An Indian farmer has become an overnight rupee millionaire after stumbling upon a 11.88 carat diamond at the country’s leading mine.
Pratap Singh Yadav, 58, found the precious stone while mining at Patti area in Panna region of central Madhya Pradesh state on Wednesday. The stone, one of the biggest yet found in the area, is worth about seven million rupees ($91,000)
Panna is the hub of diamond mining in India and has diamond reserves estimated at 120 million carats, according to government figures.
The state government gives small patches of land on lease to private but experienced miners seeking to find precious stones from the vast mines.
Mr Yadav, an impoverished farmer, had taken a shallow mine on lease for three months and worked day and night to try his luck.
Mr Yadav found the precious gemstone as his lease duration was nearing an end,
“I had never seen a diamond before. I am ecstatic with my find,” Mr Yadav said.
The diamond has been submitted to local authorities for evaluation and will be auctioned later this week.
The gemstone is believed to be of high quality and is expected to fetch more than seven million rupees. The proceeds will be given to Mr Yadav after the deduction of government royalties and taxes.
The discovery of the diamond has made Mr Yadav, a father of three, a sensation in his village.
His son, Chandan Yadav, said that his father had been trying his luck in the mine for the past 15 years. The family will use the money to build a house and set up a business.
“People have been congratulating us. We are very poor … we lived a very difficult life, but now, we will have enough money to build a house. My dad has worked very hard and God has listened to our prayers,” Chandan Yadav, 30, told The National.
“We have been told it is worth 70 lakh rupees. That’s a lot of money,” he said.
In February, a small brick kiln operator and an amateur miner became a millionaire overnight after finding a 26.11 carat diamond in the Kishoreganj area of Panna.
The massive diamond, worth 12 million rupees ($160,000) is one of the largest precious stones in the history of the country's famous mine.