India’s diamond markets shut over Mumbai terror attack


Mumbai/Ahmedabad/Kolkata: For the first time ever, diamond traders across India shut shop Thursday after terror struck the country’s largest diamond trading hub in Mumbai.

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While India’s largest diamond trading market located near the landmark Opera House in Mumbai will remain closed till Monday, resulting in loss of business of hundreds of crores of rupees, all major diamond trading markets across the country were shut to show solidarity against the terror attack on the country’s financial capital.

Markets in Ahmedabad, Surat and Kolkata remained closed Thursday.

Hardik Hundia, a diamond merchant based at the Opera House, said diamond traders will lose around Rs.250 crore in business every day.

Three serial blasts struck the country’s financial capital killing 17 people and injuring 131. Besides Opera House, terrorists also struck at Zaveri Bazaar, which is home to many jewellery shops.

According to Bombay Bullion Association, gold and diamond industry accounts for nearly Rs.10 billion (Rs.1,000 crore) trade per day, and over Rs.300,000 crore per year.

“From these massive business volumes, calculate our huge contribution to the national exchequer by way of VAT, sales tax and other levies,” association president Prithviraj Kothari told IANS.

Kothari said soon after the blasts, the national and international customers were reluctant to enter the vicinity in view of severe security restrictions and a general fear psychosis, hitting the trade severely.

“Unfortunately, each time there is an attack, the industry goes on blink for nearly three months,” he said.

Bullion trade associations in Mumbai Thursday convened an emergency meeting and decided to keep the markets closed till Monday, official said.

Diamond merchants have also decided to meet state Home Minister R.R. Patil to push for better security for the jewellery market.

The nearly two square km area of Opera House and Zaveri Bazaar has a working population of nearly 200,000 people directly or indirectly engaged in the jewellery business.