|This article does not cite any references (sources). (December 2009)|
|Languages - Kannada, Hindi, Marathi|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Ugar khurd is known for Ugar Sugar Works. It lies on the banks of the mighty Krishna River. The population is about 39,129 of whom almost 3,000 work in Ugar Sugar Works. The factory name is THE UGAR SUGAR WORKS LTD. and owned by Shirgaonkar Brothers
The area surrounding Ugar has a very fertile black volcanic soil suited for Sugarcane, Cotton, Jawar, Sunflower and Soybeans. Due to proximity to Krishna river, the land is also fairly irrigated, and since last 4 - 5 years Krishna river never went down the critical level.
Ugar Sugar Works started production in early 40s, and it started a school for the families of workers, called 'Shri Hari Vidyalaya'. The city has grown since, and as has the school which has steadily expanded its original reach of Marathi only mode of instruction to include both Kannada and English media. A few recent additions have expanded the school even further to include Bachelor's degrees in Arts and Commerce so the students will not have to move to nearby larger cities for their further education. The school now also has a series of vocational courses including Computer Sciences.
Apart of Shri Hari Vidyalaya, the town of Ugar, now has a government run public school as well, called 'Kannada Gandu Makkala Shale' which means 'Kannada Boys School'. But the name is a misnomer as this is a co-ed. This is for kids in both Kannada and Marathi medium of instructions - but only from 1st grade to 7th, after which the students will move on to Shri Hari Vidyalaya.There is one more English medium school known as mahalakshmi school situated near railway station.S.H.V. has started science PU college. The I.T.I. college on main street is more famous.
Ugar Surar Works also operates a pre-school for much younger children ranging from 4 years to 6. The pre-school has many aminities for children including sea-saw, swing, ample space to play etc.
The city is accessible by both road and railroad. By roads it connects to Kolhapur, Belgaum, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Miraj, Athani. By rail, it connects to two nearest towns Miraj in the north, and Belgaum in south. Since this Railroad connects Bangalore and Bombay, Ugar is conveniently connected to most of India. Belgaum, the district headquarters, about 100 km from Ugar has the nearest operational airport.
As such, Ugar does not boast of any visiting places. But it is near a few. Khidrapur is approximately 15 km from Ugar. Narasoba Wadi too is not too far at 18 km either. Gokak Falls is a beautiful water falls on river Ghataprabha, again not too far at 50 km, accessible by Railroad. Chinchali is a village about 20 km away in which a major yearly jatra attracts more than a million visitors from both Karnataka and Maharashtra. Views of miles of bullock carts carrying millions of pilgrims to Chinchali is a spectacular summer event in towns such as Ugar. And MaaSaheb dargah at Kudchi is about 7 km only.
Ugar has several beautiful temples of its own such as Mahadev temple on the river bank, Shri Raghavendra Matt, Lakshmi temple, Vittal temple, a Jain Mandir, Padmavati Temple and several Mosques. Bank of river, pumping station, a small water barricade, ashram on the way of mangsuli, shime laxmi are favourite picnic spots of ugarkars.
Weekly Farmers' Market
From the early 50's, Ugar has had a weekly Farmers' market, just behind Lakshmi temple on Thursdays and near railway station on Sunday. Usually, people buy their weekly fresh agricultural products there. However, Ugar has grown since, and has had a permanent open tent market near the bus stand and near the railway station.
History, and The Ugar Sugar Works
The Ugar Sugar Works Ltd is the flagship organization of the Shirgaokar Group of Companies, and is by far the sole major employer. It employs approximately 6000 full-time employees, and many more seasonal employees. The annual revenues exceed INR 600 crores. The company has been involved in the manufacture of white crystal sugar for over 65 years. The group also has plants in Jewargi and Bagalkot. The total sugar crushing capacity is approximately 19,000 tcd a day. USW is the main reason why the township of Ugar came into existence.
In the early 40s, Ugar Khurd was a small hamlet in the erstwhile princely state of Sangli. However, it was blessed with a few distinct advantages; perennial river Krishna, fertile black soil, and a railway station that could be used to transport goods. Then, the ruler of Sangli invited the late Dr.S.R.Shirgaokar - who had previous experience of setting up a sugar factory at Kolhapur.
Soon after setting a sugar plant, the company diversified its activities and started its own distillery in 1962–63 and then added the liquor section in 1967–68. The company is producing high quality premium brands like Old Castle Whisky, Gokak Falls Whisky, US Rum, Doctors Brandy, Gagarin Vodka and the company's brands are well accepted by the market.
Thereafter, the company further diversified and set up a first-in-its-kind-in India Co-Generation Power Plant of 44 MW. This was based on the principle of bagasse based renewable sources of energy used as fuel. Out of which 28 MW are being exported to the grid and the rest of the 16 MW are used for in-city consumption.
Ugar is far more progressive town than any of nearby villages. And as a result, it has seen its own side of migration in the 90s and 2000s. Increased awareness among nearby villages to provide a quality education to their children and to provide a progressive city life has caused good deal of migration to Ugar. Many government and bank employees who works in nearby villages resides in Ugar. Ugar has become commercial center for many villages like Kudchi, Ainapur, Mangsuli, Shedbal, Kusnal, Kagawad, Shirguppi, Chinchali, etc.