A group of rough diamond processors, led by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Rajiv Jain, recently met Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan,seekingtax relief for shifting manufacturing units from Surat, Gujarat, to Indore.
‘The diamond processing industry, across the country, is currently paying a uniform 33 per cent tax to the government. We are seeking anything lower than the prevailing tax and a long-term commitment from the state government for considering an investment plan. Otherwise, shifting a manufacturing unit from Surat to Indore makes no sense: said Jain.
The MP government has been striving for over two years to bring diamond processing business from the existing world’s largest hub – Surat – to Indorse where a diamond processing park is proposed to be set up. In order to commence the proposed Park in two years, the government has expedited land acquisition and has acquired around 350 acres so far.
The major aim of the chief minister is to process entire rough diamond produced by Rio Tinto within the state and send only finished jewellery outside. Therefore, the proposed park should be ready and manufacturing units be in place before Rio Tinto starts commercial production in 2016 .
Rio Tinto, however, has not yet formulated a final strategy for the treatment of its rough diamond from Bunder project. “We have not yet decided whether to sell our entire rough diamond output in India our send outside for processing,” said Brude Cox, managing director of Rio Tinto Diamonds. Cox, however, was confident that the diamond produced from Bunder mines is set to fetch a premium over the existing best quality white diamond available in the world.
The Bunder resource has been identified as being the seven times richer than the Panna diamond mine, the only operating diamond mine in India with a iikely production rate at least 20 ti mes greater than Panna. This would rank MP amongst the top 10 diamond producing regions in the world in terms of volume and value.