Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Manganese ore is obtained from a few large units and many small mines scattered over a number of rural areas. As used officially in India, the term " mine " includes quarries and in this industry nearly all the mines are open workings. Only about 4 per cent of the total labour force works underground. The mines lie mostly in a narrow strip of the Central Provinces mining for 100 miles north-east of Nagpur, but others exist, in Bihar and Orissa, Bombay and Madras. The smaller mines everywhere draw most of their labour from the immediate neighbourhood. The bigger concerns in the Central Provinces employ a number of local people but the, greater proportion come from the north and past of the Central Provinces and adjoining districts of the United Provinces. The workers tend to remain at the mine with occasional visits to their villages. Both recruitment and the extraction of ore are entrusted to contractors, who attract and apparently retain their workers by a system of advances. We found here traces of the defunct Workmen's Breach of Contract Act in the terms of engagement; we recommend that adequate steps be taken to apprise the workers of its repeal. In Madras also a number of mines depend on contractors' labour brought from a distance. The work is very similar to ordinary earthwork excavation and calls for no special comment. Wages are low and seem to be little above agricultural rates in the surrounding country. Hours in open quarries are subjected to little official checking, but do not appear to be unduly long.