The Entrepreneurial Seed Ball That Made Coimbatore Flourish With Superb Enterprises – Part II

The Cement industry walked into Coimbatore through Madukkarai. The Madukkarai Cement Works was established in the year 1934 with a production capacity of 60000 tonnes in early stages and it was scaled up to 300,000 tonnes in about 20 years. About 2000 people were employed in this factory during the early years of the republic. Manufacture of cement had commenced in the Madras Presidency way back in the year 1904. It did not achieve the full result. It was only in the year 1913 that it became a success in far away Porbandar. A number of companies had come into being by the year 1925 and the Indian Cement Manufacturers Association was formed in the year 1926 in order to avoid unhealthy competition. Subsequently the Cement Marketing Company of India came up in 1930. This helped the member institutions to market their products in a successful manner. It was felt that a single entity should that an amalgamation will help the business and its promoters. Therefore the Associated Cement Companies was formed in the year 1936. By the year 1957 about 28 factories employed about 35000 employees in the cement sector and 2000 of them hailed from Coimbatore !.
An investment of 45 Crores was in this sector and 7 Crores in this investment denoted the Associated Cement Companies.
The Textool Company was formed in the year 1944 by the noble minded D.Balasundaram (UK educated). He produced the first ring spinning frame in 1947 and the revolving carding engine by 1950. His Research & Development was the best in Tamilnadu.
Once upon a time, R.Venkataraman (Former President) had stated that if he had 6 Balasundarams he would have made Tamilnadu, the Number One Nationally. The Textool Charkha, his improvement on the small spinning unit was much appreciated and it was considered to be a major improvement. Had this been taken up, the huge cotton diversity could have been tapped and preserved for it would have given good yarn and employment.
P.A.Raju Chettiar created the eco system for jewellery and his good work brought in employment for thousands of people and his proteges were the most successful. Thanks to his efforts, every shop which sold jewellery in India had products ‘Made In Coimbatore’. Button factories like Praga Buttons, Jaga Buttons added to the diversity of business in the city.
Ramakrishna Industrials founded by R.Venkataswamy Naidu and his technocrat brother P.R.Ramakrishnan in Peelamedu was another textile machinery manufacturer. Eastern Electricals, Subbiah Foundry, LCT (Land Cultivation Tools), Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya (Industrial Section) did marvelously well. S.R.P. Ponnuswamy Chettiar was responsible for the establishment of industrial estates in Tamilnadu those days.
G.D.Naidu was a big industrialist and he established many facilities which included Carbon Paper and Ink in Coimbatore. The Ghee industry was another employer.
Companies like Lingam & Co (Rose Brand), Jayam & Co, Malayappa Chettiar & Sons, Mangalam & Co, Raja Venkatram Ghee Stores and Rajavada Chetty B were responsible for making Coimbatore a ghee city. All this and more encouraged people to set up the Needle Industries (India) Limited in the year 1949. The Amaravathy Co Operative Sugar Factory was an outcome of such efforts.
The biggest recognition for Coimbatorean Entrepreneurship came when Gandhi chose Dr.R.K.Shamukham Chetty as the First Finance Minister of India. T.A.Ramalingam Chettiar was responsible for the huge number of co operative ventures. R.Venkataswamy Naidu was the Chairman of the Industrial Development Corporation in the Madras State. Diwan Bahadur C.S.Rathinasabapathy Mudaliar and G.K.Devarajulu of LMW were the Chairpersons of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry). It was the enterprising energy and success of the Coimbatorean entrepreneurs which encouraged the people of Erode, Karur, Salem and Namakkal come up with many business ventures. G.K.Sundaram of Lakshmi Mills was a part of the Swatantra Party which propagated free enterprise and his talks on the annual budget used to encourage people to think in a free and full manner. Asoka M.K.Krishna Chetty taught people how to make a fortune at the bottom of the pyramid.
Coimbatore which is today the ecological capital of Tamilnadu was the entrepreneurial seed ball which created superb enterprises in our country.
Thus Coimbatore became a multi faceted city which created the seed for the textile, engineering, jewellery, medicine, education, trading and research sectors.
—Rajesh Govindarajulu

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