Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Business At SDB Yet to Take Off

The Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB), envisioned as a beacon of India’s diamond trade, is yet to exhibit signs of playing a predominant role in the industry. With its completion in May 2022, the bourse was hailed as a milestone achievement for the diamond industry, poised to rival Mumbai as the country’s diamond trading capital. In the wake of a remarkable 50% surge in cut and polished diamond exports, totalling $24.4 billion for the fiscal year ending in March, optimism ran high in the industry. Even Mumbai’s leading diamond exporter, Kiran Gems, declared intentions to relocate its operations to the new bourse.


Yet, despite the grand inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2023, SDB is languishing, with not too many takers. Its halls, designed to accommodate over 4,200 diamond offices, along with other amenities, are echoing with silence instead of buzzing with traders, and their business.
Modi’s praise for the bourse, likening it to the Pentagon in grandeur, awaits its business class flight. Built with a staggering investment of Rs 3,500 crore, its inauguration was perceived as a moment of national pride, a testament to India’s aspirations in the global diamond market.


However, Vallabhbhai Lakhani, chairman of Kiran Gems, and an early adopter of the bourse, dealt a severe blow to it when he announced his company’s retreat to Mumbai’s Bharat Diamond Bourse. Lakhani’s decision underscored a critical flaw in SDB’s strategy – the lack of participation by industry players. Without a vibrant ecosystem of diamond companies, the bourse seems unable to fulfill its promise of revitalizing India’s diamond trade.

As SDB grapples with its future, questions abound regarding the fate of this ambitious project, which was envisioned as a game-changer for India’s diamond industry.
Lesser-known facts about SDB

For 80 years, the Pentagon claimed the title of the world’s largest office building. At 67,28,604 sqft carpet area, SDB exceeds the Pentagon’s area of 66,73,624 sqft by almost 55,000 sqft.

SDB is supposed to become the world’s largest and most advanced hub for the international diamond and jewellery trade.

Functioning as a global centre for both rough and polished diamonds, along with jewellery, the bourse will encompass cutting-edge facilities, including a Customs Clearance House for import-export, a retail jewellery section in the jewellery mall, and provisions for international banking and safe vaults. Despite its vast size, navigating between its 15-storey towers is said to be a breeze, taking less than six minutes to reach any top-floor corner using the 131 elevators, all managed by a sophisticated control system.

The SDB campus spans a total built-up area of 68,17,050 sqft, featuring nine interconnected towers, 81m in height. This design facilitates easy access between any floor or building without the need to return to the ground level, interconnected by an atrium spine.

Occupying 35.54 acres, the site includes a two-storey underground parking space capable of accommodating 4,500 cars and 10,000 two-wheelers, catering to its estimated workforce of 65,000 employees across 4,500 offices.

The tower configuration accommodates varied office spaces, including 2,700 offices with 300 sqft each in five towers, 900 offices with 500 sqft in one tower, 400 offices with 1,000 sqft in another, and two towers offering 350 larger offices exceeding 1,000 sqft per office.

SDB, located at Khajod village near Surat city, has nearly 4,500 diamond trading offices.

SDB is part of the Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City. The ground breaking ceremony for the SDB was performed by former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel in February 2015.


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