[This chapter deals with the Amraoti and Ellichpur Districts, as constituted prior to their amalgamation.]
265. Amraoti has no separate famine history prior to
the cession in 1853, but there are
various References to famines in Berar, which may be taken to include this District. In the reign of Muhammad Shah Bahmani (1378-1397) Berar, in common with the rest of the Deccan, was devastated by a terrible famine, and the orphanage established by that sovereign at Ellichpur is one of the earliest recorded attempts to mitigate such a disaster. It is highly improbable that the province escaped the famine of 1417, which affected the greater part of the Deccan. Again in 1472-73 Malwa and the Deccan including Berar were wasted by a famine which lasted for 2 years and caused wholesale emigration to Bengal and Gujarat. In 1630-31, the fourth year of the reign of Shah Jahan, there was a terrible famine throughout Gujarat, Khandesh, Berar, and the Province of Daulatabad. Tradition has it that the flesh of dogs was sold by butchers as goats' flesh, crushed bones of the dead were mingled with the flour exposed for sale, and parents devoured their children. The famine of 1803 was remembered 50 years afterward and Berar did not escape the famine of 1833 which caused considerable distress. In the great famine of 1839 the distress was very great and no measures of relief were attempted by the native government. The extensive emigration, which took place at this period, must have been a powerful factor in reducing the District to its poor condition at the time of the Assignment in 1853. In 1845 there was distress caused by the high price of juari, which rose from Rs. 5 to Rs. 20 a khandi, and the enraged populace of Amraoti murdered one Dhanraj Sahu, a wealthy trader, who had bought up large quantities of rice with a view to obtain large profits. In 1853 Amraoti with the rest of Berar came
under British rule and there ensued a period of prosperity only broken by the
prevalence of high prices in the year 1878 and 1879. So remote did the idea of
famine seem that in 1893 the Commissioner felt justified in reporting that a
programme of relief works was not required for Berar. This optimistic attitude
was to receive a rude shock during the next decade.
266. The season of 1895-96 had been one of scanty rainfall, only 24 inches 8
cents being recorded, but a bumper crop of cotton was reaped and except for the
deficiency in the water-supply the condition of the people up to June 1896 was
satisfactory. The rains of 1896 opened very favourably and by the beginning of
August everything pointed to a bumper crop of cotton and juar. But suddenly and
inexplicably the rains ceased about 25th August and beyond a fall of 3 inches in
November no rain of any value fell again till June 1897. The total rainfall of
the year was 34 inches 12 cents. The result of the sudden cessation of the rains
was that the rabi crop, owing to the lack of moisture, was almost a total
failure. But the important crops of this District are cotton and juar, and
these, though much below the average, shewed fair results, a rough estimate
putting them at half a normal crop. Had Berar been an isolated tract dependent
on its own resources, it is probable that in the plain taluks there would have
been no famine. But unfortunately the general failure of the monsoon throughout
India affected Berar by causing a sudden rise of prices, which paralysed local
trade for the time being. Juari rose from 19 seers in the rupee to 12 seers in
October 1896 and varied from 10 to 7 seers from November 1896 to October 1897.
Wheat rose from 13 seers to 8 seers in October 1896 and remained at about 7
seers from November 1896 to October 1897. It was reliazed that some distress was
inevitable, the Bombay Famine Code was therefore applied, and a programme of
relief works which consisted principally of stone-breaking, road-making and
tank-repairs, and the percantage of persons thus relieved to the total
population was 0.9 only. Gratutious relief was mainly given by means of
relief-centres. Ten poor-houses were maintained with a daily average attendance of 2270 and the total expenditure in connection with them was Rs. 16,238. Weekly doles were also given to a number of old and infirm persons; and the distress among the weavers of Ellichpur and Anjangaon was met in this way. The opening of cheap grain shops also afforded relief to a number of poor but respectable people. The measures of Government were largely supplemented by the efforts of private charity, which was especially active in this District. A poor-house was maintained at Amraoti by private subscriptions at a cost of over Rs. 8000. A sum of Rs. 35,000 was also raised in the District in connection with the Indian Charitable Relief Fund, and from charitable funds of all kinds the large sum of Rs. 76,000 was spent. The famine operations were complicated by a sudden inrush of paupers from the Central Provinces in July and August 1897. Many of these arrived in an emaciated condition, and there was a considerable mortality from starvation among them, though every effort was made by means of poor-houses and village relief to meet the difficulty. The death-rate of the District compared favourably with that of the previous year till April 1897, when it began to rise and in August and September it reached its highest monthly average of 8 per mille. Cholera prevailed in April and May and in the rains dysentery and diarrhoea of a severe type were common. The District death-rate for 1897 was 59.4 per mille. The cultivators were not severely affected by the distress; the high prices obtained by them for their crops enabled them to pay the land revenue with ease, 99 per cent, of the demand being paid, and the presence of a large number of labourers gave them the opportunity of making many cheap improvements in their land. The class that suffered most from the high prices was the class of agricultural labourers, who form 30 per cent, of the population; for not only did they have to pay more for their food, but their wages were reduced by the competition of workers, who flocked in from the neighbouring Provinces.
