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Farmers dared the drought and transformed Tirupur into Billion 'Dollar City'

Murali D
1st Sep 2013
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At an event announcing ‘the launch of world’s second and India’s first 1 MWp rooftop grid-connected solar PV plant with DG synchronisation, designed, engineered, installed and commissioned by Chemtrols Solar Pvt Ltd,’ I had the opportunity to meet the customer who made it possible: Raja M. Shanmugham, Chairman of Alpine Knits India Pvt Ltd, Tirupur.

tirupur-dollar-city
Tirupur Garment Factory
[photo credit : www.thehindubusinessline.com]

What is the secret of Tirupur’s entrepreneurship, I asked Raja. It is something unique, with no roots in literary or monetary background, he begins. “People in agriculture turned towards this industry because of the dire necessity in those days when drought prevailed over the region.”

It is story of the emergence of the peasant workers into a working class on the factory, morphing further to being owners of small units and now, controlling a large part of the industrial activity in Tirupur and the surrounding districts of Coimbatore, informs a research paper from Geneva. “In 1984, the first export consignment was shipped. The 90s brought in greater demand for finished garments and this expansion saw the feminisation of labour in Tirupur.”

Daringness of the farmers with fire in their personalities pioneered this enterprise, created wonder in the society and the industrial community, Raja underlines. “Till then it was thought that only the top echelons of industries, with funds and other support, could have international trade links. That myth was thoroughly shattered by these humble beginners, showing a new path for the future entrepreneurs all across the state.”


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