At the beginning of this century the important. industries in
this district, were tasar silk industry, cotton weaving, smelring of
iron ore, leather working, pohe manufacturing, etc. The Chanda
District Gaztteer of 1909 described the role of these industries as given
"The tasar silk industry has for some years attracted the
attention of Government as a valuable and interesting cottage industry capable of considerable development."
"The cotton fabrics of Chanda formerly possessed a wide reputation, for excellence and durability: they used to be largely exported to western India, and Sir R. Jenkins mentions that prior to 1802 A.D. coarse cloths made at Chanda found
their way as far afield as Arabia................. Much of
this glory has now departed although the saris of Chanda still posses a more or less extended reputation. and a certain amount of local cotton cloth is exported to Amraoti and Akola in Berar.
"Chanda is the only District of these Provinces the metal work of which received any notice from Birdwood in his "Industrial Arts of India'. He says of it: "Chanda was formerly distinguished for its workers in the precious and baser metals, but much of their tame bas now been lost owing to the decreased demand for their wares under British rule. The District, however, still (1880) possesses good goldsmiths and silversmiths, whose work is
marked by the strongest local character.'
Brass work is still carried on to a considerable extent the chief seats of the industry being Chanda, Neri
and Brahmapuri: at the same time utensils of brass, copper and alloys are extensively imported from Poona, Nasik. Mirzapur, and Bhandara. "
"The smelting industry of this District was formerly one of considerable importance ranking second only to that of Jubbulpore. Iron is abundant and widely distributed: it is also easily extracted and broken up and therefore eminently adapted to the simple native methods of mining and smelting. Of late years, however, the industry has been rapidly on the decline owing to the pressure of foreign competition, and this downward tendency has been accelerated by the recent famines: heavy charges for fuel and the rise in wages caused by railway construction have also in large measure contributed to the general depression of the smelters. "
Subsequently, however, the economic boom during the two world wars and the post-war period gave rise to a few mechanised industries such as ginning, oil extracting, glass ware, potteries and paper manufacturing. Most of this industrial development was based on the availability of agro-industrial raw materials and forest resources.
The district is rich in minerals and forest wealth. Apart from a number of coal mines, there are four large-scale industries
manufacturing paper, glass ware, pottery and oil. With availability of abundant raw materials, coal, iron ore and electric power from the Ballarpur Thermal Station, future prospects for industrial development in the district are very bright.
The paper and paper products industry has considerable scope for development in Chanda. The Ballarpur Paper and Straw Mills with a production capacity of 35 tons per day has plans for expansion up to 120 tons per day. The paper factory is the only one of its type in Vidarbha region. The ample forest wealth offers abundant scope for the establishment of wood seasoning factories, saw milling and the lucifer match industry. The availability of valuable timber and wood, as well as the facilities of electric power, water-supply and cheap labour are very important in this respect.
Besides, Chandrapur district provides a very favourable ground for the development of industries, such as, ceramics, pottery, tiles and non-metallic mineral products.
The Master Plan for Industrialisation, prepared by the State Government in 1960, made valuable recommendations regarding industrial resources and development in the district. The Master Plan recommended the establishment of a plant for pig iron by low shaft furnace technique. It may be noted here that there was a proposal to establish an iron and steel project in this district. But the proposal did not materialise because of the non-availability of coking coal. The Government of India, therefore, decided to establish a pig iron plant, in the private sector, in this district. The proposed plant is expected to have a capital investment of about Rs. 15 crores. This plant will go a long way in the industrial development of the district.
They Master Plan also suggested that this district would be a suitable area for establishing factories for manufacturing cast iron pipes, ceramics and hardboards.
The industrial estate at Chandrapur is a noteworthy achievement in the industrial field. It has facilitated small industrial undertakings to get the benefits of common service, and facilities of location, power supply, transport and water-supply.
Chandrapur is favourably provided with electric power from the Ballarpur thermal power station. This power station commissioned during the first Five-Year Plan is one of the three thermal power stations in Nagpur division. Consumption of power for industrial purposes in the district is of a considerable magnitude. During 1961-62, 2,77,42,000 K.W.H. of electric power was consumed in the district. The power consumption increased by 8.20 per cent in 1962-63 and by 32.88 per cent in 1963-64 over that in 1961-62.