||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Bengali Wikipedia. (December 2012)|
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Location of Noakhali in Bangladesh
|• Total||3,685.87 km2 (1,423.12 sq mi)|
|Population (2011 census)|
|• Density||840/km2 (2,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||BST (UTC+6)|
|• Summer (DST)||BDST (UTC+7)|
Noakhali (Bengali: নোয়াখালী জিলা) is a district in South-eastern Bangladesh. It is located in the Chittagong Division. The district has an area of 3601 km² and 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. It has a population of 3,108,083. It is subdivided into nine Upazilas. The people of this district speaks in an informal Bangla dialect. Linguistically, it is connected to the districts of Feni and Laksmipur 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.
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 was renamed "Noakhali" after Noa => New, and Khal => Canal in 1668. 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. 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. Noakhali district, whose earlier name was Bhulua, was established in 1821. It was named Noakhali in 1868. Sudharam, 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 Maijdi. In 1964 Sadar Sub-division was divided into two sub-divisions, namely Sadar and Lakshmipur. In 1984, Noakhali district was divided into three districts, namely Noakhali, Lakshmipur and Feni.
It has 9 Upazilas,8 Pourashava(Municipality),91 Union Parishads. The Nine Upazilas in NOAKHALI district are:
- Sadar Upazila (সদর উপজেলা)
- Begumganj Upazila (বেগমগঞ্জ উপজেলা)
- Chatkhil Upazila (চাটখিল)
- Companyganj Upazila (কোম্পানিগঞ্জ উপজেলা)
- Shenbag Upazila (সেনবাগ উপজেলা)
- Hatia Upazila (হাতিয়া উপজেলা)
- Kobirhat Upazila (কবিরহাট উপজেলা)
- Sonaimuri Upazila (সোনাইমুড়ি উপজেলা)
- Suborno Char Upazila (সুবর্ণ চর উপজেলা)
The total population of Noakhali district is 31,08,083 (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. Its literacy rate is 60.7%.
People from almost all religion and faith lives in Noakhali. Around 94.10% of the population are Muslims, while 5.90% are Hindus. Christians and Buddhists constitute 0.77% and 0.23% respectively of the local population.
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. 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. 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.
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.
It was named 'Nijhum Dweep' by former Minister Amirul Islam Kalam in 1979 observing its isolation and mild nature. Travelling Nijhum Dweep is sometimes too hard because it depends entirely on tidal forces of water. You can not go though bus or air due to no land connection or airport. There are two possible routes. From Dhaka you must go Sadarghat Launch Terminal from where a launch every day leaves towards Hatia(Tamuruddin Ghat). It may takes 12 hours (from 5:30 pm to 8:00 am). From Tamuruddin ghat you can hire motorcycle to reach Jahajmara Ghat. From Jahajmara ghat you have to cross a small channel by boat. The opposite side of Jahajmara ghat is called the Moktarghat and from here by hiring a motorcycle you can reach your final destination the silent Island (Nijhum Dweep). From Nijhum Dweep to Dhaka(on the back journey) you must catch the only one launch which leaves every day from Hatia (Tamuruddin Ghat) at 12:30 pm. By bus you can travel Nijhum Dweep. First you have to go Noakhali(Chairman Ghat). Then by a Sea-truck/Speed boat/Engine boat cross the river to reach Nolchira Ghat. From there you must hire a motocycle to reach Jahajmara Ghat. Then the journey is same as stated before.
Bazra Shahi Mosque
A spot of archaeological importance of Noakhali is the ‘Mosque of Bazra’. The village Bazra is situated 8 miles to the north of district town Maijdee by the side of Laksam-Noakhali railway branch line. 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 reminder of Bazra, plastered the whole exterior of the mosque with piece of China clay, which greatly enhanced the beauty of the mosque. Two stones with foot-prints are found engraved on the wall of the mosque and hearsay about this is but a fiction.The ancient building of Bidyabhushan Bhattacharja situated at village Ghoshkamta, one mile to the east of Bazra, is another spot of architectural beauty in the area.
Queen Lurther's Church- Sonapur.
Gandhi Ashram Trust|Gandhi Ashram
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 29th January 1947 all sections of the local community extended him whole-hearted 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. The museum is extremely personal, taking an in-depth look into the life of Mahatma Gandhi through more than 120 photographs, letters, newspaper articles and documents. Gautam Pal was commissioned to sculpt the bust of Mahatma Gandhi that is now the centerpiece of the museum.
Noakhali has well communication links with Capital city Dhaka and Port city Chittagong. Distance between Dhaka and Noakhali is 151 km. Distance between Chittagong and Noakhali is 134 km. Distance between Comilla and Noakhali is 95 km. Road, Regional Highway, Railway and Waterway are almost connected with all over the country. Everyday, buses of various transport companies leave Sonapur for different towns of the country. At present, there is 17.50 miles of railway communication in Noakhali which runs from Laksam to Sonapur. There is a regular train service from Noakhali to Dhaka and Chittagong via Laksam with stoppages at Sonapur, Maijdee court, Chowumuhani, Sonaimuri.
The education system of Noakhali is similar to that of rest of Bangladesh. 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. The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Comilla is responsible to govern the SSC and HSC examinations in the district. The Madrasah education system is primarily based on Islamic studies but other subjects are also taught. Students are prepared to qualify Dakhil and Alim examinations, controlled by the Bangladesh Madrasah Education Board, which are equivalent to SSC and HSC examinations of the general education system respectively. The Technical and Vocational education system is governed by the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) and follow the curriculum prepared by Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB). 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. Literacy rate is very well in the northern part but very poor in the southern part of Noakhali. The main reason is povrty. Poverty rate is very high in the southern part. It is too tough to provide and reach primary education in some part like Char area of Noakhali. 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) and 35 Colleges.8 of them are Govt.
Prominent educational institutions of Noakhali
- Noakhali Science and Technology University
- Noakhali Medical College and Hospital
- Noakhali Textile Engineering College,Begumgonj.
- Noakhali Zilla School(Estd-1850).Maijdee.
- Begumgonj Govt Pilot School.(Estd-1853)Chowmuhani.Begumgonj.
- Noakhali Govt Girls High School.
- Noakhali Govt University College.
- Noakhali Govt Women College.
- Noakhali Medical Assistant Training School,Maijdee.
- Chaumuhani Govt. S.A. College, Chaumuhani.
Noakhali district has 1 general hospital, 1 medical college, five 50-bedded UHC, two 31-bedded UHC and one non-bedded UHC (31). It has 25 USC, 59 H&FWC, 1 TB clinic, 2 school health clinics and one 20-bedded hospital. There are 60 private hospitals and 115 diagnostic centers. 236 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%. Diarrhea is a very common disease in Noakhali district, Because of intake and use of pond water. The children are most vulnerable to this disease. Though safe water and sanitation status is satisfactory, diarrhea incidence is more due to frequent use of pond and canal water for various purposes and even intake due to prevalence of arsenic.