Staff Reporter

COIMBATORE: G.K. Sundaram, Chairman and Managing Director of Lakshmi Mills, who passed away here on Monday, was a great source of encouragement and inspiration to those in the textile industry, according to Manickam Ramaswami, former chairman of Southern India Mills’ Association (SIMA).

Mr. Ramaswami told The Hindu that Mr. Sundaram had set high ethical standards in the textile industry. He had adopted environment-friendly measures in his processing unit even before the pollution norms were introduced for the industry.

In 2003, speaking at the release of the book written by Mr. Sundaram, Textile Policing, the then SIMA chairman Vijay Venkataswamy recollected the days he worked at Lakshmi Mills: “The true Gandhian that he was, Mr. Sundaram always used to tell me that we are trustees of the mill and not the owners.”

Mr. Venkataswamy said that Mr. Sundaram was “a man of tremendous technical knowledge at the shop floor level and never took the beaten path when it came to improved technology.

For instance, even in the 1950s, when the industry was buying British preparatory machinery, Mr. Sundaram went in for Swiss-made ones.

He always looked at inclusive growth and provided housing and training for the workers.”

One who evinced keen interest in sports, he was the founder-president of the Coimbatore Rifle Club and the Coimbatore Bridge Association.

He was also the founder-president of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore Kendra, and the Coimbatore chapter of the Kamban Kazhagam.

The Kamban Kazhagam, Sri Lanka, honoured him with ‘Kamba Kavalar’ title.

A well-known philanthropist, he was associated with a number of charitable institutions.

Besides, he has contributed substantially to the religious and cultural activities not only in Coimbatore but also in other parts of the country.

Mr. Sundaram is survived by his son S. Pathy, vice-chairman and Managing Director of Lakshmi Mills, and daughter Sunitha Santharam.