The outpouring grief and tributes from the under privileged and poor who view it as a ‘personal loss’ the demise of Industrialist and philanthropist P Subramanian. It is a reflection of how he was endeared to the masses.
P. Subrmaniam, 79 was getting treatment for throat cancer. Despite medical care, he died on 11th December. He is survived by three daughters. He is known as the “Gear Man of Coimbatore’. An alumnus of PSG polytechnic, he worked as an instructor for some time, before setting up his workshop. He founded Shanthi Gears in 1972 to produced gears for textile sector. The gear manufacturing was taken over by Murugappa Group of companies in 2012. Then he focused on social and philanthropic services. He had set up Shanthi Social Service (SSS) in 1996 ( after his wife’s name) , the charitable arm which apart from supporting poor students, is into the construction of roads, school buildings and others. It also operates a fuel station in Singanallure on Trichy road, which is known for selling fuel at pre-hike rates till the old stock is exhausted. SSS runs a full-fledged pharmacy, hospital, clinical lab, blood bank, an LPG fueled crematorium, ambulance and Canteen. His pharmacy sells branded medicines at subsidised rates. Despite all, Subramanian didn’t want to be in limelight and adopted the policy of “what your Right hand does, left should not know”. He avoided media glare.
SSB foundation runs a low-cost canteen. It provides meals (unlimited quantity) for less than Rs.20, Tiffin varieties from Rs. 5 to 15 and Filter coffee, Tea, Ragi milk, multi -grain flours nutritious mix milk for Rs 5. Even if you eat three times in the canteen, your bill would not exceed hundred. Locals and outsiders throng the canteen. His canteens serves free food for 300 senior citizens daily apart from selling food at highly subsidised nominal rates for others. The hospital and the pharmacy are a non-profitable ones catering to the poor. People say” food served at the canteen are nutritious and priced low. It is clean and its hygienic surroundings, non compromise over quality, ever smiling faces of staff are added attractions”. There was an incident, which many recall that “after his low priced canteen, eat their customers, the affected hotels, restaurant owners met Subrmaniam with a request to hike the rates. He told them, “If you remain one more seconds here, I would give foods free of cost”. His main motto is – Service to Humanity is Service to God” and “The Trust does not Solicit, Request or accept any Donation”.
People have to buy their tokens for meals. We can see the staff working in mechanized and military disciplined manner. He was doing the charity work and while others expected governments to this things for the poor. He won hearts of lakhs of people. His canteen sells Ragi porridge, juices from herbs and fruits for 5 rupees to morning walkers. Also it sells sprouts. SSS maintains a modern all equipped playground for children which can accommodate 200 kids at a time. It also runs pre KG, LKG, UKG schools without collecting any fee for the locals.
The kids are given breakfast, milk, sundal ( boiled grains with spices), highly balanced lunch free of cost. His pharmacy offers employment to more than 100 people which would tell you how big it is. Like bank, the customers have to get token and sit in chairs waiting for turn. Their number would be flashed in LED screens. There are ten counters to buy medicines. Subrmaniam was the first to set up environmental friendly gas based crematorium. Free freezer box service, ambulance and for crematorium, the charges would be Rs.1000 only. In his world class modern hospital, the charges for scan and other tests are 50-70 percent cheaper in the city. Till his death, he avoided media who wanted to write about his social services.
His colleagues recall “Subramaniam, who come in uniform, never liked his employees wish when he visits or stop working to greet him. All his units, one can even day see pin drop silence atmosphere. He had been rendering to the society without expectations“.