The Maharashtra govemment has allowed gem and jewellery companies in the Mumbai export processing zone to restart operations with 10 per cent workforce during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

The companies operating in the export zone have to provide transport facility for employees and screen their temperature before they enter the workplace besides stationing a doctor inside the zone.

The decision will help jewellers restart operations at Bharat Diamond Bourse and SEEPZ, two of India’s largest jewellery export designated zones in Mumbai.

Members of the Bharat Diamond Bourse have received export orders worth $550 million (₹4,180 crore) while SEEPZ has exported $10 million (₹76 crore) worth of diamond exports from 50 units in the first week of May. Meanwhile, the Surat Diamond Bourse resumed operations after a gap of 5-6 weeks.

Pending orders

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), along with other trade bodies, have been pursuing the government to make all the major gem and jewellery centres operational across India to clear the backlog of orders from the pre-lockdown period.

About 65 units of Sitapura Special Economic Zone at Jaipur in Rajasthan have restarted work and are processing 7-8 shipments a day. These units have made 185 shipments worth ₹31 crore till May 9.

Colin Shah, Vice-Chairman, GJEPC, said the Customs department has remained open during the ongoing lockdown to ensure that exports are cleared and is ensuring to bring down cancellation of orders from Mumbai SEEPZ, Surat Diamond Bourse and Jaipur.

Exporters are using the parcel services of logistics companies to send consignments as it is cheaper than booking directly on cargo flights following an increase in air freight rates, he added.