Resources of Tamil Nadu Notes

Resources of Tamil Nadu Notes

Tamilnadu Notes in English Part 4

4. Resources of Tamil Nadu

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The term ‘resources’ refers to the natural wealth available on the earth surface for the welfare of mankind. The surrounding environment contains many natural elements like rocks and minerals on and under the surface of the earth. Water is available in the form of lakes, rivers and seas. Living organisms like plants and animals are also present. These resources can be utilized for the betterment of a country’s economy. Resources may be assessed on the basis of factors such as :

1. Types of resources; and

2. Characteristics of resources.

Resources have three main characteristics: utility, quantity(often in terms of availability), and consumption.

Natural resources

Natural resources are essential for our survival, to satisfy human wants and needs. It may be classified in different ways.

On the basis of origin, resources may be divided into two: Biotic and Abiotic.

Biotic Resources

Biotic resources are those obtained from the biosphere. Forests and their products, animals, birds and their products, fish and other marine organisms are examples of the biotic resources. Minerals such as coal and petroleum are also included in this category because they are formed from the decayed organic matter.

Abiotic Resources

Abiotic resources comprise of non-living things. Examples are land, water, air and minerals such as gold, iron, copper and silver.

On the basis of availability, resources are classified into two groups are Renewable and Non-renewable resources.

Renewable resources

Renewable resources are those which can be replenished or reproduces without getting depleted or exhausted. Examples of these resources are light, heat and energy from the sun; wind energy; water from lakes, rivers and seas and the soils from the earth’s crust.

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Non-renewable resources

Non-renewable resources are those which are formed over very long geological periods and are certain to be exhausted in course of time. Example: Coal, oil and other minerals.

Resources are finally divided on the basis of their origin. These include;

  • Land resources;
  • Soil resources;
  • Mineral resources; and
  • Water resources.

Land resources

Land is a basic resource as it satisfies the day-to-day requirements of human beings and animals that are obtained from the land. Human beings obtain their basic necessities of food by cultivating the land. Land is also used for a variety of purposes. It is mainly used for construction activities of houses, industries, roads and railway lines. Apart from this land is also under forests and grasslands. Forest provide valuable timber while grasslands provide fodder for animals. As far as the land resources of Tamil Nadu is concerned, its land resources are classified into 9 land use types and are presented in the diagram given below. Among the districts of Tamil Nadu, Erode holds the largest share (10%) of forests, followed by Krishnagiri(9.6%), Dharmapuri(7.7%), Thiruvannamalai(7.2%) and Vellore(7.1%).

Barren lands are more in the districts of Villupuram, Theni and Salem. Ninety percent of the land in Chennai is utilized for non-agricultural uses such as residential and industrial uses. Non-agricultural land use is also predominantly found in the districts of Thiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Villupuram and Pudukottai. Area under current fallow is more in Coimbatore and Erode districts whereas Thirunelveli district has more area under other fallow lands.

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Table: Land use categories of Tamil Nadu

S.No Category Area %
1 Forest 21,10,703 16.2
2 Barren and unculturable land 5,03,255 3.9
3 Land put to non-agricultural uses 21,38,679 16.4
4 Culturable waste 3,68,661 2.8
5 Permanent pastures and other grazing lands 1,10,309 0.8
6 Misc. tree crops and groves not includes in the net area sown 2,74,351 2.1
7 Current fallow 7,58,840 5.8
8 Other fallow lands 15,18,008 11.7
9 Net area sown 52,43,839 40.3
Geographical area 1,30,26,645 100.0

Soil Resources

Soil is the loose material which forms the upper most layer of the earth, consisting mainly of very small particles. It is an essential element for the development of agriculture, as it provides essential minerals or nutrients for the growth of vegetation. Soil forming processes are controlled by the factors such as parent rock, climate, relief, time factor, flora, fauna and micro organisms present in the soil.

Process of soil formation

Flora, Fauna and Micro-Organism

Affect the rate of humus formation


Altitude and slope, determine accumulation of soil


Determines thickness of soil profile


Temperature, Rainfall influence rate of weathering and humus.

