Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The plantations in the South are to be found in the highest parts of the Peninsula. The important planting areas in British India are the Nilgiris, Malabar, the Anamalais and the Shevaroys in Madras and the small province of Coorg. The Nilgiris form a large plateau at the junction of the Western and Eastern Ghats, with an average elevation of 6, 000 feet above sea level. All the three main plantation crops are grown in this area, of which tea is now the most important, giving employment to about 31, 000 persons, as compared with over 12, 000 in the case of coffee and only about 400 in the case of rubber. Labour for the plantations in the Nilgiris is obtained locally and from the neighbouring districts of Coimbatore and Salem, a small proportion also coming from the Indian State of Mysore. Coffee, tea and rubber are also grown in the Malabar district. The coffee and tea plantations are to be found chiefly in the Wynaad, a tableland 60 miles long by 30 miles wide lying amid the Ghats at an average elevation of 3, 000 feet above sea level. Owing to its rainfall, the rest of the district is suited only for the cultivation of rubber. The total labour force on the plantations is about 20, 000, of whom the large majority are employed on the tea plantations. The supply of labour is mainly local, but part of it comes from Coimbatore, Salem and the Indian State of Mysore. The Anamalais are a series of forest-clad plateaux in the south of Coimbatore district, on the lower slopes of which a number of tea plantations have recently been opened, which employ about 30, 000 persons. Coffee is cultivated on a very small scale. The plantations obtain over a third of their labour force from within the district and the remainder from Malabar, Salem, Tinnevelly, Madura and Trichinopoly. The Shevaroys are a small detached range in the Salem district. The plantations here are chiefly coffee estates, employing about 5, 000 workers, all of whom are recruited within the district.