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Apr 20, 2009

Industrialists to raise Voice of Kovai !!

For long believed to be soft and not inclined to take on the political class and the babus, industrialists of the Coimbatore region are in a belligerent mood. Ranking next to Chennai in industrial development and contributing Rs 3,500 crore to Central and the State taxes, the Coimbatore region has been feeling neglected, with its claim for better infrastructure, raw material supply, power, etc., ignored.

Thus, some months back, the industry associations here took the uncommon decision of downing shutters for a day and taking out a rally to protest against the steep power cut. Mr Mahendra Ramdas, President, Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Coimbatore, said the continuous process spinning industry has seen a decline in revenue because of the 45-50 per cent power cut. Auto ancillary units and foundries that cater to the export market have also been affected. Knitting units and the pumpset industry reported a 10 per cent drop in revenues last year over the previous year; exports gave them some cushion.

However paradoxical, Mr Ramdas is sure that “this downturn is not going to be an election issue or affect the prospects of any political party. But thankfully for the Government the elections have come in April-May. Had they come in October/November, the impact would have been severe, and the talking point would have been recession than any other issue, especially as the common people would have been badly hit. And, this segment is the real vote bank.”

Mr K. Ilango, President, Coimbatore District Small Industries Association (Codissia), put the loss in production suffered by the small/medium units in the Coimbatore region at around Rs 500 crore a month. The region, which exports about Rs 300-400 crore a month, has reported a halving in the performance. The Rs 250-500 crore that was to have come to the Coimbatore region from the Rs 7,000 crore promised the small/medium units in the country, also has not materialised.

Mr Jayakumar Ramdass, President, Southern India Engineering Manufacturers’ Association (SIEMA), Coimbatore, reasons that the workers are more concerned with their daily necessities such as drinking water, and public distribution supplies, and as long as these are available, they may not turn their ire on the political parties.

Mr Jayakumar Ramadass, describing the coming together of 110 trade and industry associations and NGOs in Coimbatore to voice the demand of the people ahead of the polls, says they intend presenting their memorandum on the development needs of the region to all the candidates. Even after the elections, they would continue to put pressure on the elected representatives to fulfill the wishes of the people. Describing the new found belligerence among the trade and industry associations as the ‘new face of Coimbatore’, he said they would bring ‘sustained’ pressure on the politicians and bureaucrats to deliver.

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