267. In the season of 1897-98 the rainfall amounted to 32 inches and 18 cents or more than
8 inches below the average of the
previous ten years. The kharif crops were every where
excellent but there was not enough moisture in the soil for rabi crops. The juari crop was one of the finest ever known, and the general price of the grain fell to about 20 seers for the rupee. The season of 1898-99 was also one of short rainfall, the average for the District being 21 inches 26 cents or 14 inches 3 cents less than the average of the preceding ten years. The juari harvest was again good and the price of this grain fell to about 27 seers per rupee; as in the previous year the rabi crops were inferior. Thus by the spring of 1899, the stock of the chief food grain had been replenished by two good harvests in succession, and the condition of the people was generally good. The effect of four years of deficient rainfall however began to be felt on the water-supply, and the scarcity of drinking water caused much inconvenience and distress. The season of 1899-1900 opened fairly well in June, an average rainfall of 3.84 being recorded; but the average for July was 2.97 inches and for August 2.46 inches only, and the rains ceased altogether in the third week of September. The result was a complete failure of both the kharif and rabi crops. The normal outturn of the principal food crops, juari and wheat, for the preceding ten years, exclusive of 1896-97, had been about 35 lakhs of maunds; the actual outturn of 1899-1900 was about 14,000 maunds. The loss represented by this difference is estimated to have been about 164 lakhs of rupees. At the end of September the price of the staple food grain, juari, went up to famine point, selling at 13 to 15 seers a rupee. It rose in October to 9¼ seers and fluctuated between 11 and 8½ seers from November 1899 to May 1900, when there was a further rise, and the highest price reached was 7½ seers in July 1900. From August 1900 the price began to fall again but it did not reach the normal till some months later. But for the large imports of Bengal and Rangoon rice at the beginning of the famine the price would have gone still higher.
268. At the end of September 1899 the imminence of
famine was realized and test works
were opened at once. The test works
proved the existence of famine conditions, and in November large relief works
under the charge of the Public Works
Department were opened. These works mainly consisted of stone metal collections, constructions of new roads and repairs existing roads, carriage of stone metal from quarries to roadside, construction of new tanks, and cleaning of old tanks. Each work formed a separate charge under a civil officer, whose duties were administrative, while the Public Works Department
supplied the technical knowledge. Altogether 44 works were opened, the maximum open at one time being 27 in July 1900. The number of workers varied from 6000 to 7000 during the quarter ending November 1899; by April the number reached 46,000, and in June the panic caused by the holding off of the rains sent the numbers up to 48,000. In July there was a rapid decrease and by the end of September there were only 1112 people on the works. The total expenditure on the works was nearly 11 lakhs of rupees, whereas their cost at normal rates would have been only 4½ lakhs. The cause of this high cost is ascribed to the necessity of employing much ineffective labour, such as children and weakly persons, and also to the existence of a minimum wage. With the exception of four roads in the Ellichpur taluk, of which the earth work only was done, the works Were all of permanent utility. The total number of units relieved was 11,593,810 and the incidence per head was 1 anna ten pies.
269. In June 1900, when the rains set in, the policy of
opening village works with a view to
affording temporary employment to people near their homes until there should be labour in the fields was adopted. The work done consisted chiefly of improvement to village sites and local roads, and the collection of kankar (limestone nodules) for road repairs. The carrying of stone metal from the large works to roadsides was also made available for village works, and many of these works were located so as to serve circles or blocks of neighbouring villages. Such works were conducted under more or less supervision from the establishment of the Public Works Department and the District Boards; but it was difficult to exact adequate tasks, and the value of the work done was not high. The maximum number of workers was 25,000 in July 1900. The total number of units relieved was
1,086,137 and the expenditure was Rs. 1,04,608, giving an incidence of 1 anna 6 pies per head.
