238. Not counting the insignificant tombs of ascetics
scattered up and down the country at
almost every one of which on some particular day in the year a few score of holiday makers assemble, there are twenty-two annual or half yearly fairs in the District. These are Marki, Ganoja and Rinmochan in the Amraoti taluk; Kaundanyapur, Bhiltek, and Sawanga Vithobacha in the Chandur taluk; Wadner Gangai, Yeoda, Murha and Uprai in the Daryapur taluk; Ner Pinglai, Akhatwada, Ridhpur, Dabheri and Salbardi in the Morsi taluk: Dhanora, Jiwanpura (in Ellichpur city), Ellichpur city (Dula Rahman), Deurwada, and Bairam in Ellichpur taluk, and
Diwa in Melghat, Most of these, however, are completely insignificant; one or two, such as Uprai, Ridhpur and the annual urs or saint's day of "Dula Rahman" at Ellichpur, being notable not so much on account of the gathering as of the peculiar: sanctity attaching to the shrine venerated. Four, however, those of Salbardi, Kaundinyapur, Bhiltek and Bairamghat, have something more than a local celebrity. All these places are situated close to the Central Provinces border, and traders and villagers flock together to attend them not only from all over Berar but from the neighbouring Districts of Betul, Wardha and Nagpur as well, The attendance at the first named is estimated at about twenty-five thousand and at each of the others at fifty thousand, probably not a very large estimate. Marki also in the Amraoti taluk, though not much more than a local merrymaking, has an attendance of probably ten to fifteen thousand. Full particulars of each of the fairs will be found in the Gazetteer Appendix and there is no need to repeat them here. That of Bhiltek lasts for no less than two and a half months and at all of them a little religion is made the excuse for much trading and a pleasant holiday. With the increasing facility of communication, however, and the consequent spread of retail shops, the taking of an annual holiday or the purchase of such necessities as brass pots, clothing, village carts, etc., has become a less formidable affair than before, and the fairs as a whole are undoubtedly on the decline. One in particular, Wirul in Chandur taluk, which not very many years ago lasted for some three weeks every year and attracted many thousands of people, has now dwindled to an affair of a single day, so insignificant that it is not thought worthy of a place in the list. Even figures collected so recently as the Revision Settlement are no longer completely trustworthy, though the four great fairs already mentioned still retain their importance.
239. The weekly markets however are numerous and important. At the Revision Settlement
there Were a hundred and fifty in the plains taluks alone. This With ten in the Melghat and a dozen or so which have come into existence since gives an average of one market to every eleven villages, or every
nine villages if the Melghat be omitted from the count. Of these by far the most important is still Chandur Bazar, though local residents tell one that it has lost something of its old preeminence, having remained almost stationary for the last forty years or even declined in spite of the enormous increase in wealth during that time. The sales are estimated at over half a lakh every week [The Berar Gazetteer 1870 gives the figure as one lakh.] of which some Rs. 35,000 is accounted for by grain and groceries Chandur also, though not an established cotton market, sees transactions in cotton during the season to a weekly value of about seven thousand rupees; about five thousand of the total is accounted for by livestock. Next to Chandur Bazar in importance comes Ellichpur (Paratwada), the great wood mart for this part of Berar, with weekly sales aggregating over Rs. 10,000 in value, of which about six thousand is represented by timber and bamboos. Vegetables from Khamla and Chikalda are also an important item. The Amraoti Sunday market (there is one also on Wednesday) and that at Badnera rank next in importance, having an estimated turn-over of about nine and eight thousand respectively. Others in approximate order of importance are Sendurjana Buzurg, Rajura, Anjangaon Surji, Morsi, Mangrul Dastgir, Sendurjana (Malkapur), Hiwarkhed, Khel Tapmali in Ellichpur city, Wanosa (Daryapur), Dattapur, Ner Pinglai. The ten in the Melghat are of merely local importance and the same remark is true of the remainder of those in the plains. Most of the more important markets, it will be noticed, lie close to the hills and they fulfil among other useful functions that of exchanging the products of the jungles and of the fertile plateau of Khamla and Multai against those of Berar. At every village where a bazar is held certain land is set apart for the purpose, and in three markets of the municipal towns and sixty-nine of the markets in the District Board area the traffic is regulated and cesses and stall fees collected according to the bazar rules. In both cases the right to collect the dues is put up to auction annually, market by market, and the proceeds of the auction credited to District Board or Municipal funds as the case may
be. In 1908 the sum derived from these auctions was Rs. 12,000 in municipal limits and Rs. 52,970 outside. In return for this the local bodies undertake the upkeep of the bazars concerned, laying down chabutras for merchants and their goods, planting trees and arranging water-supply. The bazars are controlled by patels and if the latter collect bazar cess they are paid 10 per cent, on the collections.
240. In addition to the above the District has six
markets solely for cotton, namely
Amraoti, Ellichpur, Morsi, Wanosa
(Daryapur), Chandur Railway and Dattapur. These are
managed in each case by a small committee appointed by the
Commissioner. The largest is Amraoti where the sales are
estimated at 72 lakhs of rupees per year, Dhamangaon
which receives the Yeotmal trade coming next with 24
lakhs per year. The smallest is Wanosa (Daryapur) with a
yearly average of 4 lakhs of rupees. At the end of the
cotton season the balance in hand, if any, is credited to the
District or Municipal fund to which the cotton market is
subordinate. In 1907-08 the total receipts were Rs. 15,809
and the total expenditure Rs. 13,675.