Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The manufacture of shellac is carried on mainly in Bihar and Orissa and to a lesser extent in the Central Provinces. In the former province, when trade is normal, about 4, 000 persons are employed in 127 factories, of which only 16 come under the Factories Act. In the latter province about 2, 000 workers were employed during 1929 in 22 factories none of these comes under the Act because no power machinery is employed, although in the majority of cases there are more than 50 persons to each establishment. The manufacture of shellac is for the most part carried on in unsatisfactory buildings with leaking roofs and earth floors. Poor lighting and ventilation and an almost universal absence of any washing and sanitary arrangements are characteristic, although the bad smell created by the nature of the industry and the dirtiness of the manufacturing processes make these particularly necessary. The greatest deficiency, however, is to be found in the lack, both in and around the factory, of drainage for drawing off the water in which the lac has been washed. As a result of a recent investigation of these places undertaken by the Director of Public Health in the Central Provinces, it was reported that " Washing pits, reservoirs and drains are not properly cleaned at regular intervals. The same water is used for washing over and over again for a week or more and is allowed to stagnate for a period before it is drained on. Due to putrefaction of all the animal refuse from the stick lac, along with myriads of crushed insects in this water, the stinking effluvia from washing basins and drains are disgusting. But the persons employed on washing have to stand knee-deep in this water in the pits and carry on the work for hours together." The daily hours of work are normally not excessive, but no regular intervals for meals or weekly holidays are conceded, although admittedly this last evil in largely counteracted by irregular attendance and the seasonal nature of the work.