270. In the old Ellichpur District special measures for
the relief of the weaving community
were found necessary and the Nagpur
system was adopted. Advances were made to middlemen
who were supposed to employ none but distressed weavers,
and the cloth manufactured was purchased by Government
from the middlemen at prices slightly in excess of the market
rates. The total expenditure was Rs. 17,000 and out of this
Rs. 13,000 were recovered by the sale of cloth.
271. The gratuitous relief given fell under three main heads, namely:-
(a)Relief of non-working children and other dependents of relief workers on large works.
(b)Grain doles or cooked food given to persons
eligible under the Famine Code.
(c)Relief in poor-houses.
(a) At the beginning of the famine cash allowances were paid to dependents, but, as soon as they could be organized, kitchens were attached to every large work. The number of dependents so relieved reached its maximum figure, 15,000, in May 1900; of which 86 per cent, were children. The total units of dependents relieved were 2,151,068 and the expenditure was Rs. 78,544, giving the incidence of cost per head as 7 pies.
(b) The gratuitous dole was given in grain to certain classes, who were incapable of working and had no means of support, and also to a certain number of the village servants who had their ordinary duties to perform. Emaciation was always accepted as proof of eligibility for the dole. The dole was distributed through the agency of the village officers assisted by local committees and in municipalities under the municipal authorities. The relief lists were strictly examined and controlled for some time, but during the hot weather and rains the expansion of such relief was inevitable. The total of units so relieved was 22,88,596 at an expenditure of Rs. 1,71,380, with an incidence of cost per unit of 1 anna 2 pies. Before the rains of 1900 there had been 30 State kitchens open in the District but during
the rains the number went up to 231. Each kitchen was expected to serve an area of 2 to 3 miles. They were under the same supervision and control as the relief dole and were used principally by children. The total number of units relieved was 3,040,367 at an expenditure of Rs. 1,64,332 or an incidence of 10 pies per head.
(c) Fourteen poor-houses were opened in the District. They were frequented by the lower castes, the infirm, beggars and children. The inmates were so largely persons broken down by disease and wanderers brought in at a stage when no relief could save them that the poor-houses may be regarded almost as infirmaries. The poor-house population was kept down by drafting inmates to relief works, as they became fit for labour and transferring others for gratuitous relief in their villages. The total number of units relieved was 841,899 at an expenditure of Rs. 62,152, or an incidence of 8 annas 2 pies per head.
272. Instructions were issued to Tahsildars that the land
revenue should be collected only from
persons able to pay it and that nobody
should be driven to borrow in order to pay the assessment. At the close of July 1900, out of a demand of about 27½ lakhs only a little over 6 lakhs remained uncollected. Of this amount about Rs. 38,000 were remitted in the ensuing year. The Famine Commission condemned the relief as altogether insufficient and also remarked that the procedure of enquiry into the circumstances of individuals should never be followed in times of famine. During the years 1899-1900 and 1900-01 loans amounting to Rs. 1,47,421 under the Land Improvement Loans Act were advanced to cultivators; also petty advances amounting to Rs. 5410 were made to poor cultivators free of interest.
273. The Famine Commission make a special reference to
the remarkable degree of success which
was attained in this District in the
organization of private charity. Twenty-seven poor-houses were
maintained by private subscriptions, and the expenditure on
the village dole in the Chandur taluk was nearly all met from
the same source. Gifts of clothing and cooked and uncooked
food were also frequently made by private persons. In the
Ellichpur taluk grain funds were organized under the supervision of village committees. A number of private gentlemen and traders also helped the poor by the distribution of cooked food and made liberal gifts to poor-houses. The missionaries as usual were active in relieving distress and spent Rs. 76,000 on various forms of relief. The Roman Catholic Mission and the Christian Missionary Alliance were at work in the old Amraoti District, the Daughters of the Cross at Amraoti visiting relief camps in all weathers, dispensing medicines and tending the sick. In the old Ellichpur District the Korku and Central India Mill Mission gave employment to a number of the distressed Ellichpur weavers, purchasing cloth from them at low rates. They also maintained an asylum at Kotharia for distressed lepers, and the number in the asylum was at one time 200. A liberal grant of Rs. 2,40,231 was made from the Indian Charitable Relief Fund; of this Rs. 21,000 were devoted to providing the inmates of poor-houses and kitchens with clothes and other necessaries, Rs. 21,000 were spent on relief to the respectable poor and Rs.
