Civic chief allows diamond exports up to 100 packages a day

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Published on May 16, 2020 11:36 PM IST
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ByEeshanpriya MS, Mumbai

In a boost to diamond exports, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday allowed exports of up to 100 packages of diamonds every day. Every day a lottery system determines which trader will be allowed to export diamonds. Since manufacturing of diamonds has not begun in view of lockdown, merchants are sending stored diamonds according to order. Merchants are now awaiting permission to reopen their offices for assorting staff to get to work.

Bharat Shah, legal advisor of Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association, said, “Diamond merchants have a lot of pending orders from the USA or Dubai. Since lockdown, everything has been closed for the past one-and-a-half months and business was at a standstill. Now the government has allowed up to 100 exports per day due to shortage of staff and carriers.”

Shah said since manufacturing of diamonds has not yet started and manufacturing units in Mumbai and Surat, which source diamonds to merchants, are shut, all merchants are relying on stored items. “Since not everyone likes to store diamonds in bulk, not a lot of merchants are participating in this. But it is a good start. Now we are waiting for our offices to open so that workers can start assorting diamonds and packaging them.”

Presently, only pre-packaged goods that were previously readied for export are being shipped.

Shah said there are four to five agents at the customs’ point in the city where a lottery is drawn every day. The agents inform respective traders if their name has come up in the lottery, following which the selected trader sends packages for export.

Municipal commissioner IS Chahal on Wednesday ordered opening up of Mumbai’s diamond market, and said, “I opened the entire diamond market of Mumbai. In a diamond market there is very limited and specialised labour and there are 5,000-crore exports waiting to happen, opening up the market can be beneficial. But none of this can happen at the cost of spreading Covid-19. “

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