B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

. (page 84 of 98)
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In 1872 the Planters' Association raised a question in regard to the
vaHdity of their title-deeds, and were informed by the Government of
India, that " in the event of the transfer of the administration of the
State of Mysore to Native authority, a guarantee will previously be
obtained from tlie Native Government that all leases of land for the
purpose of coffee cultivation to British subjects, whether European or
Native, granted under British Administration, will be scrupulously
respected as far as the terms of the lease provide, and that no regula-
tion shall be introduced prejudicial to the interests of parties holding
leases at the period of the transfer."

Under miscellaneous land revenue, the principal item was Village
Amrayi or fruit-trees, which generally yielded from | to over i lakh of

Forests. — The great source of revenue under Forests is the sale ot
sandal-wood, for which Mysore has long been celebrated, and which
appears from a very early period to have been, as now, a State
monopoly ; next to this, the sale of timber yields the largest amount.
Sandal-wood does not appear as a separate source of revenue in the
accounts till the year 1833-4, when it realized Rs. 30,000, and in
1835-6 the unprecedented sum of Rs. 3,16,000. The annual realiza-
tions show considerable fluctuations, varying probably with the supply
and the demand. During the first ten years, up to 184 1-2, the receipts
aggregated 13I lakhs, during the next ten years i6| lakhs, and in the
next, 17 lakhs, up to the year 186 1-2. The sale of timber is not shown
in the accounts until the year 185 7-8.

In 1863-4 the Forest Conservancy Department was introduced, and
its control was gradually extended over tracts which until 1872 were
under the management of the ordinary Revenue establishments. The
financial results attained before and since the introduction of the new
system of Forest Conservancy into Mysore were as follows : —


Receipts, annual Charges, | Surplus,
average. annual average. 1 annual average.

1833-4 to 1842-3 Rs.
1S43-4 to 1852-3
1853-4 to 1862-3
1863-4 to 1872-3
1873-4 to 1880-1









The maximum was reached in 18S0-1, when the gross receipts
nearly touched 7 lakhs, and the surplus exceeded 4^ lakhs. These
results were principally due to the sales of sandal-wood, which realized


Rs. 5,18,000, the largest sum ever attained in one year. The quantity
sold was 1,443 tons, at an average price of Rs. 387 per ton.

Some arrangements for the Conservancy of Forests seem to have
been made in 1857, but before the formation of the Forest Department
in 1863, the forests of the three Divisions were worked by the Commis-
sioners on various systems. The only general rule was, one permitting
a ryot requiring any wood but teak or sandal to fell it on payment
of a seigniorage of R. i per cart-load. In Ashtagram, though a wood-
yard had been established, traders were allowed to remove teak
from the forests on a stump fee of 8 annas per tree, a most ruinous

The first operation of the Department, after examining the forests,
was to prepare two lists of reserved trees. The first included fifteen
kinds, declared to be absolutely the property of Government, to fell
wliich, wherever growing, either ryot or trader had to obtain a license
on payment of certain fixed rates. The second list contained twenty-
seven kinds of trees, reserved from the trader but free to the ryot for
his own use, provided they grew within his own taluq. All kinds of
trees not named in these two lists were free to ryots, and might be
felled by traders, on payment of R. i a cart-load.

In 1869 new rules were brought into operation providing for the
formation of State and District Forests. The first were placed under
the sole management of the Forest Department, while the last were left
under the Revenue authorities, with the proviso that all reserved trees
— the number of which was now reduced to nine — growing on Govern-
ment land, could be sold only by the Forest Department. Ryots were
allowed unreserved wood and bamboos free of duty, for agricultural
purposes, but paid a duty of R. i per cart-load for wood for house-
building purposes. Traders were required to pay for trees of all kinds.

Subsequently it was found that the District authorities had not
sufficient establishment to protect the Forests under their nominal
charge, and that great waste had resulted from empowering shekdars to
grant licenses. During 187 1-2, therefore, this power was withdrawn
from both Amildars and shekdars preparatory to the introduction of
the District Forest scheme, by 1875-6 everywhere established, the
main feature of which was the abolition of the license system and the
supply of wood from depots to all comers. Ryots paying land-rent
were granted an absolute right over all trees growing on their holdings,
provided the trees were planted by their ancestors or by themselves,
or by former holders of the land from whom the right of occupation
had been bought by the present incumbent.

In relation to the new Revenue Settlement, it was decided that the

z z 2


Forest Depcartnient should be allowed one year in which to fell alt
reserved trees on holdings made over on assessment to private
individuals. After the lapse of a year, all such trees left unremoved by
the Department, to fall, with the exception of sandal-wood, to the land-
holder. The whole tendency, in short, of Forest legislation was to-
confer wider privileges on the holders of land and inamdars, and to
define and enforce the rights of Government in all forests and over all
trees not belonging, under certain fixed rules, to private individuals.