1,13,521 were devoted to assisting cultivators, who for want of security could not obtain loans from Government, with seed, bullocks, fodder, etc. This latter form of relief was of the utmost value and as a direct result of this assistance 89,500 acres of land are estimated to have been sown, which would otherwise have remained waste.
274. Berar cultivators formerly had an unfortunate habit
in the monsoon of getting rid of the stacks of karbi left on their hands by burning them down after green grass had sprung up. The cattle thus had nothing to depend upon except grass until the next juari crop was ready, and, when, as in 1899, both juari and grass failed, heavy mortality among the cattle was inevitable. Many owners of cattle were compelled either to sell their cattle at nominal prices or to send them into the Melghat, where fodder was ample. But the steep and stony hillsides of the Melghat did not suit the cattle of the plains and they perished in large numbers there. Every effort was made by the Forest Department to meet the fodder difficulty. From the 8th September the Melghat reserves covering an area of 808 square miles were thrown open to free grazing.
The ' A' and ' B ' reserves of the plains were divided into a series of three blocks and opened in rotation for grazing. It is estimated that 85,427 tons of grass were removed by private exporters from the forest reserves of the District. Government grass-cutting operations were started in the Melghat. Grass was collected to the amount of 5,437,882 lbs. and stacked at 19 sale depots in the Melghat, and when it was found that there was a keen demand for grass delivered in the plains, 3 more depots were opened there. These operations, though resulting in a small financial loss, greatly helped in saving the plough cattle and also afforded useful employment in the way of famine relief to large numbers of the labouring population. But, in spite of all the efforts made to save the cattle, it is estimated that in the old Amraoti District 53 per cent, and in the old Ellichpur District 60 per cent. of the total number perished.
275. In the earlier months of the famine period the
mortality per mensem was less than usual, and it increased gradually till April. From May it rose rapidly, till in August it reached the highest point, viz. 11-2 per mille in the old Amraoti District and 10-1 per mille in the old Ellichpur District. The average for the same month in the previous ten years had been 4 per mille. From September 1900 the death-rate fell gradually till it reached the normal again in January 1901. The year 1900 was unusually unhealthy apart from the famine. The severe drought made water and vegetables scarce; when the rains broke, people drank foul water and ate too much rank green stuff. The consumption of old and unwholesome juari, which had been stored for years in pits, also caused a great deal of sickness. Deaths from starvation were very few, and such isolated cases as there were, were found to be wandering immigrants from other Provinces. The birth-rate showed a marked decrease from 40 per mille to 31, a natural result of the disorganization of domestic life caused by the famine and of the impaired vitality of the poorer classes. At the beginning of the famine the sudden rise of prices caused a panic and several small grain riots were committed with the object of preventing the export of food grains and compelling the dealers to sell their stocks. Offences against property
naturally increased but the crime was not of a serious nature and considering the circumstances of the year may be said to have been surprisingly small.
276. The District showed remarkable recuperative powers.
At the close of the measures for famine relief it was found that the full
normal area was under crop, that the
labouring classes were earning high wages and that the public health was unusually good. In the year after the famine it was difficult to detect signs of the recent calamity. Two good years ensued followed by seven of no more than moderate crops, in one of which (1907-08) the harvest was not more than half the average, and detailed enquiries into the desirability of suspensions of revenue were necessitated. These enquiries showed that the loss of half the crops could be borne without any remission and without a serious increase of indebtedness. The high prices obtained for cotton have brought a great deal of wealth into the District, and it is improbable that a single bad year would cause serious distress among the mass of the cultivators. Labourers, forming the most numerous class even in this land of small farmers, have gained immensely by the rise in the rates of wages, more than compensating for the great dearness of food, but they are not accustomed to save against the chance of a failure of rains and consequent curtailment of employment, and their position would be most serious in the event of famine. The provision of fodder for cattle forms a great difficulty in years of scanty rainfall, and this is accentuated by the partial substitution of cotton for juari which has taken place. Cultivators realize this but are only in part able to sacrifice the certainty of a good money return for their cotton to provide against a mere possibility of failure of fodder for their cattle.
