THOUGH over the whole district the rock is trap, nodular lime
stone or kankar is everywhere abundant. At Sholapur unslaked
lime fit for whitewash sells at ¼d. the pound (Rs. 15 the khandi),
and slaked lime used in building at 5/32d. the pound (Rs. 9 the
The building stone of the district is trap or basalt found either in quarries or in boulders strewn over the murum plain. The stone used at Sholapur is brought less than fifteen miles from Chincholi, Darphal, Haglur, Kegaon, Kondi, Lamboti, Pakni, Savleshvar, and Shelgi. The Savleshvar quarries supply slabs four to six feet long, and the Chincholi and Lamboti quarries large stones for rollers, five feet long and about three feet in diameter. Rubble is taken from quarries about a mile from Sholapur, the best of which is owned by one Bhau Ghongade. In Barsi trap stones four to six feet long are brought ten to eighteen miles from Gharipuri, Mohol, Ropla, and Shelgaon. The building stone used in the town of Barsi is brought from Vadi three miles north-west of Barsi and is mostly of small size. Within sixteen miles of Pandharpur are quarries of good black hard stone at Babulgaon, Bhalvani, Gursal, Korti, and Penur, and in the hills which form the southern boundary of the Sangola sub-division in the south-west of the district. Some of these quarries yield stone of any size. Except a few Marathas the stonecutters and quarrymen are Vaddars who always work by contract and earn 1s. 6d. to 2s. (Re. ¾ -1) a day. The cost varies greatly according to the size, the quantity taken, and the season of the year. At the quarries rubble generally costs 2s. to 3s. (Rs. 1-1½) the hundred cubic feet.
Road metal is commonly made from the boulders which strew the murum plains in various parts of the district. At Sholapur it is chiefly taken from quarries, and at the quarry it costs 7s. to 8s. (Rs. 3½ - 4) the hundred cubic feet.
Sholapur houses are generally built with flat roofs covered either
with lime or mud. In mud-roofed houses layers of brick are laid
over the planking and are covered with the white earth which is found in almost every village, or with karal a kind of sandy oily loam. A few years ago the Government offices were the only tiled buildings in Sholapur, but of late people have begun to use tiles. In some cases they use the flat local tile and the round tile together, the round tile being laid on the top of the flat tile to prevent leakage through the joints. Clay fit for making bricks and tiles is found near many stream and river banks. The tiles cost 8s. to 12s. (Rs. 4-6), and the bricks, which are generally rough and brittle, cost 12s. to £1 4s. (Rs. 6-12) the thousand.
In the Sholapur. sub-division at Bhanddarkavtha, Halgur, Telgaon, Venchur, and several other places small quantities of babhul wood charcoal are made. At Sholapur
charcoal sells at ⅜ d. the pound (Rs. 25 the khandi) and at Pandharpur and Barsi at
9/32d. the pound (Rs. 17-20 the khandi). Charcoal is largely imported from the Satara and Kolhapur states of Jamkhandi; Miraj, and Sangli. As it is safe from the attacks of white ants and other insects, the wood of the nim, Azadirachta indica, is largely used for building. Its light yellow colour deepens with age. Besides as fuel and in making carts, sugarcane mills, ploughs, and other field tools, babhul wood is largely used for building. It is of a deep reddish colour and is very lasting. For building purposes nim and babhul wood sell at nearly the same rates 4s. to 5s.(Rs. 2-2½) the cubic foot; as fuel babhul wood sells at
3/32d. to 3/10d. the pound (Rs.6-12 the khandi).
The dry shallow soiled uplands of Sholapur are ill suited for trees.
