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Meghalaya

Administration
Full nameMeghalaya
CountryIndia
Established21 January 1972
Government
CapitalShillong
GovernorRanjit Shekhar Mooshahary
Chief MinisterMukul Sangma (INC)
LegislatureUnicameral (60 seats)
Parliamentary constituency2
High CourtGauhati High Court
Geography
Total Area8769.9 sq mi (22720 km2)
Area rank22nd
Demography
Total Population2964007 (23rd) (2011)
Density (pop.)auto/km2 (0/sq mi)
Other information
Time zoneIST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 codeIN-ML
HDI(+) 0.585 (medium)
HDI rank19th (2005)
Literacy72.1% (15th)
Official languagesKhasi, Pnar, Garo, Hindi, English

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Meghalaya (pronounced -hnsmeːˈɡʱaːləjə) is a state in north-eastern India. The word "Meghalaya" literally means the Abode of Clouds in Sanskrit and other Indic languages. Meghalaya is a hilly strip in the eastern part of the country about 300 km long (east-west) and 100 km wide, with a total area of about 8,700 sq mi (22,720 km2). The population numbered 2,175,000 in 2000. The state is bounded on the north by Assam and by Bangladesh on the south. The capital is Shillong also known as the Scotland of the East, which has a population of 260,000.

About one third of the state is forested. The Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion encompasses the state; its mountain forests are distinct from the lowland tropical forests to the north and south. The forests of Meghalaya are notable for their biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants.

Meghalaya, a hilly strip in eastern India, covers a total area of just 22,429 km2. It was previously part of Assam, but on 21 January 1972, the districts of Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills became the new state of Meghalaya.

Meghalaya is also notorious for illegal mining that is creating havoc in the state. Balpakram National Park located in South Garo Hills District is constantly being encroached as forest areas are cleared for coal mining. The Garo Hills Anti-Mining and Conservation Forum are constantly shutting these illegal mines which the government has so far simply ignored. In Jaintia Hills District illegal mining has poisoned all its rivers except for Myntang River and Umngot River. Illegal mining is a well kept secret of the state but is slowly being exposed. Recently France 24, a TV channel, exposed the used of child labor in these illegal coal mines. Local newspapers have also started to expose this dark secret of Meghalaya.

Meghalaya is predominantly an agrarian economy. The important crops of the state are potato, rice, maize, pineapple, banana etc. The service sector is made up of real estate and insurance companies. Meghalaya's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $1.6 billion in current prices.

Shillong, the capital of the state, is a popular hill station. There are several falls in and around Shillong. The Shillong peak is highest in the state and is good for trekking. It is also known as the "abode of the gods" and has excellent views. If one is not in a mood for camping, the state also offers many good hotels and lodging facilities.


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