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Jan 9, 2009

Man Behind Coimbatore Development

A commendation produced in commemoration of his 60th birthday describes C.S.Rathinasabapathy Mudaliar as the one who made a village into Coimbatore city by providing all the three essentials - water, cloth and accommodation. The first was by implementing the 50-year-old dream of the Siruvani water scheme at a cost of Rs. 50 lakh (a fortune those days) and also by constructing a new market.



The water project, according to historian C.R.Elangovan, had been virtually put in cold storage for decades. But it was due to Mudaliar’s efforts and rapport with the Government that a substantial amount for the project was received from the Government as well. Siruvani water, known for its taste all over the State, was brought to Coimbatore by drilling a hill for a distance of almost a mile, constructing a tunnel and laying a pipeline for almost 20 miles. This has helped eradication of several diseases including acute gastroenteritis in the city.



He also established a textile mill and a weavers’ society and thus provided adequate cloth even during the World War period. In a bid to provide accommodation, he expanded the city by creating more suburbs. It was only during his period as the Chairman of the Coimbatore Municipality, for 14 years from 1921, almost a dozen suburbs including R.S.Puram and Ram Nagar came into being. He is said to have constructed buildings for the workers to sit and eat and also conceived a number of infrastructure projects.



One of his greatest contributions to Coimbatore was the provision of electricity using the Pykara Electricity Project. With the permission of the British rulers, he made this a scheme of the Municipality through which not only the city benefited but also the municipal revenue swelled.
Born in 1886, he was elected councillor to the Coimbatore Municipality at the age of 20 itself and he continued to be so till he became the chairman of the civic body 17 years hence.


By setting up an elementary, a middle and also high school on behalf of the municipality, he extended the educational opportunities for the poor people as well. He was also a great Tamil enthusiast who played a crucial role in the birth of the Tamizhisai Sangham. He even conducted a State-level Tamil conference in Coimbatore. An extremely religious person, he organised the annual celebrations of the Saiva Siddhantha Pervai in Coimbatore twice. Besides, he was the founder president of the Kovai Sekkizhar Sangam which he headed till his end.



He was a member of several major bodies including the Central Committee of the Reserve of Bank of India, State Co-operative Bank, Chamber of Commerce, Southern India Mills Association, National Dairy Development Board, State Electricity Board, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, etc. Said to be a very compassionate person, he was also very magnanimous.



When Rajaji approached him to drop his plan to contest as an Independent for the Madras Legislative Assembly in 1937, as the Congress candidate who was an ordinary worker had only a remote chance against him, Mudaliar whole-heartedly agreed to his request instantly. He passed away in 1956.

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