In 1878-9 the Forest Department was abolished as a separate
Department, and the Conservator was transferred elsewhere. With
three trained Forest officers for the great forests in the West, and for
plantations, the control of the forests was made over to the District
Revenue officers.

There were thirty-three State or reserved, and twenty-two District or
unreserved forests in 1881, covering areas respectively of about 454
and 189 square miles, or altogether 643 square miles. Plantations to-
the number of thirty, for the growth of teak, timber, sandal, and fuel,
were formed in different parts, occupying an aggregate of 4,708 acres.
Village topes numbered 16,293, standing on 14,376 acres, and con-
taining 811,306 trees ; while 3,750 miles of public road had been planted
with trees on both sides, at distances varying from 1 2 to 60 feet.

Abkari. — This branch of revenue was formerly known in Mysore-
under the name of Panch Bab, or " the five items," namely, toddy,
arrack, ganja, betel-leaf and tobacco. The two last were transferred,,
the former in 1838-9, and the latter in 1850-1, to the head of Sayar.
Up to 1862 the manufacture of toddy, arrack, and ganja was under the-
direct management of Government. In that year the Abkari revenue,,
including these three items, was temporarily farmed to contractors,
prior to the introduction of the Sadar Distillery system, which came-
into operation in 1863-4; but it was not till 1865-6 that steps could
be taken to carry its principles fully into effect in the removal of all
obstructions to open competition in the manufacture of spirits.

The system referred to provides for the erection of a large enclosure,
styled a Sadar Distillery, at the head-quarlers of each District (and in.
other places, if the consumption requires it), in which all country
spirits consumed in the District must be manufactured. Any person,
duly licensed may erect a still, at his own expense, within the enclosure,,
and distil as much liquor as he pleases, removing it himself, or selling,
it to the licensed vendors, on the sole condition that before removal
the excise duty must be paid, and the liquor reduced to the authorized-
strength, the officers of Government confining themselves to taking-
such precautions as will insure no liquor being passed out of the:



distillery except on these conditions, and having nothing to do with
the manufacture, or the price at which the produce is sold.

The object was to secure for the consumer a superior quality of
spirit, of standard strength, tested at the Government distilleries within
the precincts of which it is manufactured, and to which it pays a still-
head duty before removal. A restricted system of licenses for the
sale of the liquor, combined with regulations for the supervision of
the vendors, also tended to check the promiscuous establishment of
shops. The sale of fermented toddy, the liquor commonly used by
the lower classes, was also subject to the license regulations. But only
the arrack portion of the Abkari revenue was worked under the Sadar
Distillery system. The items of toddy and ganja were farmed out to

In 1874 a general revision was made of the rates of still-head duty,
which varied in different parts from 14 annas to Rs. 3, and they were
raised to Rs. 2 per gallon throughout the Province, excepting in the
towns of Bangalore and Mysore, in which the rates were fixed at Rs. 3
and 2 1 respectively. The strength of the liquor to be issued from the
distilleries was fixed at 19° below proof. But in 1875 a special arrange-
ment for 3 years was made for the Mysore District with the Ashtagram
Sugar Works at Palhalli, by which the Company contracted to manu-
facture liquor at 20° under proof and sell it to Government at 13 annas
per gallon. The liquor was sold to vendors on the spot at Rs. 4 per
gallon when intended for consumption in the town of Mysore, and at
Rs. 3^ for consumption elsewhere within the District. The retail
■vendors were bound to sell to the public within the town of Mysore at
Rs. 5 per gallon, and beyond the town at Rs. 4^.

The following figures will show the immediate operation of the new
rules on the sale and consumption of arrack : in the following years the
famine greatly reduced all Abkari revenue :■ —

No. of shops.



No. of



Amount of
still-head duty.









Ks. 4,35,755




• License fees in








Kangalore transferred
lo Municiiiaiily.








t System of putting








up retail shops lo

auction discontinued.

^ Inamdars whose sanads included the right, received the revenue from arrack
licenses in their inam villages.


In 1878-9 the Sadar Distillery system was discontinued in the
Nandidroog Division, the exclusive right of manufacturing and selling
arrack being given out on contract for 3 years.

