There were at the beginning of this century a number of
cottage industries. They included cleaning of cotton; stone
tracery, woodworks, hand weaving in cotton, silk and wool;
dyeing, metal working, working in gold and silver, etc.
The main centres of weaving were Ellichpur (Achalpur) City, Anjangaon-Surji and Kholapur (near Amravati).
The industries were both urban and rural in character. The urban handicrafts included quality textiles and other luxury goods for the aristocracy. The rural counterpart mainly consisted of blacksmithy, carpentry, pottery and weaving.
At many places the village artisans were mainly balutedars and received rent-free land in return for the services they rendered. Thus shoes and pots etc. could be obtained within a few miles of the village at the market place. The product was sold directly to the customer. Baluta system, though fast disappearing, still remains in some of the villages of the district.
Most of the industries such as weaving, bell-metal, leather-tanning, basket-making, oil-pressing, etc., were hereditary occupations of certain castes only. Mobility was conspicuously absent. The chamars engaged themselves in curing and manufacturing leather articles. The silk and cotton weaving was mostly done by salis and koshtis and the rougher cotton fabrics and wool weaving by dhangars and mahars. The telis confined themselves to oil-pressing. The impact of modern civilisation, growth of education and economic progress have in course of time partially removed these restrictions and occupations to-day can be selected by individual choice.
A rapid decline in the artistic excellence and economic importance of these handicrafts began with the firm establishment of British power in India. The disappearance of the Indian Native Courts which patronised them and competition from a more highly developed industry added to their plight.
With the establishment of cotton textile mills in the district and outside, handloom weaving suffered considerably. It, however, received impetus in the early thirties due to the non-cooperation movement which supported the use of khadi or indigenous cloth. The high price of the mill-made cloth also helped this industry which continued to be the main cottage industry of the district. The textile section of the department of industries was started in 1916. It introduced improved sleys among the handloom weavers. The change in the technique increased the output of the handloom industry from 1916. But this resulted in over production, which created fresh problems for the industry. The weavers also were not able to make any other use of the extra time released for them by the new sleys. The consumers of handwoven fabrics began to prefer the mill made fabrics, for the weavers could not
readily produce goods of advanced pattern to keep up with
the changing nature of the demand. Only those weavers who
turned out finer and more artistic fabrics comparable to
manufactured ones could hold their own in the industry.
The tanning industry in villages was hit hard by the com- petition from the chrome tanning abroad and in some Indian cities. The cheaper shoes imported from Japan and Czechoslovakia began replacing fast the crude though durable shoes made by the cottage workers. The manufacture of earthenware, ropes, rough woollen blankets, etc. somehow managed to continue.
Lack of improvement in the craftsmanship of the various cottage workers, and availability of cheap factory goods from large-scale production adversely affected the cottage industries. The machine made goods made a steady inroad into their field.
A rapid decline in the economic importance of cottage industries threw the village artisans out of work and thus increased the pressure on land. This resulted in the disruption of the village economy.
Several of the cottage industries have one drawback or another. Some need finance, some organisation and some technical know-how and modern machinery. Still others need greater facilities for procuring raw materials, storing finished goods and marketing them. Consequently the cottage industries are still mainly in the hands of the hereditary artisans working with the traditional tools. By reason of such a state of affairs their products lack finish and suffer in competition with the mill-made goods. Products of good finish and high quality when produced, are costly. Such goods are not much in demand in rural areas, and are therefore, to be marketed in urban areas along with the mill-made products. The poverty of the artisans prevents them from adopting new techniques and tools and they often resort to the moneylenders. Formation of the cooperative societies of the artisans is expected to remove the obstacle in the marketing of their products and financing of their operations.
