There was big relief among as the government of Maharashtra allowed designated units to restart their operations in Mumbai. Keeping in mind the current COVID-19 pandemic, only 10% of the workforce is allowed to work provided the company makes arrangements for their transport.
For the unversed, Mumbai city has the country’s largest jewellery export zones – Bharat Diamond Bourse and SEEPZ. The decision to restart the operations came as a big relief for jewellery exporters. It has been reported that Bharat Diamond Bourse got export interest applications worth $550Mn from around 1673 consignment parcels. However, SEEPZ also exported diamonds worth $10Mn from fifty units. This happened in the first week of the current month.
Furthermore, the Surat Diamond Bourse and Jaipur got back to the business, after 6 weeks. However, these are operational while following the Covid-19 safety guidelines by Govt. In a recent development, The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council and other trade bodies trying to convince the State and Central Government. The point for convincing is to bring major gem and jewellery centres of India, back to the business. The efforts are being made to clear the pending orders of the pre-lockdown period.
Mr. Pramod Kumar Agrawal, Chairman, GJEPC explained further, “We are thankful to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the administrative departments for allowing gems and jewellery export operations from Mumbai with 10 per cent workforce during the lockdown period. Surat and Jaipur have already started exports of gems and jewellery. I would also like to thank Central government as well as Gujarat and Rajasthan State governments for allowing operations with 33% work strength. Bharat Diamond Bourse and SEEPZ in Mumbai are major centres which have a huge backlog of orders and I am happy that these centres will be operational in the next few days. We would make sure that all factories and units are operational following strict guidelines of maintaining social distancing and ensuring frequent sanitisation of factory premises, equipment, and workers.”
Mr. Colin Shah, Vice Chairman, GJEPC also added, “It has been a collective effort from all the stakeholders that have helped us start gem & jewellery exports. As always there has been tremendous support from the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. The Customs department has remained open during the ongoing lockdown and officials have bravely come forward to ensure exports to take place. Both the Ministry of Commerce and Customs department worked relentlessly for the gems and jewellery exports and we as an industry thank them for their constant support. As a result, cancellation of orders got minimised from Mumbai SEEPZ, Surat Diamond Bourse and Jaipur.”
Another big centre for gems and jewellery in Jaipur. According to the records, around 7 to 8 shipments are handled at ACC, Jaipur (DTA). There are reports suggesting that around 40 units of SEZ, Sitapura and almost 25 units of gems & jewellery, EPIP, Sitapura have started working. It has been claimed that 185 shipments worth Rs. 22,87,79,565 were cleared by DTA. SEZ also cleared 42 shipments worth Rs. 8,81,05,254 till May 9th.
Parcel services by logistics companies are being used to send consignments. The option is cheaper compared to cargo flights, considering the hike in airfares. The size of the parcel is also reduced considering the current situation.
“Exports of gold, silver and imitation jewellery has started. Exports of studded jewellery will also begin soon,” Agrawal further added.
The great news is that Surat SEZ started operations of G&J units after 27th April 2020. The first export of G&J is slated to go on 5th May. Meanwhile, almost 10 shipments of Rs. 18.8 lakhs were cleared by ACC, Ahmadabad in April.
Surat Hira Bourse is also assisting exporters in the clearance of shipments. The Hong Kong export will start from Mumbai airport. It has been reported that 5 units of Gem & Jewellery Park, Ichhapore, Surat also started operations. Another gold jewellery consignment export started at Delhi airport on Tuesday. Some silver jewellery exports are also about to take place. Noida SEZ has also started operations, with all the safety measures.
GJEPC and the entire trade fraternity is grateful to the support given by the Department of Commerce, MOC & I and State Governments all across the centres. Great support is also provided by Customs at Mumbai, Jaipur, Surat, and Delhi. They are providing assistance for clearing parcels. The Indian gem and jewellery industry will surely get back to the track by following all the safety guidelines.