlands.
Some valuable timber and forest trees are grown in this district like koroi, sheel koroi, garjan, jarul, shimul, mahagoni, bamboo etc. The main crops of this district are boro and aman paddy, peanut, varieties of pulses,chilli, sugarcane, potato etc. Mango, jack fruit, papaya, coconut, banana, litchi, betel nut, palm are main fruits of this district.
Noakhali district has one of the finest transportation system in the country by road, railway and waterway.
Noakhali is well connected with Capital city Dhaka and Port city Chittagong. By road, distance between Dhaka and Noakhali is 151 km. While its distance from Chittagong and Comilla are 134 km and 95 km respectively. Buses are the most common form of transport, and they are easily available, and run to a wide range of destinations within and without the district. Everyday, a number of transport companies operate buses, trucks and other vehicles from different parts of Noakhali to Feni, Chandpur, Comilla, Dhaka and Chittagong. Trucks carry majority of goods transported in the district.
Inter-City train "Upakul Express" and Mail train "Noakhali Express" operates between Noakhali station and Kamalapur Railway Station of Dhaka. The local train that operates between Noakhali station and Laksam Railway Junction of Comilla stops at 7 railway stations in Noakhali District - Noakhali (Sonapur), Harinarayanpur, Maijdee Court, Maijdee, Chowmuhani, Bazra and Sonaimuri.
Southern part of the Noakhali District and Hatiya Upazila is well connected by water transport. Hatiya island, isolated from the mainland is accessible from Noakhali by sea-truck, from Chittagong by steamer, and from Dhaka by launch.
Flora and Fauna
Noakhali is one of the coastal districts at the fringe of the Bay of Bengal with vast char land of recent origin in the south. The plant life is confined generally to variations belonging to the lower gangetic plane and of other districts in the southern region of the country. Except the Government sponsored afforestation programme for the coastal belt,there is no organized forestry in the district.
However,all homesteads are usually covered by dense and lush green foliage of wide variety of trees. Most of the trees grown in homestead forests are fruits bearing. Mangoes, although poor in quality, grow in abundance. Almond or badam (Arachis hypogea) in unusually. Other common trees are Jack fruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Black berry (Syzygium cumini), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica), Jalpai (Elaeocarpus tectorius), Bel (aegle marmelos), Chalta (Dillenia indica), Boroi, Guava (Psidiumguagava), etc. Banana (Banana musa sapientum) is seen almost everywhere but their quality is rather poor.
Litchi (Litchi chinensis), Kamranga (Averrho karmbola), Ata, Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Amloki (Phyllanthus emblica), Gaab (Dioaspyros precatorius), etc. grow abundantly. Juice of gaab fruit mixed with charcoal is used in coloring boats and stiffening fishing nets. Coconut (Cocos nucifera) is abundantly produced in Noakhali.
Indigenous timber trees include Koroi, Sheel koroi (Albizia procera), Garjan (Dipterocarpus turbinatus), Jarul (Iegerstroemia speciosa), Shimul (Bombax ceiba), etc. however, various exotic trees like Teak, Mahagoni (Swietenia macrophylla), Sissu (Dalbergia sissoo), etc. have been in produced as wayside trees as well as farm forestry.
Mandar (Erythrina variegata), a thorny tree mostly used as fuel and fencing, is seen in almost every household forest. Kadom (Anthocephalus cadamba) are very common and are preferred for manufacturing match stick. The fruit of Shimul or Karpas is used for stuffing mattresses and pillows and has a silky appearance. Newly introduced trees include Eucalyptus and Pine are seen.
Mango woods are not good as a timber, but owing to its being in abundance, it is much used. The wood of tamarind and Kul is hard grained and of good quality. The amaltas is used for house and rough furniture. Jarul is used for boat building and pillars of house.
The luxuriant growth of palms is the most characteristic feature of the vegetation. Betel Nut Palm or Supari (Areca catechu) plantations are more and more abundant towards the north and the west of the district and grows almost in forest. Cocoanut are grown abundantly throughout the district. Toddy Palms or Tal(Borassus flabellifer) and Date Palms or Khejur are also very common. Date Palm is a valuable tree. The juice is extracted and made into gurr, the leaves are made into mat. Tal wood is used for posts of houses and other building purposes, leaves are used for making handmade mats and large hand fans. Betel Nut and coconut are good source of household income.