The small capital and credit requirements of the handicrafts still make it an effective system of production in this country. Under conditions where transport is not adequately developed, where credit is unorganised, capital is dispersed and marketing system is yet in a semi-backward stage, cottage industries have a useful purpose to serve. Besides, cottage industries provide occupation to a number of people who would have otherwise resorted to agriculture or for whom agriculture cannot provide adequate occupation. The industry serves the needs of local people by producing articles of everyday consumption. The training and equipment required are simple. Further, in case of production where standardisation of demand is absent, variety is the dominant characteristics and artistic requirement
is essential, handicrafts have advantages over large-scale industry. In the case of certain industries where goods made to order
for individual customers are in demand e.g. goldsmithy, tailoring etc. small establishments serve the purpose.
For these reasons the State Government has adopted a policy of encouraging the establishment of cottage industries and ensuring their steady growth. Thus technical schools are run for training the artisans in different crafts, and co-operative societies of different artisans are encouraged. Besides, monetary grants are given to craftsmen direct through co-operative societies and advice is given in technical matters.
The important cottage industries in the district are handloom weaving, tanning and leather working; brick, tiles and pottery making; dyeing and printing; fruit juice processing; bamboo and cane working and oil-pressing. Co-operative societies of the cottage workers are formed at many places. They supervise and guide the workers and market their produce etc. The following co-operative societies have been formed so far in the district: -
Kind of Societies
Potters and bricklayers
Carpenters and blacksmiths
Dyers and Printers
Fruit Juice processors
Bamboo and cane workers
Neera anu Tadgul makers
A provision of Rs. 4.50 lakhs was made to provide training facilities in various crafts. At present, a number of schools are run for this purpose, viz., the dyeing and printing school at Achalpur, tailoring school at Chandur-Railway, carpentry, smithy and tanning schools at Paratwada, and foundry school at Amravati.
The District Industrial Co-operative Association was established at Amravati in 1959. It undertakes the marketing of the products of various industrial co-operatives, takes steps to introduce improved tools and practices among the artisans, provides the necessary credit facilities and ensures supply of raw materials to various co-operatives at reasonable rates.
Besides, financial assistance is granted through the following
agencies to the industrial co-operatives of various artisans as
well as to individual artisans:-
(i) The Central Financing Agency through the Central Co-operative Bank in the district at Amravati, Daryapur, Achalpur and Morshi.
(ii) Government under the State-Aid to Industries Act and Rules. The assistance is extended in the form of share capital, working capital, management grant or loan for construction of godowns and opening sales depots. With the formation of the Zilla Parishad in May 1962 the schemes for grant of financial assistance to small-scale and cottage industries and schemes for giving grants-in-aid and loans to individual craftsmen were transferred from the Industries and Co-operation department to the Zilla Parishad.
The Zilla Parishad in 1962-63 gave Rs. 4,996 to industrial co-operatives for management expenses, Rs. 1,000 for organisation of co-operative societies of artisans, Rs. 1,000 as loan and an equal amount as subsidy for purchase of tools and equipment.
(iii) Khadi and Village Industries Board. (iv) Small-Scale Industries Board.
(v) Handloom Board.
Khadi and Village Industries.
The Khadi and Village Industries Scheme was introduced in Amravati district in the year 1957-58, covering the following industries, viz., leather, village oil, pottery, non-edible oil, soap, fibre, hand-made paper and flaying. The Khadi and Village: Industries Board has so far made Rs. 3,29,670 available by way of loan and giants for the promotion of industries in the district included in the scheme. About 56 industrial units derived benefit from this. The various industries run under the scheme employed about 700 persons in 1961-62.
Amravati district is primarily an agricultural district where a variety of crops is grown. Thus raw materials required for running village industries are easily available e.g. groundnuts, til, linseed, cotton-seed and clay of various types suitable for the making of bricks, tiles and pottery plentifully available in the river beds. There is a thick growth of rich forest in Melghat and Morshi tahsils which provides useful forest material like timber, bamboo, hirda (myrobalan seed) grass etc. Non-edible oil-seeds like Mahua. castor, neem seeds, etc. are also available in plenty in Melghat and Morshi tahsils. Most of the forest produce and non-edible oil-seeds are marketed outside the district. Village industries thus, have a good scope in the district and can profitably make use of the material available locally and at the same time provide employment to a number of persons.
