Surat diamond industry, has been fulfilling the requirements, of more than 90 per cent of the polished diamonds across the world. To overcome the setbacks of easy approachability, and boosting profitability, diamantaires from Surat have unanimously made an effort to get the maximum gain for all the stakeholders. They have come together to setup the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB). This initiative, as projected is expected to bring in, a turnover of over Rs 2 Lakh Crores ($27 Billion Dollars approx.) annually, and all of them together, will be the beneficiaries. It is a dreamcome- true for diamantaires who have worked in dire conditions in order to keep their ancestral vocation alive and kicking.
As glorious and perfect, Indian polished diamonds are, the glory of this majestic project – Surat Diamond Bourse will magnify the industry’s efforts in spreading across borders, in conjunction with advanced systems and infrastructure. The design manifests, a “Green Building Concept” built with architectural expertise. It boasts of Ecological Integrity. The project has made it to the list of Top Five commercial buildings in the world for “2018 Cityscape Awards for Emerging Markets”. At the same time, building a global reputation, bestowing an at-home factor, with a comfortable and safe work environment for everyone.
SDB: An overview
The Surat Diamond Bourse project, was initially slated to be worth Rs 2,400 crore – today the investment has risen to Rs 3,000 crores. It is being constructed on 66 lakh square feet land and the completion deadline has now been shifted to March 2022. There will be 11 iconic towers of 11-storeys, housing more than 4,400 diamond offices and creating more than 1.50 lakh jobs. The SDB will house facilities including safe deposit vaults, a museum, customs offices, money transfer desks, travel desk, retail zone, auction house and a diamond club apart from other facilities.
The city beckons
Surat is soon slated to become a prominent smart city in India and SDB has a lion’s share in making this dream a reality. Says Vipul Sutariya of Dharmanandan Diamonds Pvt Ltd, “A lot of diamond traders and manufacturing units are situated in Surat. SDB will save their commute time and money.”
In the years to come, Surat will undoubtedly become a leading diamond hub in the world. “The SDB is a not for profit organisation and is registered under section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 and formed for the establishment and promotion of Diamond Bourse at Surat. There is a metro park coming up in the vicinity and the whole landscape of Surat is changing rapidly,” informs Padma Shri Mathurbhai Savani, core committee member, SDB. The SDB would be India’s second diamond trading hub based at Surat, spread across 35.54 acres with availability of 66 lakh sq.ft. built up area encompassing 4,400 offices for national and international traders.
Surat is slated to see its best days in the years to come, as the SDB becomes functional in 2022. The overall development of the city will be monumental. “Surat will have to match world class standards in terms of city planning, schools, cafeterias, fivestar hotels, residential property, civic amenities and more. The governments – both State and Central are doing their best to make this dream a reality. The shine of this diamond hub will surely reach every corner of the world,” beams Dinesh Navadiya, President, Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI)
The Government is very proactive in clearances needed for setting up of five-star hotels for international guests who will soon flock to the city to buy from the best diamantaires in the world. Hyatt is under construction, Le Meridien and Marriot are there. “Surat is home to one of the best hospitals in the country - Kiran Hospital. It has all the amenities.
As time passes it will become the hub for everything to do with diamonds – from import of roughs, to finished products, marketing and export all will be conducted smoothly from SDB,” explains Sutariya.
In Surat, within just 10-15 minutes a diamond trader can reach SDB and begin work. “Surat International Airport is operational, as number of flights increase and connectivity of Surat across the globe improves, export will not be difficult from Surat. Surat is a port city, just like Mumbai and in fact, has less traffic than Mumbai port and therefore is ideal for expensive diamond consignments. It is just a matter of time, before Surat truly becomes the trade capital of India – as far as diamonds are concerned,” informs Patel.
Matter of economics
In this day and age of Covid 19-induced austerity, economising business expenditure is crucial, informs Patel. “In Surat, real estate is cheaper, transport is economical, facilities are truly worldclass – for those kind of facilities in Mumbai any businessman will have to spend at least 25-30 percent more in terms of all expenses. Plus, as living costs are lesser, salary slabs are lower than those in Mumbai – it is the safest haven in these trying times for any trade – especially for diamond trade.”
