Scores of people flock to the diamond mining area of Panna in Madhya Pradesh's Bundelkhand. They lease lands and test their fates but seldom do people have 50-year-old Motilal Prajapati's luck. On Tuesday, Prajapati, a menial worker in the Bundelkhand region, chanced upon a diamond worth Rs 1.5 crore.
Fed up with poverty, Prajapati had leased a plot on September 20, measuring 25 sq ft near Krishna Kalyanput Patti village, 413 km northeast of Bhopal, according to district mining officer, Santosh Singh. And within weeks he hit the jackpot.
He said he took up the land in an attempt to do something for himself. "Doosron ke liye khodta hoon, apne liye karke dekhun (I dig for other, wanted to do for myself)," he said according to a report in Times of India. "This will help my elderly parents. I hope my poverty goes away, and no one will ever go hungry," said Prajapati as mentioned in the daily.
He further added that for three generations they have been taking land in the mining area but have never been successful in finding a diamond before. He said that he will spend the money on the education of his children, a good house, marriages of his brother's daughters and a good life for his parents.
The diamond Prajapati found is estimated to weigh 42.59 carat which is second in terms of the stone's mass but highest in terms of value. Santosh Singh said that the last time someone found a diamond like this was in 1961, when one Rasool Ahmad found a 44.55-carat diamond.
Panna has the country's only operational diamond mine, which is managed by the National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd (NMDC). The district also has shallow mines operated under the state government's jurisdiction that are offered on lease to tenants, including labourers.
"According to our gem expert diamond is valued more than Rs 1.5 crore and it has been deposited with the collector's office. It will be put for auction after the state assembly elections in November. It may fetch a higher price. The amount will be given to the person who has found the diamond after deduction of tax at the rate of 11%," said Singh, according to reports.
In 2017, another poverty-ridden labourer found a diamond. That was 5.8 carat and was valued at Rs 20 lakh. That diamond was also much smaller than the one Prajapati found. A farmer found a 12.58-carat diamond valued at Rs 30 lakh on September 14.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)