Hit by terror, economics keeps Ahmedabad’s diamond market going

July 30th, 2008 - 11:38 am ICT by IANS  

By Ritu Sharma
Ahmedabad, July 30 (IANS) Two bombs struck the only diamond market of this city that fateful Saturday evening, killing two people. It was back to business the next morning in Bapunagar, the hub of diamond cutting and polishing business in the eastern part of Ahmedabad. “We have not seen any bomb explosions in the past. This time there were two explosions, though of low intensity just outside the market. We closed down immediately only to open the next day,” said president of the Sardar Patel Diamond market Bhupat Bhai B. Lakhani.

“We cannot afford to close down for a single day as we have to supply the processed material to buyer companies. If we fail to supply the processed diamonds, the raw diamonds from Surat, Mumbai and other places will not arrive,” Lakhani told IANS.

Two bombs exploded outside the diamond market association’s office gate Saturday evening, leaving two dead. They were among the 16 blasts that killed at least 50 people and left over 200 injured here.

The trade in the market is estimated to be worth Rs.500 million a month. Diamond cutting and polishing units in Bapunagar are fast emerging as an alternative to Surat for cutting and polishing rough diamonds brought from Belgium, Russia and Canada. It is virtually a household industry here now.

“Around 150,000 to 200,000 labourers are engaged in the market. In this market one can find a diamond trader with eight labourers and also the one working with a 2,000-strong labour force,” said Naresh, a diamond trader in the area.

Talk about the bomb blasts and pat comes the reply from another trader: “What has happened has happened. Around 30 young boys from the area were sent to help the other blast victims.”

The rest of Ahmedabad is still jittery from the terror attacks. But at the diamond market, there are only two security guards at the gate, as before.

“The security arrangement is the association’s own. Most of the people here are Kathiawadis from Saurashtra, where lions were found earlier. Our tendency is also like of those lions,” Lakhani said.

Industry sources said at least 3,000 to 4,000 new units are likely to be set up in Bapunagar. Spurred by the success of the diamond cutting and polishing units, several professional training institutes have come up in Bapunagar where trainees are imparted technical knowledge on cutting and polishing of diamonds.

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