Kendujhar

Kendujhar District, also known as Keonjhar District, is an administrative district of Orissa state in eastern India. The town of Kendujhar or Kendujhargarh is the district headquarters.

The district has an area of 8240 km², and lies between 21°1′ N and 22°10′ N latitude and 85°11′ E to 86°22′ E longitude. It is bounded by Mayurbhanj District, Balasore District and Bhadrak District to the east, Jajpur District to the south, Dhenkanal District, Anugul District and Sundargarh District to the west, and West Singhbhum district of the state of Jharkhand to the north.

The district of Keonjhar presents a panorama of millennia, both from the geographical and anthropological point of view. It is as varied as the whole of Orissa with water-falls roaring gorges, mountains and minerals. The manifold expressions of nature in this district are unique in Orissa.

Keonjhar is a land locked district with an area of 8240 km2. It is situated in the northern part of Orissa. It is surrounded by Singhbhum district of Jharkhand in the North, Jajpur in the South, Dhenkanal and Sundargarh in the West and Mayurbhanj and Bhadrak in the East. It lies at an altitude of 480 metres.

The National Highway-215 passing through Kendujhargarh approximately bi-sects the district into two similar natural regions. To the East of this Highway are the planes of Anandapur and a portion of Sadar Sub-division. To the West is a range of lofty hills which contains some of the highest peaks of Orissa namely Gandhamardan (3477 ft), Mankadnacha (3639 ft), Gonasika (3219 ft) and Thakurani (3003 ft). About half of the area of this district spreading about 4043 km2. is covered by forests of Northern tropical moist deciduous type and contains Sal, Asan, Piasal etc. The river Baitarani comes out of Gonasika Hills and flows to the north touching the border of Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. It again flows East entering Anandapur Sub-division and the district of Bhadrak. The soil is mostly red throughout the district and in the South there is a small patch of black cotton soil. The important minerals available in huge quantity in the district are Iron-ore, Manganese and Chromites.

Keonjhar has the distinction of containing one of the oldest rocks of the world, approximately 38,000 million years old covering an area of 100 km2 at Asanpat. The district bears the oldest stone inscription found in Orissa, paleogeologically belonging to the Gupta period. In Sitabinj, one finds the fresco paintings in the cave shelter of Ravana Chhaya dating back to the 5th century A.D.

The district of Keonjhar is highly rich in mineral resources and has vast deposits of iron, manganese and chromium ores. About 30 percent of its total area is covered with tracts of dense forests. But the district, in spite of its immense mineral and forest wealth, still remaining economically backward.

In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Kendujhar one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the 19 districts in Orissa currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF).As per the amended Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) MMDR Act, 2015 the district is set to receive an estimated 2800 crore from the mining companies and lease holders.

According to the 2011 census, Kendujhar district has a population of 1,802,777.This gives it a ranking of 264th in India (out of a total of 640).The district has a population density of 217 inhabitants per square kilometre (560/sq mi).Its population growth rate over the decade 2001–2011 was 15.42%.Kendujhar has a sex ratio of 987 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 69%.