The present (1883) area reserved for forests is 242 square miles or about 535 per cent of the whole area of the district. The forest area is much scattered. It may be roughly divided into two tracts of forest land, on the hills between Barsi and the Nizam's territories in the extreme north-east and on the hills to the south of Malsiras and Sangola in the extreme south-west. Before December 1871, when forest conservancy was introduced, Sholapur was extremely bare of trees and brushwood. Almost the whole land was taken for tillage. Before the great spread of tillage, which dates from about 1860, Barsi Malsiras and Sangola had large tracts of scrub forest chiefly khair Acacia catechu, and nim Azadirachta indica, and in the valleys of the Bhima and the Sina were considerable areas under the babhul, the bor Zyzyphus juiuba, and the nim Azadirachta indica. In December 1871 two square miles of scattered grass land or kuran were handed to the forest department. During the twelve years ending 1883 these two miles have spread to 242 square miles. Advantage was taken of the shrinking of tillage which followed the 1876 famine to take for forest about 111,150 acres or 173| square miles of arable land. Of these, 23,900 acres were in Sholapur, 42,150 in, Karmala, 24,500 in Madha, 1300 in Pandharpur, 7150 in Malsiraa, 12,150 in Sangola, and none in Barsi. The rest has chiefly been taken from meadows or kurans, and from village grazing lands or gayrans.
In 1872, at the beginning of forest conservancy, the Sholapur forest
lands were placed in charge of a forest inspector under the district forest officer of Poona. In 1876 the forest inspector gave place to a sub-assistant conservator. At present (1882-83) the forest are under the charge of an assistant conservator or district forest officer, seven rangers, seven round guards, and eighty-seven beat guards, together with an office establishment of one sheristedar or head clerk, and three messengers. In 1882-83 the total yearly cost of this staff was £1406 8s. (Rs. 14,064).
Between 1872 and 1878 no great additions were made to the forest
area. Since then large areas have been almost continuously taken for forest, and the lands of the Sholapur and Karmala subdivisions have
been demarcated, and those of the Barsi Madha and Malsiras subdivisions have been both demarcated and settled. In the Pandharpur and Sangola sub-divisions the lands of those villages which are not under the command of the Mhasvad and Ashti reservoirs, have been demarcated; the lands of the remaining villages will be demarcated as soon as it is known what parts of these villages are not commanded by the reservoirs.
The whole of the Sholapur forest area is reserved that is no timber-cutting rights are admitted to exist within forest limits. In these reserves, where they have been found, to exist before the lands are brought under reserve, the rights of having periodical gatherings at shrines within forest limits, of using the water for village cattle, and of passing along the existing foot bullock and cart tracks have been admitted. In 1882-83 of the 242 square miles of forest land 102 have been reserved and 140 were proposed for reserve. Of 756 state or khalsa and fifty-five part-alienated or dhumala villages 351 state villages have forest reserves. Of these, eighty-four villages out of a total of 152 are in Sholapur, fifteen out of 123 are in Barsi, sixty-four out of eighty-nine are in Madha, eighty-five out of 123 are in Karmala, twenty-nine out of eighty-five are in Pandharpur, thirty-eight out of sixty-nine are in Malsiras, and thirty-six out of seventy-five are in Sangola. In about one-third of the remaining 310 state villages reserves cannot be formed as no waste land is available; in the remaining two-third villages the formation of reserves will depend on the orders of Government. Of the total area of 154,840 acres or about 242 square miles, 32,573 acres are in Sholapur, 8032 in Barsi, 43,495 in Karmala, 27,503 in Madha, 2066 in Pandharpur, 21,326 in Malsiras, and 19,845 in Sangola. The forest lands are of two classes, scrub forest and babhul meadows. The scrub forest is found on the hills of Barsi, Malsiras, and Sangola, and the babhul meadows occur all over the district. Of the total area 24,885 acres are scrub forest and 129,955 acres are babhul meadows. The blocks of Scrub forest vary from six to 3000 acres and the babhul meadows or kurans from six to 200 acres. In the scrub forests the chief trees are the khair Acacia catechu, and nim Azadirachta indica, with a young growth of apta Bauhinia racemosa, babhul Acacia arabica, bor Zyzyphus jujuba, dhavda Conocarpus latifolia, guti Zyzyphus xylopyra, hivar Acacia leucophlcea, kinai Acacia procera, lulye Acacia amora, medshing Spathodea falcata, murmut Acacia eliunea, pair Ficus cardifolia, ran-bor Zyzyphus mummularia, salai Boswellia thurifera, shikakai Acacia concinna, siras Acacia odoratissima, temru Dios-pyrus montana, turan Zyzyphus rugosa, and umbar Ficus glomerata. In the babhul meadows the chief trees are the babhul Acacia arabica, the bor Zyzyphus jujuba, the jambhul Syzigium jambolanum, and the nim Azadirachta indica. The best babhul meadows are in sandy soil, the next best on black soil, and the worst on shallow broken earth overlying murum.
