Bus body cluster set up

Staff Reporter

Project cost estimated to be Rs. 9.39 crore

KARUR: In what is seen as a big boost to the bus body building industry in Karur, a bus body cluster has been formed with the intent of shoring up the units for future challenges.

The move is timely in that certain mandatory regulations are coming into force by March next to standardise the coach building industry to meet safety and quality norms.

Association of Coach Builders here took the initiative and the State Government conducted discussions with the coachbuilders, resulting in the emergence of the Karur Bus Body Cluster Private Limited.

The cluster has 20 members and efforts are on to enlist all bus body builders. There are about 50 coach building units in Karur and their clientele includes those from not just Tamil Nadu but also from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 9.39 crore including working capital content of Rs. 1.50 crore. The Central Government is pitching in with 70 per cent of financial assistance while the State Government is providing 15 per cent. The beneficiary units should contribute the balance 15 per cent.

Though most of the units could be classified as unorganised, their design, content development and efficiency have resulted in an ever-enlarging market.

By March next, the mandatory provisions for coach building units would be in place necessitating the units to get accreditation and approval from the Automobiles Research Association of India and Central Institute of Road Transport, based in Pune.

The coachbuilders in Karur, in a bid to meet safety and quality conditions, want an agency or a body to help them.

It is in this area that the Cluster would come to their rescue by establishing a Common Facilitation Centre, according to Association president P.Thangaraj.

The units in Karur manufacture around 4,000 coaches a year. After the establishment of the facilitation centre, the town could churn out more than 7,500 coaches per year, said Association vice-president K. Palanisamy.

The plan is to establish the Centre replete with advanced testing facilities, design centres, quality testing laboratories and data to help the coachbuilders in their quest for achieving international standards.

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