The brewing of beer, at 3 breweries in operation in Bangalore,
rapidly increased. A still-head duty of 2 annas a gallon was imposed
on it in 1873-4, and the number of gallons brewed rose from 58,000 in
that year to 140,000 in 1875-6, but the production afterwards fell off
considerably. From April 1876 the still-head duty was raised to
4 annas per gallon, but from March 1879 it was again reduced to_
2 annas. ■

Toddy in this Province is extracted from date-trees, which grow
wild throughout the country, and in a few places from cocoanut and
sago-palm trees. All date-trees growing on Government or ryotwari
lands, whether occupied or unoccupied, are regarded as at the disposal
of Government for Abkari purposes ; but trees growing on occupied
Government lands in the surveyed taluqs, and those in inam and
kayamgutta villages the toddy revenue of which is granted to the
holders by their sanads, are regarded as the property of the land-
holder, and are therefore excluded from the contractor's lease. The
exclusive right of drawing and vending the toddy was rented out to the
contractors for a term, which varied in the different Divisions. The
area over which such right might be exercised varied from one taluq to a
District, according to the circumstances of the District and means of
the contractor. Till 1872 the farming of the toddy was leased out
annually in Nandidroog and Ashtagram, and for five years in Nagar,
but owing to the inconvenience of frequently changing contractors, the
latter period was adopted in all. Date reserves are being formed
in each District on waste or unoccupied lands, demarcated for the
purpose as the survey progresses. This measure is necessary to guard
against the possible inconvenience of a general destruction of date-trees
on their kandayam lands by the ryots. No grant of land for cultivation
is made within the limits of such reserves.

The revenue derived from a tax on spirituous liquors, ganja and
toddy, appears from the accounts of 1 799-1800, to have produced
Kanthiraya pagodas 28,800, or Rs. 84,000 in that year, and Kanthiraya
pagodas 44,290, or Rs. 1,29,179 in 1802-3. The receipts are not
distinctly shown in the earlier years of British Administration, but in
the accounts of 1836-7, the Abkari revenue is entered at 2^ lakhs of
rupees, and it gradually rose, producing lof lakhs in 1872-3. The
next two years it was \\\ lakhs, and in 1875-6 reached i2§ lakhs.
Owing to the famine it then diminished every year till in 1879-80 it was
only 8.64 lakhs. In 1S80-1 it began to revive and stood at 10.67 lakhs.


Sdyar or Cusioms. — The Sayar system in Mysore under the former
Governments has already been fully described, and the mode in which
it was dealt with by the British Administration down to 1854.

In the year i860 only 24 articles were made subject lo sayar taxes,
the former rates of duty as prescribed in the old prahar patti being
entirely altered. In 1864 the number was further reduced, and the
export and import duties on all articles, except areca-nut, coffee, and
tobacco, between the Province of Mysore and the surrounding districts
of Her Majesty's Territory were entirely and absolutely relinquished,
with a view to stimulate industry and to foster the trade of the country;
Sayar being levied only on the following articles, produced within the
Province and intended for home consumption : — •

(i) Areca-nut, 6 annas to R. i.| per maund of aSlbs. ; (2) Tobacco, R. i
to 3I per maund of 24lbs. ; (3) Cocoanut, dry, 7 ^ annas per maund ; (4)
Cocoanut, fresh, 8 annas per 100 ; (5) Cardamoms, Rs. 2 per maund ; (6)
Pepper, 4 annas per maund ; (7) Betel-leaves, i to 2 pie per bundle of 100
leaves ; (8) Piece-goods, 5 per cent, ad valorem ; (9) Opium, 20 per cent, ad
valorem. Of these, areca-nut, tobacco, pepper, cardamoms and opium were
liable to the duty both when imported and when exported.

In 1875 the duty on piece-goods of local manufacture was abolished
permanently, and that on pepper temporarily. The excise duty on
areca-nut and on tobacco, assorted with or without stalks, was fixed
at a uniform rate of 12 annas per maund, and the duty on tobacco
stalks abolished. The rate for betel-leaves was fixed at i pie per

Sayar duties appeared in the accounts of 1 799-1800 at the respect-
able sum of Kanthiraya pagodas 2,26,000 or Rs. 6,59,166, and in
those of 1802-3 Kanthiraya pagodas 2,57,000 or Rs. 7,49,583. They
rose to a sum of Rs. 10,45,000 in the year 1846-7. The bulk of the
numerous petty taxes which were either abolished or modified
between the years 1831 and 1854 were classed in the accounts as
Sayar. It has been seen that the gross annual amount thus remitted
was I of lakhs. But we still find that the Sayar collections, which had
never exceeded \o\ lakhs in any one year during the existence of
those taxes, were not seriously diminished after their removal. On the
contrary, the Sayar receipts amounted to 9^ lakhs annually in the
years 1856-7 and 1S59-60, to iotj lakhs in the next year, and to \\\
in 1861-2. In 1862-3 they produced Rs. 10,46,000 only, owing to an
unfavourable season for the supari and tobacco crops. In the following
year they again reached Rs. 11,33,000. With the customs duties
abrogated in 1864, a vast horde of petty customs establishments,
numbering 1,800 men on trifling stipends, were dis[)ensed with,