Handloom-weaving is the premier cottage industry of the district with a long tradition. The rich cotton growing district of Amravati has always been an important centre of handloom-
weaving. About 2,423 cotton looms and 288 woollen looms[Central Provinces District Gazetteers, Amravati District, Vol. A, 1911, Pages 238-239.] were
in the district at the beginning of the present century. Hand-
weaving was done in cotton, silk and wool and in a combined
thread of cotton and silk. Handloom-weaving was mainly
confined to hereditary weaving communities like Salis and
Koshtis and wool and cotton fabrics were produced by Dhan- gars and Mahars. The largest centre of cotion weaving was
and still is Ellichpur (Achalpur), Kholapur and Anjangaon
were known for silk weaving. Pure silkware was rarely woven
except to order. The throw-shuttle-country-pit looms were in
The hand-weaving industry suffered from the same factors which were responsible for the general decline of the village crafts.
The impact was, however, felt severely by the handloom industry with the development of transport and railway communications. The demand for multi-coloured and artistic fabrics especially in women's wear continued. The cotton mills started in the country mainly confined themselves in the beginning to the production of yarn which was used by the handlooms. Besides, a number of factors favoured the development of hand weaving, viz., (i) the Fiscal policy which favoured handloom by the levy of import duty on mill cloth and excise duty on Indian mill-made cloth. (There was no import duty on the yarn which was mainly used by the hand weavers.) (ii) The Swadeshi movement in the thirties which helped Indian Mills as well as handlooms by encouraging the demand for Indian cloth, and (iii) the policy aimed at replacing throw-shuttle looms by fly-shuttle looms which was pursued by the Provincial Government.
Gradually textile mills developed due to economies resulting from technical improvements and large-scale production and undertook production of saris, dhotis etc. successfully. The removal of 3½ per cent excise in 1926 further helped the mills and created a handicap for hand weavers. Import duty on the yarn which the handlooms consumed and availability of large quantities of silk yarn and cheap silk goods from outside after 1929 added to the difficulties of the handloom industry. Realising the balanced state of the industry the Government of India agreed to pay after 1933 a portion of import duty on yarn to the handloom industry as a grant. This was to be used for marketing schemes and improvement in designs. Peripatetic centres for training in hand-weaving were started and steps were taken to organise handloom-weaving on a co-operative basis.
The rising demand for textile products during the war was shared by the handloom industry with the mills to some extent.
The industry again fell on evil days as a result of the decontrol of textile goods in 1950. In 1952 the All India Handloom Board was established for the marketing of handloom
cloth. In the following year the Government of India took
further steps to help the handloom industry by levying a cess
on the mill-made goods. The revenue realised from this cess
was utilised for the progressive growth of the handloom
This has, however, touched only a fringe of the problems faced by the industry. The main problems of the handloom-weavers are the supply of suitable yarn and capital and marketing of the product to their advantage.
Handloom-weaving is commonly undertaken throughout the district. The industry, however, is found to be localised particularly at Achalpur, Daryapur, Anjangaon, Nerpingalai, Shendurjanaghat and Pusla, etc. Handloom-weaving has certain obvious advantages over the mills and powerlooms. Extremely fine material (above 120 s.) of a very delicate variety is woven more safely on the handloom because of the comparative lightness of the jerks. Handloom-weaving is also suited for cloth interwoven with gold and silver thread and cloth with multicoloured and delicate designs. Weaving of rough cloth of low counts is also more advantageously taken up by the handloom weaver as the tensile strength of the yarn is too low for powerloom.
Considering these technical advantages of hand-weaving and also the part which the industry can play in the economy of the district, the State Government has undertaken a number of schemes to help and solve the various difficulties faced by the
It is reported that about 4.688 hand looms work in the district. The occupation can be taken up by any person who has the means and the capacity. Some of the weavers in rural areas are landholders and work on looms when they are free from agricultural work. But there are families whose livelihood is entirely dependent on their looms. In 1951 there were in the district 2.031 cotton spinning, weaving and sizing establishments engaging about 6,493 persons and 44 wool spinning and weaving establishments engaging about 136 persons.