Shady trees include Banyan or Bot(Ficus benghalensis), Pipal(Ficus religiosa) and Nim (Azadirachta indica) are seen commonly.
There are several varieties of Cane, a good deal of Bamboo of different varieties and Thatching Grass or Chhan although their plantations are gradually decreasing steadily. Use of Bamboo is widespread such as post and fencing of houses, making of baskets and trays of various kinds. Bet is used for making baskets binding and thatching. In the marshes are found Sola (Aeschynomene aspera) and Murta or Mostak (Schumannianthus dichotomus ) which is extensively use making various types of mats famously known as Shital pati and baskets.
The forest department of the government of Bangladesh created mangrove forests in Nijhum Dwip.The most common type of planted tree species in the island is Keora, also known as Kerfa, which has fast growing roots holding the sandy land. The tree occurs on newly accreted soil in moderately to strongly saline areas and is considered as a pioneer species in ecological succession.
Owing to the absence of organized forest and other natural conditions, any kind of large or medium carnivore are no longer seen in the district. However, the following mammals are still seen the district although their number is gradually decreasing: Jackel (Canis aureus), Fox (Vulpes bengalensis), Large Indian Civet or Bagdas (Viverra zibetha), Ottar or Uud (Lutra lutra), Lrrawaddy, kath biral (Callosciuruspy gerythrus), Bengal Mongoose or Beji (Herpestes edwards), different kind of rats and several species of bats.
Buffalo is found in char and Hatia island. The vast offshore areas and the emerging islands of the Noakhali district have become the potential places for buffalo farming.
Almost all varieties of birds that are seen all over Bangladesh are also commonly seen in Noakhali. Raptoral birds includes King Shakun (Gyps bengalensis), Lanner Falcon or Baj (Falco Biamicous), Marsh Harrier or Gochila (Circus aeruginesus), Pariah Cheel (Milvus migyans lineatas), several species of stork like Pond Heron or Kani Boga (Ardeola grayii), Cattle Egret or go Boga (Babulcus ibis) and Black Bittern or Kala Boga (Dupeter Plovicollis), Crows (Corvus splendens) and King fisher(Alcedo atthis), etc.
Ducks are represented by a number of species including winter migrants like Greenleg Goose (Anser anser), Rajhans (Anser indicus), the Pitail (Anas acuta) and some other domestic species. Water birds include the little Cormorant or Pankawri (Phalacrococan niger), Waterhen or Dahuk (Amaurornis phonicurus), Kora (Gallicrex cinarea).
Cuckoo or Kokil (Cuculus micropterus), Black-hooded oriole or Halde Pakhi (Oriolus xanthornus), kingcrow or Finge (Dicrurus adsimilis), Moyna (Sturnus malabarica), Shalik (Acridotheres tristis)), Redvented Bulbuli (Pycnotus cafer), Tuntuni (Orthotomus sutorious), Shayma (Copsyehus malabaricus), Sparrow (Passer domesticus), Flowerpecker (Dicacum erythrochynchos), Babui (Plocus phillippinus) famous for artistic nest building on the several species of pheasants Quails (Eudynamis scolopscea), pigeons and doves.
The reptiles include different species of snakes, lizards and tortoises. The snakes include different varieties of Cobra, Urgabora, Dughadabora, Kuchiabora and Jinlabora, all poisonous. The lizards include Gecko, Calotis, Wall Lizard and Monitor Lizard. There are amphibnians like toad, frogs and tree frogs.
There are many species of sea and fresh water fish available in the district. The list of the varieties is too long to find place in this section. Although Noakhali is coastal district, but most of the supply comes from ponds and tanks, canals and low lying areas inundated by rain water, popular varieties include the carp tribe (Cyprinidoes), Ruhi (Labeo rohita), Katla (Catla catla), Mrigel (Cirrhinus mrigala) and Kalabaush (labeo calbasu), Airh (Sperata aor), Pangas (Pangasius pangasius), Tengra (Mystus vittatus) of several types, Magur (Clarias batrschus), Singi (Saccobranchus fossilis) and Koi(Mystus vittatus) are considered to be delicious, Shoul (Channa striatus), Boal (Wallago attu), Gozar (Channa marulius), Chitol (Chitala chitala), Foli (Notopterus notopterus) and Pabda (Ompok pabda) are available in abundance.
Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha), Baila (Awaous guamensis), Bhetki (Lates calcarifer), Bata (Labeo bata), loitta etc. fishes are also available in abundance.
Prawn, cray fish(icha) and Crabs are also found. Tilapia, Muralla, Punti, Khoksha, Kajuli, Kakila, Khailsha, Bain and Chela are small fish like Mola, Kachki are found all over the district in abundance.
Created mangrove forests in Nijhum Dwip are habitat of about 5000 Cheetral or Spotted Deer. This island has been declared as the unique Eco-touristic spot for its ideal natural setup with the rich bio-diversification factors and the perennial mangrove forest with wild animals like Spotted Deer, wild Boar and Rhesus Macaque and for the ideal habitat for fish resources.
Places of interest
Nijhum Dweep is a small island under Hatiya upazila of Noakhali. A cluster of islands (mainly, Ballar Char, Kamlar char,Char Osman and Char Muri) emerged in the early 1950s as an alluvium in the shallow estuary of the Bay of Bengal On the south of Noakhali. These new sandbanks first drew the notice of a group of fishermen, who named it Baular Char. In 1974 the Forest Department took an aforestation program for a duration of twenty years in the north side of the island. Covering an area of nine thousand acres, it has now developed into a deep forest with a variety of plant species. Among the trees Keora is much seen. Besides this Gewa, Kankra, Bain, Babul, Karamja, Pashur and many other species are seen. It was renamed 'Nijhum Dweep' by former Minister Amirul Islam Kalam in 1979 observing its isolation and mild nature.
During winter, thousands of migratory birds flock in to island. The fishermen use the airy and sunny land as an ideal place for drying their catches from the sea. Sometimes many of them also construct straw huts on the island as seasonal residences.
On 8 th April, 2001 the government declared the 40390 acres of forest of Jahajmara range including 9550 acres of forest land on Nijhum Dweep as a National Park for the protection and development of the biodiversity of the forest. But in practice, there a very lazy appearance of that declaration.
Bazra Shahi Mosque
Bazra Shahi Mosque is one of the major archaeological works in undivided Bengal.It is situated 8 miles from district headquarter Maijdee Court. Amir Sanaullah, the owner of Bazra Jaigir started the construction of ‘Bazra’Shahi Mosque’ in the pattern of Tajmahal in the Hizri year 1134. The construction was completed in the Hizri year 1154. The ‘Bazra Shahi Mosque’ is a wonderful embodiment of Moghal architecture. In the year 1922, late Ali Ahmed, the Jaminder of Bazra, plastered the whole exterior of the mosque with piece of China clay, which greatly enhanced the beauty of the mosque.
Queen Lurther's Catholic Church
This is one of the oldest Catholic Church in the country. The Church was established in 1959, named after the Queen Lurther's at Sonapur of Noakhali Sadar upazila. Quiet, bland shadowed environment made the Church glamorous. Christian cemetery containing numerous cross, a giant statue of Jesus Christ, flower garden, spectacular ponds, mission school, Charitable Health Center, Crafts Center are also seen beside the Church. Around the Church there is a large Christian colony.
The establishment of Gandhi Ashram trust is rooted with the 'Peace Mission' of Mahatma Gandhi immediately after the communal riots in 1946 at Noakhali. Gandhi stayed for about four months in the riot stricken areas. He started moving around the villages and motivated the people towards his peaceful coexistence and non-violence philosophy. When Gandhiji came to Jayag on 29 January 1947 all sections of the local community extended him whole-hearten support. At that time, Barrister Hemanta Kumar Ghosh of the village donated all his resources to Mahatma for the development and peace of the area and Ambika Kaliganga Charitable Trust was formed. The office of the Gandhi Peace Mission, formerly known as Gandhi Camp, was shifted to the present campus of Jayag, Sonaimuri.
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