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Weaving wealth...
Karur in western Tamil Nadu is known for two of the oldest banks in the state – KVB and LVB. Promoted by the local vysya community, these banks excelled in mobilising deposits and nurturing enterprise.

Karur evolved as one of the strong centres for handlooms and power looms. Today it is famous for the variety of home fabrics namely bedspreads, bed covers, window curtains and mosquito curtains. It has built exports of such materials exceeding Rs 2000 crore per annum. The Karur Textile Park Ltd set up at a cost of Rs 130 crore, is one of the best facilities in India with several hi-tech and ancillary units.

Karur also evolved as an active centre for manufacturing: it houses the 4 lakh tonne capacity Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Paper Mills, EID Parrys’ sugar mill at Pugalur and the 1.7 million tonne unit of Chettinad Cements. It has also earned a name for building bus bodies.

 

TNPL’s bagasse-based newsprint

Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Ltd (TNPL)in Kagithapuram, Karur, pioneered large scale production of newsprint and paper from sugarcane bagasse. It is the world’s largest bagasse-based paper manufacturing facility in a single location. TNPL commenced production in 1984 with an initial capacity of 90,000 tonnes per annum. Today it produces over 373,000 tonnes of paper per annum using bagasse. It has also diversified into cement production. For the year 2014-15, TNPL reported profit after tax of Rs 166.73 crore on a turnover of Rs 2000 crore.

TNPL is also setting up a 200,000 tpa paper board manufacturing facility in Mondipatti, Dindigul District, which will be a game-changer in the Indian paper board manufacturing sector.  TNPL is one of the most profitable and well organised entities set up by the government.

 

Parrys’ sugar from Pugalur

Karur district also houses the sugar mills of EID Parry at Pugalur with a crushing capacity of 4000  tonnes per day. At the co-generation facility,  the plant can generate  22.5 MW of power. It is one of the seven sugar mills in Tamil Nadu that supply bagasse to TNPL for paper manufacture.


KVB, the centenarian “If there is one region in the country where the NPA ratios of banks are consistently low, it is Karur,” said S Balaji, General Manager, Karur Vysya Bank. Established in 1916 with a seed capital of a lakh of rupees, today the bank has a pan India presence with over 560 branches and 1645 ATMs.

    In its centenary year, KVB serves several lakhs of customers pan India.  For the year ended 2014-15, the bank reported a net profit of Rs 464.28 crore on a  total income of Rs 5976.71 crore, both higher than the year ago period.

    Gross deposits for the financial year 2014-15 stood at Rs 44,690 crore and gross advances at Rs 34,226 crore.

 

LVB – another strong private bank

Lakshmi Vilas Bank from the same region also evolved strong, initially serving the Karur region. Major expansion took place in 1974, when the bank expanded into other states. Today it also has a pan India presence. Recently, the bank shifted its base to Chennai.

LVB reported a 121 per cent rise in full year net profit for 2014-15 that stood at Rs 132.29 crore and around 15 per cent rise in total income, which was at Rs 2498.57 crore. As of 31 March 2015, the bank had 400 branches and 820 ATMs spread across the country. Another 100 branches are to be added in the current fiscal.

Home for home fabrics…

For over 50 years, Karur is well-known for manufacturing home textile products.

The textile industry of Karur, spread over hundreds of small and medium units, thrived on cheap costs of dyeing. Stringent pollution control measures that mandated zero discharge of effluents resulted in the closure of a few hundred dyeing units. Conforming to the stringent environmental norms today 60 units serve the local industry.

These companies installed expensive effluent treatment plants which help recover expensive chemicals and also recycle large quantities of water. It indeed was a sight to see turbid and multi-coloured effluents shedding colour and the solid waste in different stages and emerging as clear water fit for reuse!

 

Karur grew Chettinad Cements

Chettinad Cements commenced production of cement in 1967 with an initial capacity of 2 lakh tonnes p.a. In 1989, it converted into the energy-efficient dry process. The plant at Puliyur, Karur is the mother plant for Chettinad Cements.

Today the capacity is at 15 million tonnes from production units spread over Karur, Dindigul, Ariyalur and Gulbarga. The cement manufacturer also came up with an engineering college and a school near Puliyur.                            

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