Coimbatore/Chennai: Industry circles here have been taken aback by the Tamil Nadu government's order changing the English spelling of place names such that they are written as pronounced in Tamil. As part of this diktat, Coimbatore, the 'Manchester of the South' will now be written as 'Koyampuththoor'.
Historically, as the hub of the textile and engineering industry in the South, the place is well known as 'Coimbatore' worldwide, and the proposed change that reads so divergent from a familiar place name will pose "some confusion", office-bearers of key industry associations Deccan Chronicle spoke to said.
However, amid mixed reactions to the move, some others in the textile industry feel that people in the course of time would get used to it; for "international business purposes'', though, 'Coimbatore' as a place-name would coexist with its newly-spelt name in English, just like 'Madras' and 'Chennai', 'Bombay' and 'Mumbai', 'Bangalore and Bengaluru' coexist.
A spokesman for the Coimbatore District Small Industries Association (Codissia), which represents over 20,000 MSMEs in that belt, said the Tamil Nadu government's move amid the Covid-19 pandemic was ill-advised. "What is the need for changing the name now when the entire country is fighting Covid-19," and when industry has been already affected so badly and there is so much uncertainty all around.
Globally, 'Coimbatore' has a name for itself and most members of Codissia, which regularly organises international fairs, are now struggling to get loans released for re-starting their units in the wake of the Covid-19 economic devastation and the name change move is so ill-timed, the spokesman regretted, even while pleading helplessness. With every day the virus flaring up including in Chennai, "this is not the need of the hour." The office-bearer also regretted that there was no consultation with all sections of the people of Coimbatore, and it looked an all-experts affair.
A source in the Southern India Mills Association (SIMA) also agreed that there was 'a question' about the timing of the Government's disclosure on the name-change, but felt it may not affect business per se. Spinning mills have just about re-started operations with whatever labour locally available and working just one shift a day against the usual three shifts. Unless all the metro cities, which are now largely bound by containment zones, open up, the economy as a whole will not revive soon, he feared.
There is an element of 'Tamil pride' no doubt in this de-anglicizing move, wanting names to sound closer to how they are spoken in Tamil Nadu, but there are equally other names about which people have no clue how they have been pronounced in the past, the source pointed out, adding, eventually everyone would have to "go with the government's decision".
What is worrying SIMA more now, following the Covid-induced economic slump is the need for a "stimulus package" for the textile industry as a whole, as the special package announced by the Centre for MSMEs' recently does not cover a majority of the spinning, weaving and processing units which are highly capital intensive, the source from SIMA explained....