The forest lands have little timber fit for cutting. In Sholapur, Barsi, Karmala, Madha, and Pandharpur about 186
tons (534 khandis) of firewood, and in Pandharpur about forty large babhul and nim trees are yearly felled for local use. The woodcutters are Marathas, Mhars, and Musalmans. Seven hundredweights (1 khandi) of firewood cost 6d. to 9d. (4-6 as.) to fell, and sell at 2s. to 3s. (Rs. 1 -1½)in the forest reserves. The forty timber trees cost about £2 (Rs. 20) to fell and sell at £17 10s. (Rs. 175). The timber is locally used in making carts and house beams. The timber-dealers are chiefly Vanis and Musalmans. Besides selling local babhul,bor, and nim wood, which are largely used even in the better class of buildings, the timber-dealers import teak and kenjal or Terminalia aluta from the Poona and Nagar Sahayadris either by rail or floated down the Bhima and Sina. The large teakwood spars for beams comes from Bombay by train. At Sholapur a species of shevri Bombax mala-baricum which grows like a pole with no branches to a height of about twenty-five feet and has a diameter of nine to twelve inches at the base, is much used as rafters in house and bungalow roofs.
Forest receipts are comparatively small. During the eleven years
ending 1882-83 receipts have risen from £274 (Rs. 2740) in 1872-73 to £829 (Rs. 8290) in 1882-83. During the first four years receipts rose from £274 (Rs. 2740) in 1872-73 to £404 (Rs. 4040) in 1875-76; during the next three years owing to the famine they fell from £404 (Rs. 4040) in 1875-76 to £264 (Rs. 2640) in 1878-79; and during the last four years they again rose from £264 (Rs. 2640) in 1878-79 to £ 829 (Rs. 8290) in 1882-83. During the eleven years ending 1882-83 the expenditure has risen from £230 (Rs. 2300) in 1872-73 to £2021 (Rs. 20,210) in 1882-83.
Of the whole 242 square miles of forest land about one-fifth is
yearly sold for grazing. In the remaining four-fifths, which are yearly sold for grass-cutting, plantations are formed according to six systems; full ploughing, furrow ploughing, sowing by drill, sowing in pits, dibbling, and broadcasting. During the seven years ending 1883-84,1152 acres were planted by full ploughing, 551 by furrow ploughing, 11,828 by sowing in pits, 1874 by dibbling, and 92,555 by broadcasting. By sowing by the drill which was introduced in 1883,157 acres were planted. Most of the broadcast sowing is done on the hill slopes of the Barsi and Malsiras sub-divisions, where trees have rapidly grown. Of the six systems of planting the broadcasting is the cheapest and is fairly successful; the full ploughing though more successful than the broadcasting is much more costly. As it is both cheap and successful, sowing by the drill will probably supersede all systems except broadcasting Besides for fuel the
timber of the babhul Acacia arabica and the nim Azadirachta indica are used in making beams, posts, doors, carts, ploughs, and other field tools. The bark of the babhul Acacia arabica and the tarvad Cassia auriculata is used for tanning, and their pods as well as the flowers of the palas Butea frondosa are used in dyeing. The bark of the apta Bauhinia racemosa is made into ropes.