Parent Rock

Determines colour, texture, chemical properties of minerals, content, permeability.

It takes hundreds of years to make just one centimetre of Soil.

Tamil Nadu Soil Distribution

Soils of Tamil Nadu

The soils of Tamil Nadu may be grouped into five types. There are classified according to their formation, size and colour. Their occurrence in the districts of Tamil Nadu is given below.

Table: Types of soils in Tamil Nadu and their distribution

SI.No Soil District
1 Alluvial soils Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Thirunelveli and Kanyakumari.
2 Regur or the black soils Coimbatore, Madurai, Virudhunagar, Thuthukudi and Tirunelveli.
3 Red Loams Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram.
4 Laterite soils Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Thanjavur, hill tops of western ghats and eastern ghats.
5 Saline soils Predominantly in Vedaranyam, Coromandal coast and for about 10 km in all the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu.

Forests Resources

Tamil Nadu’s wealth of flora and fauna lies in the hilly and forest regions. Some of its major wildlife sanctuaries like Mudumalai and Anaimalai(Indira Gandhi Wild life sanctuary) are situated on the hills of the Western Ghats, which have habitats for elephants, tigers, bisons and a variety of monkeys and deer. Among the 3000 and more plant species found in Tamil Nadu, majority of them are found in the mixed deciduous forests. One of the most noteworthy flowers is the Kurinji of Kodaikanal hills which blooms once in 12 years. The state has recognised it with special status. Cinchona, a forest product, from which quinine-a drug for treating malaria is extracted. Eucalyptus which grows abundantly in the Nilgiris is also used as medicine for curing cold and as pain reliever.

Medicinal herbs are commonly found on the Palani hills and Courtallam. Palmyrah trees are grown abundantly in Thirunelveli district, as subsidiary activity to agriculture. Its products are used as raw materials for several cottage industries. Exotic varieties of sandalwood are grown in Javadhi hills of Vellore district. The forest areas of Thirvannamalai and Tirunelveli districts of the state are being regenerated and protected by the State Forest Department. These forests not only provide for the large economy of the state but also to the local livelihood.

‘Vanamahotsava’ is celebrated in October every year to highlight the importance of wild life.

World Wildlife Day October 4

World Forest Day March 21

World Water Day March 22

Water Resources

Water resources comprising of surface water(river and lakes), ground water, marine and coastal waters, support all living things including human beings. Basically, man requires safe protected water supply for drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. In the agricultural sector, the growth of plants and yield of crops are directly related to the quality and quantity of water available. Underground water is also used for the purpose of irrigation and other utilities. All industries require water either for processing or for other utilities.

Table: Water resources in Tamil Nadu

Water Sources Numbers














Rainwater harvesting is the process of collecting rainwater from roof tops and directing it to an appropriate location where it is stored for ground-water recharge. On an average, one spell of rain for two hours is enough to recharge 8000 litres of water.

Animal Resources

Apart from foodgrains meat, poultry and dairy products are also considered as dietary components. Animals which are domesticated yield wool, fur and skin that form the basic raw materials for specific clothing, shoes and other products. The animal resources contribute a lot to the development of the economy where they are reared commercially.

Table: Livestock in Tamil Nadu

Livestock No of animals








Glossary National Park

A natural area designated to protect the ecological balance of one or more ecosystems for the present and the future generations is referred to as a National Park.

Mineral Resources

A mineral is a substance or compound of organic or inorganic origin found on the earth’s crust. Every mineral has a definite composition and distinct physical characteristics. Most of the minerals are crystalline in nature and occur widely in rocks. Rocks contain one or more minerals. Natural forms of minerals are clled ores and minerals are processed from ores.

The salt used in cooking and graphite in your lead pencil is a mineral.

Tamil Nadu Minerals

The major mineral resources of Tamil Nadu include Lignite, Vermiculite, Garnet, Zircon, Graphite, Ilmenie, Rutile, Monazite and Magnesite.

