1396 to 1878-79: Occurrence of famines is common in the Sholapur district, though their frequency and extent of severity may vary from taluka to taluka. In the Sholapur district famines are largely confined to the western region comprising Karmala, Sangola and Malshiras talukas, the western parts of Madha and Pandharpur talukas, and also Mohol, Mangalwedha and Akkalkot talukas. The rainfall in this district is not only meagre and precarious but it is also unevenly distributed. In the far western parts of this district sometimes, long spells of drought intervene between rainy days resulting in failures of crops. Hence migration in search of employment during the season in order to supplement the otherwise scanty means of livelihood becomes the annual feature of this tract. During the last five centuries and a half numerous famines took place in the district and their detailed account is given below [This account of famines from 1396 to 1876-77 is taken from Gazetteer of Bombay Presidency, Vol. XX, Sholapur, 1884, pp. 231-38.]:-

" Its scanty and uncertain rainfall makes Sholapur peculiarly liable to scarcity and famine. The earliest recorded famine is the great Durga Devi famine which began about 1396 and is said to have lasted nearly twelve years. It arose from the want of seasonable rain and is said to have spread over the whole country south of the Narbada and to have depopulated whole districts. The famine of 1460 is remembered in the Deccan as Damaji Pant's an officer of the Bahamani king Humayun, who, as is related in the History Chapter, spent the government grain stores at Pandharpur in gifts to Brahmans, and was saved from disgrace and punishment by the god Vithoba appearing at court as a Mhar and paying the value of the missing grain. About 1520 a great famine is said to have been caused by military hordes destroying and plundering the crops. The famine of 1791 was very severe especially in the Karnatak where the crops entirely failed. In the Deccan the yield was one-fourth to half the usual out-turn; but as thousands of people came from the Karnatak to the Deccan for support, the distress became very severe. During this famine, grain sold at six pounds (three shers) the rupee. In 1802 the plunder and destruction of crops by Holkar and the Pendharis caused a serious scarcity which the failure of the rain in October and November 1803 turned into a famine of ruinous severity. The price of grain is said to have risen to 1 pounds ( sher) the rupee. At Pandharpur Dhondbhat Kutke and at Mohol an officer of the Nimbalkar are said to have fed large numbers of destitute. In 1818 partly owing to the ravages made by Bajirao's armies and partly owing to the failure of crops towards the Balaghat in the Nizam's country, the sub-divisions of Barshi, Pandharpur, and Tuljapur suffered from famine. The famine was accompanied by a plague of cholera which destroyed thousands of lives. Grain sold as high as six to eight pounds (3 to 4 shers) the rupee. At Vairag in Barsi a rich money-lender named Ghongdey is said to have fed many starving people. In 1824, a failure of rain caused a partial famine in the Pandharpur sub-division and the country from the Bhima to the Godavari. During this famine grain sold at twelve to sixteen pounds (6 to 8 shers) the rupee. At Pandharpur an officer of Sindia's and at Vairag a money-lender named Ghongdey opened a relief house or annachhatra where food was given free to the sufferers. In 1832-33, want of rain caused famine throughout Sholapur and the neighbouring districts over an area of about 150 square miles. Many left their lands and homes, and large remissions had to be granted. The famine lasted nine or ten months and inspite of the remission of grain duties, grain sold at ten to twelve pounds (5 to 6 shers) the rupee. The Sub-Collector of Sholapur submitted to Government a proposal for certain public relief works, but Government did not consider the distress in Sholapur sufficiently severe to call for so extreme a measure. At Sholapur a Brahman money-lender named Maha-rudra Bapu Kulavdev and many Marwari money-lenders and at Vairag, the family of the money-lender Ghongdey are said to have given free food to the sufferers. In 1845 and 1854 owing to scanty rainfall scarcity of grain was felt in Sholapur, Barsi and Mohol. In 1862, a scanty rainfall caused a scarcity of food in Poona, Ahmadnagar, Sholapur, Khandesh, and part of Satara. So great was the distress that as relief works roads were begun from Karmala to Jeur, from Pandharpur to Mohol, from Sholapur to Bijapur, from Tembhurni to Paranda, and from Lunud to Pandharpur. For the relief of Government servants drawing monthly salaries of less than.20 (Rs. 200), Government sanctioned grant of grain compensation.

