Amid the fourth phase of lockdown with certain relaxations to resume business activities in parts of the state, the diamond industry in Gujarat's Surat opened on Tuesday. The industry is operating with a reduced workforce as per the guidelines set by the government to contain the spread of the contagion.
Nilesh Bodke, who is associated with the diamond industry, said that this sector is resilient and will overcome the impact of COVID-19 lockdown in 2-3 months.
"The diamond market opened today, after the announcement of the state government, but it will take at least 2-3 months for the industry to start its functions normally. Majority of the labourers who work in these industries have returned back to their villages and will not come back in the near future. On the other hand, the monsoon season is about to start and these labourers will most probably return after ploughing their land in the villages," Bodke told ANI.
Bodke further opined that the diamond industry in Surat might face difficulties as the market in Mumbai has still not reopened for business. He also hoped that the situation would improve gradually.
"The market in Mumbai has not started operating yet, which makes it difficult for the industry in Surat to function. There are no options to export or import the diamonds and hence the industry cannot function normally in the given scenario. The situation will improve in the future. The workers in the diamond industry are very hard-working and do not shy away from putting more than 12 hours if required," he said.
Gujarat is one of the worst-hit states for the novel coronavirus infection. On Tuesday the state reported 395 fresh COVID-19 cases and 25 deaths, including 21 in worst-hit Ahmedabad, taking the overall case count to 12,141 and the number of fatalities to 719, a Health department official said. Besides Ahmedabad, two deaths were reported from Surat while one fatality each was reported from Aravalli and Gandhinagar, the official said.
A total of 239 patients were discharged from hospitals, taking the total number of the recovered patients to 5,043, the official said, adding that the state has 6,379 active cases, 49 of them in a critical condition. A total of 1,54,674 samples have been tested so far in Gujarat, including 5,865 samples in the last 24 hours, said Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi.
With 256 new detections, Ahmedabad now accounts for 8945 of the total 12,141 cases in the state and 576 of the total 719 fatalities. Fresh cases were reported from 21 districts, including Surat (29), Kutch (21) and Vadodara (18), Ravi said, adding that the total case count in Surat and Vadodara now stands at 1,156 and 700, respectively.
(With agency inputs)