The cotton yarn used by the weavers is of different counts and is bought from the spinning mills of Nagpur, Akola, Pul-gaon and Achalpur. Colours of different variety, bleaching powder, chemicals, material for sizing the yarn etc. are the other raw materials. Chemicals are generally bought at the sales depots of the Imperial Chemical Industries at Nagpur and Amravati.
The oldest looms in the district worked with the throw shuttle sleys. These are still seen in some parts of the district and are especially used by individual artisans in villages because their mechanism is very simple. It consists of one sley, one bamboo reed, one warp beam and one cloth beam. It is fitted on four posts with a cross bar for the support of the sley and
can be conveniently worked at such a place in the house as a
veranda by day and hung up on the inside wall by night.
Shading is done through heddle's heads by the motion of the
feet. The looms are mostly made and repaired locally.
The throw-shuttle looms of the past have now been replaced
in most cases by the fly-shuttle looms due to Government initiative in the matter. The shuttle in the case of the latter is propelled by hammers placed at the end of the lathe which is strengthened for the purpose. This increases the momentum of the weaving process. Majority of the throw-shuttle and fly-shuttle looms have a pit at the back from where weaver operates the shuttle. In some cases the looms are placed on frames. This however increases the costs. In a few cases automatic or semi-automatic looms are used. This gives them some of the advantages that go with the powerloom. However, the expenses involved are higher for ordinary weavers. Addition of more parts requires frequent renewals and repairs which is not always practicable in villages.
Recently, a marked preference on the part of the artisans for powerlooms is evident. As a result, five co-operative societies, viz., two each at Achalpur and Anjangaon and one at Ner-pingalai have been given a Government loan of Rs. 3,88,848 and a subsidy of Rs. 13,814 for the erection of powerlooms. In 1962-63 35 of the 73 powerlooms thus erected by the societies were under production.
Saris, dhotis, shirtings, towels, carpets, tadaw etc. are manufactured by the handloom-weavers. Most of the cloth produced is of a coarse variety and is sold in the local market. Finer products of handlooms are costly and are thus less in demand. Carpets produced at Achalpur are a speciality and are in good demand.
The products of handloom-weavers find their way to the market through various channels. To reduce the marketing charges of the middleman, co-operative societies of handloom-weavers have been organised in the district. In 1962-63 there were 13 such societies in the district. These societies had 2,996 members in 1962-63 and a share capital of Rs. 2,46,564. These societies arrange for the sale of the products of its members. Among such societies, the Achalpur Weavers' Co-operative Society is doing commendable work with its yearly transactions amounting to over Rs. 12,00,000. For the sale of the handloom cloth the society runs a big sales depot at Amravati and a few at other places in the district. Some of the marketing depots are given Government subsidies as incentive. A rebate of 6 paise in the rupee is allowed for every sale above Rs. 2, but not exceeding Rs. 50.
Weavers, excepting only a few, do not have adequate capital resources for investment in the business. Most of them, therefore, resort to borrowing and sell their goods on retail or on wholesale basis on their own account immediately when the production is over. Government grants are, therefore, given to
the artisans through industrial co-operatives or where no co- operative society exists to individual artisans under the "State
Aid to Industries" Rules.
The Achalpur Industrial Weaving Co-operative Society, Ltd.The society was established in 1936 with a view to providing
marketing and other facilities to the hand weavers. The membership of the society in 1962 was 1,128 and its share capital, Rs. 1,24,868. The society runs a dyeing and a pattern making factory. Before its establishment, weavers of Achalpur produced coarse cloth. But the society undertook weaving of fine and artistic designs from 1953 and its products have earned a good name. The members of the society have about 820 handlooms and they are encouraged in adopting improved sleys and practices. For the marketing of cloth, the society has ten sales depots in the district. Besides, there are a number of mobile marketing centres and the goods are sold at exhibitions and fairs in the district and at Nagpur. During the period from 1953 to 1962, the society produced cloth worth Rs. 42, 320, 23 and its sales amounted to Rs. 59,18,295. The main products for sale are saris 7.29 and 8.19 m. (8 to 9 yds.), dhoti, Khadi cloth, towels, table cloth, daris, tadaw etc. The society borrowed Rs. 4,78,000 from a bank. Government also granted loans of Rs. 1,500 to a dyeing factory, Rs. 98,200 to powerlooms and Rs. 30,500 to a housing society for the use of its weaver members.
