Commerce minister hopes new diamond trading centre will attract more business
Moneylife Digital Team 18 October 2010

Bharat Diamond Bourse, built at a cost of Rs1,100 crore, opens at Bandra-Kurla business district, nearly 20 years after it was planned

Union Commerce and Industry minister Anand Sharma is hopeful that diamond exports will see a huge growth with the opening of the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), which he inaugurated in Mumbai on the auspicious occasion of Dassera yesterday.

"In 2009-2010, the export of diamonds from Mumbai was Rs61,000 crore and I am hopeful that within a year, this bourse will achieve a turnover of over Rs1,00,000 crore," Mr Sharma said in his address at the inaugural function. That's a growth of over 60% that hasn't been seen recently. In 2009-10, gems and jewellery exports from India registered a growth of 18.23% at $29 billion (about Rs1,30,000 crore). Cut and polished diamonds make up a majority 60% of this business.

BDB, touted as the world's largest diamond trading centre, took nearly two decades to build and nearly twice the amount of money estimated at the start, on account of various issues and changes in plans. The new diamond trading centre in the suburban Bandra-Kurla business district has nine interlinked nine-storey towers, spread over 20 acres. It has 2,500 offices, 24,500 safe deposit boxes and a 6,200 square foot trading floor. It was designed by architect Balakrishna Doshi and cost Rs1,100 crore to build. There is a 12,000 square foot Customs area and spaces for agents, banks, food courts and parking space for about 2,200 vehicles.

"The objective is to establish necessary infrastructure facilities for the promotion of diamonds, diamond jewellery from India and provide all support and service facilities to traders, importers, exporters and other stakeholders," said BDB president Anoop Mehta.

Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, petroleum minister Murli Deora, and member of parliament Priya Dutt also attended the function.

For many years now, the diamond trade has operated mainly from Panchratna building and Prasad Chambers in the old, crowded Opera House area in south Mumbai. It is expected that traders will move into their offices at the new exchange by December. "BDB would have an inflow of over 20,000-27,000 people a day when it is fully operational in the next few months," Mr Mehta said. Customs operations got started today.

India has the largest share of the world diamond trade today, in terms of the number of pieces manufactured and maximum carats exported. But China has being making serious inroads into the business and poses a serious threat to India's dominant position. Now, the industry is hoping that the new trading centre will bring more foreign business. "India is a major diamond manufacturing centre; 11 out of 12 diamonds in the world are cut, polished and processed here. BDB will ultimately help make India an international trading centre for gems and jewellery and towards creating a Brand India in the world of diamonds," Mr Mehta said.

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