Botad,the second largest diamond market in Saurashtra,is expected to turn into a major diamond jewellery hub with the town becoming the headquarters of a new district by the same name.
Of the four new districts in Saurashtra,Botad is the second to have constituent parts from two districts. While Botad and Gadadha were talukas of Bhavnagar district,Ranpur and Barvala were earlier in Ahmedabad district.
Though its population is only around 1.30 lakh,Botad provides livelihood to hundreds from villages across Bhavnagar,Rajkot,Surendranagar and Ahmedabad districts. It is also a major market of cotton and vegetables. Till about a decade ago,it also boasted of a robust soap and washing powder industry. However,the town is mostly known for its diamond industry.
Botads Heera Bazaar is the second largest diamond market in Saurashtra and the fifth largest in Gujarat with a monthly turnover of Rs 50 crore. According to Kalubhai Patel,president of Botad Diamond Association (BDA),the industry employs nearly 80,000 persons,and women constitute one-third of this work force. Of late,the labour-intensive industry is going through a transitional phase with mechanisation and automation being introduced by factory-owners.
The state government is giving loans to buy diamond polishing machinery as a part of its policy to promote cottage industries. Earlier,people had to travel 94 km to Bhavnagar to get a loan sanctioned. The district offices in Botad will help overcome this problem and encourage more people to avail of the loan, said Patel.
To add to the sparkle of the industry,the BDA wants a new diamond market and a gems and jewellery park in the district. The Heera Bazaar has become congested. There are more than 400 small offices here. We need larger offices in a larger market. We hope the new district administration will help us get space for a new marketplace, Patel said.
Patel added that a gems and jewellery park was the need of the hour. It will provide trained and skilled workforce. Such a park can be a marketplace also, he says.
Botad Collector Mohammed Habib Narmawala said the administration would pay attention to the concerns of the industry. We will hold meetings with stakeholders and if there are any issues,we will discuss those with them, said Narmawala.
A large number of traders come to Botad with rough diamonds for polishing. They take back polished diamonds after paying commission or labour charges. This helps thousands of families in the region to earn a livelihood without much investment. Gadadha is a major diamond polishing centre.
We will also strive to facilitate the growth of oil mills,cotton and vegetable markets, Narmawala added.
Three villages of Barvala taluka are part of the state governments Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) project.