The coastal plains of India are located along the Arabian Sea coast in the west and along the Bay of Bengal coast in the east. According to their location to the east or west of the peninsular, they are called:
- East coastal plain
- West coastal plain
East Coastal Plains
This east coastal plain begins from the north with the plains formed by the Subarnarekha River to extend to the south till Kanyakumari. It thus stretches for nearly 1500 km, with nearly a width of 100 km. to the east of this plain lies the extensive blue waters of the Bay of Bengal and to the west of the plain lies the remnants of Eastern Ghat hills. Compared to the Western Coastal Plain, the East Coastal Plain is wider. The deltas of the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri rivers have formed nearly 25% of the area of this plain. The soil of the deltas is very fertile therefore agriculture is very productive. Specially and delta of the river Krishna is very fertile and is known as the ‘Granary of South India’.
West Coastal Plains
It stretches from the Rann of Kachchh in the north to Kanyakumari in the South. To the East it is bounded by the steep slopes of the Western Ghat and to the west lays the Arabian Sea. Compared to the East Coastal Plain, this West coastal plain is narrower. The west coastal plain becomes narrower gradually from the Kachchh coast to Kanyakumari, where it is narrower unlike the East coastal plain with large rivers and their wide mouths or large deltas, the west coast has short river coming down swiftly from the western slopes of the Western Ghat, the draining into the Arabian Sea without forming any deltas.
Importance of Coastal Plains
- The fertile plains along the coast produce large amounts of rice, sugarcane, coconut, various spices etc.
- Through the ports of Mumbai, Chennai, Mormugao, Kochi (Cochin) etc most of the international trade of India is conducted.
- Large amount of salt is produced from the northern part of the west coastal plain from sea water.
- Mineral Oil and Natural Gas is either being extracted or possibility of the resources being present is very probable in the river valleys of Krishna, Godavari and Kauvery.
- Due to the suitable environment in the coastal regions population density is very high.