Making a beeline for Singapore

A state-of-the-art knitting machine. — Photo: M. Balaji

A state-of-the-art knitting machine. — Photo: M. Balaji  

M. Gunasekaran

TIRUPUR: At a time when most parts of the country is reeling under unemployment, lack of industrial growth and poverty, western parts of Tamil Nadu — especially Tirupur and Coimbatore — portray a different picture altogether.

Thriving on textiles and garment exports, entrepreneurs in this region are known for taking risks and investing on innovations.

Take the case of International Textile Machinery Exhibition (ITMA) ASIA 2005 slated for October 17-21 in Singapore. If one goes by the figures provided by the travel agents and tour operators, at least 500-600 participants from Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode and Salem areas will be visiting it. This is said to be the maximum in south India.

"We have very good response this time. Even small travel agents also have a role (some bookings) in it. All over India we have 400 bookings, of this, 125 are from this region,'' says C.S. Srividhya of Orbit Tours and Trade Fair, Coimbatore.

Representation from big textile mills and export houses may be a usual affair. But, this fair assumes significance as small spinners, weavers from places such as Somanur, Karumathampatty, Palladam and Pallipalayam are also participating. Many of them are going abroad for the first time, sources said.

Aiming for an impressive growth in the open market and to keep themselves abreast to modern trends, many trade associations such as Knit Cloth Manufacturers Association, South India Imported Machine Knitters Association, Knit Compactors Association and Printers Association here have organised group tours for the fair. The Textile Committee had organised road shows two months ago.

With Singapore's proximity to Malaysia and Thailand, the operators offered tour packages too. "We have a booking of 200 and a major chunk from small spinners," says A. Prasad of SOTC.

The Tirupur Industrial Federation president, Ahill M.S. Mani, says investing their profit again and again on technology is the reason behind Tirupur's success. "It is inevitable for us to enhance productivity and quality and to cut production cost. We could see all the latest machinery under one roof and buy them at cheaper rates.''

Five per cent interest subsidy under the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme and liberal approach by the banks are the motivating factors behind the surge.

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