Classification of Minerals

Minerals are classified into three categories. They are

1. Metallic Minerals;

2. Non-Metallic Minerals; and

3. Mineral Fuels

Table: Metallic Minerals of Tamil Nadu

Minerals District
Iron ore Salem, Namakkal and Thiruvannamalai
Copper Salem, Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Madurai
Bauxite Salem, Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Vellore, Dharmapuri, Madurai and Villupuram
Chromite Salem, Namakkal, Thiruchirappalli and Erode
Pyrite Villupuram

Table: Non-Metallic Minerals of Tamil Nadu

Minerals Districts
Lime stone Virudhunagar, Thuthukudi, Thirunelvelli, Thiruchirappalli, Kanchipuram and Salem
Mica Thiruchirappalli, Coimbatore and Ramanathapuram
Magnesite Salem, Namakkal, Coimbatore and Erode
Steatite Vellore, Cuddalore, Coimbatore, Salem and Thiruchirapalli
Salt Chennai, Thuthukudi, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur

Table: Mineral Fuels of Tamil Nadu

Minerals District
Petroleum Thiruvarur(Panamgudi), Narimanam(Kaveri Delta Region)
Lignite Neyveli

Energy Resources

Resources from which energy can be obtained for heating and lighting are called energy resources.

The energy resources can be divided into two types. They are:

1. Conventional Power Resources; and

2. Non-conventional Power Resources.

Conventional Power Resources

Conventional source of energy are those which have been traditionally used by mankind for a long time. It usually includes fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, oil as well as nuclear power.


The three major conventional energy sources are:

1. Thermal Power Resources;

2. Hydel Power Resources; and

3. Atomic Power Resources.

Thermal Power Resources

Power is generated from non-renewable energy sources such as coal, oil, Natural gas, is known as thermal power.

Thermal power is produced by heating the water. The steam thus formed spins the turbine to produce electricity.

Table: Thermal power plants of Tamil Nadu

Name of the Plant District Types of Fuel Capacity in MW
Neyveli Lignite Corporation Cuddalore Coal 2490
North Chennai Thermal Power Unit-I Thiruvallur Coal 1200
Thuthukudi Thermal Power Plant Thuthukudi Coal 1000
Mettur Thermal Power Station Salem Coal 600

Hydropower Energy

Hydro power has been with humanity for a long time.. energy in a rushing river, is captured through a wheel as mechanical energy. Originally, these water wheels powered grain mills, spinning a grindstone directly. On the whole Tamil Nadu

Table: Hydropower plants of Tamil Nadu

S.No Hydro Power Plant Rivers MW
1 Kundah I to V Bhavani 500
2 Mettur Tunnel Kaveri 840
3 Aliyar Aliyar 60
4 Kodayar I and II Kodayar 10
5 Sholaiyar I and II Sholayar 95
6 Kadamparai Kadamparai 400
7 Lower Mettur Kaveri 120
8 Papanasam Hydro Electric Power Papanasam 32
9 Pykara Pykara 150
Total 2297

produces about 2,297 Mega Watts of hydro electric power by 2010 year.

Atomic Power Station

Atomic energy is the energy produced from the fusion of atoms. It results from a nuclear reaction, a process in which two nuclei or nuclear particles collide, to produce electrical energy by nuclear reactors.

The first Atomic Power Station of Tamil Nadu is located at Kalpakkam about 80 km south of Chennai. It has a comprehensive nuclear power production, fuel reprocessing, and waste treatment facility that includes plutonium fuel fabrication for fast breeder reactors(FBRs). It is also India’s first fully indigenously constructed nuclear power station. It has two units which produce about 500MW of energy.

Another Nuclear Power Station is in Kudankulam of Thirunelveli district. It produces about 1000 MW electricity.