277. The famine history of the Melghat, differing as it
does in every respect from the rest of
District, requires a separate notice.
This tract is populated almost entirely
by theaboriginal Korkus and similar tribes, a people of the
poorest description, shy and diffident, living from hand to mouth, with no resources and extremely averse to any work
except fitful labour in the forests. The prosperity of the tract depends on three factors in the following order of importance; first, prosperity in Berar and consequently a good demand for Melghat forest produce; secondly, a good crop of cereals locally; and thirdly, a good season for wild fruit. It is estimated that one-fourth of the population live for a greater part of the year on the profits of converting and selling timber and other forest produce. At the close of the rains in 1896 the distress in the plain taluks caused the demand for timber to fall considerably, and the Melghat exporters found their income from this source reduced to one-fourth of the normal. Moreover the local harvests in the Melghat had been bad for three or four years previously, and in 1895 there had been a partial failure of crops. In 1896 the early cessation of the rains produced a total failure of the crops on the light red shallow soils, which form the bulk of the cultivated area; though the black soil area, which principally lies in one block of eighty villages, is said to have given a 6 to 8 anna crop. There was also a rapid rise in the prices of food-grains, which by November 1896 were double the normal. Thus at the close of 1896 the Korku with no stock of grain to draw on and with no market for his forest produce found himself face to face with starvation. Small bands of them began to appear in the plains seeking for work, a sure sign of distress. Luckily the situation was realized by the Forest Department, in whose hands the administration of the Melghat rested, and in December 1896 measures were taken to' cope with the distress.
278. Large relief works were not considered suitable to
the peculiar condition of the Melghat
with its scattered population and defective water-supply. With a people too, who hate steady work under supervision, it was felt that the application of the strict letter of the Famine Code was inexpedient. A free hand was therefore given to the Forest Department to modify the Code to meet the requirements of the case. Small and scattered works were opened; exact tasks were not laid down, but the officers in charge by moral suasion and patience tried to exact a fair day's work from the labourers; wages in cash were paid sufficient to support the worker and his dependents,
and the workers were allowed to go away on Sundays to take the savings or the equivalent in food to their dependents in their villages. As there were no stocks of grain in the tract, food for the workers had tobe imported from the plains. Banias were assisted by the payment of carriage from Ellichpur and a small commission, and in return they guaranteed an unfailing supply at the current rates prevailing in Ellichpur weekly bazar. In anticipation of the rains, when private traders fail, Government imported and stored large quantities of grain and sold the same during the rains at the rates current in the plains. Most of the relief works consisted of road construction, but in addition wells were deepened, tanks cleaned and roads repaired. The total amount spent was Rs. 76,693 and for this sum 137 miles of forest cart roads, 6 miles of hauling roads and 2 miles of bridle roads were completed. All the works were of permanent utility, and the cost is estimated to have been about 30 per cent, above the normal. The highest number" on the works was 4553 in July 1897, and 578,986 units of work-people were relieved at a cost of 2 annas 1 pie per unit relieved.
279. Actual relief in the home of the people was not
attempted but villages were constantly
inspected with a view to the discovery of the absolutely destitute. Their case was met by the establishment of about 20 relief centres consisting of depots at which food was given in the shape of uncooked grain. The people cooked their own food and the majority occupied huts on the spot. The average attendance of each centre was about 200. Only those appearing quite incapable of work were given doles.
280. The Forest Department encouraged the export of
forest produce by making liberal
concessions. The duty on headloads of firewood was suspended; the rates for small and inferior timber, for bamboos and for charcoal were reduced, and grazing fees were remitted except in 23 of the more prosperous villages. Cheap grain shops were opened at numerous centres, a system of tickets being adopted with a maximum amount of daily sale to one person or family. Out
of a land-revenue demand of Rs. 43,000 it was found expedient to remit Rs. 23,000.
281. Most valuable assistance was given by the Korku
and Central India Hill Mission, which spent upwards of Rs. 50,000, while two members of the Mission lost their lives through overwork and exposure. The Roman Catholic Mission also did good work. At the end of the famine in July 1897 a sum of Rs. 53,574 was granted from the Indian Famine Charitable Relief Fund and this sum was devoted to rehabilitating the cultivator by gifts of seed grain and plough bullocks.
