Coimbatorebest.com speaks to AV Varadharajan, President
of the Indian Chamber for Commerce and Industry Coimbatore (ICCIC)
on the Trade and Commerce scene in Coimbatore.
Could you give us a SWOT analysis of Coimbatore industries today?
is a city that wakes up early and goes to bed early.
The strengths are innovative entrepreneurship and hard workers.
Coimbatore industries compete with the best. The city is home to
many industries heavy engineering, textiles and a huge number
of small and medium scale entrepreneurs. Coimbatore has the maximum
number of spindles in the world within a 100 km radius. More than
50% of pump sets made for agricultural use in India are made in
Coimbatore. 85% of textile machinery is made in Coimbatore. A
lot of components from Coimbatore go to automotive giant
Maruti Udhyog. Coimbatore is the largest source for a majority
of their components.
Class labour, salubrious climate, the 20-odd engineering colleges
producing quality engineering graduates, and five world-class hospitals
providing health care facilities that can compare with the best
in the world at affordable costs... these are some of the strengths.
It is the district capital and is No.1 when it comes to literacy
rate for a city with more than 1 million populace. Coimbatore and
Tirupur are a very big economic force when they work together.
weakness would be excessive concentration of the textile industry
here and high cost of labour when compared to neighbouring places
like Aruppukotai, Dindigul.
The opportunities would be foundry industries, which show a lot
of promise, knitwear in Tirupur and the Automotive sector where
Coimbatore can become a big force.
Threats are the foreign goods, which are available at cheaper prices.
The government will have to take the necessary steps and also if
indiscriminate smuggling is allowed, then no industry can survive.
Have the negative fallouts of the Bomb blasts been overcome
in terms of restoring investor confidence?
Undue importance was given to the bomb blasts. Trading was affected
only for a few days inside the city, where the damage was considerable.
Otherwise, the industry suffered only negligible losses and that
too due to the dislocation of personnel for a few days after the
blast. The actual loss was only a cumulative result of national
recession, for which the bomb blasts have been cited as the primary
reason. The movement of people and the trade has shifted to moffusil
centres like Udumalpet and Pollachi, which have developed on their
own as cloth centres.
Where does Coimbatore stand in comparison to other industrialised
cities in the country?
recently, Jairam Ramesh, wrote in an article in India
Today that a lot of thrust was being given by the respective
governments of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to promote Bangalore
and Hyderabad, cities which do not have the natural entrepreneurship
of cities like Coimbatore. Coimbatore has entrepreneurship in its
blood. This can be seen in each facet of life in Coimbatore. It
is not a propped up entrepreneurship, like Hyderabad or Bangalore.
What do you think has been ICCIC's most significant recent work
in safeguarding the interests of industry in Coimbatore?
ICCICs networking of all associations and the development
of IT and CII - Coimbatore Zone, as far as infrastructure
is concerned. We established a committee of experts to draw up
long-term and short-term requirements. The full report will go
to the government and table what is required to make Coimbatore
comparable to places like Singapore and Stuttgart. Rs.2,500 crore
is the probable outlay required to create infrastructure according
to our plan.
How many members are currently there in ICCIC?
are around 1,500 members currently in ICCIC; from giants like Lakshmi
Mills to the small and medium scale entrepreneurs.
What are the current focus areas of ICCIC?
The members from the trading community form a large body. 50%
of the members are traders. As an apex body of 86 associations,
we have to protect the interests of the entire city and act as representatives
of the people of the whole city. Widening roads, information to
the media etc. We function like a civic body and represent the
interests of the industry not only in Coimbatore but also in neighbouring
areas like Pollachi and Nilgiris.
|Text - Joseph Pradeep Raj R
Photographs- V Ganesan