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No shutdown in Surat’s diamond sector for coronavirus outbreak

18 march 2020
The Indian diamond industry stakeholders have unanimously decided not to shut down the industry in the wider interest of the unit owners and the diamond workers, as per a TOI report.
The Surat Diamond Association (SDA) and the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) had jointly organised a meeting of the industry stakeholders to gather their views on the closure of the diamond industry over the coronavirus outbreak in the diamond city.
Majority of the industry stakeholders were not in favour of shutting down the industry and rather suggested taking safety precautions in the diamond units including placing hand-sanitisers, distributing face masks and regular screening of the diamond workers and unit owners to stem the spread of coronavirus.

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Image credit: Surat Diamond Bourse

It was decided during the meeting that both the diamond markets in Varachha and Mahidhapura will operate from 11 am to 6 pm and that the diamond merchants should avoid visiting the markets when they do not have any trading activity to perform. Dinesh Navadia, regional chairman of GJEPC, said, “The industry employs about 5.5 lakh diamond workers and that the closure would mean rendering them jobless for 15 days. At present, the industry is operating at less than 40% capacity due to the major decline in export orders following the coronavirus outbreak. Still, the unit owners are running their factories to keep their workers employed.”
President of SDA, Babu Kathiriya said, “SDA will be running an awareness campaign in the industry on the health safety measures to deal with coronavirus outbreak. Pamphlets will be distributed in the diamond hub for creating awareness. We are in constant touch with the State Government and the local civic body.”

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