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East Khandesh

west, towards and district

KHANDESH, EAST and WEST, two districts of British India, in the central division of Bombay, formed in 1906 by the division of the old district of Khandesh. Their areas are respec tively sq.m. and 6,401 sq.m., and the population on these areas in 1931 was 1,206,035 and 771,794. The headquarters of East Khandesh are at Jalgaon, and those of West Khandesh at Dhulia.

The Tapti river flows through both districts from east to west and divides each into two unequal parts. Of these the larger lie towards the south, and are drained by the rivers Girna, Bori and Panjhra. Northwards beyond the alluvial plain, which contains some of the richest tracts in Khandesh, the land rises towards the Satpura hills. In the centre and east the country is level, save for some low ranges of barren hills, and is mostly arid and unfertile. Towards the north and west, the plain rises into a difficult rugged country, thickly wooded, and inhabited by wild tribes of Bhils. The drainage of the district centres in the Tapti, which receives thirteen principal tributaries in its course through Khandesh.

None of the rivers is navigable, and the Tapti flows in too deep a bed to be useful for irrigation. The district on the whole, how ever, is fairly well supplied with surface water. A large area is under forest ; but the jungles have been denuded of most of their valuable timber. Wild beasts are numerous. Of the aboriginal tribes the Bhils, formerly wild and lawless, are the most im portant. Since the introduction of British rule they have largely taken to an orderly life. The principal crops are millets, cotton, pulse, wheat and oilseeds, and cotton is the chief export. East Khandesh is now a prosperous cotton-growing district. West Khandesh is much less developed. There are factories for ginning and pressing cotton, and several cotton-mills. The eastern dis trict is traversed by the Great Indian Peninsula railway, which branches at Bhusawal (an important railway centre) towards Jubbulpore and Nagpur. Both districts are crossed by the Tapti Valley line from Surat.