The scanty rainfall of 9.11 inches in 1878 compared with an average of 25.21 inches, led to failure of crops and distress amounting to famine over the whole of the district. Of the seven sub-divisions, the crops in two, Barsi and Malshiras, were bad, and in the remaining five very bad. In September-October, except one or two local showers, there was no rain and no cold-weather crops were sown. Early in August the poorer classes began to show signs of distress, and on the 4th of September, Government sanctioned the opening of relief works. With rising grain and want of field work distress increased, and by the beginning of September relief works were begun. For a week or two, the rapid spread of distress caused a panic, and dealers refused to part with their grain at any price. Government and the relief committees had to buy grain at the large markets and send it to the relief works. This lasted until grain began to be brought by rail when prices fell. For some months importations were large and the price of grain remained moderate. But in the hot months a fresh rise caused much distress. A favourable rainfall, at the opening of the rainy season, was followed by a long drought, which forced millet up to ten pounds and caused great suffering. Distress and anxiety continued till September and October when a plentiful and timely rainfall brought down prices and gave much relief. At the close of November the demand for special Government help ceased.".

The following summary shows, month by month, the progress of the distress and the measures taken to relieve it. In September 1876, except some showers in Malshiras and one or two other places, no rain fell. The early crop had entirely failed, and as rain held off, the ground could not be prepared for the cold-weather sowings. Except in Sholapur and Barshi there was great distress, and by the beginning of the month, local relief works had to be opened. In October rain still held off and no cold-weather crops could be sown. Indian millet rose from sixty-six to fifteen pounds, and even at fifteen pounds the supply was small. Distress was increasing, and the number seeking relief rose so rapidly that it soon became evident that relief works were wanted on a larger scale than local funds could supply. Cattle were sent away in large numbers, and of those that remained many died from want of fodder. By the middle of the month (18th) about 20,000 cattle had left the district, and many villages were deserted, the people moving to the Nizam's dominions, Berar and Khandesh. Already the numbers on relief had risen to 32,000. On the 13th, Government placed 2,500 (Rs. 25,000) at the Collector's disposal to supply pond-clearing, prickly-pear cutting, and other light village works for those who were too weak to go long distances. About the middle of November slight rain fell in the three sub-divisions of Malshiras, Karmala and Pandharpur. Many villages were entirely emptied, the people having left with their cattle. During the month large supplies of grain came by rail into Sholapur. At first the distribution of grain over the district caused much difficulty. This was gradually overcome, and, except in Malshiras and Sangola, grain became plentiful and jvari prices fell from fifteen to about 16 pounds the rupee. Except Sholapur and Pandharpur, each of which had two rivers and a large lake, the water-supply was scanty. Barshi and Sangola were very badly off, and in Karmala, Malshiras and Madha, the only source of supply was holes dug in the beds of rivers and streams. The numbers on relief rose from about 40,000 in the beginning of the month to about 68,000 at its close. Of 47,821, the average daily number for the month, 14,487 were able-bodied, expected to do a full day's work and superintended by ordinary public works officers and 33,334 were aged or feeble, expected to do two-thirds of a day's work and superintended by civil officers. [ The rates of wages originally fixed for the workers were: For a man 3d. (Two annas) a day, for a woman 2d. (1 annas) and for a boy or girl 1d. (One anna). About the middle of November a sliding scale was introduced providing that when prices rose over sixteen pounds the rupee, the money rate should vary with the price of food grain, and that in addition to 1d. (1a.) for men and d. (a.) for women and children, men and women should receive the price of one pound of grain, and children of one or half a pound of grain according to the discretion of the supervising officers.] About the end of the month cholera made its appearance in Sholapur and Barshi. December passed without rain, and though there was no change in crop prospects, grain continued to be imported in such large quantities that rupee prices fell from 16 to twenty pounds. In the beginning of the month there was slight cholera in two sub-divisions, but it soon disappeared. The number of the destitute rose, on civil works to 58,809 and on public works to 27,730. About the end of January 1877 a slight fall of rain improved the water-supply. The supply of grain continued sufficient. Large quantities were brought every week into the district, jvari prices remaining steady at twenty pounds the rupee. The number of the destitute rose on public works from 27,730 to 37,940; on civil works there was a small fall from 58,809 to 56,659 and 1,018 persons were supported by charitable relief. About the middle of the month slight cholera appeared in two or three sub-divisions. On the 19th Government reduced the daily wage of feeble men workers by id. ( anna) and of women and children by 3/8d. ( anna). About the end of February, 11 cents of rain fell at Sholapur. The grain-supply continued good, jvari prices remaining steady at twenty pounds the rupee. Cholera was general, and large numbers of people and cattle continued to leave the district. The numbers on relief fell, on public works from 37,940 to 32,134 and on civil works from 56,659 to 18,097. At the same time the number of charitable relief rose from 1,018 to 1,429. The large decrease in the numbers on the relief