Conflict over grazing land in The Nilgiris

Reported by

Archana SivaramakrishnanLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

October 6, 2019

Location of Conflict



The Nilgiris

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Forest Administration (Other than Protected Areas)



People Affected by Conflict


Land Area Affected (in Hectares)




Tamil Nadu


Conservation and Forestry

The Kota and the Toda share overlapping grazing lands in the Glenmorgan area of The Nilgiris, falling under the jurisdiction of the Nilgiris North Forest department. Both these communities are among the particularly vulnerable tribal groups in Tamil Nadu (TN) and have traditionally been buffalo keepers. The villages involved in this conflict are the Todas of Tarnad Mund and the Kotas of Sholur Kokkal. Around 201112, some Kotas from Sholur Kokkal lay claim to the grazing lands in between their fields and those of Tarnad Mund (specifically the hamlet of Pudu Mund). The Kotas claimed that about 1800 acres of land had been allocated to them through a grazing patta. Further, they claimed that buffalo rearing is on the decline because their numbers (the Kota) have increased and that they were losing cattle to wildlife raids. They argue that their traditional occupation of buffalo grazing is not enough to support them anymore and therefore, they want to convert their traditional grazing rights to agricultural rights (agriculture being perceived as more lucrative than buffalo rearing). The land being claimed by the Kotas has been claimed as forest land by the Forest Department. Over the last 34 years, the Revenue Department has also become involved because part of the land, they claim is under the Revenue Department. The conflict has been with the Forest Department and the Revenue department. The Forest Department considers the conversion of grazing land to agricultural land a problem; traditional grazing rights of both Todas and Kotas have been recognized by the Forest Department. The land under conflict is also partially under a revenue category called the 'Toda Patta' land a revenue assignment by the British to the Toda. A parallel conflict has been with the Todas claiming that part of the land being converted to agricultural use by the Kotas is of ritual importance to them (the Todas) and needs to be isolated from other communities. There have also been allegations (by Forest Department) that the Kotas have in fact leased out this land to nontribal members of the adjoining village because they (the Kotas) were unable to raise enough capital to cultivate the land. Some of these non tribal members have also been arrested by the Police. (The Hindu report, 2013)

Region Classification

Type of Land


Private and Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Land Area Affected
(in Hectares):



Starting Year


Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:

Revenue department, Government of Tamil Nadu, Forest Department, Government of Tamil Nadu

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

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