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Bundelkhand labourer stumbles upon diamond valued at Rs 1.5 crore

Motilal Prajapati took a plot on lease near Krishna Kalyanpur Patti village in the diamond mining area of Panna and hit the jackpot within weeks.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2018 10:02 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhopal/Sagar
labourer finds diamond,Bundelkhand labourer,Panna diamond mining
Motilal Prajapati found the diamond from a plot he had taken on lease in the diamond mining area of Panna.(HT photo)

A 50-year-old man who barely eked out a living as a menial worker in Madhya Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region chanced upon a fortune when he found a diamond worth at least Rs 1.5 crore, a mineral resources department official said on Tuesday.

Motilal Prajapati took a plot measuring about 25 square feet on lease near Krishna Kalyanpur Patti village in the diamond mining area of Panna, 413 kilometers north-east of Bhopal, on September 20 this year, according to Panna district mining officer Santosh Singh. He hit the jackpot within weeks.

“I can’t believe my luck,” was the first reaction of Prajapati when he was told the value of the diamond. “For three generations — from my grandfather to myself — we have been taking land in the mining area on lease but we never succeeded in finding a diamond earlier. With God’s grace I have found a good value diamond. I will spend the money on education of my children, a good life for parents and other needs in life like a good house, marriage of my brothers’ daughters.”

The diamond is estimated to weigh 42.59 carat, the second highest value in terms of a gemstone’s mass but highest value in terms of money, in the history of the shallow mines in the district operated under the jurisdiction of the Madhya Pradesh state government. It was in 1961 that a diamond of 44.55 carat was found in the Kachhua Tola area of the district by a man identified as Rasool Ahmad, Santosh Singh said.

Panna has country’s only operational diamond mine.

The National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) Ltd manages the mining. The district also has shallow mines too which are operated under the jurisdiction of the state government and offered on lease to tenants including families of labourers.

“According to our gem expert diamond is valued more than ₹1.5 crore and it has been deposited with the collector’s office. It will be put for auction after the state assembly elections in November. It may fetch a higher price. The amount will be given to the person who has found the diamond after deduction of tax at the rate of 11%”, said Singh.

Some other labourers have also found diamonds in the area leased by the state government. On September 14 this year, a marginal farmer, Prakash Kumar Sharma, found a 12.58 carat valued at ₹30 lakh. In 2011, a 16.13 carat diamond was found by Shambhu Dayal Kaudhar. In 2014, Anan Singh Yadav found a 12.93 carat diamond.

The diamond deposits extend north-east of the Vindhya range until a distance of 240 km . The mines in Panna are managed under the diamond mining project of the National Mineral Development Corporation. In other mines, the land is leased to prospective miners by the government agency. The diamonds unearthed are all collected by the district administration of Panna and auctioned, according to the state mining department website.

(With inputs from Bhopal bureau)

First Published: Oct 10, 2018 10:02 IST