works was mainly due to organized opposition to the orders reducing the pay on civil agency works and requiring the transfer of the able-bodied from civil to public works. The managers of the strike and many of those who had gone with them were no doubt well enough off to decline work and such men it was the object of Government to get rid of. But others of the weaker people, were not able to remain idle without suffering. After a time of much anxiety, about the middle of the month, the people slowly began to come in. Efforts were made to draft them to large works out of the district, such as the Nira canal and the Dhond-Manmad railway. This at first met with most stubborn opposition. But, about the close of the month, many were induced to go to work on the Mhasvad lake in Satara. Early in March, 37 cents of rain fell at Sholapur and about a fortnight later there was a general fall of 11 cents. The grain-supply was sufficient, and rupee prices fell from twenty to twenty-one pounds. The migration of people and cattle continued. Early in the month there was slight cholera over the whole district, but it was afterwards confined to one sub-division. The numbers on relief fell to 46,775; 6,598 of them on civil agency and 40,177 on public works. The number on charitable relief was 813. The decrease in the number of the workers was chiefly due to large numbers absenting themselves on account of the Holi holidays. Fresh, but unsuccessful, efforts were made to draft the people to the Dhond-Manmad railway. A few went to the Nira canal, but many, though in distress, refused to go on the works, because of the task and distance tests rather than on account of the reduction in the rates of pay. Towards the end of April smart showers fell throughout the district. The grain-supply continued sufficient, but prices, partly from the general rise throughout the country and partly from enhanced cart-rates, rose from twenty-one pounds in the beginning of the month to about nineteen near the close. The people who had left the district early in the season were returning; very few brought back their cattle with them. Against a small fall from 6,598 to 5,633 on civil works, the number of the destitute rose on public works from 40,177 to 43,292 and on charitable relief from 813 to 2,194. Owing to the increased pressure of distress Government ordered work to begin on the Pangaon lake, whose heavy earthwork, it was thought, would give immediate employment to about 10,000 labourers. There was slight cholera in a few places. May began and ended with smart showers. Emigrants were returning in large numbers. The supply of grain was fair, but prices rose from nineteen to 16 pounds. Several parts of the district suffered severely from cholera. Distress spread steadily, and the number on relief rose to 61,348; 50,299 of them on public and 11,049 on civil works. The number on charitable relief rose to 6,501. During June rain fell freely, and the sowing of the early crops was begun. There were large grain importations, and prices fell from 16 to 17 pounds. Many of the destitute found work as field labourers, and the number on relief fell to 52,172; 39,202 of them on public and 12,970 on civil works. The number on charitable relief rose from 6,501 to 16,068. The mortality from cholera continued very heavy. In the beginning of July strong south-west winds were followed by a few heavy but partial showers, and the young crops were reported to be withering. More rain was required. The grain-supply was fair, but about the close of the month from the critical state of the crops, jvari rose from 17 to 12 pounds the rupee. The number on relief fell to 29,927; 26,526 of them on public and 3,401 on civil works, and the number on charitable relief to 10,436. In August an average fall of 4.60 inches of rain improved the young crops, and green grass was plentiful. At the same time the railway supply of grain began to fall short, and, about the close of the month, prices rose to 9 pounds, causing very great distress. The numbers on public works fell to 12,904, on civil works to 3,656, and on charitable relief to 9,226. The mortality from cholera considerably decreased. In September there was heavy rain all over the district. The crops went on well, and green grass for cattle was abundant. Though the grain-supply continued small, the favourable harvest prospects brought out local stores, and prices fell from 9 to 13 pounds the rupee. The number on public works fell to 7,705 against an increase on civil works to 6,092 and on charitable relief to 17,590. October was also a month of heavy rain, with an average fall of 6.58 inches. The crops were good except in Sangola and Malshiras, when they were slightly damaged by too much rain, and the sowing of the late crops was delayed. About the end of the month the millet harvest was begun and the late sowing was in progress. The state of the people was improving, but many still required charitable relief. The grain-supply was good, and prices fell for jvari from 13 to 24 and for bajri from 19 to 29 pounds. The numbers on public works fell to 6,067, on civil works to 4,034, and on charitable relief to 14,347. In November there was only slight rain, and more was required for the cold-weather jvari crops. By the close of the month, except tur and cotton, almost all the early crops were harvested. Rabi sowing was still in progress. Prices rose for bajri from thirty to twenty-eight, and fell for jvari from twenty-four to twenty-five pounds the rupee. The numbers on public works fell to 4,956, on civil works to 584, and on charitable relief to 4,601. Civil relief works were closed about the middle of the month, and public relief works at the end. In December, except in the Madha subdivision, there were smart showers all over the district, and the jvari crops were much improved. Prices fell for bajri to thirty-one and for jvari to twenty-eight pounds. Though Government continued to offer charitable relief, the numbers wanting help fell from 7,170 in the beginning to 1,089 on the 22nd of the month.

