Tiruppur, a city located in the western part of Tamil Nadu, India, is well-known for its knitted garment products, and is often called the “banian city”1 of Tamil Nadu. Since the mid-1980s the city has grown rapidly as the largest exporter of garment products, accounting for roughly 80 per cent of cotton knitwear export from India in recent years (Tiruppur Exporter’s Association 2012).2 As Tiruppur developed, numerous labourers were attracted to the city, due to the labour intensive nature of the garment industry. At first, the industry employed labourers from within a vicinity of 10–20 km from Tiruppur, who commuted to the city. However, as the pool from which such labourers were drawn was soon exhausted, a large number began to migrate mainly from area of south Tamil Nadu such as Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Ramnad, Sivagangai, Viruthunagar, Tirunelveli, and Thoothukudi. Finally, after the mid-2000s, labourers also began migrating from Andhra Pradesh and north Indian states as well, such as Orissa, Bihar, and Assam.
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