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‘E’ for enterprise
During a drive from Salem to Namakkal, I was struck by the quality of the highway. It has been upgraded into four lanes that provided for easy flow of traffic with wide carriage ways and medians.

A striking feature of the highway was that en-route, there were a large number of sprawling buildings housing colleges and even schools on either side.  Tamil Nadu has 540 plus engineering colleges and dozens of medical colleges. Namakkal has earned a reputation for garnering top ranks in the Plus 2 examinations (refer IE June 2013 issue on Namakkal Broiler Schools). The town has focused on coaching Plus 1 and Plus 2 students to emerge as toppers and it appears to have perfected the technique for assured results. The full boarding schools, with sprawling constructions, are part of this effort.

Namakkal boasts of being the first ISO 14001-2004 certified municipality in Asia for environmental management. For a number of years, Namakkal has been a vibrant centre for motor transport. Thousands of trucks of varied sizes and descriptions operate from here. These range from highly sophisticated multi axle vehicles to intermediate and light commercial vehicles. A couple of decades ago, Ashok Leyland set up a driver training school at Namakkal. The thriving entrepreneurs of this town control freight traffic by road in an efficient and effective manner.

In the last three decades, Namakkal also evolved as a strong centre for poultry. Dozens of poultry farms were set up and the town is the largest producer of eggs in Tamil Nadu. Some units produce a variety of egg products as well. Namakkal is thus a shining example of thriving local entrepreneurship - from education to tourism, to poultry to transport! One is impressed by the huge trading spirit of these entrepreneurs: on the eve of Deepavali, crowds throng the towns in and around Namakkal, like Erode and Salem!

Namakkal has been known for its temple at the foot of the hills for deities Sri Narasimha Swamy and Sri Namagiri and for the 20-ft Sri Anjaneya facing the lords. The management of Seshasayee Paper & Boards Ltd., perform twice a year an elaborate puja at these temples, attracting a large number of devotees from far and near. The elaborate abhishekams with oil, sandal paste, milk, etc are done with great fervor and devotion. It indeed was an ennobling experience. I found a similar dedication of the top management that evening at the factory premises at a temple dedicated to Sri Lalitha Ambigai.  There was the recitation of sahasranamam for Goddess Lalitha. SPB Chairman Gopal  explained the idol as a swayambhu evolving from stone to a form of its own over a period of time. Sri Hanuman and this guardian angel are believed to be guiding the healthy growth of the Seshasayee group, which pioneered paper manufacture in this part of the country.

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