The following statement of Indian millet prices and numbers receiving relief, shows that during the first four months of 1877 grain kept steady at about twenty pounds the rupee or more than thrice the ordinary rate; that its price rose rapidly in May, June and July, till about the end of August it reached 9 pounds. In September it fell slightly to 13, and then quickly to about twenty-eight pounds. The number on relief had in January risen as high as 94,599. By lowering wages and enforcing task and distance tests the number fell to 50,231 in February and 48,925 in April. In May it again rose to 61,348, and from that went on falling till it fell to 5,540 in November, when the relief works were closed. The number on charitable relief rose from 1,018 in January to 1,429 in February, then fell to 813 in March, and then steadily rose to 16,068 in June. From that, after falling to 9,226 in August, it agaia rose to 17,590 in September. During the next three months it fell rapidly till in December it reached 1,089:



Average daily numbers

On gratuitous relief

Average prices


On relief works

Civil agency

Public works

































































































































Good rain

















Total cost









A special census taken on the 19th of May 1877, when famine pressure was general and severe, showed that of 62,712 workers, 52,186 on public and 10,526 on civil works, 41,112 belonged to the sub-divisions where the works were carried on; 15,164 belonged to different sub-divisions of the same district; 3,470 were from other districts; and 2,966 from neighbouring States. As regards their occupation, 3,471 were manufacturers or craftsmen, 21,840 were holders or sub-holders of land and 37,401 were labourers.

The total cost of the famine was estimated at 2,06,502-10s. (Rs. 20,65,025), of which 1,86,184-4s. (Rs. 18,61,842) were spent on public and civil works and 20,318-6s. (Rs. 2,03,183) on charitable relief.

In ordinary times the daily cart-rates varied from 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d. (Re. to Rs. 1). During the famine from December 1876 to December 1877 the highest daily cart-rates rose to 12s. (Rs. 6) in Pandharpur, 6s. (Rs. 3) in Sholapur, 5s. (Rs. 2) in Sangola, and 4s. (Rs. 2) in Barshi, Karmala, Madha and Malshiras.

From the beginning of November 1876 a mamlatdar at each subdivision and from the beginning of January to the end of November 1877 special assistant and deputy collectors in charge of the subdivisions were employed on famine duty as relief officers. For every group of about ten villages circle inspectors were appointed. Besides these, military officers and their subordinates and hospital assistants, and the clerks and measurers of the Pune and Nasik revenue survey staff and some teachers of vernacular schools were lent for famine duty.

Relief: Besides the seven relief houses, one at each sub-divisional head-quarters, at Sholapur, Barshi, Karmala, Madha, Pandharpur, Malshiras and Sangola, five other special relief houses were opened, two in Sholapur at Hiparga and Mandrup, two in Madha at Yeoti and Barshi Road Station, and one in Barshi at Pangaon. Almost all the relief houses were opened in November 1876 and closed at the end of November 1877. Except at Pandharpur where a large municipal building was available, all the relief houses were temporary sheds. The relief houses were supervised by the relief mamlatdar and the assistant or deputy collector in charge of the sub-division. At each relief house, for every 200 people a muster-clerk and an accountant were kept. With a few exceptions the food was cooked and the water supplied by the inmates of the relief house; in some cases bhistis or water-carriers were employed. Between the 1st of November 1876 and the 31st of December 1877, the relief houses in Sholapur cost 3,800-8s. (Rs. 38,004), in Barshi 1,541-18s. (Rs. 15,419), in Karmala 2,651-18s. (Rs. 26,519), in Madha 3,743-16s. (Rs. 37,438), in Pandharpur 3,607-10s. (Rs. 36,075), in Malshiras 2,725-16s. (Rs. 27,258), and in Sangola 1,365-10s. (Rs. 13,655), or a total cost of 19,436-16s. (Rs. 1,94,368).

No grain shops were opened at Government or municipal expense. In the beginning of the famine when grain dealers attempted to raise the price of grain to an artificially high level by refusing to sell at any price, a local committee at Sholapur sold grain to the poor for a few months at cost price out of a private charity fund. The local dealers, who withheld grain in the beginning of the famine, gave way when grain came in large quantities into the district. Grain was imported from the Central Provinces by private agencies. From Bombay the import of grain was so large that all the railway stations were crowded with bags, and for a time much confusion prevailed. To lessen the distress from want of fodder pressed grass bales were largely imported. from the Konkan by the Conservator of Forests: a large number of cattle were also sent to graze in Government waste lands in the hilly tracts. The scarcity of water was greatly felt, and, but for the Ekruk lake many of the residents of Sholapur city would have been forced to leave. The want of water was partly met by deepening wells and digging holes.

