Mumbai: India is set to become a diamond trading hub in the next two years as the ambitious Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) is due to start operations at the Bandra-Kurla complex here by this Diwali.
As an international destination, the Bharat Diamond Bourse aims to further enhance India’s position in the world diamond market once it becomes fully operational by October-November,” BDB president Anoop V. Mehta said on Tuesday. With world-class facilities under one roof, the bourse would contribute to 90% of the country’s diamond trading activity, he added.
“We intend to commence trading at the bourse by Diwali as it is an ideal time for members to shift their business,” Mehta said, adding that BDB would benefit the entire diamond trade.
BDB is establishing an 18 lakh sq. ft complex at Bandra-Kurla complex, a business district in the suburbs of Mumbai, at an estimated cost of Rs900-1,000 crore.
“The main objective is to establish a bourse for promotion and export of diamonds and to provide infrastructure and other facilities in India for domestic and overseas buyers and sellers of diamonds,” Mehta said.
Instituted to cater to all the needs of the diamond trade, BDB is anticipating to deal with over 30,000 people a day.
BDB will have offices of diamond traders, strong rooms, lockers and customs clearance facilities with all modern amenities required to carry day-to-day business.
The BDB project, which started in 1992, was mired in disputes between the BDB committee, its architects and contractors. Added to that, payment defaults by members during the 1995-99 property slump put the project on hold in 1998. The project was restarted in 2001.
Currently, trading of rough diamonds is concentrated in three premises in South Mumbai’s Opera House area—Prasad Chambers, Panchratna Building and Shreeji Building. “Shifting of the entire trade is a very big issue. The complex will house close to 2,400 small and large diamond traders, of which nearly 1,800 offices will be occupied by small manufacturers, traders and brokers,” Mehta said.
To help the members with a single-window operation, a dedicated custom-house facility of about 25,000 sq.ft is being set up at the complex.
The complex will also have around 24,500 safe deposit vaults for the members. Twenty five banks have shown keen interest in opening branches at the complex. The security measures to be set up will be on par with the ones prevailing in the global markets such as Antwerp, persons familiar with the situation said.
India has made rapid strides in gems and jewellery exports in the last few years. Total exports of gems and jewellery in FY07 were $17.1 billion (Rs70,110 crore), up from $16.6 billion in the year ago period. The country is also a big export hub for processing diamonds and other precious stones. According to industry estimates, the gems industry is growing at 20% annually and currently stands at $3.6 billion.