Diamond hub may move as blasts prompt trade rethink

FP

Three days after a bomb attack targeted diamond traders in their hub in the Opera House area of South Mumbai and killed 11 people and injured dozens, the nine-month-old Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in the new business district of Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) has decided to turn into a fortress. The aim is to not only secure the gleaming complex but also to reassure and attract fellow traders who were reluctant to move there from Opera House.

The BDB, already a well-guarded facility, decided on Saturday to pump in Rs 30 crore and also enlisted the services of a former Mumbai Police Commissioner to boost security at what is the largest diamond bourse in the world. The bourse is in sharp contrast to the characteristic chaos of the diamond trade in the narrow bylanes and the tiny office cubicles in the Opera House area.

The 20-acre expanse of the bourse expects to soon witness a daily traffic of 40,000-odd brokers, traders, exporters, international mining companies and their employees once the trade fully shifts from the Opera House area.

The BDB's committee members held a two-hour discussion on security plans for the bourse on Saturday. Also present at the meeting was the former city police chief who has been appointed Chief Security Consultant.

Until Wednesday's blast, most diamond traders and brokers were reluctant to move to BDB, a project which was allotted land two decades ago with the aim of decongesting the Opera House area.

After the much-delayed construction work was completed, the new offices were thrown open last October. But most traders and brokers were reluctant to move in as they live in South Mumbai's Walkeshwar, Napean Sea road and Breach Candy areas and wanted to avoid the commute to BDB. But after the blast, many are changing their minds.

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