Mumbai jewellers vow business as usual after terror attack
MUMBAI, India, August 7, 2011 – Jewellers in Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar have vowed not to let the terrorists win after a recent attack.
Since the July 13 explosion, security has increased, with police at every entry point to the thoroughfare. And now Zaveri Bazaar, where much of India’s booming gold business is transacted, is a pedestrianised zone. In former times, busy traffic had mingled with the crowds.
Jewellers at Zaveri Bazaar said business had returned to normal just two days after the attack. Some said they had heard the bomb blast while they were at work.
Senior officials at The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the state-backed body that promotes India’s gem and jewellery exports, said the attack seemed to have been aimed at crowds of innocent people rather than specifically at the gem and jewellery community.
Police checkpoint at entry to Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai, August 5, 2011
The GJEPC has made it crystal clear that the industry will not make any concessions to terrorists, and that business will go on as usual.
The India International Jewellery Week (IIJW) and India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) took place as normal this month, and officials expected record numbers of visitors and exhibitors to take part.
On a visit to Zaveri Bazaar on August 5, Jewellery Outlook’s correspondent noted steady business in the jewellery shops that sell 22-karat gold, and diamond jewellery, as well as costume jewels and silverware.
Some shop owners privately lamented that footfall had slipped because customers had arrived by car, not knowing that the area is now pedestrianised, and found they couldn’t park easily nearby.
No one knows how long the area will remain pedestrianised, with police guards on duty, but people are reassured by the heightened security as business carries on.
Zaveri Bazaar symbolises the spirit of the Indian gem and jewellery industry, a thriving district in the hub of one of India’s most successful industries.
Gems and jewellery account for around 16 percent of India’s exports by value, and turnover is forecast to grow by 15-16 percent year-on-year into 2012, according to the GJEPC.