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March 16, 2009

German team to study crisis in Gujarat diamond industry

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Surat: A German university has sent a team of faculty members and students to Gujarat to help the struggling diamond industry find a solution to its woes.

The team of 28 students, three researchers and faculty members from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg has arrived here on March 15.

They will prepare a study report on the plight of the diamond workers in Surat by March-end. The German government would fund the entire project, said Walter Thumi, one of the senior members of the team.

"Surat is the nerve centre of global diamond trade and an effort is now being made by the team to find an early solution to the problems of both diamond workers and owners of units in Gujarat," Thumi said.

An early recovery of the Surat diamond industry from the crisis would help the global diamond trade revive, he added.

The team would compare the wages of diamond workers in Surat with their counterparts in other parts of the world and also assess the spread of unemployment in the sector particularly after the global slowdown hit the industry.

Nearly 50 percent of the 400,000 workers in Surats' diamond cutting and polishing industry have already lost jobs and have migrated to their native areas in the Saurashtra region of western Gujarat. IANS

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