The promise of Surat’s carat lane – by Satish Nandgaonkar and Ajit Joshi (Hindustan Times – July 2, 2023)

As the sector grew exponentially, diamond traders first moved into Prasad Chambers, and eventually in 1975 into its exclusive building of Pancharatna

As our car turns from the smooth Gujarat highways into Surat we are hit by an incongruity – its traffic management. The city which was hit by the plague epidemic in 1994 sharpened its civic awareness and governance to consistently rank second to Indore in the Swacch Bharat Survekshan since 2020. The blatant disregard for traffic rules by its citizens mars its claim of a well-governed city.

This dissonance is equally reflected in its latest ambitious project — the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB), even as the diamond trade is facing a sharp downturn, and has hit the diamond workers, the backbone of city’s diamond economy.

Last month 55-year-old diamond worker Vinu Moradiya, his 50-year-old wife, 20-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter consumed a pesticide-laden substance and died by suicide near a canal in Sarthana, Surat city.

While this was one of the reported suicides by diamond workers, Bhavesh Tank, a former diamond polishing worker who set up Surat Diamond Workers’ Union, says similar incidents have gone unreported. Questions are being raised whether the impressively built SDB, rivalling Mumbai’s Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), on the outskirts of Surat city will take off successfully in Diwali this year.

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