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SURAT INDUSTRY TO GROW AS ROUGH DIAMOND IMPORTS FROM ZIMBABWE INCREASES
21 February 2012

India foresees a significant increase in jobs this year in Surat's diamond cutting and polishing industry as imports of low-range rough diamonds from Zimbabwe into the country increase.

According to industry estimates, at least 60,000 workers will be required in Surat, as this is the only center in India to specialize in cutting and polishing Marange rough, reports the Times of India, which adds that the impact will also be felt in cutting centers of Ahmedabad, which often get the spillover from Surat.

Currently, 400,000 workers are employed in Surat's nearly 3,500 cutting and polishing units, according to Dinesh Navadia, president of Surat Diamond Association (SDA).

"The small cutting centres like Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar and Amreli will also get the benefit of increase in employment due to the flow of Zimbabwe diamonds.  Many units outsource cutting and polishing work to these small centres as well," Navadia tells the news source.

The industry is expected to import $1.5 billion worth roughs from Zimbabwe this year, according to Navadia.

After laying off thousands during the global economic crisis in 2008, most of the big, small and medium diamond manufacturers in Surat are searching for new and skilled workers. Many are even offering incentives like referral awards to those workers who help bring in new talent while the wages have also gone up by at least 10 percent, reports the Times of India.

"We believe that the flow of Zimbabwe diamonds will create over 60,000 jobs in the Surat industry. Zimbabwe diamonds are cheaper than those from other mining countries and manufacturers in Surat have a win-win situation," says Sanjay Kothari, vice chairman of Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), as quoted by the news source.

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