Wool-weaving in the district has been a hereditary occupation of the Dhangars. In 1911 about 288 woollen looms were working in Amravati district. The census of 1951 records 44 woollen spinning and weaving establishments operating in the district and engaging about 136 persons. Most of these were concentrated in Morshi and Chandur Railway tahsils.
The industry mostly produced coarse country blankets. The principal communities engaged in this occupation are the Dhangars and the Mahars. Fine and mill-made blankets have reduced the demand to some extent for the indigenous products This explains the fall in the number of wool weaving establishments. However, the demand in the rural areas of the district has enabled the industry to survive.
The process of blanket weaving is simple. Wool is spun into threads. Before it is woven, the thread is cut and sorted to the required length and then stretched. Dried tamarind seeds are boiled in water and the paste, thus made, is applied to the worsted thread to make it smooth and straight. Blankets about 10 feet (3.050 meters) long and 3 feet (0.915 meters) broad are then woven on handlooms.
Of the total area of the district about 40468.600 hectares (one lakh acres) are under oil-seeds. The main oil-seeds grown in the district are groundnut, sesamum, linseed etc. The ready supply
1. Amravati District Gazetteers, Vol. A, 1911, P. 238.
of oil-seeds has enabled the oil-pressing industry to flourish. The industry is foremost among the cottage industries of the
district handed down from the past. There were 558 oil presses
working in the district in 1911[Amravati District Gazetteers, Vol. A, 1911, P. 238.] Formerly, pressing was
followed by the Teli community. But now it has become a common occupation for the seed-growers. The ghanis gave a low yield and the oil extracted is not completely pure. During the course of time, therefore, oil mills came to be established. In 1962 there were 12 oil mills as against one oil mill at the beginning of the century. The number of ghanis correspondingly went down.
In 1951,[1951 Census figures.] there were 74 establishments of the oil-pressers, engaging about 231 persons. Oil ghanis are found throughout the district but mostly at Daryapur, Chandur Railway, Nerpingalai, Khopala, Katpur, Rajurwadi, Shirkhed, Morshi and Walgaon.
Oil is extracted from two kinds of seeds, viz.: (i) edible oil-seeds like groundnut, (Til) sesamum, safflower etc., and (ii) non-edible oil-seeds like Karanja, cotton seed, etc. Edible oil is chiefly sold for local consumption. Non-edible oil is used for making soap and in other manufactures. It is sent to Amravati, Nagpur and other places. Oilcake is utilised as cattle feed and is also a good manure.
The equipment for oil-pressing consists of the traditional village oil ghani run by bullocks. In some cases nutan oil ghanis have been installed. The artisans, however, show a marked preference for the baby-expellers. It is observed that pouring hot water on the seeds every fifteen minutes while crushing gives a better yield.
About nine kilograms of groundnut yield on an average about three kilograms of oil and six kilograms of oilcake. Eight kilograms of jawas yield on an average 2.25 kilograms of oil and 6 kilograms of oilcake. Both men and women are engaged in oil-pressing, men being paid at Rs. 2 per day and women a little less. Oil-pressing is a seasonal industry working from October to May. During monsoon the artisans are left without employment and often work on the fields.
The cost of extracting oil with the help of oil ghanis is much higher than that of extracting the oil in the oil mills. The village oil industry, therefore, faces grave competition from the oil mills. To mitigate the difficulties faced by the cottage industry, the State Government has organised co-operative societies of the artisans. There were 10 societies of the oil-pressers in the. district with a membership of 155, the working capital of Rs. 42,036 and paid-up capital of Rs. 21,113 in 1963. However, only three of these are working at present. These societies are located at Chandur Railway, Morshi and Amravati
and function under the Khadi and Village Industries Board.
