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HomeexplainersInside Surat Diamond Bourse, ‘world's largest workspace’, inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi

Inside Surat Diamond Bourse, ‘world’s largest workspace’, inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi

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Inside Surat Diamond Bourse, ‘world's largest workspace’, inaugurated by PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi has unveiled the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) in Gujarat. Built over an area of 67 lakh square feet, the complex has reportedly surpassed the US’ Pentagon in size

FP Explainers December 17, 2023 11:19:55 IST Inside Surat Diamond Bourse, ‘world's largest workspace’, inaugurated by PM Modi

Surat Diamond Bourse is billed as the 'world’s biggest workspace'. Image Courtesy: suratdiamondbourse.in

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the newly-built Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB) in Gujarat on Sunday (17 December). Billed as the “world’s biggest workspace”, the SDB has reportedly surpassed the United States’ Pentagon in size.

PM Modi will also unveil the upgraded terminal building of the Surat airport today. The Union Cabinet recently okayed the proposal to declare Surat airport as an international airport to facilitate smooth export-import operations for the city’s diamond and textile industries.

Let’s take a deep dive into the SDB, the world’s largest office complex.

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Inside Surat Diamond Bourse

With the new office complex, Surat, also known as ‘Diamond City’, is ready to welcome gems and jewellery entrepreneurs from across the globe.

Built over an area of 67 lakh square feet, the Surat Diamond Bourse is part of the Diamond Research and Mercantile (DREAM) City, a greenfield project constructed as a township covering an area of nearly 700 acres, as per Indian Express. 

The office complex is located in Khajod village on the outskirts of Surat. The building, which was completed in July, is built at a whopping cost of Rs 3200 crore, reported Bloomberg. 

After the inauguration, the PM is expected to address a large gathering near the building.  Speaking to Indian Express, SDB media convener Dinesh Navadiya said, “We expect a footfall of around 21,000 people at the inauguration, including diamond businessmen from abroad.”

The bourse has nine interconnected towers of 15 storeys, with office spaces ranging from 300 square feet to 1 lakh square feet, reported PTI. Not just Pentagon, the SDB is also bigger than the Israel Diamond Exchange, which covers an area of 80,000 square metres, noted Bloomberg.

Touted as the “world’s biggest workspace” by its architects — the Delhi-based Morphogenesis, the SDB houses as many as 4,200 diamond trading offices. The bourse has been constructed with the aim of relocating the diamond trading business out of Mumbai, to Surat.

What does SDB offer?

The complex is being endorsed as a “one-stop destination” for over 65,000 diamond professionals, including cutters, polishers, and traders, reported CNN.

According to Indian Express, all activities and infrastructure involving diamonds, such as the sale of rough and polished diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, software for designing and manufacturing equipment, will be offered at the SDB.

The complex also has a recreational space and parking area. Sonali Rastogi, the co-founder of the architecture company Morphogenesis, previously told CNN that offices are connected by a large central corridor, with access to services and facilities in a way which reminds one of an airport terminal.

Keeping in mind the summer heat in Surat, all of the offices are centrally air-conditioned through chilled water-cooling systems, as per Times Now.

PM Modi earlier said about the structure that it “showcases the dynamism and growth of Surat’s diamond industry” and is “a testament to India’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

According to Nagjibhai Sakariya, president of the Surat Diamond Bourse, over 130 offices in the complex are already being used. At least 26 offices are being operated by Mumbai-based businessmen, who have either relocated or expanded their business to Surat, as per Indian Express. 

Sakariya told the Indian newspaper, “Currently, 135 offices are open and we are hopeful that after inauguration, others will also start opening their offices mid next year. Till now, Mumbai was the hub of diamond trading… with this new complex, Surat will also become one of the biggest trading hubs of diamonds and jewellery.”

What are the challenges?

While the SDB wants to centralise India’s diamond industry, the task would not be easy. Although Surat has emerged as a major diamond manufacturing hub, Mumbai continues to be India’s trading hub for the gems due to its better global connectivity.

The lower cost of living in Surat could allure Mumbai-based diamond businesses to shift to the SDB. However, the complex’s location on the outskirts of Surat with few sources for amenities and entertainment may be a deterrent.

The Surat airport, which only offers one international flight – to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, is also likely to make Mumbai-based businesses hesitant to relocate.

But those who have already taken the plunge and shifted to Surat argue that it is a “better option” as it saves their staff from Mumbai’s long commute time. “In Surat, they can reach office in 10 minutes. Even the area of our offices in BKC and BDB was less in comparison to SDB,” Dinesh Lakhani, nephew of SDB chairman and owner of Kiran Gems, Vallabhbhai Lakhani, told Indian Express.

With inputs from agencies

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