Over 90% of world’s rough diamonds are cut and polished in the metro city of Gujarat – Surat. House to also the International Institute of Diamonds Grading and Research (IIDGR) owned by De Beers, Surat has become a key destination in the global diamond industry over the years.
The diamond polishing and trading industry is known to be highly fragmented and unorganised. However, within the next 3 years, scenario may change. Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) has already begun construction and is all set to give the sector a new dynamic.
The project has been awarded to an Ahmedabad-based construction company PSP Projects Pvt. Ltd. for INR 1,575 crore (~ USD 242 Mn) to be built over a period of 30 months. SDB is a part of Surat Dream City, a 2,000 acre project with smart-city features similar to the Gujarat International Finance Tec-city (GIFT city), which is situated near Gujarat’s capital city Gandhinagar.
SDB is of a similar concept as the diamond bourses present in New York, Antwerp, Hong Kong and Dubai. As compared to diamond bourse present in Dubai and New York, which are 5 million sq. ft. and 4.5 million sq. ft. respectively, SDB will be the largest with 6.6 million sq. ft. space.
The actual commencement of the project saw some delays for structure height approvals. Dinesh Navadia, committee member and regional chairman of the Gems & Jewelery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said,
“We saw some delay in getting final height approval, after which the real work on the bourse began. It will be completed at a project cost of INR 2,400 crore, of which INR 1,500 crore is the construction cost.”
With SDB, India will have its second international diamond bourse, while the first being Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Mumbai. INR 1 lakh crore (~ USD 15+ Bn) worth of rough diamonds are handled by the country every year and INR 1.5 lakh crore (~ USD 23+ Bn) of polished diamonds are exported. With such a huge value of diamonds being traded in out of the country, the country requires two trade centres. While Mumbai will be a smaller trade centre when SDB comes into function, experts believe that both the trade centres would complement each other.
President of BDB, Anoop Mehta believes, “Mumbai has historically been a trading hub, with multiple international flights, unlike Surat. Efficiency-wise in trading, Mumbai will always continue to maintain its hold. However, the smaller traders and cutters in Surat need to be organised. Plus, the manufacturing strength of Surat will complement the trading strength of Mumbai. SDB will do that, acting as a feeder to BDB.”
The SDB will have 11 iconic towers of 11 floors each, having more than 4,500 offices of diamond units. It would cater to facilities like safe deposit vaults, museum, customs office, money transfer desk, retail zone, travel desk, auction house, diamond club et al.