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Diamantaires lobby for airport in Surat
Times of India reports, Surat diamond dealers and government of Gujarat...
By: Administrator
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Nov 12 2005 12:00AM
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Reference: 2280  

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Lack of international airport in Surat has forced most diamantaires to set up office in Mumbai which remains the main centre for India's diamond exports. The Times of India reports that Surat diamond dealers and the government of Gujarat state would like to change that situation. Gujarat accounts for only 2% of India's annual diamond exports of Rs600 billion (US$13.7 billion). Industries Commissioner Arvind Agrawal said the state is losing at least Rs.150 million (US$3.4 million) a year in allocations from the national government's Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development for Exports (ASIDE) program because of the lack of an airport for diamond exporters in Surat to use. He is holding discussions with customs officials and the Airport Authority of India about building a Surat airport, possibly as soon as next year. However, Nanubhai Vanani, President of the Surat Diamond Association, said he is skeptical that anything adequate will be built that quickly. Once an airport is available, however, Vanani said he thinks export agents from Mumbai will open outlets in Surat. An unnamed diamond dealer quoted by the Times said that diamond manufacturers who have to set up in Mumbai currently face startup expenses of Rs. 50 million to Rs. 250 million (US$1.1 million - US$5.7 million).

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