and pulisanis of Asokan edicts.
nisrishtartha-duta, while one who could not go beyond his instructions in
negotiations was called parimitartha-duta. Sasanhara-duta was only a
special messenger.
Palace Department It was under a controller who looked after the royal
household. He had to pay special attention to the kitchen to see that no
poisoning was done. There was also a dauvarika or warden of the palace to
control entrance and exit.
Settlement and Planning Department It organised villages into different
types of units, known as sangrahana (10 villages), kharvatika (200),
dronamukha (400) and sthaniya (800). Several rural development activities
were undertaken by the state. They included construction of roads for traffic
(vahikpatha), waterways and routes, and markets for commodities
(panyapattana).
Provincial and Local Administration
Provinces No worthwhile information is available on this aspect from
Kautilya; only Asokan edicts, particularly Brahmagiri Minor Rock Edicts I
and II, talk about local administration. The empire was divided into four
provinces, each under a viceroy-in-council. The four provinces were
Uttarapatha (capital—Taxila), Avantiratha (Ujjain), Dakshinapatha
(Suvamagiri) and Kalinga (Tosali or Dhauli). The viceroy was responsible for
the maintenance of law and order, and collection of taxes for the centre. But
neither Kautilya nor Asokan edicts disclose the amount of autonomy enjoyed
by the provinces, if at all they had any.
    The council of ministers at the provincial level acted as a check on the
local governor. This is apparent from two events before and during the reign
of Asoka. The revolt in Taxila during the reign of Bindusara was against the
local ministers and officers and not against the prince or governor. It would
seem that the ministers had assumed more power than the situation
demanded. The second indication was the story of the blinding of Kunala at
the orders of Asoka. The story suggests that direct orders from the king to the
ministers, without the viceroy knowing about them, was a regular occurrence,
since the ministers were not surprised at the prince being kept in ignorance of
the king’s order.