Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The quarrying of stone, including slate and limestone, and the extraction of iron ore employ a large number of workers. The former industry is widely distributed over India and Burma and employs 28, 000 persons in those quarries which come under the Mines Act; quarries less than 20 feet deep and in which less than 50 persons are employed are exempted from the operation of the Act. Slate is quarried mainly in the Monghyr district of Bihar. Limestone comes principally from the Punjab, the Central Provinces, Bihar and Sind. Other kinds of stone are worked in all parts of India, though none of the excavations for stone in the Madras Presidency has been reported as coming under the Act. The work in stone quarries is largely in the hands of contractors; little machinery is used and, since in almost all cases the workers come from surrounding villages, no special arrangements are made for housing, sanitation and health. The majority of the quarries are in scattered localities difficult of access and frequent inspection has not been found possible. There were 11 fatal accidents in stone quarries and 4 in limestone quarries during 1929. In iron ore mines, which are all open workings, some 8, 000 persons are employed, including 2, 700 women. Except for one mine in Burma, the production is almost all in the hands of three large firms who quarry ore in the Singbhum district of Bihar and Orissa. The majority of the workers are recruited in the district and many attend their work daily from their villages. It is reported that some housing is provided at the mines, and that hospitals and medical officers are maintained, while two out of the three large concerns have piped water supplies.