The seeds of this war were sown in January when the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) made a bold offer to the Mumbai diamond traders to leave Maharashtra in favour of Gujarat. Now, the Surtis have offered the Mumbai traders a gold name plate on the main board of the diamond trade centre in Surat.
There is a buzz that several Mumbai traders have already bought offices at the SDB and many more are likely to permanently shift to Surat after the office’s inauguration early next year.
The Surat Diamond Bourse has offered Mumbai traders a waiver of the maintenance charge for the first six months and promised to display their names in the reception area for lifetime. The Bharat Diamond Bourse at Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai had objected to the offer, and even the Shiv Sena, which was then heading the coalition government in the state, had opposed the offer.
The SDB’s new circular, issued recently, comes after Maharashtra lost a series of big projects to Gujarat since the government of rebel Eknath Shinde’s Sena and the BJP took charge earlier this year. The new circular, issued on the letterhead of SDB Chairman Vallabhbhai S Lakhani (Patel) along with his signature, announced that the bourse’s building has received the occupancy certificate from the administration on November 7.
“We are happily announcing that the work of SDB is fully complete, and it got permission from the government to operate the building from 07-11-2022. We will organise a grand opening ceremony in which SDB will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi. My request to all the members is that we all have to shift to SDB,” the circular said.
“The trader’s name will be written in golden words on the main board of the Surat Diamond Bourse, including those who will complete their office furniture work and shift to SDB,” the circular said.
BDB committee member Kirit Bhansali was quoted as saying in Mumbai tabloid Mid-Day, “The chairpersons of both the Bharat Diamond Bourse and the Surat Diamond Bourse have discussed this matter with each other. It is in everyone’s interest that both the bourses develop with all responsibilities. The diamond industry is booming right now. This is not the time to compete with each other. Instead, we should help and support each other.”
SBD Chairman Vallabhbhai told Mid-Day that “nobody should be annoyed with our latest circular”. “We are trying to start SDB so that it is in full swing soon, and there is nothing wrong with it. My wish is that everybody stays happy. Working out of Surat is comfortable instead of travelling three-four hours from Mumbai. It will reduce stress. Moreover, in Mumbai, people are not getting a flat in Rs 20 lakh, but in Surat, traders can easily get affordable stay and can do their business,” he said.
He added that he wished “no harm to anyone”. “The Mumbai diamond market and the BDB personally gave me many things. I started my career there and it’s an inspiration to us all. Those interested in SBD will come, and we are not forcing anyone,” he added.