Non-conventional Power Resources

Non-conventional Power Resources are known as renewable resources. Sun is the biggest source of non-conventional energy. Energy is in the form of photos. India receives abundant sunlight for about 250-300 days in a year. Conversion of solar energy to electric energy and thermal energy takes place mainly by photovoltaic cells and through solar thermal pathways. The non-conventional energy resources are:

  • Solar Energy
  • Wind Energy
  • Tidal wave Energy
  • Geo-thermal Energy
  • Bio-fuel Energy
  • Energy from baggasse

Excluding tidal wave energy and geothermal energy, all other types have been harnessed in Tamil Nadu and their rate of utilization is discussed below.

Solar Energy

Solar power is generated from sunlight. This can be used as direct power with photovoltaic(PV) cells, or indirect with concentrating solar power (CSP), Sun’s energy is focused to boil water which is then used to generate power.

Dindigul, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri are the districts which extract energy from solar power units.

Wind Energy

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy. It is generated using wind turbines to make electricity for wind mills and wind pumps for pumping water or drainage and used to propel ships.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy

Advantages Disadvantages
Non-polluting source

Low cost of production

Safe and clean


Noise pollution

Wind mills are very costly to setup

Disturbs radio and T.V. reception.

Diffused source, so gets wasted.

The total amount of wind energy produced is about 5208 MW per year. The following table gives the regions of wind energy production and their generating capacity.

Table: Location and capacity of Wind Farms in Tamil Nadu

SI.No Location Capacity MW
1 Aralvaimozhi Pass(Muppandal area) Kanyakumari/ Thirunelveli Districts. 1658
2 Shenkottai Pas (Kayathar area) Thirunelveli, Thuthukudi Districts 1105
3 Palghat Pass (Kethanur area) Coimbatore 1995
4 Coastal area near Chennai and Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram District and other ares(Theni, Palani areas) 450
Total 5208

Tidal Wave Energy

Energy generated from tides is called tidal energy. Tidal energy can be harnessed by building dams at narrow openings of the sea. During high tide the energy of the tides is used to turn the turbines installed in the dam to produce electricity.

Advantages and disadvantages of Wind Energy

Advantages Disadvantages


Destroys wildlife habitats

Difficult to harness

Tidal Energy

The first tidal energy station was built in France.
Advantages of Tidal Energy Disadvantages of Tidal Energy
Clean, eco-friendly and always available

Cheap compared to other energy sources

Located far away from cities and so costly to transport electricity.

Can be generated only during windy days.

Geo-thermal Energy

Geo-thermal power utilizes the heat in the interior of the earth for generation of power. In areas where volcanoes exist, the rocks in contact with molten magma are quite hot. When rain water seeps into these rocks, it gets converted into steam and gushes out as a geyser. Hot springs may also occur in such areas. The steam generated can be used to generate power on a small scale.

Bio-fuel Energy

Bio-fuels are a wide range of fuels. The term covers solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases. Currently, 13 plants with a capacity of 130MW are operating in Tamil Nadu.

Table: Bio-fuel Plants in Tamil Nadu

S.No District No.of Plants

































Energy From Sugarcane Bagasse

Residual cane fibre(bagasse) is burned as fuel. In Tamil Nadu there are about 18 sugar mills producing energy of nearly 411 MW from bagasse. Table given below lists the sugar mill locations with their energy producing capacity

Tamil Nadu Energy Development

Table: List of Sugar Mills with Co-generation Plants in Tamil Nadu

S.No Sugar Mills District Capacity MW



















MRK Co-operative Sugar Mills Ltd

Cheyyar Co-operative Sugar Mills

Dharani Sugars & Chemicals Ltd

Rajashree Sugars & Chemicals Ltd

Kothari Sugars & Chemicals Ltd

Terry Energy Ltd

S.V. Sugar Mills Ltd

Subramania Siva Co-operative Mills Ltd

Terry Energy Ltd

EID Parry India Ltd

Sakthi Sugar Mills

Arunachalam Sugar Mills Ltd

Bannari Amman Sugars Ltd

Auro Energy Ltd

Sri Ambika Sugar Mills

Sakthi Sugar Mills Pvt

Rajashree Sugars Chemicals Tld

EID Parry India Ltd.

Kothari sugars and Chemicals







































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