Emigration : A considerable number of people, chiefly husbandmen, left the district and went to Berar and to the Nizam's territory. Well-to-do husbandmen sent their cattle in charge of some member of their families. By leaving the people did not much improve their condition. They would probably have done better, had they stayed at home and worked as labourers on relief works. Except a few who emigrated, the poor people had no alternative but to work on the relief works. Of the high and well-to-do classes, a few who could afford it made provision for the expected scarcity; others lived by selling their gold and silver ornaments and other property. As they were ashamed to live on charity and unaccustomed to live by labour a large number of respectable people did not take advantage of the relief offered by Government and were reduced to poverty.

Losses: During the famine a large number of cattle died. The tillage area fell from 21,51,617 acres in 1876-77 to 21,36,988 in 1878-79, that is, a fall of 14,620 acres. Compared with the 1872 Census returns the 1881 returns show a decrease of 1,36,888. Adding to this 50,351 as the normal one per cent increase during the seven non-famine years the total loss from death or migration during the famine amounts to 1,87,239. At the end of 1876-77 the outstanding balances were 84,949 (Rs. 8,49,490), of which about 39,633 (Rs. 3,96,330) were recovered in subsequent years and 45,316 (Rs. 4,53,160) were remitted in 1878-79.

Rats: Between 1878 and 1882, unlike Pune and other parts of the Deccan, Sholapur was not visited by locusts. During the cold season of 1879 from January to March swarms of rats and mice appeared and ate the grain before it was ripe enough to harvest. Many fields were entirely stripped and of others only a small portion was saved by gathering the ears while they were still green. About seven-eighths of the crop were wholly destroyed by rats. In Sholapur about 657 (Rs. 6,570) were paid as reward for about 6,60,000 rats killed at 2s. (Re. 1) the hundred. This rat plague was not confined to Sholapur; it was severely felt in Parner, Shrigonda and Karjat in Ahmadnagar.

1896-97 to 1906-07: The supplementary volume of the Gazetteer oj Sholapur and Akkalkot gives the following description of the famines m the district from 1896-97 to 1906-07:-

Famine occurred in 1896-97, due to the failure of crops in the affected tracts from the want of seasonable rain. The whole district was affected. Relief works were opened and continued for a period of fourteen months. The maximum number receiving relief was 1,32,549 in April. In 1899-1900 the rains again failed, and the country was affected by severe famine. The area affected was the same as in 1896-97, and the crop out-turn was only 17 per cent of normal. Relief works were opened in November 1899 with a daily average of 1,754 and were continued till October 1902. The maximum average number in receipt of relief was 1,71,335 in June, 25,174 being in receipt of gratuitous relief. Special relief was also given to weavers in their own craft during the famine. The death-rate during the year was 56.88 per mille. The total number of deaths among those relieved amounted to 9,000, of which 4.069 were due to dysentery and diarrhoea and 1,413 to cholera. The percentage proportion of sexes and children among the relief workers in the district was 33 men, 45 women and 22 children. In 1900-01, famine again occurred, affecting the same area as in the previous two years. The highest daily average number relieved was (in July) 95,576, 17,189 being gratuitously relieved. The death-rate in the year was 28.08 per mille. In 1901-02, 3,095 square miles again suffered from scarcity. The highest total daily average relieved was 18,828 in September, 6,637 being in receipt of gratuitous relief. The death-rate in the district per mille was 28.70. In 1902-03 again there was a failure of crops, The area affected by famine was 25,289 square miles. Relief works were opened in the Sangola and Malshiras talukas. The maximum number receiving relief was 19,346 in August 1902, of whom 4,517 were on dole The death-rate was 37.64 per mille during the year 1902. Famine occurred again in 1905-06. Relief works were opened in the Karmala, Malshiras and Sangola talukas. The maximum number receiving relief was 13,569 in June 1906, of whom 8,536 were on dole. Grass depots were opened at Jeur and Barshi road. The death-rate for the year 1906 was 33.03 per mile.

Table No. 33 shows the details regarding famines from 1896-97 to 1906-07.

Famines occurred from 1896-97 to 1906-07 in Akkalkot, which was formerly a separate State but which was constituted into a taluka in 1949. Their description by the supplementary volume of Gazetteer of Sholapur and Akkalkot is as follows:-

In 1896-97 the State suffered from famine. Relief measures commenced in January 1897. In September the daily average of relief workers was 1,081 which was the highest number during the period. The total relieved numbered over 1,00,000 at a cost of nearly Rs. 25,000. Distress owing to the failure of crops in some parts of the State continued in the following years and led after three years to a fresh famine. Relief measures were commenced in February 1900 and closed in October 1901. Similar measures were taken in June 1902 and were discontinued in November of the same year. The daily average number of persons relieved was 10,000 in. June and July 1901, of whom 2,00.0 were gratuitously relieved. Over Rs. 1,60,000 were spent on famine relief in 1899-1900, of which Rs. 1,33,000 were devoted to relief works. A poor-house was opened in April 1900. The daily average number of inmates was 60, which reached its maximum in June, viz., 155.

