Mumbai Diamond Traders Skeptical Of Surat Diamond Bourse's Lure

Mumbai Diamond Traders Skeptical Of Surat Diamond Bourse's Lure

Surat Diamond Bourse convened a meeting of diamond traders at Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai

Melvyn ThomasUpdated: Friday, April 19, 2024, 03:07 PM IST
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Surat Diamond Bourse convened a meeting of diamond traders at Bharat Diamond Bourse in Mumbai | MELVYN THOMAS

Surat: At a time when the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) is aggressively courting Mumbai traders to set up shop in its newly built, record-breaking office complex, a key question hangs in the air: why relocate when Mumbai's Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) is already a thriving hub? This issue dominated a recent trade meeting organized by SDB itself at the BDB in Mumbai.

SDB chairman Govind Dholakia, a BJP Rajya Sabha MP, urged Mumbai traders to leverage their purchased offices in Surat, citing his own company's success as an example. "SRK is what it is today all due to the Bharat Diamond Bourse," he asserted. "There are more than 500 diamond companies who have become big after starting offices in BDB. Same is the case with Surat Diamond Bourse."

Mumbai traders' approach

However, Mumbai traders remain unconvinced by such promises. The convenience and established infrastructure of the BDB hold significant weight. "Surat is the manufacturing center and all diamonds are destined to Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) for overseas exports," pointed out one anonymous trader. "Then why do we need to shift to Surat?"

Adding to the skepticism are concerns about Surat's lack of crucial facilities. "I have an office space in Surat Diamond Bourse, but we are not going to start until and unless there are customs clearance facilities and international flights from Surat to key international destinations," another trader, Dhiraj Shah, stated.

The recessionary climate in the diamond market further dampens the appeal of a move

The recessionary climate in the diamond market further dampens the appeal of a move. "The diamond market is in recession due to dwindling demand of polished diamonds in the international market," Shah explained. "Starting an office in Surat means a lot of investment in the first go, which many traders are unable to afford.  Majority of the traders are residing in Mumbai with their families and shutting between Mumbai and Surat without any reason is not acceptable."

Industry sources suggest SDB may be banking on attracting the influential Jain community, particularly the "Shahs" from Palanpur, Gujarat, by appointing Arvind Shah alias Arvind Dhanera to a key position. While SDB has promised designated spaces and tables for smaller traders, these measures seem insufficient to entice established Mumbai businesses away from the BDB's well-oiled ecosystem.

“The question of whether Surat Diamond Bourse can truly become a global diamond trading center hinges on its ability to address these concerns. Can it create a complete and competitive infrastructure, including efficient logistics and international connectivity?” said a member of BDB. “Only time will tell if Surat's ambitious project will succeed in attracting Mumbai's diamond traders, or if it will remain a largely empty monument despite boasting the title of the world's largest office building.”

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