Rice Processing in Bihar

                                                                                  
Rice everywhere, except on the immediate bank of the Ganges, had been the most important crop of Bihar since far long., and much attention had been bestowed on its cultivation. By far the greatest part of the rice here is the Aghani or Khurif, which ripens in winter.




OLD SYSTEM OF RICE PROCESSING

In Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries the BASMATl, OR PERFUMED RICE of Patna; was very famous , although production of the  finest was not exceeding one quarter of the whole, but it was an article of export, for which at Calcutta there was a great demand. 

The fine rice that was exported, and what was used by the high classes of that time was mostly freed from the husk without boiling. Over that time,the wives of  tradesmen, who had no farms, purchased rice in the husk, and beat it. What was intended for the consumption of large towns and of travellers, and for export, was purchased in the rough state by the low traders called Baldiya-beparis, whose wives beat a great part of it, and hire some poor women to assist.

The beater always received by weight a certain quantity of rough rice, and returned a certain quantity of clean, taking for her profit whatever surplus there remained. At Patna, the rate was  according to the quality of the grain. If the rough rice was of a very good quality, when it was cleaned by boiling, the cleaner received 60 sers [a seer was about 2 lbs.] of well winnowed and dry rough rice, and delivered 40 sers of cleaned. But with common rice the beater received 65 sers of winnowed and dry rough rice for the 40 sers of clean.

The women, who live by this business, usually worked three together, and commonly clean two rupees' worth in a day, when the rice was cheap working hard, and when it was dear, giving themselves less trouble; but the annual difference, that took place in the price between harvest and seed time was in some measure compensated by the new rice being easier to clean than the old. The bran and husks gave also a small profit; when the rice was cleaned by boiling, they did no more than supply pots and fuel.Rice was very seldom prepared in any other manner than by plain boiling, and the water in which it has been boiled, was actually thrown away; but in towns it was given to the milk cows.

Early Rice Mills of Champaran


In early twentieth century, Rice was the chief product of North Bihar, giving a return of 35 maunds to the acre, but a fair average yield for the whole crop was 17 maunds. 

A mill had been erected at Bhairoganj, adjoining the railway station, and its eight hulling Machines, driven by two steam engines (by Marshall, Sons & Co.), were able to deal each day with 800 maunds of rice. This factory was known as the B.B.A. Rice Mills, and was owned by Messrs.Bion,Broncke and Amman, while Mr. R. S. Bion was managing proprietor.

Rice-Mills at Bhairoganj and Lauriya
 Rice-Mill at Lauriya (Chanpatiya)
The rice-mill at Lauriya was a fine brick and corrugated-iron building with circular roof, and was situated near to the railway station at Chanpatia. The machinery, drivenby an engine of 56 h.p.,comprised three hullcrs, one sheller, elevators, and fans, and the factory had a capacity for turning out 300 maunds of rice in a day of ten hours, tlie manufactured product represented 66 per cent, of the original quantity of paddy.The rice was disposed off principally in markets in the northwestern districts of India.


Bibliography-

  • BENGAL AND ASSAM 
    BEHAR AND ORISSA (1917)-
    Their History, People, Commerce, and Industrial Resource 
    Compiled by SOMERSET PLAYNE,The Foreign and Colonial Compiling and Publishing Co.27 pilgrim street, LONDON, E.G.
  • The History, Antiquities, Topography, and Statistics of Eastern India: Behar (1838) By Robert Montgomery Martin Publisher W.H. Allen and Co.,London.

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