The general slopes of this region are from Western Ghats towards the east.
The eastward flowing Godavari and the Krishna have carved out broad valleys. These valleys represent a topography of undulating plains and are separated by broad but flat-topped hill ranges with roughly east- west trend e.g., the Ajanta Range, and the Balaghat Range.
In the north however, faulting of the land has formed two rift valleys now filled with alluvium and drained to the west by the Tapti and the Narmada. The hills and mountains all over this region are flat at the top. Since the eruptions were quite numerous and intermittent, the lava flows rest upon one another like almost horizontal sheets.
The lava formations arranged into layers are called the Deccan Traps due to the fact that the slopes of the hills (co-Onsisting of lava flows) on weathering form terraces resembling a flight of stairs, each terrace corresponding to lava flow. Wardha, Nagpur plain is a continuous level country running in the east-west direction and forms an extensive undulating plain. It is also called the Berar- Nagpur plain. The Western Ghats in this region are the highest at Mahabaleshwar (1438 metres).
This region falls in semiarid steppe and monsoon savanna climate. There is a rain shadow area of 225 km in the east of Western Ghats. The rainfall is highly erratic and scarcity and famine conditions are common in this belt.
September is generally the rainiest month due to the development of tropical cyclones in the Arabian Sea. Mean monthly maximum temperature of May, the hottest month is below 40°C. The December, the coldest month is cooler than May by about 10°C.
In the eastern half of the region, rainfall increases towards the east due to the influence of the Bay of Bengal current and cyclones. Annual rainfall at Nagpur is 112.73 cm. The whole of this region is dry for about 8 months in a year.
The dry savanna is the main vegetation types. In rainier Western Ghats and parts of the Satpura Range, large areas are covered with forest which yields good quality teak. Salai trees found in Nagpur and Bhusawal areas are cut for the manufacture of paper at Nepanagar.
Godavari and the Bhima flowing in this region have been dammed at various places. There is dominance of medium and minor irrigation works. Wells are also important source of irrigation.
The budki system is in use for irrigating land near streams in Kolhapur. According to this method, water is lifted from a small pit dug in the bed of a stream and then allowed to flow in an irrigation channel. In some cases water lifted up in succession by ‘budkis’ numbering up to four.
The Koyna Project:
The Koyna stream rises in Mahabaleshwar, flows from north to south in a narrow but deep valley which lies only a few kilometres east of the edge of the Western Ghats. A dam has been constructed across the Valley at Deshmukhwadi.
There is ample rain which supplies water to the project. The dissected Western Ghats and the Malad (the strip of the country adjacent to the Ghats) are different from the rest of the region. The shifting agriculture is practiced in Western Ghats. Jawar and bajra are the chief crops. Two distinctive crops of this region is sugarcane and tabacco.
In this area groundnut and sesamum are also raised at some places. Nasik district is famous for onion which is dispatched not only to other States of India but is also exported largely to the Arab countries. The belt of the land spread between Nasik and Pune produces nearly half of the total onion produced in the country.
Bidi tobacco in Kolhapur and Belgaum district are produced. The tobacco is of superior quality and is dispatched to various towns of India for bidis manufacturing.
The sugarcane is produced in western district. Owing to less scorching hot winds in summer and frost-free winters the yield of cane per hectare is high i.e. 90 tone per hectare Cane is extensively grown in the irrigated area of northern Ahmadnagar district.
Other important producers of the cane are the districts in the extreme south and those parts of Pune district which are irrigated. It is the leading sugar producing region and accounts for about one- third of the total sugar produced in India.
A variety of crops are produced in the plateau east of the Sahyadri range.
The western part of this region is known as ‘Khandesh’ and due to lack of water it is called ‘scarcity tract’. Much attention has, been given to the development of irrigational facilities in this dry area. Rabi crops are quite important in the western districts where irrigation is available.
This region is most important for cotton production. Output of cotton lint is about 1.3 million bales or one-fourth of the total production of cotton lint in the country. It is raised chiefly in the areas drained by the Tapti, its tributary the Puran, and the Wardha.
About 30 of the total cropped area is under cotton in this region. Cotton is a rain fed crop which is sown in the months of June and July and is picked during the months from October to January. It is rarely manured and is rotated with kharif and jowar which is manured. Factories for ginning and pressing cotton are located along the railway connecting Nagpur with Jalgaon.
In the Bhima valley more than half of the cultivated area is under jowar.
The Nagpur and it neighbouring districts Bhandara, Wardha and Amravaiti form the most important belt of orange cultivation in India. The well-drained black loams mixed with lime kankar soil are used for orange. The winters are mild and free from frost and annual rainfall is about 125 cm.
Since dry season is very long, those areas are selected for orange cultivation which can receive irrigation from wells and streams. Wells and tube-wells are the main sources of irrigation for the orange orchards.
Groundnut is most important cash crop of this region. The groundnut oil is hydrogenated. The region contributes an appreciable quantity of not only groundnut but also sesamum and linseed. A number of oil mills for crushing oilseeds including cotton seeds have been set up throughout the region. There are oil hydrogenation plants at Jalgaon and Akola.
Minerals and Industries:
Old rocks have been buried under sheet of lava in this region. Except for a narrow belt fringing the eastern border of this region there are very few exposures of minerals.
At present coal is mined in the central part of Chhindwara district, Chandrapur and Ballarpur. The Wardha Valley coal-field runs between Warora and Rajpura.
There is a ferro-manganese plant at Tumsar and another at Kanhan. Good quality bauxite is available in the south-western part (Kolhapur and Belgaum districts). An aluminium smelter for the manufacture of aluminium metal has been set up near Belgaum. The Sharavati Hydro- electric project supplies electricity to the aluminium works located in this region.
Many modern industrial establishments have come up along the railway connecting Pune with Chinchvad. Chinchvad is situated at a distance of 17 km. from Pune on the Pune Mumbai railway.