Ukraine war robs India’s ‘Diamond City’ of its sparkle (Economic Times India – June 26, 2022)

Yogesh Zanzamera lays out his bed on the floor of the factory where he works and lives, one of around two million Indians polishing diamonds in an industry being hit hard by the Ukraine war.

The air reeking from the only toilet for 35-40 people, conditions at workshops like this in Gujarat state leave workers at risk of lung disease, deteriorating vision and other illnesses. But Zanzamera and others like him have other more immediate worries: the faraway war in Europe and the resulting sanctions on Russia, India’s biggest supplier of “rough” gemstones and a long-standing strategic ally.

“There are not enough diamonds. Because of that, there is not enough work,” Zanzamera, 44, told AFP at the workshop, situated up some dingy stairs in Surat where he has worked since leaving school at 13. “The war should end. Everybody’s livelihood depends on the war ending.”

His monthly pay packet of 20,000 rupees ($260) is already down 20-30 percent, he says. But he is one of the lucky ones — the local trade union estimates that between 30,000 and 50,000 diamond workers in Surat have lost their jobs.

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