November 24, 2017
The textile mills of Coimbatore stand tall even as the city, which became the district headquarters 213 years ago, has turned to be a knowledge hub of information technology. The uniqueness of its expertise in textiles has woven into it the tag of ‘Manchester of South India.’
Textile owners here say Coimbatore was the natural choice for textile industry. Southern India Mills Association (SIMA) secretary general Dr K Selvaraju told The Covai Post: “Coimbatore was a natural choice for textile industry because of the cotton production here and the climate. The black soil here was fertile for cotton production and the weather here had the perfect conditions for yarn production. Though today there is technology readily available for yarn production, earlier it was the natural weather which supported this industry. The weather here had the right humid conditions for yarn production.”
History has it that the first such venture was CSW Mill started by Sir Robert Stanes. It was popularly called as Stanes Mills. Later, G Kuppusamy Naidu started Lakshmi Mills.
Selvaraju also credits the entrepreneurial skills of Coimbatoreans for the rapid industrialisation. The textile sector is the backbone of this city. Earlier, the important textile mills were centered round Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Coimbatore. “Today, when most of the textile mills in Ahmedabad and Mumbai have closed down, Coimbatore has only seen a rise in textile production,” he said.
“Even when Tirupur was made a separate district, the industry boomed here. Today, there are 1 lakh spinning mills in Coimbatore and close to 2 lakh power looms. Coimbatore also supplies about 70 per cent spinning machinery and accessories in the country,” said Selvaraju.
A report published by SIMA says that in 2014–2015, textile exports from here had a 12.14 per cent share in the country’s shipments worth $38 billion and imports just 1.34 per cent.