1923-24 : During 1923-24 scarcity conditions prevailed in Pandharpur, Sangola, Malshiras and parts of Karmala talukas in Sholapur district. No necessity was however felt to open the relief works. However, remissions and suspensions of land revenue and takavi dues were granted and additional measures were taken to alleviate the sufferings.

The expenditure on the measures undertaken in the scarcity tracts of the district was as follows:-


Expenditure in rupees

Gratuitous relief to the infirms


Doles to inferior village servants


Extra remuneration to Patels


Improvement of water supply




Suspensions of land revenue amounted to Rs. 4,04,199 during the year. Scarcity of fodder was acute and 28,039 lbs. and 9,988 lbs. of baled grass were imported from Palghar and Nawapur grass depots, respectively. Out of this grass received, grass valued at Rs. 420 was sold in Malshiras taluka in the shape of tagai.

1924-25: The relief measures undertaken in 1923-24 had to be continued during 1924-25 according to the circumstances of different scarcity-affected areas. The expenditure incurred on doles to inferior village servants was Rs. 708 and bonus to the Patels was Rs. 130. Special operations for the storage of fodder as a famine preventive measure were undertaken in the district by various Government agencies and the quantity of kadbi stored amounted to 99,91,103 lbs.

1936-37: In 1936-37, the scarcity conditions prevailed in the non-irrigated tracts of the district. Relief was given on a wide scale by way of gratuitous relief to the decrepits, doles to the inferior village servants and additional remuneration to Patels. The amount of land revenue suspended was Rs. 1,81,099 during the year. Sholapur District Central Famine Relief Fund also rendered substantial help to the affected areas. The Bombay Presidency Permanent Famine Relief Committee sanctioned grants of the value of Rs. 10,000 for the relief of the distressed.

1939-40: In 1939-40, scarcity conditions prevailed in the district when the following relief measures were undertaken:-

(1) Metal-breaking on the provincial roads at places selected throughout the district was started by the Public Works Department.

(2) Work on village approach roads was started by the District Local Board.

(3) Restrictions on the export of fodder and jowar were imposed.

(4) An amount of Rs. 653 was spent on giving gratuitous relief to the infirm and decrepits. Cash doles of the amount of Rs. 2,000 were granted from the amount allotted to the district by the Indian People's Famine Trust Fund. An amount of Rs. 4,500 was also sanctioned by Government as gratuitous relief to inferior village servants in all talukas except Malshiras.

(5) Land revenue amounting to Rs. 7,95,405 was suspended during the year.

1941-42: During the year 1941-42, scarcity conditions prevailed in the Karmala, Madha, Pandharpur, Sangola and Malshiras talukas of the district. Scarcity conditions were declared from February 9, 1942 and were continued till after 31st June 1942. The following measures were undertaken by way of relief works:-

(1) Grain doles were granted to 2,812 recipients up to 25th July 1942 and the total expenditure incurred up to 31st July 1942 amounted to Rs. 12,734.

(2) Cash doles amounting to Rs. 9,732 were given to inferior village servants in the villages under full and half suspensions.

(3) Scarcity works were started in the affected areas except Malshiras taluka where P.W.D. works were already in progress, and work was available in the cane plantations. The number of labourers employed for the period from February 1942 to July 1942 was 1,833. The expenditure on the scarcity works amounted to Rs. 31,873.

(4) Tagai loans to the extent of Rs. 47,569 were granted.

(5) An expenditure of Rs. 3,723 was incurred for supply of water in the affected areas.

(6) An amount of Rs. 2,137 out of the fund at the disposal of the Sholapur District Famine Relief Fund Committee was spent for purchase of clothes, viz., dhotis and sarees for decrepits.

(7) Suspensions of land revenue amounting to Rs. 6,71,543.

1945-46: Due to the scanty rainfall, scarcity conditions prevailed in 368 villages from Pandharpur, Sangola, Karmala, Malshiras and Madha talukas during the year 1945-46. The relief measures undertaken in the district were as under:-

(1) Gratuitous relief in the form of grain dole at 2 seers of food-grains per head per week or the quantum fixed by Government from time to time and relief in cash was given to the infirms, decrepits and helpless persons.

