Tirupur, a small town in the state of Tamil Nadu, started off as a market for raw cotton back in the day, has today become a strong base for the setting up of cotton ginning factories. In due course, the local economy of this South-Indian town gave way to hosiery cluster and is today known as the country’s biggest knitwear cluster accounting to a whopping 90% of the nation’s total knitwear exports. Let us take a closer look at what is now known as the ‘Knit City of India’ and rightly so!
While how the development of Tirupur was initiated still remains hazy, what is intriguing is that it is assumed that it was a web of small to mid-sized units that gave way to the what stands today as the hub of knitwear industry. In majority of the cases the weaving of the fabric is done outside tirupur, while the processing of the fabric, cutting, stitching, packing etc are done in Tirupur. It is because of this reason that job works, contracting and outsourcing are highly popular in this town. More often than not it is due to this reason that textile units set up their subsidiaries rather than integrated factories. However, this difficulty seldom creates any hindrance, and the ever-increasing businesses in this town stand testimony to this fact!
It was almost about three decades ago, that Tirupur emerged as a centre for ginning cotton yarn. Today Tirupur has not only proven its mettle as the textile hub of India, but boasts of providing full time employments to more than 4,00,000 workers with an average monthly salary of Rs. 9,000 each. Not surprisingly, the town has gained the recognition of being the principal source not just for knitwear but also for hosiery, casual wear as well as sportswear.
The industrial hub of Tirupur has gained support both from the central as well as the state governments. In order to support the textile businesses special industrial parks have been set up. Of the 4 major industrial parks that are still operational in the town, the Nethaji Apparel Park has the maximum of 53 companies functioning with an overall revenue of Rs.15 Billion from exports. Some of the most renowned brands of the world including but not limited to Nike, Adidas, Diesel, Switcher, Ralph Lauren etc. are known to import merchandize from Tirupur.
As surprising as it may sound, it was the uncanny, raw and personalised organisational structure of the industry that this industrial hub is striving. In fact the norms that govern business practices in Tirupur are rather informal for the sheer scale of business. What makes it more interesting is not a lot of textile giants have set up shop in this town, which makes up for an export revenue of an estimated US$ 1 Billion.
While this city has been the mainstay of Indian garment industry for a while now, it has faced its share of challenges and problems as well. The biggest problem which tirupur has faced recently is the closure of T of all dyeing units a few years ago, for polluting the Noyal river. The units were closed following a court order. The dyeing units started running in the neighbouring districts of Namakkal and Salem but soon they closed down too. Dyeing makes up 35 per cent of the total cost of the finished product so its closure really affected businesshere. Because of this the dyeing costs have increased exponentially as their are only few dyeing units in tirupur which have the financial muscle to install recycling plants to purify the waste. This has resulted in a substantial loss of business to tiurpur over last few years as business has moved to Bangladesh because of cost factors.