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‘We expect to completely open the Bourse for business by Q1 of the Year 2022,’ assures Vallabhbhai Patel, Chairman, SDB

21 december 2020

vallabhbhai_patel_xx.pngVallabhbhai Patel, Chairman of the Surat Diamond Bourse, dreamed of building the world’s largest commercial building in Surat for the Indian diamond industry. He conceptualized the ‘Surat Diamond Bourse’ (SDB), which is set to redefine the potential of the Indian diamond industry going forward.

Vallabhbhai looks towards SDB to play an important role in turning Surat into the world’s largest manufacturing and trading DIAMOND HUB in a short period.

Having entered the industry over four decades ago, Vallabhbhai Patel is the Founder of Kiran Gems. An astute businessman, he is the driving force behind Kiran Gem’s emergence as a global leader in diamond manufacturing.

In an exclusive interview here with Rough&Polished, Vallabhbhai Patel speaks about the upcoming SDB, which the Indian diamond industry looks forward with great anticipation.

Some excerpts:

Can you please update the progress at the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) Project since we last spoke to you 2+ years ago? Is the Bourse nearing completion now; and how long before it will be completely opened for business?

The construction work of Surat Diamond Bourse is in advance stage. The Managing Committee of SDB Diamond Bourse is planning to give possession of office for interior work to members in upcoming April or May 2021. We are expecting to completely open the Bourse for Business by First quarter (Q1) of the Year 2022.

Image credit: Surat Diamond Bourse

In total, how many offices/business units have been signed up or bought units till now? Have jewellery manufacturers also booked units in SDB? Are the buyers from Surat diamond sector or Mumbai as well? Can you give numbers? Also, can international buyers book units in SDB?

There are approximate 4700 offices available in Surat diamond bourse, out of which 97 per cent of offices have already been booked and alloted to members. Jewellery manufactures have also bought offices in Surat Diamond bourse.

Surat, as well as Mumbai-based buyers, have bought offices in Surat Diamond Bourse. The major strength of buyers belongs to Mumbai Diamond Sector. International buyers have also booked office in Surat Diamond Bourse.

In due course, will SDB work alongside the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Mumbai OR work independently? Are there any restrictions for an exporter to export from Surat and Mumbai simultaneously, if he owns units in both BDB and SDB?

SDB Diamond Bourse is a completely different entity from BDB and works independently.

No, there will not be any restriction to export, for exporters associated with both SDB and BDB.

How many companies from Mumbai have booked units in the SDB till now? As the diamond manufacturing sector is in Surat, it is reported that many companies see more business sense in operating from SDB. Your opinion?

The major strength of members in Surat Diamond Bourse belong to Mumbai.

Surat is the World’s largest Diamond manufacturing hub, it will therefore be more convenient, organized and economical if the world’s largest trading place in the form of Surat Diamond Bourse is located in Surat.

For mining companies to begin direct sales of rough in India has been a hurdle, despite the Special Notified Zone (SNZ) in BDB. So, will the SNZ in SDB be used for ‘viewing’ purposes only as in BDB? What steps have been taken by the industry to approach the Central government to restructure the tax system?

SDB has been taken care of every aspect to run the diamond business smoothly and has also taken necessary steps for it.

As a high-security project, SDB is viewed as a model for future such initiatives. What are the latest technologies used to secure the whole project in terms of surveillance? Will the individual units have to organize their security systems or is it in-built?

The security is the paramount importance for SDB. Security systems in SDB are designed after thoroughly analysing the existing campuses worldwide having best security surveillance. Also, at the time of designing the project, all possible contingent security threats were considered.

There is stringent control in common areas of building and campus, the security of individual units has also been considered at the time of a security surveillance system.

Finally, it’s commendable that the Indian diamond industry is going through this difficult phase with great resilience. But, what do you predict will be the future, say in another 10 years… especially with no new diamond mines discovered recently, and LGDs becoming the choice for GenZ?

Indian Diamond industry’s major strengths are its skilled labour and the quality of work.

I believe, the Indian diamond market will grow more in the upcoming years and can bring major diamond businesses from overseas market to India in near future.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough&Polished