(2) Cash dole to the inferior village servants who were necessarily required for Government work.

(3) Cash dole was also sanctioned to the low-paid patils whose remuneration including annual income was less than Rs. 180 per annum.

(4) Famine Relief Committees were formed in each of the scarcity-affected talukas to suggest the famine relief programmes.

(5) In order to avoid malnutrition and supplement nourishment uncontrolled articles of food such as dry fish, potatoes, wet dates, suran, ghel, sprouted gram and uncontrolled pulses such as hulga, mug, matki were supplied for free distribution in the villages affected by scarcity conditions through Government agency.

(6) The scheme of distributing re-constituted milk prepared from the milk powder was introduced in almost all scarcity-affected villages. Milk cans were supplied by Government to each centre. Milk was prepared at each milk centre daily and distributed freely at the rate of seer per head per day to children below ten years of age and to expectant and nursing mothers. So also Vitamin A tablets were distributed at milk centres along with milk at the rate of one tablet to children below ten and to expectant and nursing mothers daily.

(7) The Central Famine Relief Committee, Bombay, distributed clothes free of charge to destitutes in scarcity-affected areas of the district.

(8) Two mobile health units were employed in the district to visit the scarcity-affected villages with a view to detect malnutrition and to take remedial measures against epidemics etc.

(9) Scarcity works were started in Sholapur district in January 1946, in order that the people from the scarcity-affected villages might find employment near their villages. Eighteen bunding works, two tank works at Sangavi and Parewadi in Karmala taluka were started as scarcity works which absorbed a good deal of labour from the scarcity-affected parts. The maximum attendance on the scarcity works reached to 809 on 27th July 1946.

(10) Tagai loans were liberally distributed to the needy agriculturists for the purchase of fodder and grass from the grass depots as well as for the construction of new wells, and for improvement to the existing wells.

(11) Subsidy of Rs. 15 per acre was granted for raising hot-weather irrigated food-crops, which accounted for 8,971 acres in Sholapur district during the year.

(12) Land revenue to the tune of Rs. 6,93,514 was suspended during the year.

(13) The scarcity of water for both drinking and irrigation purposes was felt in Karmala taluka. To alleviate the difficulty a special truck carrying drinking water was engaged at Tembhurni in Madha taluka. A sum of Rs. 22,000 was spent on repairing existing wells, removal of silt, digging of ziras and for meeting the cost of water-servers and cart-men engaged for the same by the Government.

1946-47: During the year 1946-47 scarcity conditions prevailed in eighteen villages of Madha taluka owing to the failure of crops in those villages. To relieve the distress caused by the scarcity conditions the following relief measures were undertaken:-

(1) Relief to decrepits and inferior village servants was given in the form of grain and cash doles. The average number of decrepits and inferior village servants on dole was 3,328 and the total expenditure incurred on account of distribution of doles amounted to Rs. 66,237.

(2) Scarcity works were undertaken and the average number of labourers employed on these works per day was 869. The tank works at Sangavi and Parevadi in Karmala taluka were continued and many persons were employed thereon.

(3) The scheme of milk distribution was also continued during this year and the rate of distribution of milk was th seer per head per day to children below ten years of ages and to expectant and nursing mothers. So also vitamin tablets were distributed at the milk centres along with milk. Sugar-candy was distributed to children of the labourers on the Sangavi and Parevadi tank works. Hulga was supplied at the rate of two seers per week in Karmala taluka in addition to the usual quantum of rations. Biscuits were distributed through the fair price shops free of charge.

(4) Clothing such as sarees, dhotis, blankets, shirts, etc., were distributed to the deserving persons and inferior village servants in the scarcity-affected villages in Sholapur district, during the same-year.

(5) Two mobile health units were employed in the district to visit the scarcity-affected villages.

(6) Tagai loans were also sanctioned during this year.

(7) Land revenue to the tune of Rs. 4,23,978 was suspended during this year.

(8) Due to the failure of rains in Karmala taluka there was acute scarcity of drinking water from May to the end of August 1946. An amount of Rs. 1,800 was spent for improving the sources of supply of drinking water such as digging ziras, deepening of wells and in employing water-carts to bring water from other places.

1952-53: During the year 1952-53, Sholapur district was affected by scarcity conditions due to the failure of crops. The following measures were undertaken by the Government to relieve the distress caused by the scarcity:-

(1) Relief works such as construction of roads, tanks, wells, bunding, metal-breaking, etc., were undertaken by the Government.

(2) Tagai loans were given liberally to the cultivators for the construction and repairs of wells and for purchase of fodder etc.

(3) Gratuitous relief was given in the form of doles to destitute and infirm persons and also to the inferior village servants.

