South India is well known for its natural beauty, but along with that also famous for its textile industry. Coimbatore, Tirupur, Salem and Erode all four major cities of Tamilnadu have their contribution in the growth of this industry. All these major cities are very much known for different products. Coimbatore, a city residing in the hills of Nilgiris is a second largest in Tamilnadu. This is also known as a cotton town. Kovai is the other name of Coimbatore. It has a flare of cotton production because of the black soil of that land which suits cotton growing. If Coimbatore is known for cotton production, Tirupur is known for knitting. Tirupur is also known as a knit city. It is 50 kms far away in the east from Coimbatore. Tirupur has many cotton ginning factories and has main cotton market of Tamilnadu. 35 countries are buying from Tirupur and they are visiting that regularly. Tirupur is the only city which is doing 56% of knitwear export alone. That is the reason why it is known as �Town of Export Excellence�. Tirupur is very near to Coimbatore and that is an advantage for it. Because of its nearness to Coimbatore, Tirupur gets benefits of cotton growing. The city Erode is known for handloom weaving and carpet manufacturing. It also has large scale cotton ginning mills. Erode along with Salem is known as the home of textile weavers.

Coimbatore, Tirupur, Salem and Erode, these four are known as textile belt of south India and the export revenue it generates is more than 25,000 crore. In it the share of only Tirupur is 11,000 crore and the expected rise is 20-25 percent. The expected flow of investment is 90,000 crore in this region in various textile activities during next five years. Rs. 50,000 crore will be used only for the textile industry of the Coimbatore region. The future plan is till 2012 with the hope of increase in export and production of textile is 2,70,000 crore and 4,95,000 crore. This belt has 2,000 textile mills, large and small both.

Coimbatore is known as the Manchester of South India. It has above 600 cotton mills which manufacture blended yarns and cotton. The production of fabric is done by 10-15 mills, some of them are Akshaya Textiles, Gobald, KPM Textiles, KG Denim, Prime Textiles, Southern Textiles, Hindustan Textiles, Lakshmi mills, Gangotri and Premier. Among them branded ones are very few. Tiber brand is owned by Gangotri Mills, it is a national level brand. Another national level brand is Trigger which is owned by KG Denim. Most of the Textile Mills of South India have joined South India Textile Research Association known as SITRA. This association helps the textile units in research and development. Some companies have their own research and development units. SITRA works for the welfare of the textile units of this region and submits 2-3 projects every year to the ministry of textiles.

Above 100 mills have closed in Coimbatore and in its suburbs in the last ten years. The reason for this closure is wrong estimates and frequent changes in policies of exports. With the quota system they have a hope for bright future prospects.

Cotton is the crop growing in this region because of the black soil and so the farmers started cultivating the cotton crop and it was the start of industralisation. Growing and cultivating of cotton prospered during the1920s-1930s. Now-a-days the crop cultivated in the southern region of this belt is only 3-5 percent. Though there is a decline during 1930, Tamilnadu makes 50 percent production of cotton yarns in the country. The yarn which has 100 count is a high quality cotton whereas 10s, 20s and 30s are other varieties of cotton yarn.

Every month 35 countries visit Tirupur and it delivers samples of knitted garments in less then 12 hours. Tirupur is very near to highway no. 47 so it is within the easy reach of the buyers. It started from 1974 and now Tirupur is on the top of national total exports. Tirupur even supplied garments to the last FIFA world cup. The aim was to achieve 10,000 crore target but the target being achieved is 11,000 crore in exports. The business in domestic market is 5,000 crore. The knitting industry is also in changing phase. The quotas have opened up new doors for the knitting industry of Tirupur. The muli-fibre agreement gave new vibrant look to the textile clusters. The mid�cap knitwear is expanding and has gathered more strength in financial structures. The new opportunity is opened up in the domestic market for the Tirupur knitters.

In 1920, the manufacturing of hosiery product started but it took more 15 years to develop first-hand operated hosiery firm. Grey and bleached vests were produced first time for the domestic market in the 1960s.The other items were introduced in the 1970s. Textile industry is a big source of employment in Tirupur, round about 6,000 units are working there. In it 2,500 people are getting employment through garment making, 2,000 from knitting, 700 from dyeing, 300 from printing, and 200 from embroidery work. The products produced by these textile groups are cardigans, t-shirts, jerseys, undergarments, pullovers, blouses, skirts, sportswear and trousers. Many companies from this group are doing exports beyond 100 crore. These knitwear units are doing 80% export of total export from Tirupur.

One of the leading unit is Eastman Exports and its export revenue is 600 crore. Even it is exporting knitwears to the global brands also. Other players in exports are Classic Polo, KPR, Global Clothing, Mani Apparels, Jupiter, Charlize Garments, Arrow clothing and Text mills. Some of the global brands require blended fabrics so these units are also making blended fabrics.

Tirupur textile industry is still facing some problems like labour shortage and environmental problem, though it has acquired the goal of 11,000 crore in exports in the year 2006-07.That Tirupur has no star hotels is also a great drawback for the exporters. Due to the lack of star hotels most of the visitors stay in the Coimbatore and they visit Tirupur. So it causes inconvenience to the foreigners and because of this the industry loses some of its business. Another issue which affects is the shortage of skilled and unskilled laborers. Government is working on this problem and offering high wages and minimum 200 working days in a year, but the improvement is little. Local exporters are now asking for Tirupur as a different district. They are feeling that it could prove its worth more if it is recognized as a separate district.

There is a Netaji Apparel Park between Perumallur and Avinashi, in the outskirts of Tirupur. Its area is about165 crores and has a set up of 60 big factories with the investments more than 250 crores. The revenue of this business park is 5,000 crores per annum and the figures are in the rising mode. 53 factories are part of this apparel park and 22,000 people are working here still it has a shortage of 10,000 people. The park has facilities of courier service, telephone exchange, sewage treatment, uninterrupted water supply and bank and very soon it will have international standard hotels, a hostel for working women, a cr�che and auditorium. The park will get new look when the national highway to the park will have six lanes. This new road will give connectivity to Tirupur, Karur, Erode, Kerala and Coimbatore.

Official records show that in rural and urban groups, there are 1,232 Handloom Weavers� Cooperative Societies of Tamil Nadu. In earlier days the handloom and carpet weaving prospered in Salem and Erode but now with the changing times powerlooms have replaced those age-old handlooms. Salem was very well known for its handloom products like dhotis and pure silk saris. Now-a-days only 20,000 handlooms are functioning. Most of the handlooms are replaced with powerlooms.

In these days Salem and Erode both the villages have no. of weavers who can weave cotton, silk and polyester. Very few weavers can use blends. The Handloom Weavers� Cooperative Societies of this region do exports of many things like bedcovers, bedspreads, table cloth, screen cloth, towels and table mats to the countries like France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and the Middle East. This industry provides eco- friendly products.

Earlier people were weaving beautiful clothes sitting in their homes. But now the time has changed and everyone wants to set up a mill and wants to make more money. In Tamil Nadu there are 4.50 lakh powerlooms and the powerloom section of Tamil Nadu is the second large to Maharastra. Normally 20 percent workers come from Salem and Erode and from the other area of the textile belt of south. The cloth which is mainly produced by these powerlooms is for free schemes like free saris,free dhotis and free school uniforms. The cloth produced by this society is near about 1,000 lakh metres.

Right now the powerloom industry has two great challenges, one is low productivity and the other is low level of skills. The government has approved grants to this region still they are not getting those grants. Still some more changes are needed in infrastructure.

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