At a glittering function held by The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), at the Sofitel Hotel, Mumbai, on 1st February 2022, diamantaire, entrepreneur and philanthropist Savjibhai Dholakia, Founder Chairman, Hari Krishna Exports, a diamond manufacturing and exporting company, was felicitated amidst an august gathering of industry leaders for being conferred with Padma Shri Award for social work.

The event witnessed all stalwarts from the diamond trade under one roof, lauding the first-ever Padma Shri Awardee from the diamond industry.   In his keynote address, Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC said, “We are proud to have Savjibhai as a member of our diamond industry who has led by examples with exemplary values, and grounding fundamentals that have been the force behind his never-say-die attitude. Savijibhai is a visionary, who has worked hard in the drought-hit region of Saurashtra.

“The ‘Waterman of Saurashtra’ has made it his mission to dedicate his life to providing solutions to combat water scarcity by building water bodies (sarovars or lakes) to bring in a holistic development in the region. So far, 75 lakes have been constructed under the Dholakia Foundation benefiting 20 villages and 2 lakh farmers. And the current project that he is spearheading is the Pancha Ganga Sarovar – a collection of 5 freshwater catchment lakes. It is an unbelievable feat as it is, but he intends to complete 100 lakes in the next two years.” 

Savjibhai started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 12 when he migrated from his hometown Dudhala in Amreli to Surat to work in the diamond industry. In 1992, he founded the company with his three brothers and established his offices in New York, Hong Kong, and Antwerp.   A recipient of several awards for his work, including 16 consecutive Excellence Awards for Exports by GJEPC, Savjibhai is known to motivate and reward his staff of over 7500 employees.   

Vipul Shah, Vice Chairman, GJEPC, noted, “Savijibhai is a living legend with a million-dollar heart, a precious gift to mankind. He has always demonstrated humility, simplicity, kindness, and compassion, which makes him a people’s person. Actions speak louder than words for this humanitarian leader. Blessed with profound empathy, his unwavering commitment has helped him touch several thousands of lives.”   

Accolades and praises were showered on the diamantaire for his contribution to the society at large. Anoop Mehta, President, Bharat Diamond Bourse, said, “Savjibhai’s achievement is a matter of great honour for the entire industry, and we are willing to help him in his endeavour to achieve his goal by adopting a couple of areas where he would want the lakes to be built.”  

Mehul Shah, Vice President, Bharat Diamond Bourse, recalled the times when he exchanged deep conversations with Savjibhai on philosophy and self-development. “Water is a precious resource, and he has resolved the pressing crisis and offered succour to people.  We have a lot to learn from this precious gem of the industry.”  

In his address, an overwhelmed Savjibhai said that he owed his success to the unstinting support of his family. “The industry stalwarts have honoured me and that in itself is my Padma Award. By receiving this high civil honour of the country, our responsibility towards the motherland has only increased.”   

Recalling the time when Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had inaugurated the first lake that he had built in Saurashtra in 2017, Savjibhai vowed that he would complete 100 lakes by 2024.  “My work should live on even after I am gone.” 

During the felicitation ceremony, Savjibhai’s family had gifted a Rs 50-crore brand-new chopper, which he donated for medical and other emergencies in Surat.