reducing the cost of collection from i lakh to about Ks. 40,000
annually. Consequent on these measures, Sayar being levied as an
excise on only eight articles of home produce, the Sayar revenue, as
may have been expected, fell to Rs. 8,88,000 in 1865-6, and to
7 lakhs in 1867-8. It, however, gradually revived, and amounted to
7 J lakhs in 187 1-2, and to more than 9^ in 1872-3. Owing to
unfavourable seasons, it fell a little below this in the next year, and in
1874-5 to 8 J lakhs. The abolition and reduction of duties in that
year still further reduced the Sayar collections, which for 1875-6 stood
at a little below 6| lakhs. To this total areca-nut contributed 4-2 lakhs
and tobacco nearly a lakh.

After this the collections fell every year, till in 1880-1 they amounted
to less than 3I lakhs. This was due to the policy of Government in
gradually abolishing the duties with a view to benefiting the people.
Those on piece-goods and pepper were taken off in 1875-6 and that
on opium transferred to Abkari. In 1879-80 the Sayar duties were
virtually abolished as a State tax. In their stead octroi collections
were authorized in municipal towns, a moiety being credited to the
State and the other moiety being retained by the municipalities which
made the collections.

Mohatarfa or Assessed Taxes. — Under the former Governments of
Mysore, various taxes were levied on castes and professions, besides
taxes on houses, looms, shops, and oil-mills, and included under the
general head of Mohatarfa. In the year i860 a general revision of the
Mohatarfa taxes took place, when most of them were abolished, and
five were retained, viz., a tax on houses, on loom.s, on shops, on oil-
mills, and on ploughs. A tax on carts was introduced in 1870. In the
year 187 1 the plough-tax was abolished, being superseded by the local
cess, Mohatarfa was then levied only on the remaining items. These
taxes did not now directly touch the ryot, but were confined to other
classes. Special exemptions from house-tax were, however, accorded
to Brahmans, Musalmans and certain officials, in accordance with
ancient usage.

From 1S40 up to the year 1854-5 the receipts amounted to 6|
lakhs per annum, but during that period they included some items
afterwards classed under other heads of accounts, and several taxes
which no longer exist. After the abolition of these, the collections
fluctuated between 4 and 5 lakhs from the year 1856-7 to 1861-2,
■when they amounted to Rs. 4,79,000. In 1S62-3 they declined still
further, to Rs. 3,52,000. In 1 87 2-3 they were Rs. 3,22,000, exclusive
of the cart-tax, which was levied in 1870. The decline was partly
attributable to the alienation, for municipal purposes, of the Mohatarfa

SALT 713

taxes levied in the towns. The receipts, which stood at over 2i\ lakhs,
fell in 1878-9 to 2 J, and in 1S80-1 were 2\ lakhs. The famine
caused a general desertion of houses and looms, and even the
dismantling of many to obtain food. But in 1879-80 the items were
revised in Municipal towns in order to reduce to one item the separate
levy made for Government and for municipal purposes. The rates vary
from As. 8 to Rs. 12 per annum on each house, Rs. 2 to Rs. 30 per
shop, Rs. I to Rs. 8 per loom, Rs. 3 to Rs. 20 per oil-mill, Rs. 2 per
cart owned by the non-agricultural classes.

The following are details of the amounts realized in 1 880-1 : —

In Villages.













Total Rs.


Moiety from


Municipal towns.












44,228 2,52,826

Certain classes, who from time immemorial have enjoyed immunity
from taxation, were exempted from payment of the house-tax, except in
municipal towns, where they were required to pay the municipal tax
like other people. The number of houses before the famine was
1,027,268, of which the number claiming exemption was 890,000. Of
these 640,000 belonged to the agricultural classes, 150,000 to Brah-
mans, Musalmans and Rajbindes, 46,000 to headmen of towns and
villages, and the remainder were houses which paid the shop, loom, or
oil-mill tax. There were 28,379 shops, 39,014 looms, 3,300 oil-mills,
and 14,679 carts. Of the taxable houses only 17 were terraced,
15,000 were tiled, 25,000 mud-roofed, and the rest thatched.

Salt. — The revenue under this head was derived from fees levied on
pans for the manufacture of earth-salt. This article was consumed by
some of the poorer classes of inhabitants throughout Mysore, and by
most of the people in Chitaldroog District. It is also given to cattle.
But the bulk of the people consume the marine salt imported from
the sea-coast of the Madras Presidency. In 1873-4 the manufacture
of earth-salt within five miles of the frontier, and the exportation of the
article to Her Majesty's territories, were prohibited. The number of
pans in 1880-1 was 2,812. In this year the farming-out of the manu-
facture was abandoned in favour of the issue of licenses for each pan

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 84 of 98)