these famines, besides improvements to communications„ large numbers
of tanks were constructed and repaired. In 1902 there was again a
very poor rice crop and some local relief was given, tank works also
being undertaken by the Irrigation department.
The Deputy-Commissioner usually has a staff of three Assistant or
Extra-Assistant Commissioners. For administrative purposes the
District is divided into three tahsils, each of which Administration.
has a tahsilddr and a naib-tahsilddr. The Forest
officer is generally a member of the Provincial service. The executive
Engineer of the Bhandâra Public Works division, comprising Bhandâra
and Bâlâghât Districts, is stationed at :Bhandâra town.
The civil judicial staff consists of a District and a Subordinate Judge,
and a Munsif at each tahsil. The Divisional and Sessions Judge of
the Ndgpur Division has jurisdiction in Bhandâra. There are benches
of honorary magistrates at Bhandâra town, Râmpaili, and Amgaon.
Suits brought for the use of water for irrigation are a noticeable feature
of the civil litigation. Heinous crimes are somewhat numerous,
murders committed with an axe being a comparatively common offence.
Cattle-thefts also are frequent.
Owing to large changes in the area of the District, the old figures
of the revenue demand cannot usefully be compared with the present
ones. Under Mardthd administration short-term settlements were the
rule. The farm of a certain area was given to an official called a
mdmlatddr, generally a court favourite, who made himself responsible
for the revenue. Each village had a pdtel or headman, who acted as
its representative and engaged for the revenue demand, which rose and
fell according to the circumstances of the year. The demand was
distributed over the fields of the village, each of which had a number
representing its proportionate value. The lRel had no proprietary
right, but his office was generally hereditary, descending not necessarily
to the eldest son, but to the most capable member of the family. The
tenants also had no legal status, but were seldom ejected so long as
they paid their rents, more especially as the land available was in
excess of the number of cultivators to till it. The result of the system
was, however, that the nidnilaiddrs, who were usually Mardthâ Brâh-
mans, managed to get a large number of villages into their own hands
and those of their relations ; and when proprietary rights were conferred
by the British Government, they thus became hereditary landowners.
After the acquisition of the District in 1853, short-term settlements
were continued for a few years. Preparations for the first regular
survey were commenced in 1858, and a thirty years' settlement was
completed in 1867, the demand then fixed being 4*57 lakhs on the
area now constituting Bhandâra. During the currency of this settle-
ment the District prospered, the price of agricultural produce rose