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Blasts: Diamond merchants want special security

Last updated on: July 15, 2011 08:48 IST

Blasts: Diamond merchants want special security

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Surat Diamond Association, the apex body of diamond industry in Ahmedabad, has said there should be a special force for the security of diamond industry in the wake of serial blasts in Mumbai.

Surat is a global hub of diamond polishing industry, but both domestic and international trade takes place largely from front offices in Opera House area of Mumbai, where one of the blasts took place.

"Through Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, we shall demand that government constitute a special force for the industry, which has been a soft target for terror strikes," SDA president Dinesh Navadia said.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"The diamond industry needs security cover on the lines of Central Industrial Security Force," he said.

"The blast at Opera House in Mumbai where diamond units are located in buildings such as Prasad and Panchratna reveals the motive behind strikes. They are aimed to terrorise people and disturb the highest-revenue generating sector for the country," Navadia said.

"Diamond industry was earlier targeted by the terrorists in July 2008 where eight to nine bombs were placed in Varachha and other diamond hubs of Surat. However, due to faulty IEDs they did not go off and the industry was saved," he said.

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Photographs: Reuters
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The diamond industry in Surat observed a day-long bandh in support of the Opera house diamond market which remained closed on Thursday, he said.

A lot of SDA members own offices in Prasad and Panchratna buildings at Opera House, from where polished diamonds are supplied to domestic and overseas markets.

Regional head of Gujarat GJEPC, Chandrakant Sanghvi, said "The government should strengthen security outside the diamond markets and industry. It also needs to reconsider the internal security of the establishments."

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Photographs: Reuters
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As per a Reserve Bank report, diamond industry in Gujarat accounts for 72 per cent of the world's processed diamonds and 80 per cent of India's diamond exports. The market size of diamond industry in India is pegged at Rs 90,000 crore (Rs 900 billion).

"We have been asking Gujarat government for the last six years to constitute a special force for the diamond units, but nothing has happened so far," Navadia said.

Many of the big diamond units are expected to shift operations from Opera House area to Bandra-Kurla Complex in suburban Mumbai.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"As far as I know, 18 to 20 big diamond units shall be shifting from buildings at Opera House like Prasad, Panchratna to Bandra-Kurla Complex by August 18," Navadia said.

"The process of shifting from Opera House has begun and in the next three to four months, a lot of units will shift, including mine," said Sanghvi, who is chairman of Sanghvi Exports.


Photographs: Reuters
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