298 THANA DISTRICT
leaves. Much of the forest is chiefly valuable as supplying grazing, the
income derived from fodder and grazing in 1903-4 being Rs. 11,ooo.
Thana is destitute of workable minerals. The laterite which caps
many of the highest hills, such as Prabal and Mahuli, bears traces
of iron, and where charcoal has been burnt lumps of clay resem
bling iron slag may be found. The water in many springs also shows
signs; of iron. But iron ore is nowhere found in paying quantities.
The only other mineral of which there are traces is sulphur, found
in ;the hot springs at Vajrabai in Bhiwandi.
Next to agriculture, the making of salt is the most important in-
dustry of the District. There are 99 salt-works with an out-turn in
1903-4 of a,3oo,ooo maunds, yielding a revenue of
Trade and 53 lakhs. The salt-workers are chiefly Agris. Thana
salt is made by the solar evaporation of sea-water.
Ordinary brass-work and pottery are important industries. Hand-loom
weaving by Portuguese or native Christians, who made cotton cloth,
including the particular striped variety known. as Thana cloth, is now
practically extinct. The Musalmans of Thana and Bhiwandi weave
silk and cotton goods, but the industry suffers from proximity to the
Bombay mills. There are at Kurla two spinning and weaving mills,
owned by public companies, with 81,ooo spindles and 1,715 looms,
which produce 1 r,ooo,ooo lb. of yarn and nearly 5,000,000 lb. of
cloth for the Indian and foreign markets. During 1904 the average
number of daily workers was 4,502. There is also a bone-mill which
employs loo hands and manufactures bone manure. Of other in-
dustries the cleaning of agave fibre and the manufacture of paint
may be mentioned, while a large number of people are employed in
lime-burning and brick-making.
From the earliest historical times there has always been an ocean
trade to the coast of Thana and caravan traffic through the Ghat
passes. Since the establishment of railway communication with the
interior, the roads and tracks of the District have carried only local
traffic, which is still considerable. The chief articles of export are
rice, salt, wood, lime, and dried fish. Cotton cloth, grain, tobacco, coco
nuts, sugar, and molasses are the chief articles of import. The annual
value of the sea-borne trade of the ports in 1903-4 was : imports
55 lakhs, and exports 57 laklls. The leading traders are Konkani
Musalmans, Gujarati and local Vanis, and Bhatias. Numerous, fairs
are held in the District.
Along the sea-coast, and up the creeks, sailing vessels and canoes
form a ready means of communication. In three directions the Dis-
trict is crossed by railways. To the north, the line of the Bombay,
Baroda, and Central India Railway skirts the coast for a total dis
tance of 95 miles. East and west, the Great Indian Peninsula Railway