Barlekha Upazila

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Barlekha Upazila (maulvibazar district) area 448.86 sq km, located in between 24°36' and 24°50' north latitudes and in between 90°01' and 90°18' east longitudes. It is bounded by beanibazar (sylhet) upazila on the north, juri upazila on the south, assam state of India on the east, kulaura, golapganj and fenchuganj upazilas on the west. This upazila is sharing a 20-km long international boundary with India.

Population Total 257620; male 124377, female 133243; Muslim 216742, Hindu 38650, Christian 1887, Buddhist 5 and others 336. Indigenous communities such as manipuri, khasia and santal belong to this upazila.

Water bodies Main rivers: Sonai, Dhamai, Juri. hakaluki haor is the largest haor of the country and partly lies under the jurisdiction of this upazila. Area of Hakaluki Haor is 181.15 sq km, of which 72.46 sq km is within the territory of Barlekha Upazila.

Administration Barlekha Thana was formed in 1940 and it was turned into an upazila on 1 July 1983.

Municipality Union Mouza Village Population Density (per sq km) Literacy rate (%)
Urban Rural Urban Rural
1 10 140 269 26672 230948 574 53.7 (2001) 51.9
(sq km)
Ward Mahalla Population Density
(per sq km)
Literacy rate (%)
- 9 30 22247 - 56.9
Upazila Town

(sq km)



(per sq km)

Literacy rate (%)

10.18 (2001) 5 4425 2697 (2001) 55.4
Name of union and GO code Area (acre) Population Literacy rate (%)
Male Female
Uttar Dakshinbhag 80 7199 8758 9377 51.4
Uttar Shahabajpur 85 9949 11711 12295 50.4
Talimpur 94 19396 10593 11114 48.6
Dakshin Shahabajpur 29 10296 12825 14015 54.3
Daser Bazar 39 4318 8905 9830 59.7
Nij Bahadurpur 63 5070 11777 12279 57.8
Barlekha 07 10115 12599 13754 47.6
Barni 15 3403 8392 9490 48.9
Dakshin Dakshinbhagh 31 7495 17097 18283 51.5
Sujanagar 77 5047 10575 11704 49.8

Source Bangladesh Population Census 2001 and 2011, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

Archaeological heritage and relics Khwaja Mosque at village Laghati of Daser Bazar union (16th century), Madhav Mandir adjacent to the Madhabkunda waterfall.

Historical events During the sepoy revolt of 1857 a fierce battle was fought near Shahabajpur of the upazila in which 26 revolutionary sepoys were killed. During the British period Nankar Movement was held in the upazila.

War of Liberation Barlekha upazila was under Sector 4 of the war of liberation. The resistance movement was held on 27 March 1971. During the War of Liberation the agitated people of the upazila killed a number of Pakistani soldiers. Barlekha upazila was liberated on 6 December 1971. There are 4 mass killing sites at Shahabajpur, Barlekha, Chhota Lekha, Lakshmichhara of the upazila.

For details: see বড়লেখা উপজেলা, বাংলাদেশ মুক্তিযুদ্ধ জ্ঞানকোষ (Encyclopedia of Bangladesh War of Liberation), বাংলাদেশ এশিয়াটিক সোসাইটি, ঢাকা ২০২০, খণ্ড ৬।

Religious institutions Mosque 352, temple 65, church 9. Noted religious institutions: Khaja Mosque, Chandgram Mosque, Shahabajpur Mosque, Madhabkunda Mandir.

Literacy rate and educational institutions Average literacy 52.4%; Male 53.1%, female 51.8%. Notable educational institutions: Barlekha Degree College (1986), Ebadur Rahman Chowdhury Technical and Business Management College (2004), Siddique Ali High School (1927), PC High School (1933), Shahabajpur High School (1940), Bhagadahar Govt. Primary High School (1800), Bhattali Govt. Primary High School (1805), Barni Govt. Primary High School (1805), Suzaul Alia Madrasa (1890), Gangkul Madrasa, Chandgram Madrasa, Daulatpur Madrasa.

Newspapers and periodicals Weekly: Barlekha, Barkantha.

Cultural organisations Club 13, library 2,' women's organisation 6.

Tourist spots Madhabkunda Water Fall at Patharia Hill, Lake of Samanbhagh Tea Garden and Kakaluki Haor.

Main sources of income Agriculture 38.74%, non-agricultural labourer 9.97%, industry 2.52%, commerce 10.57%, transport and communication 1.48%, service 4.94%, construction 1.60%, religious service' 0.44%, rent and remittance 15.53% and others 14.23%.

Ownership of agricultural land Landowner 47.31%, landless 52.69%.

Main crops Paddy, wheat, potato, vegetables, sesame, betel leaf, tea.

Main fruits Mango, black berry, jackfruit, litchi, guava, shaddock, orange, plum, coconut, pineapple, banana.

Fisheries, dairies and poultries This upazila has a number of fisheries, dairies and poultries. This upazila has a plenty of fresh water fish in the beels and Hakaluki Haor.

Communication facilities Pucca road 185 km, semi-pucca road 9 km, mud road 650 km; waterways 31 km.

Extinct or nearly extinct traditional transport Palanquin, horse carriage.

Noted manufactories Rice mill, ice factory, tea processing factory, incense factory, atar factory.

Cottage industries Goldsmith, blacksmith, weaving, potteries, shitalpati, wood work, bamboo work, cane work.

Hats, bazars and fairs Hats and bazars are 23, most noted of which are Old Barlekha, Hajiganj, Chandgram, Shahabajpur and Bhabaniganj bazars.

Main exports Tea, essence atar, incense.

Access to electricity All the wards and unions of the upazila are under rural electrification net-work. However 45.8% of the dwelling households have access to electricity.

Natural resources In 1951 the BOC Oil field at Kathaltali had to be sealed with cement plug due to excessive pressure of oil. Besides, deposit of coal has been detected in the Patharia Hill and the distant area of Bobartal. The total area of forestry of the upazila is 9187.55 hectors.

Sources of drinking water Tube-well 67.9%, tap 2.7% and others 29.4%.

Sanitation 50.0% of dwelling households of the upazila use sanitary latrines and 45.5% of dwelling houses use non-sanitary latrines; 4.5% of households do not have latrine facilities.

Health centres Upazila health centre 1, satellite clinic 1, family planning centre 6, clinic 2.

NGO activities Operationally important NGOs are asa, brac, Heed, Janokallayan Kendra. [Mustafa Salim]

References Bangladesh Population Census 2001 and 2011, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics; Cultural survey report of Barlekha Upazila 2007.