Foreword of DG, MPCST              Contents


Resource Atlas of Sidhi and Singrauli:
A Celebration of the Land and People of 
Sidhi and Singrauli

India is a land of extraordinary natural and human endowments. Nature has provided almost every part of India with abundant resources for the sustenance of a rich human civilisation; and, the people of India, over millennia of intense interaction with their immediate environment, have learnt the most effective ways of gratefully accepting the nature’s bounty.

Notwithstanding the uninterrupted richness and a certain uniformity of natural endowments over almost the whole of Indian land, the detailed hues of nature, of course, differ in different parts. People in different parts seem to appreciate the special endowments of their niche in the world; in every part, they have developed agronomic practices, irrigation techniques, technologies and crafts, architectural styles, social customs and festivals, and much else, to make a world of their own within the larger Indian physical and civilisational ambience.

It is gratifying to observe the special natural endowments, and social, cultural and technological practices of different parts of India. There is indeed poetry in the way nature expresses itself in different parts, and in the way the people mould their life in consonance with it.

It is important in itself to learn the details of the geography, geology, climate, demography, landuse, animals, irrigation, agriculture, crafts, industry, culture and religion of different parts of India. It is essential to learn such details, if we want to make any effective and sensitive developmental intervention in their life and environment. M. P. District Resource Atlas Programme is designed to collect such technical details for every district, and also to capture the poetry of the interaction between nature and civilisation, as far as possible.

SIDHI lies on the north-eastern corner of Madhya Pradesh on the edge of the great Ganga plain. Geologically, it is an ancient land comprising mostly of the archaens, which are in parts overlaid with the relatively younger Vindhyas and Gondwanas. Parts of the Gondwanas bear rich coal seams. This circumstance has made the Singrauli component of the district a major coal-mining and energy hub of the country.

Archaeologically, Sidhi is a goldmine of the remains from the earliest human habitations on earth. Historically, Sidhi has been part of all the major phases of Indian history, from the classical empires of the Mauryas, Shungas, Guptas and Harshavardhana, to the great dynasties of Kalachuris and Chandellas, and the modern times of Marathas and the British.

Sidhi is the land of the Son, which traverses almost the whole east-west extent of the district. Banas and Gopad, two of the tributaries of Son, traverse north-south, thus covering nearly all parts of the district. Valleys of these rivers, and of Rihand, which passes through a small part of Sidhi, give rise to pockets of intense agriculture. 

Sidhi is one of the more densely forested districts of Madhya Pradesh; a large part of the forest is still intact.

Except for the mining and energy production activities in Singrauli, the district depends mainly on agriculture. Unfortunately, the agriculture of Sidhi is not in the best of health; production of foodgrains per capita in the district has declined precipitously over the last decade.

I am thankful to the MPCST for accepting our proposal and allowing us the opportunity to learn so much about the land and people of the districts of Madhya Pradesh. I am especially thankful to 

Prof. Pramod K. Verma, the Director-General, without whose continued support this work could not have been accomplished. Prof. Verma, as Director of RSAC at the time this project was initiated, signed the MOU concerning this project in the presence of the Honourable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.

Dr. R. K. Singh, Dr. Sandeep Goyal, Sri D. K. Soni, Lalit Gour and S. S. Bhati form the core MPCST team for the Atlas programme. Sri Soni has been especially helpful in the field work, Dr. Goyal has coordinated the complex task of GIS integration and analysis, and Dr. Singh has provided overall coordination for the team. Amit Bansal, Ashwani Chauhan, Nitin Gupta, S. Lingamurthy and 

L. Kannan form the core team of the CPS. Dr. Ruchi and Dr. Priyesh helped with collection of data in the early stages of this work. I am thankful to all of them. 

Finally, I thank my colleagues in the Centre, especially Prof. M. D. Srinivas and Sri T. M. Mukundan, for unstinting help and encouragement throughout this work.

I affectionately acknowledge the several contributions of Anjaneya, Jeevisha, Archan and Kusum.

From the Editor’s Introduction

J. K. Bajaj (Editor-in-Chief and Volume Editor)
Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai, 2010
M.P. Council of Science and Technology, Bhopal
ISBN 81-86041-28-1 pb
Price Rs. 400/- pb