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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 11, p. 158.


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158 DARBHANGA DISTRICT
the northern outworks being purchased by the present Maharaja of
Darbhanga. He abandoned the cultivation of indigo about three years
ago ; and the fall in the price of the dye, due to the competition of
artificial substitutes, has caused many other factories to abandon or
contract. very greatly the area under indigo. The Settlement officer in
1903 enumerated 28 factories with 36 outworks in the District. In
1903-4 the area under indigo had fallen to 34,ooo acres, of which the
greater part lay within the Samastipur subdivision; and in 1904
the number of factories had decreased to 24 with 27 outworks. The
chief feature of the industry in this District, as compared with the other
indigo-growing tracts in North Bihar, is the large area cultivated direct
by the factories themselves, amounting in the Samastipur subdivision
to no less than 94 per cent. of the total area under indigo. The plant,
when cut, is fermented in masonry vats and oxidized either by beating
or by currents of steam. The dye thus precipitated is boiled and dried
into cakes. In 1903-4 the out-turn of indigo was 7,015 maunds,
valued at 9-12 lakhs. Of late years, owing to the fall in the value of
indigo, the factories have taken to the growing of ordinary crops,=and
this tendency is particularly marked in the Dalsingh Sarai Mixa, where
the results have been highly successful. The sugar industry is impor-
tant . in the Madhubani subdivision, where the out-turn of 30 factories
in 1904 was valued at 2-71 lakhs.
The principal exports are rice, indigo, gram, pulses, linseed, mustard
seed, saltpetre, tobacco, hides, ghi, and timber; and the principal
imports are rice and other food-grains, salt, kerosene oil, gunny-bags,
coal and. coke, European cotton piece-goods, and raw cotton. Gram,
pulses, and oilseeds are chiefly sent to Calcutta, and rice and other
food-grains to Saran and Muzaffarpur. The imports of food-grains
come for the most part from Bhagalpur and Nepal, coal and coke from
Burdwary kerosene oil from the Twenty-four Parganas, and salt and
piece-goods from Calcutta. The principal marts are DARBHANGA
TOWN, SAMASTIPUR, MADHUBANI, RUSERA, Pusa, Kamtaul, Dalsingh
Sarai, NARAHIA (for the Nepalese grain traffic), and JHANJHARPUR.
The chief trading castes are Agarwals, Barnawars, Kasarwanis, Kath-
banias, Khattris, and Sindurias. Most of the trade with Calcutta
and the neighbouring Districts is carried by rail. The traffic with
Nepal is carried in carts and on pack bullocks, and occasionally by
coolies. Some timber is floated down the rivers.
The famine of 1874 gave a great impetus to the construction of
railways, and the District is on the whole well off in the matter of com-
munications. Its south-west corner is traversed for . 29 miles by the
main line of the Bengal and North-Western Railway, and also by
25 miles of the new chord-line from Hajipur to Bachwara, which runs
parallel to the Ganges embankment from east to west. From Samasti-
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