The oilmen at Chandur Railway were given a Government loan
of Rs. 3,000 in 1962-63. Similarly the oil-pressing units located
at Khopadi, Katpur and Rajurwadi in Morshi area were each
given a grant of Rs. 2,100 through the Board. The oilmen's co-operative society and two other units at Amravati were also
Lack of adequate capital for stocking oil-seeds during the season, old and outmoded machinery and equipment, absence of adequate facilities for storing and marketing the product are the main difficulties experienced by the village oilmen. Formation of oilmen's co-operative societies would go a long way in solving these difficulties by providing for the training and marketing facilities and securing financial assistance from the Government.
Tanning is followed as a hereditary occupation by dhors and Tanning chambhars. The industry is chiefly located in Achalpur, Morshi, Chandur Railway and Amravati tahsils of the district. Thugaon in Bhatkuli is famous for tanning.
The process of tanning is accomplished by the indigenous method. Cattle hides are dipped in lime water for a few hours to separate the hair, the fat and the fleshy part from them. The tanners use a knife (rapi) for skinning the hide and removing these elements. They are then washed and soaked in a solution of babhul bark and myrobalan mixed in water. To tan the hide thoroughly the soaking is repeated thrice. The hide is formed into a bag and hung up filled with a stronger solution of babhul bark and myrobalan water and left thus for seven days. Then it is washed and dried.
Raw hides, lime, hirda (myrobalan) and babhul bark are the chief requirements of a tanner. Babhul bark is found in plenty in the forests of the district. Tools and equipment necessary for tanning consist of lime and tanning pits, wooden mallets, rapis, aris, barrels etc.
The age-old tanning process adopted by the artisans in the district hardly enables their product to compete with the leather tanned at the tanning industries, which is of a softer variety and durable. The indigenous leather, however, is considered good especially for making rough foot-wear. Most of the leather tanned in the district is used by the local leather-working establishments.
Procurement of the working capital is the main difficulty experienced by the tanners. A major portion of the expenditure is incurred in the purchase of raw hides which are bought at about Rs. 200 per quintal. Middlemen generally advance the capital which they recover from the price paid for the tanned hide they purchase from the artisans.
To help the artisans to overcome these obstacles in securing finance and with a view to providing them with marketing
facilities, 12 co-operative societies of tanners and leather workers
were organised in the district. The membership of these
societies in 1962-63 was 338 and the share capital Rs. 20,349.
There is a flaying and tanning centre at Nawasari circle in Amravati tahsil. There is a proposal for the establishment of chrome leather manufacturing unit in the district.
Leather-working is one of the old cottage industries of
Armavati district. According to the 1961 census, leather-working engaged 1,506 persons in Amravati district. In 1962 about 100 families in Achalpur were engaged in leather-working. The industry is mostly concentrated in Daryapur, Achalpur and Chandur Railway tahsils. It produces the footwear in common use like chappals, shoes, etc., buckets for drawing water from wells, leather straps and belts and other goods required by the agriculturist or the artisan. In towns the leather workers also prepare leather bags, purses, etc.
The tools commonly used for leather-working are the sewing machine, rapis, leather cutters, hammer, wooden block, nails etc. The tools used and the process followed are age-old and the hereditary training still predominates. The raw materials chiefly consist of tanned and dyed leather, rubber soles, polish etc. Tanned leather is procured from the district and is supplied by the local tanning industry. The artisans face severe competition from the footwear companies whose products are of a superior design and finish. In rural areas artisans work as a family unit. In urban areas they are in the employment of big establishments. Some of them combine tanning with leather working.
In 1963 there were in the district 12 co-operative societies of tanners and leather workers with a membership of 338 and a share capital of Rs. 20,340. These societies produced in that year footwear valued at Rs. 21,186.
