Published on: December 20, 2021


TATA GROUP – TEA ESTATES IN KODAGU NEWS Tata Group may lose control over 942-acre tea estate in Karnataka


  • It is in accordance with a local court judgement
  • State government prepares to hand the plantation to the forest department.
  • Tata Coffee’s petition to get the description of the land reversed to ‘redeemed sagu’ in revenue records from its 2008 entry as ‘forest’ was dismissed recently
  • In April 2008, the revenue authorities had changed the nature of the vast tea estate, under Tata Coffee lease, as “forest land” from the earlier “sagu” land (cultivable land).
  • Tata Coffee is a subsidiary of Tata Consumer Products and Asia’s second largest exporter of instant coffee, with revenue of about Rs 2,289 crore, last year. It has coffee and tea plantations in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • The tea estates are spread across West Nemmale, T Shettigeri, Poradu and Hysodluru villages in the Western Ghat forests in South Kodagu (South Coorg).
  • Tata Coffee (Tata Tea, back then) inherited the lease from Consolidated Coffee Ltd, which it acquired in 1990-91.
  • The land was leased under the Coorg Land and Revenue regulations, 1899. The rules allowed leasing of paisari forest land for rubber, coffee and tea cultivation.


SAGU LAND – Sagu tenure is referred to as ordinary ryotwari tenure of land held on full assessment as contrasted with privileged tenures which have for various reasons been so freely

REDEEMED LAND – The Land recovered by government


An expert committee constituted by the Karnataka government after the Supreme Court order (in T N Godavarman Thirumalpad (1996) Case) identified ‘deemed forests’ as “land having the characteristic of forests irrespective of the ownership’”. This includes:

  • Thickly wooded areas of the Revenue Department not handed over to the Forest Department.
  • Thickly wooded areas recommended to be handed over to the Forest Department.
  • Thickly wooded land distributed to grantees but not cultivated.
  • Thickly wooded plantations of the Forest Department.