(4) Fodder was supplied on subsidised basis to the needy agriculturists, and free in deserving cases. Groundnut oilcake was also supplied to the needy agriculturists on a subsidised basis.

(5) Skimmed milk powder received from UNICEF was distributed free to the children and expectant and nursing mothers. Similarly rice, wheat, cloth and clothes received from donors were also distributed free in the affected areas.

(6) Large amounts received from the Bombay State Famine Relief Committee were utilised for undertaking relief measures to alleviate the distress of the sufferers.

(7) Land revenue amounting to Rs. 35,86,684 was suspended during the year.

(8) A sum of Rs. 1,84,335 was spent on drinking water supply schemes in the district during the year 1952-53.

1953-54: The areas in which scarcity conditions prevailed during the year 1953-54 were 58 villages in the Barshi, Pandharpur, Sangola, Malshiras and Karmala talukas. The scarcity conditions were more localised than wide-spread and were due to below normal season in the concerned villages.

Relief works including construction of roads, excavation and repairs to tanks and bunding were started in the scarcity-affected areas. The expenditure on these works amounted to Rs. 67,738 in Sholapur district. Gratuitous relief was also granted in the form of doles. The amount spent on this account was Rs. 4,536. Relief was also given to the agriculturists in the district in scarcity-affected areas in the form of remissions and suspensions of land revenue amounting to Rs. 77,209 and Rs. 36,25,369, respectively.

1954-55: The scarcity conditions prevailed in 56 villages of Sangola taluka of Sholapur district. Relief works such as construction of roads, excavation of and repairs to tanks and bunding were undertaken during the year involving an expenditure of Rs. 1,48,536. The amount spent on gratuitous relief was Rs. 5,897. Relief in the form of remissions and suspensions of land revenue amounted to Rs. 5,78,464 and Rs. 24,35,352 respectively in the scarcity-affected areas.

1965-66: During the year 1965-66, scarcity conditions prevailed in Sholapur district till 30th September 1966. The scarcity was mainly caused by the failure of rains. About 6,64,807 people inhabiting over an area of 16,44,536 acres were affected. There were however no deaths due to scarcity. Except a few families which migrated to Kolhapur and Osmanabad districts in search of better wages, there was no migration also from scarcity-affected areas and no immigration from other areas. The following are the details of relief measures undertaken by the Government, public and private bodies:-


Relief works

Number of persons attending scarcity works

Actual expenditure incurred (Rs.)


Irrigation works (State sector)

1,18,242 persons were attending on the scarcity relief works during the period from March 1966 to September 1966.



Irrigation works (Zilla Parishad sector)



Bunding works (State sector)



Road works (State sector)

Works during the period from March 1966 to September 1966.



Road works (Zilla Parishad sector)





During the scarcity period cash doles amounting to Rs. 86,025 were distributed among 10,170 persons.

Free food, fodder were also distributed during the scarcity period the details of which are given below:-

Wheat amounting to 34 tonnes and atta amounting to 30 tonnes as dole in kind were distributed. In addition biscuits, dried peas, vitamin tablets etc. were distributed to children below 14 years of age. Fodder tagai of Rs. 85,431 was extended to 2,771 khatedars during the scarcity period.

The following statement shows the distribution of tagai and other loans in Sholapur district during the scarcity period of 1965-66:-


Kind of loans

Amount advanced (in rupees)

Number of persons benefited


(1) Distribution under Land Improvement Loans Act















(2) Distribution under Agriculturists Loans Act











1970-71: During 1970-71, 956 villages in the district, covering a population of 18,60,119 were affected by famine and chronic scarcity. The total number of relief works undertaken during 1970-71 was 10,957, for which 1,41,025 persons were employed. The total expenditure incurred on these works was to the tune of Rs. 6,88,792. Tagai loans distributed under Agriculturists Loans Act amounted to Rs. 8,97,800. The number of villages to which full suspension in land revenue was granted was 870.

1971-72: The district has been recognised as a drought-prone since long. The Fact Finding Committee, known as Sukhtankar Committee, appointed in 1972 has classified the whole district with the exception of areas covered by major and large irrigation projects as the drought-prone area. Thus scarcity conditions affect about 92 per cent of the gross cropped area of the district.

During 1972-73, 953 villages in the district, covering a population of 16,37,288, were affected by famine and chronic scarcity. The total number of relief works undertaken during 1972-73 was 10,957, in which 4,90,931 persons were employed. The total expenditure incurred on these works was to the tune of Rs. 12,89,55,079. Tagai loans distributed under Agriculturists Loans Act amounted to Rs. 68,46,894. The number of villages to which full suspension in land revenue was granted was 948.