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Home > Discover Coimbatore > Trade and Commerce > Interview - ICCIC
INDUSTRY IN COIMBATORE 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?

A V VaradharajanCoimbatore 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. 

A V VaradharajanThe 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?

ICCICVery 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?

ICCIC’s 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?

A V VaradharajanThere 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

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