of infrastructure can cause havoc to an industrial town- Coimbatore is yet to
emerge though talent is abundant.
had emerged as Manchester of south India in early 20 th century dotted with spinning mills when the buzzling Bengaluru of recent years was known for providing paradise for pensioners. Till
about 1980 Bengaluru did not have a direct train to the National capital and a
primitive airport run by HAL. Now the city has one of the largest Airport in
the country. Railway infrastructure was given a big push by the then Railway
minister C K Jaffersharif in 1990’s. The city has graduated as one of the
leading Metropolitan cities overtaking Chennai. Bengaluru’s meteoric rise came
in a matter of 20 years. Ironically Coimbatore at present hosts large number of
old age homes.
Coimbatore Airport expansion project conceived nearly 25 years ago has been put
on hold since the district administration could not acquire land for the
purpose. While nearby Cochin has a full-fledged International airport, very few
international flights take off from Coimbatore.
The doubling of railway line project from
Irugur on the Chennai to Palghat railway line to Coimbatore a distance of
hardly 25 kilometers took 25 years to be completed since the Railways was not
giving adequate funds. Broad gauge line between Coimbatore to Madurai to provide
connectivity to Tuticorin port took nearly 20 years to complete but the project
has not been fully commissioned as yet.
the result major trains running between Chennai and Cochin skipped Coimbatore
diverted for completion of doubling project continued to skip Coimbatore even
after the project was commissioned. A former Southern railway General Manager
went to the extent of stating on record in an official letter to the city’s
Member of Parliament that railways will not run trains to insignificant towns
like Coimbatore. People of the city are fighting for a direct train to
Bengalure for the past fifteen years.
continues to be leader in Textiles Engineering goods, Pumps. The nearby Tirupur
town is a leader in Hosiery exports from the country, Sagar Sandesh has
attempted to take up the cause of Coimbatore to the political establishment in
the wake of reports about the flight of capital from the textile towns to low
cost towns of Andhra Pradesh. In this context we have carried the views of leading
entrepreneur of Coimbatore Mr Rajesh Doriaswamy.
Interview with Mr Rajesh Doraiswamy
Coimbatore was a pioneer industrial city since the 19th century. But Bengaluru
has remained a pensioners’ paradise till 1980's. Now Coimbatore has been pushed
to position of being a pensioners paradise How did this happen : Shocking
Coimbatore has a very special nature in the country. The entire city has
been made up of Private Entrepreneurs only and there has been no Government
institution or large Govt investments in this city. In spite of that, at
one point of time, Coimbatore was producing
of cotton Yarn
of Motors & Pumps
of Wet Grinders
a Major hub of Foundries & Valves
still Coimbatore is a highly industrialized city though it has lost the
dominance. Now going to the question of being a Pensioners paradise – i
personally would call it a bad thing to happen. If the city can continue
to build on its Entrepreneurial reputation by building more industries and also
grow as a pensioners paradise, that will be a good thing to happen.
SS: 30 years ago there was flight of
textile mills from Coimbatore to Dindigul belt. Ever since the formation of
Andhra Pradesh, we hear reports of flight of capital from Coimbatore to AP,
What are the steps TN govt should initiate to stop the flight of capital
from the state?
Yes true. The number of Spindleage has dropped or, say it has not
increased in the last decade or so. The Spinning mills have moved to
Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh due to availability of raw material and also closer
to the Market. However I can strongly say that the Ecosystem for running
a spinning mill is Best is available only in parts of Coimbatore and
surrounding areas. If only the Govt. can come up with some innovative
schemes on Labour front, continuous power supply and also lower Power tariffs,
Make it easy for buying private power without the present cumbersome
regulations & Cost.
radical measure the govt. can do is to incentivize the employment by giving a
portion of the ESI or PF. Spinning industry is supposed to the largest
employing industry in the country after Agriculture. So any positive
here will be a general positive for the whole economy.
SS: What the problems the exporters
face in the Coimbatore region. Which is their preferred port for exports
and imports Chennai, Tuticorin or Cochin and why?
The preferred port is normally Chennai or tuticorin.
SS: Apart from yarn, Engineering
goods, hosiery, Motors and pumps which are the other industries where there is
growth possibility in the area?
IT is a new emerging field. Foundry, Valves and related industry also has
seen good growth in the last 10 years. Knitwear Garment manufacturing has
been growing steadily. Tirupur exports almost 50% of the country’s
Knitwear garments. (Tirupur exports approx 25,000 cr p.a. Total
Knitwear garment export from country is around Rs 51,000 cr
approx.). With such large share, the support and incentives for the
industry has been almost nothing from the state govt.
Central Govt. has been giving a lot support in terms of Duty Draw back and
interest subsidies, there has been not much encouragement from the state
the kind of eco system the City has for Knitwear Garment, Textile in General,
Foundry, Valves and Auto components – the state should come up with a 10 year
plan to imprive teh infrastructure and further develop the industries.
What is the industry doing to expedite acquisition of land for expansion of the
airport pending for the past 20 years?
D: A lot of forums like ICCI – Coimbatore, CII,
CODISIA and citizens’ forum have all been working with various authorities to
get the Airport expanded fast.
SS: Irugur Coimbatore doubling project took 25 years to be completed
but now most of the trains bound for Kerala continue to skip Coimbatore. What
are your suggestions for improving the railway infrastructure in the region?
Over the last decade, Coimbatore was mostly neglected in terms of new trains
and connectivity. More Day trains and fast trains to Bangalore, Chennai
and Hyderabad are required on an urgent basis. Connectivity to other
cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Nagpur etc., is also to be
SS: reasons why the soft ware industry
has not take off the way it should have been considering the quality of the
work force in the region?
IT industry came up very well in Coimbatore. However the cost of Land
increased substantially and hence the cost advantage between Chennai/Bangalore
to Coimbatore because very less and hence the growth slowed down. Even
now, the two major IT parks, one by Govt of Tamil Nadu and the first one
initiated by KG Group has both excellent infrastructure and a lot of MNC have
set up shop here. I am sure IT industry has immense potential and once
things balance out in terms of cost, it will pick up again.