06 Jun 2023
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Indian Diamond Companies Go All Out for their Karigars
At a time of crisis, the diamond industry has time and again proven its compassionate side by extending support to its karigars
By: Diamond World News Service
May 27 2021 12:52PM
Reference: 25612  

SRK providing financial assistance to the family of the deceased
SRK providing financial assistance to the family of the deceased

Adversity is a great teacher and a leveler. Despite the norms of social distancing, in acts of kindness and reaching out to the needy, the connect between individuals has in fact brought all of us closer. Workers or karigars are financially the weakest link in the diamonds (and diamond jewellery) supply chain. Workers are the pillars on which the whole industry rests. Many of these people are migrants, some have mastered the art from their forefathers – and may not have been highly qualified as well.

Indian craftsmen had developed remarkable skills in jewellery design and cutting and polishing of diamonds long before rest of the world knew that these skills existed. Their skills were handed down for generations, and perfected on the job. They weren’t taught in classrooms – as they are done in this day and age. Some of these skills are so unique that they are privy only to select family of karigars. With the pandemic, many of their livelihoods have been ravaged – but the gems and jewellery industry has shown a lot compassion and empathy towards their karigars.

United we stand

The pandemic has hit everyone. Explains Vipul Sutariya from Dharmanandan Diamonds, “We have undertaken free vaccination drives for our workers, almost 50 per cent of our workers are already vaccinated. We haven’t cut salaries of any of our employees. Many of our workers have a fully paid medical insurance policy, which takes care of their healthcare requirements. We have had very few Covid-19 cases. We have spent well on ensuring total hygiene and sanitization standards – we have provided all workers with masks and conduct temperature and oxygen level checks at regular intervals every day. For us our workers are integral to the company and therefore we look after them very well.” Government mandates Covid-19 protocols for all export units which need to work with only a certain percentage of staff – so that social distancing is maintained. Strict measures are important for everyone. Adds Alkesh Shah from Gold Star Diamonds, “We are conducting free RTPCR tests for all our workers. We have paid for entire treatment if any of our workers suffer from Covid-19. We also provide compensation if there is demise of the breadwinner in the family. We have created a corpus fund for meeting healthcare emergencies of our workers. We are organizing vaccination drives for all our workers. Our workers know that we look after our staff very well and therefore have been with us for many years.”

The pandemic has indeed forced each company owner to extend a helping hand to their workers diamond industry demands workers to be extremely loyal, talented and creative all at once. Workers in this industry are well off than workers in many other industries – at the same time – they need to be motivated and kept happy in order to inspire them to work to the best of their abilities. Says Vipul Shah from Asian Star, “We are making sure that our workers get vaccinated in time. We take utmost care of our workers. We have undertaken health insurance of all our workers. Safety and health our workers are of topmost priority for the company. Many of our workers in Gujarat are locals. Our workers are happy with the provisions made by the company.”

Covid Insurance Cover

Companies are paying premiums of medical insurance for their workers, and are taking up policies which cover Covid-19 as well for workers and their families. This provides workers with a relief that they can get best healthcare in case they are affected with Covid-19. According to Urmil Gajera, Laxmi Diamonds, “If there is an employee who has died because of Covid-19, the company will provide Rs. 2 lakh to the employee's family. The company provides free vaccinations and free Covid-19 tests every 2 weeks to all its employees. Employees and their families are covered with Covid-19 insurance. We also conduct blood plasma donation drives, which will help critical Covid-19 patients to tackle their illnesses. We have installed oxygen supplies and Covid-19 testing machine at our Shantabaa Haribhai Gajera Medical College and Hospital, established under Gajera Trust in Amreli, Gujarat.”

Shivam Jewels has its manufacturing unit in Surat, which houses many workers and as the pandemic situation in Gujarat is steadily improving their workers are working regularly and ensuring that export targets are met in time. “We have provided our workers with best medical care and vaccinations and medical insurance for their families as well. We have conducted RTPCR tests regularly for all. We have given highest priority to safety precautions and healthcare,” inform Priyal Shankar.


Social obligations at top priority

Shree Ramkrishna Exports (SRK) Pvt. Ltd.has always provided best support to its workers and the society at large as well. “We have always worked in the highest interest of our workers. We have our own hospital, where our workers can go and avail medical facilities free of cost. We have highly subsidized medicines which are brought to all our workers at a token cost of Rs 10 only -- any of our workers or staff can buy medicines at our centres. We have created isolation wards at Amreli in Gujarat, where most of our artisans are situated. Our chairman Govind Dholakia, has always been an ardent supporter of several social causes and has worked in the highest interest of our industry workers,” explains Shreyans Dholakia. The company has created a reserve for handing out compensation to workers, in case of demise of a breadwinner in the family.

Says Poonam Kothari of Flawless Group of Companies, “We have not cut salaries of our workers and are bringing vaccines at our company site. We are providing financial support whenever there has been a requirement to any of our workers. Export orders are being met with all government norms being followed in our manufacturing unit. The situation is challenging for everyone and despite that we have placed highest priority on the health and safety of our workers.”

Diamond industry company owners are doing their best to provide utmost support to their karigars who are the backbone of this industry and despite the numerous challenges the former may have to face because of the pandemic they ensure that workers do not suffer.


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