282. It is probable that nearly 25 per cent, of the Melghat
population were being relieved in one
way or another-either on works, or by cheap grain shops, or in poor-houses and mission centres. The condition of the people was very bad, and, but for the strenuous efforts of the Forest Department the mortality from starvation would have been extremely high. As no mortality returns are maintained in the Melghat it is impossible to say what the death-rate was, but it is admitted that it was high, especially among the old and the children. This was partly due to the apathy and ignorance of a jungle people, who had never seen famine relief in operation before. Cholera of a virulent type was also prevalent for some time. The Famine Commission recognised the success of the famine operations and concluded that the mortality was probably unavoidable; but they suggested that it might be possible to achieve more success by strengthening the village inspection organization and by extending the system of gratuitous home relief.
283. The harvest in 1897 was below normal in consequence of the famine of 1896-97. In
1898 the area sown and outturn were generally normal, but a portion of the tract was still suffering from the effects of the famine. In 1899 the rainfall from June to September was only 19 inches or 33 per cent, of the average, and the regular rains stopped at the end of July. The result was a complete failure of the crops. The aboriginal inhabitants were in even a worse position than in 1897, as the distress in the plain taluks was much severer,
no field work was available and the sales of forest produce practically ceased. In September 1899 relief measures were sanctioned.
284. As in the previous famine small works distributed as
equally as possible over the tract were
the leading feature of the programme. The works undertaken consisted of road-making and repairing, the improvement of a few tanks and wells, and the digging of fields to take the place of ploughing for which bullocks were insufficient. When the rains drew near, the people were sent to their homes either to cultivate or to petty works. Cultivators were given grain doles while cultivating their own fields, relief of this kind being given to over 4000 families from seed-time to harvest. The grass-cutting operations, which were started by the Conservator of Forests in September 1899, also indirectly afforded considerable relief. These operations consisted of cutting and storing grass at selected depots for sale and at cattle camps, where there was water, in and near the forests, to feed cattle in the summer of 1900 when the grazing near water would be exhausted. Grass was collected to the amount of 54,37,882 lbs. and stacked at 19
depots in the Melghat. By this means work for 2025 labourers was provided for 93 days.
285. Gratuitous relief took the form of grants of doles in
villages, relief in poor-houses, and
relief to dependents on works. The dole was given in money. Village relief was at its maximum in July 1900. Three poor-houses were opened in December
1899 and the highest number using them was 1773 in July
1900; they were all in charge of European missionaries.
286. To stimulate the private export of timber, grass,
bamboos, etc., every facility was given
in all the easily accessible forests and rates for timber and bamboos were lowered. Out of a total land-revenue demand of Rs. 34,495, the sum of Rs. 26,907 was suspended.
287. The Korku and Central India Hill Mission again
gave valuable help in men and money,
and spent nearly 1½ lakhs on various
forms of relief. The Indian Charitable Relief Fund gave a
munificent grant of Rs. 72,000; of this Rs. 8000 were spent on the purchase of clothing and other necessaries, Rs. 5000 in providing for orphans and Rs. 59,000 in assisting cultivators with seed and plough bullocks.
288. The maximum number on relief at one time was
13,000 or 28 per cent, of the population, the daily average number of
persons relieved was 7297 or 15 per cent, of the population. The mortality was not high and was certainly lower among children than in 1897. Emaciation was far less frequently seen. The Famine Commission in their Report describe the administration of relief in the Melghat as one of the successful episodes of the famine. They say that judged by the ultimate test of lives saved the operations, though somewhat costly, were successful, and they emphasize the importance of providing suitable work for aborigines and of employing in the relief of them officials whom they can trust.
289. In spite of the liberal measures of relief adopted in
the way of distributing seed and cattle
many villages with poor soil and
defective water-supply were deserted,
and the revenue history of a considerable portion of the
Melghat may be said to start afresh from the years following
the famine. In view of the deterioration of the tract the
land revenue was reduced by half for three years (1902-1905)
This wise measure of relief has been amply justified, as the
subsequent history of the tract has been one of steady
progress and prosperity interrupted only by slight distress in
1907-08, when it was found necessary to suspend Rs. 32,000
of the land-revenue demand. As already pointed out, the
Melghat population is only partially dependent upon its
crops for its well-being and famine will not as a rule follow a failure of crops
unless this is accompanied by a falling off in the demand for forest produce in
the Berar plains.