Pottery making is commonly followed throughout the district.
The census of 1951 enumerated 336 establishments of the potters engaging about 1,001 artisans in the district. The 1961 census gives the number of persons engaged in this occupation as 2,078 which includes persons engaged in related clay formers. Potters are mainly concentrated in areas near the river banks in Dharni, Daryapur, Achalpur, Chandur Railway and Amravati tahsils, as the clay found in the river beds serves as an excellent raw material for pottery as well as for bricklaying. Some of the establishments are found to combine pottery with brick making.
The potter's equipment mainly consists of the traditional potter's wheel, moulds, pickaxes, ghamelas, and kiln to bake the pots. Horse dung, clay and coal ash are the raw materials required. Fallen dry leaves of banyan and pimpal are used for baking. The village potter makes the traditional village pottery like gadgis, madakis, ranjan (round earthen pots) and thalis (dishes). The making of these articles involves a curious process.
There is the potter's wheel which rotates to give the
proper shape for these articles with the helping hand of the
potter synchronising with the movements of the wheel. The pots are dried in the sun and then baked in the kiln to make them perfect. They are then glazed and polished. At some places the potters make idols of Goddess Gauri and God Ganesh during Ganapati festival and sugadi (small round clay pots) during Makarsankrant. Some of them also make earthen toys.
The products of the industry are delicate and easily damaged. The potters always face the difficulty of transporting them to the market places. Lack of adequate capital resources and storing facilities and the age-old technique of production are the characteristic features of this industry. And yet the industry is nourishing because the potters wheel produces articles which could not be replaced easily by the machine-made product.
To enable the potters to overcome the difficulties faced by them the State Government has organised co-operative societies of the potters. Seventeen potters' and bricklayers' societies have so far been formed in the district.
Brick-laying and Tiles.
According to the 1951 census there were 128 brick-laying and tile-making establishments in the district employing about 887 persons. These were mainly concentrated at Daryapur, Chandur, Dhamangaon, Talegaon, Badnera, Yawali, Wadgaon, Wadali and Morshi. This was mainly due to the availability of clay in the river beds in these areas. According to 1961 census the total number of persons engaged in this occupation was 1,232 in which is also included the number of plasterers and masons.
The equipment required for brick-laying and tile-making consists of wooden moulds, ghamelas, pickaxes, furnace etc. All these can be procured locally. Clay, coal ash, coal and water constitute the raw material. A perfect mixing of clay, coal ash and water is done and the mixture is then laid into bricks and tiles with the aid of the moulds. These are then dried in the sun. Baking in the furnace hardens the bricks and makes them durable.
The price of bricks varies with the season and tempo of building activity. It generally ranges between Rs. 30 and Rs. 40 per thousand bricks and averages to about Rs. 20 per thousand tiles. Most of the production is sold in the local markets. Brick-laying is a seasonal industry. During the monsoon, the artisans are idle and hence work in the fields.
In 1963, the district had seven bricklayers' co-operative societies, four in Amravati tahsil and one each in Morshi, Chandur Railway and Daryapur tahsils. The societies arrange for the sale of the products of its members and advance loans to them. However, quite a large number of artisans still remain out of the co-operative fold.
Considering the availability of clay in the river beds of the district, brick-laying and tiles-making industry has good scope.
The increasing building activity of the recent times is bound to provide good demand for the products of this industry.
Basket-making is a hereditary occupation of the burud community. The census of 1951 enumerates 433 establishments
of basket-makers engaging about 1,124 persons. They make
supas (winnowing fans) and topalis, duradis, rovalis and
Karandis. The 1961 census gives the figure of persons engaged
in this occupation as 918 within which other related workers are
Bamboos which grow in abundance in the forests of the
district are mainly used for making these articles. The tools
required are a sickle (koyata), and knife, which the artisans
purchase without any difficulty.
Bamboo-strips are taken out with a sickle and wetted. Moistening the strip makes the weaving of the baskets easy. The products are mostly sold locally. There are no co-operative societies of these artisans.
