SDA Demands International Airport for Surat

Surat: The Surat Diamond Association (SDA) and the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide international airport at Surat at the earliest to facilitate smooth import and export of polished and rough diamonds, reports The Times of India.

SDA office-bearers said that polished diamonds worth over Rs. 1 lakh crore are processed in Surat and exported to various countries via Mumbai per annum. The amount of rough diamonds being imported per annum is pegged at over Rs. 70,000 crore.

Talking to TOI, SDA president and GJEPC’s regional chairman, Dinesh Navadiya said, “It is our long pending demand for international airport at Surat. Surat is the hub of diamond manufacturing in the world and it doesn’t have even domestic connectivity, forget about the international airport. We have strongly represented the PM to consider long pending demand.”

Navadiya added, “The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has sent the proposal for custom-notified airport, which is likely to be considered in a short span of time. We would require cargo facilities, so that Surat could be directly connected with Antwerp and Dubai, the two main diamond hubs of the world.”

Industry sources said that around 60 per cent of the rough diamonds are imported from Dubai and Antwerp, while the rest is supplied by the world’s leading diamond mining companies like Alrosa, De Beers and Rio Tinto.

At present, the custom house facility is running at the Surat Hira Bourse (SHB), where a fair amount of diamond import and export is carried out per annum. If the same facility is created at the airport, it will provide a big fillip to the diamond sector.