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Monday, Sep 09, 2002

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Karnataka jewellers want SEZ-like enclave in Bangalore

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ABSENCE of an international airport at Hassan, where a special economic zone is proposed to be set up, is a major setback for the gold and diamond industry of Karnataka.

Seeking consideration of its request, the Karnataka Jewellery Exporters' Association (KJEA) has asked the Government to set up a separate enclave providing all the benefits of an SEZ in Bangalore.

Distance from the international airport will not only deprive the industry of price competitiveness but would also subject its products to security risks.

The industry was already facing difficulty with the international airlines operating out of Bangalore airport often unwilling to accept imports and exports of cargo due to inadequate safety and security. This hurdle had resulted in the industry having to incur a transit period of five to seven days before their consignment could be lifted by international airlines from Mumbai. They have to depend on a few domestic airlines to ferry cargo from Bangalore to Mumbai airport.

While making a strong plea for their demand, KJEA also offered to extend its help in setting up and running training institute of international standards to provide the cutting edge advantage to Indian artisans. With the potential for exports of jewellery expected to grow, the jewellery industry feels that such a training facility could a boost efforts in capturing new export markets.

As a sequel to setting up a specialised training institute, the association urged the Government to include a subject on jewellery industry covering issues like manufacturing and marketing in the existing diploma courses in the State. This could give a new option to students seeking employment opportunities, KJEA said.

Karnataka occupies third place after Mumbai and Delhi in gold jewellery exports. With an annual exports of about Rs 450 crore, the State accounts for over 20 per cent of the total exports of gold jewellery of Rs 2,500 crore. With a huge potential to increase exports of gold jewellery, the association also sought space in the new permanent trade centre.

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