Blacksmithy is a common calling in the district. Every
village has its blacksmith who produces and repairs agricultural implements and domestic articles. It was the hereditary occupation of the lohars. In rural areas the occupation is still with the hereditary artisans. In urban areas, however, it is open to any one trained in the art of blacksmithy.
The census of 1951 reported 151 establishments of blacksmiths engaging 333 persons in the district and Achalpur, Chandur Railway, Dhamangaon, Talegaon, Daryapur, Amravati block area and Dharni as the important centres of blacksmithy. According to 1961 census 1,191 persons were engaged in this occupation which also included the number of hammersmiths and forgeman.
The artisans make various agricultural implements like spades, axes, furrows, sickles, hoes, etc., and domestic articles like flat pans, frying pans, prongs etc.
Tools required are anvil, hammer, pincers, bellows, chisel, cutters and nails. Each artisan usually possesses a set of such tools.
The iron sheets from which these articles are made are brought from outside. Middlemen often supply the artisan with capital necessary for buying iron sheets and other accessories and purchase their products in lieu of repayment. This sometimes reduces the artisans to the status of ordinary wage earners carrying on repair work and production work on piece rate basis as per the orders received through their financiers.
With a view to rendering assistance to the artisans, co-operative societies of blacksmiths have been organised in the district. Two co-operative societies of blacksmiths function in Chandur tahsil and one of blacksmiths and carpenters in Amravati tahsil.
The artisans in Chandur Railway tahsil were given Government
assistance of Rs. 1,000. The co-operative societies arrange for
the marketing of the products of its members and provide them
finance. A centre for training in blacksmithy has been opened
The census of 1951 reported 233 carpenters' establishments in the district engaging 367 persons. The number of persons engaged in this occupation was 2,841 in 1961. It also includes joiners and pattern makers. Every large village has one or two families of carpenters known as sutars. Formerly these artisans worked on baluta system, and a share in the agricultural produce was given to them for their services. The baluta system has now almost disappeared and the artisans are paid in cash. The main centres where carpenters are found in large numbers are Achalpur, Daryapur, Chandur, Dhamangaon, Guikhed, Morshi and Dharni.
Carpenters make and repair furniture of daily use, viz., chairs, cupboards, benches, cradles and agricultural tools, handlooms and warping frames required for the looms. Teak wood grows in the forests of the district and is used for this work. Other varieties such as babhul and khair (Acacia Catechu) are also used. A carpenter's tools are saw, plaining machine, foot rule, hammer, nails, screws, chisel etc.
Lack of capital for the purchase of wood and adequate training facilities are the main difficulties experienced by the cottage workers. Middlemen or moneylenders often advance capital. Some of the artisans are engaged by building contractors and karkhandars on wage basis. The wage depends upon their skill and the type of the work involved.
Four co-operative societies of the artisans have been formed, one each at Dharni, Daryapur, Chandur Railway and Morshi. These societies arrange for the marketing of the products of their members. The artisans are also granted Government assistance through the co-operative societies. A training centre in carpentry has been organised at Paratwada. With the increasing tempo of the building activity there has been an increase in the demand for the services of this class of artisans along with that of blacksmiths and bricklayers. The proposed rural industrial estate at Achalpur is expected to provide carpenters in the tahsil with ample opportunities.
Processing of Fruits.
Processing of fruits is of recent origin and is still in its infancy
in the district. The Shendurjana Rasotpadak Sahakari Society
is the only industrial undertaking doing the processing. It had in 1961 a share capital of Rs. 20,000. The State Government supplied working capital amounting to Rs. 50,000 in 1960. Besides, a juice extracting machine was given to the society through the Industries Office at Nagpur and the services of the Government Fruit Preservation Officer were also loaned to the society.
The society has at present equipment for fruit-juice making only. In I96I-62 it extracted juice valued at Rs. 23,885. Considering, however, the large production of citrus fruits, bananas etc.
fruit-juice making and canning have ample scope.