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Sep 10, 2009

Textool Balasundaram passes away ...


D. Balasundaram, founder of Textool and former President of the Southern India Engineering Manufacturers’ Association, passed away here on Wednesday afternoon of heart attack. He was 96.

After completing Intermediate at Presidency College, Madras, in 1932, Mr. Balasundaram studied B.E. (Electrical Engineering) at Sheffield University, England and joined Metropolitan Vickers, an electrical power station and equipment manufacturing company in England, as an apprentice. In 1939, he returned to India and joined National Engineering Works as a chief engineer. He developed the country’s first electric motor.

He started Coimbatore Engineering and Trading Co in 1944 to make spare parts for textile machinery. And, in 1946 he started Textool that manufactured the complete range of indigenous textile machinery. Mr. Balasundaram also promoted the vendor concept by outsourcing jobs to other units.

The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, conferred the title “Creator of Prosperity” on him last year. According to a book brought out by the Chamber, Mr. Balasundaram was an engineer, entrepreneur and an industrialist.

According to Jayakumar Ramdass, president of the SIEMA, Mr. Balasundaram encouraged sub-contracting.He was instrumental in the development of micro and small units here. “Basically, he was a technical genius.” He also developed a fully indigenous tractor. Textool was one of the largest industries in the country in the 1950s.

He headed the association from 1954 to 1956. He is survived by his wife, son and six daughters.

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