Week Later, Mumbai Blast Sites Bustle Again

Mumbai, Jul 19 (IANS): "Overall positive". That's what market operators say about the mood in all the three places in Mumbai, including diamond and gold jewellery hubs, where serial terror blasts killed 20 people and injured scores a week ago.

Bombs went off in quick succession on the evening of July 13 at the diamond centre of Opera House, gold hub of Zaveri Bazar and the commercial part of Dadar West. But these are once again bustling with business.

"We have traffic restrictions. Security checks are a lot stricter but nobody objects. Business is near normal but it will take some time for the situation to fully normalize," Asim Shah of HB Shah Pvt Ltd, a leading diamond exporter, told IANS.

Asim lamented that the menace of hawkers, which should have been solved "years ago", has been finally resolved.

"We hope the authorities do not permit them to return and set up illegal stalls in the vicinity, posing a security risk," he said.

Krishna Verlekar, who has a workshop in the heart of Zaveri Bazar, said regular customers have become more cautious after July 13.

"Now, they call us and want to know if there are huge crowds, police security, and so on before reaching here…This will be the situation for a few more weeks," Verlekar told IANS.

One positive outcome of the terror attack is that the diamond market has been finally spurred on to move to the new Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex.

The swank new business district is ideally located midway between the western suburb of Bandra and the eastern suburb of Kurla, where even the US Consulate and British Deputy High Commission buildings have come up.

"Despite the many constraints of operating from there, we have decided to move out of Panchratna Building after Diwali," Asim said.

Another prominent diamond and gold jewellery businessman, Girish Shah, who sits at Opera House, expressed similar sentiments.

"The workers shall be the worst hit, travelling from far off suburbs. But we have to move out," he said.

The residential population of Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar West have taken the bomb attacks in their stride -- almost.

"A majority of us have been living and working here for generations and have seen many ups and down here," said commercial artist Guruprasad Kashikar, who lives and works only five buildings away from Opera House.

"Business will not wait, everything will become normal only after we start our work as usual," he added.


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Title: Week Later, Mumbai Blast Sites Bustle Again

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