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Fear still lingers in Opera House diamond market


Raksha Shetty,CNN-IBN
Jul 20, 2011 at 10:44am IST

Mumbai: A week after the major blast that tore through Opera House in Mumbai, business and sentiments in this diamond district is badly affected. Traders say they have lost roughly Rs 750 crore in the terror attack.

Many shops are still closed, or under repair, and a blanket of fear still grips the market. Private security guard Sunil Dubey called the police after spotting an unattended tiffin box on the road, leading to a fresh bomb scare in the area.

Sunil Dubey, Security guard, said, "The tiffin box was lying here and after the recent attack, I called the police because there is an atmosphere of fear all around."

The gems and jewellery trade from Mumbai and Surat accounts for 35 per cent of India's overall exports, with Opera House being the main diamond trading hub. Angry traders say that despite bringing in such large business, the market is still a sitting duck for terror attacks.

Hardik Hundia, editor, Hira Manek Newsletter, Opera House, said, "What kind of security is there. Nothing at all. Anyone can come and do anything. Why doesn't the government intervene when there is so much going on?"

In fact, till 2008, the three entrances to Opera House market were guarded by private security, that was withdrawn after traders stopped contributing to maintain it. A JumboKing stall used to be a police chowky, that was pulled down in favour of this food stall. There is no perceivable security in the area leaving Opera House and its traders vulnerable to attacks.

Opera House Diamond Traders Association Secretary Arvind Shah said, "On what grounds are they planning to do to overhaul security?"

Till security is overhauled, or diamond traders move to the new diamond bourse in the Bandra Kurla Complex, the diamonds at Opera House seem to be in danger of losing more than just their lustre.

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