About 70 diamond companies from Mumbai have shifted to Surat during this coronavirus pandemic. The Surat Diamond Bourse will be ready by the year 2022 and till then most of the diamond companies will shift to Surat from Mumbai.
“We have booked 125,000 sq feet space in SDB. We will begin interior work in April 2021. The entire administration, management and sales will be shifted to SDB from Mumbai,” informs Dinesh Lakhani, Kiran Gems Pvt Ltd. There are five-star hotels in Surat near the campus there are new five-star hotels coming up. So international clients can visit SDB anytime. “All our staff, around 1200 people from Mumbai are willing to shift to Surat. Life in Surat is simple, with lesser pollution and traffic. In fact that will save commute to and from work,” he adds. Work productivity will increase and also bring good work-life balance. Expenses are lesser and pay scale we are offering is the same. So people are happy to shift to Surat. There will be a definite improvement in standard of living of the people as well,” informs the Diamond World | September-October 2020 | 41 Cover Story to SDB from Mumbai,” informs Dinesh Lakhani, Kiran Gems Pvt Ltd. There are five-star hotels in Surat near the campus there are new five-star hotels coming up. So international clients can visit SDB anytime. “All our staff, around 1200 people from Mumbai are willing to shift to Surat. Life in Surat is simple, with lesser pollution and traffic. In fact that will save commute to and from work,” he adds. Work productivity will increase and also bring good work-life balance. Expenses are lesser and pay scale we are offering is the same. So people are happy to shift to Surat. There will be a definite improvement in standard of living of the people as well,” informs the renowned diamantaire.
Many organizations have a full-fledged manufacturing unit in Surat and a sales and marketing office in Mumbai. Such organisations too have bought office space in SDB as everyone was keen to get into SDB. Surat is undoubtedly the hub, when it comes to diamond manufacturing and it is indeed important to been in the same boat as rest of the industry is sailing. One cannot work in isolation, unity is strength.
The two bourse dilemma
There is no competition here, because Mumbai’s Bharat Diamond Bourse will have business from other parts of the country – and connectivity that Mumbai offers with rest of the world, at least at present is higher – therefore some exports will still be conducted from Mumbai. As trade expands – it needs two bourses and both hold the promise of good fortune for the whole industry. Work load is divided well, and functioning improves. Even during this time of financial crisis across the world, Surat is standing still and the people especially those in the diamond industry are progressing even though, taking tiny steps. Once the SDB is ready and the diamond businesses shift to Surat then the city is going to progress by leaps and bounds. This is giving new hopes to the real estate industry in the city which is facing various issues as of now.
Right now 8 out of 10 diamonds are manufactured in Surat but all of the dealings and exports happen only from Mumbai. Moreover, the corporate offices of most of the diamond companies are in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex and small units are set up in Borivali, Malad, Goregaon, Dahisar etc. and all the operations happen from there. But things are fast changing and all of these big diamond units and offices are being shifted to Surat.
Navadiya said that bookings for around 4500 offices at upcoming Surat Diamond Bourse have already been placed, and small diamond businessmen have already shifted from Mumbai due to halt in business in Maharashtra during the Covid-19 pandemic.
SDB to become a diamond
SDB is all set to wean away from its dependence on Mumbai, which is the present hub for diamond export in India. Adds Patel, “SDB will be fully functional by March 2022. It offers best of the facilities at 15-20 percent less of costs in Mumbai. SDB will prove to be great boon to the MSME sector and promises the diamond industry a new future. We have plans to setup residential facilities for workers, employees of SDB and all the 4,400 units housed in the bourse. India’s diamond trade is expanding rapidly, not just two bourses – the rate at which trade is growing we will need many more bourses and all of these bourses will help place India firmly on the global map, when it comes to diamonds.
All in all, a tremendous effort by over 4200 diamantaires and an equally huge number of planners and total government support is making the dream of Surat Diamond Bourse a reality. SDB – promises to put India on the global map when it comes to being the world’s largest supplier of natural diamonds.