Punjab chief minister has not kept promises to NRIs: legislator

December 26th, 2008 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Dec 26 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has “betrayed” NRIs by not keeping the promises he had made to them this January, an opposition legislator from the state has alleged.Congress legislator Jasbir Khangura, who gave up his British citizenship to contest the 2007 state assembly poll here, said that the chief minister had “immediately forgotten” the promises he had made at a January 2008 NRI Sammelan (meet) here.

Khangura Friday organised here a conference on “Justice for NRIs”. Nearly 100 delegates settled in the US, Britain, Germany, Australia and Spain participated.

After the conference, Khangura told the media: “I had attended the NRI sammelan organised by the chief minister. In the meet, the chief minister had promised to set up an advisory committee with eight NRIs as its members to look into NRI issues but no such committee has been set up”.

Also, Badal had promised to set up NRI family courts, an NRI university, to create an interactive website for NRIs, and to issue a list of proclaimed offenders among NRIs, but no action has been taken in these directions, Khangura added.

Badal himself had mooted a proposal that issues of NRIs should be examined by a gazetted officer but no process has been implemented yet, he said.

“They have opened NRI police stations in some districts but that was also the initiative of previous government of the state. Unfortunately these police stations are ruled by corrupt officials,” Khangura said.

The legislator alleged that Badal and his son were just “busy in accumulating gifts and money from NRIs in the name of their so called NRI sammelan which is a gimmick to fool the masses”.

Khangura said in the January 2008 meet, there were claims that there will be an investment of worth millions of dollars in Punjab but in the last 12 months, no NRI investor has shown any interest in the state.

“NRIs from Punjab are moving towards Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu to invest money due to inconsistent policies of the Punjab government,” he said.

Sukh Dhaliwal, a businessman and Member of Canadian Parliament from British Columbia, told IANS: “I had also attended the last NRI sammelan and was very hopeful but nothing substantial come out of it. We are not with any political party and are not aware about their differences but we are ready to support anyone here in India who is ready to work for the cause of NRIs.”

“Major problems faced by Punjabis who have settled abroad are that of property disputes, matrimonial cases and long pending court cases. If we want to address such problems in the real sense, then there is an immediate need to set up a separate tribunal that will work for solely for NRI-related issues,” he added.

There are 1.3 million Punjabis staying in other countries like the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and Germany.

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