It was exactly 100 years ago that another Surat was born in Thailand. Chaiya province, about 650 km from capital Bangkok, was renamed Surat Thani (City of Good People) in 1915 after the Diamond City left a lasting impression on Thailand king Vajiravudh (Rama VI) during his visit here in 1915.
After renaming the province on July 29, 1915, the king even changed the name of Phum Duang river to Tapi a month later.
Now, Thailand is gearing up to celebrate the centenary of Surat Thani’s birth and the country has sought the support of Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI) and the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) to make it a success.
The event has gained significance with Surat eyeing increased business and cultural ties with Surat Thani. History , culture, trade and commerce of both Surat and Surat Thani will be the highlight of the four-daylong exhibition planned by the government of Thailand.
Surat businessmen are exploring opportunities in promoting diamonds, textiles, food processing and exports of fruits such as mangoes and chikoos.
Fruits imported from `fruit garden city’ Surat Thani, like rambutan, mangosteen and durian, are available in the city too.
Surat Thani has a strong base of rubber industry , coconut cultivation and oyster farm ing, sources said.
Rohit Mehta, former president of SGCCI, told TOI, “It is a matter of great honour and pride that the Thailand government is celebrating the centenary. We want to explore trade ties with Surat Thani in various fields including diamonds, gems and jewellery , textiles and agriculture.“
“We will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Surat Thani’s Chamber of Commerce for trade and cultural exchanges,“ said Mehta.
A formal invitation was extended to mayor Niranjan Janjhmera by assistant director general of Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Arporn Apinyapanich, who was in the city.