Resolve the problems of NRIs promptly
The state government is holding meetings to solve the problems facing the NRIs, such as land grabbing. These meetings are being held by Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, who has assured the NRIs that the AAP government is establishing fast-track channels that will solve the problems of the NRIs promptly. Besides, the government is also planning to conduct meetings with NRIs twice every year — in December and in April — to address their concerns. Giving assurance to the NRIs that their problem will be properly solved is an admirable step. If the state government takes it seriously, it will have to work at the grassroots level. If an NRI goes to the police station with a problem, register an FIR. If any police official does not file an FIR or if there is any undue delay, that official must be punished. The problems of the NRIs will be solved, the trust of the NRIs in the State Government will increase.
Government must set up website for NRIs
Being an NRI, you have limited time staying in India in which most of the time is spent meeting and spending time with the family. NRIs have very little time to solve others” disputes. Out of that limited time, if one has to make rounds around the court, then it is a harsh and unfair process. So fast track courts (FTC) are a welcome initiative by the government, and a relief for the NRIs. Secondly, while investing in the Indian market, due to a lack of awareness, NRIs are often duped by Indian investing advisors. To check such cases, the government can produce its own governmental site in which daily updates, trends and tips related to investing can be provided to the NRIs in simple language. With the help of these sites, NRIs can be made aware of the prevailing conditions in the investing market.
Hold NRI meets frequently in a year
The initiative of the Punjab Government to hold interactions with NRIs is welcome, as it would help resolve various problems faced by them. It is nice to see NRI Affairs Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal lead the initiative. These meets should be held regularly so that more and more people can benefit from them. Awareness should be spread about these interactions through advertisements and other sources so that it is covered on a large scale.
Jatinderpal Singh Batth
Government knows what ails NRIs
The Punjab Government wants NRIs to know that Punjab is theirs and the state government is committed to protecting their land, lives, property and business. “The Punjab Government was in process of preparing a special policy to solve the problems related to NRI Punjabis promptly. To listen to the problems of NRIs and to solve them, the Punjab government is also planning to conduct NRI meetings twice every year in December and April. The government knows that the main issues of NRIs are such as property, business and family disputes. The government will try to establish special fast-track courts for the cases of NRIs so that they can be settled in the minimum time. The minister said nodal officers are being appointed by the Punjab Government to hear the issues of the NRI Punjabis at the district level.
Rohit Kumar Sehdev
Initiative taken to help NRIs praiseworthy
Punjabi diaspora is spread in almost all developed countries and is prosperous. But if they hold an Indian passport, they are technically known as NRIs or Non-Resident Indians. Most of them feel the pangs of separation and visit their native places usually during winter. Some of them come for tying the knot, which is usually a hurried affair because of which sometimes they are defrauded. The woman finds herself cheated and abandoned. The man is found married and perhaps divorced. Sometimes, after marriage, there are demands for dowry that result in domestic violence. Their most common complaints, however, are about illegal usurpation of their house or agricultural land in their absence because of the corruption in revenue department. On the other hand, if they want to set up their own business here, there is a lengthy and complex bureaucratic tangle that they have to endure. Problems like these are faced by some NRIs for which the Punjab Government has initiated an interaction with them. According to Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, Minister for NRI Affairs, there will be fast track courts to settle cases. I think this initiative of the government will be welcomed by all NRIs and cases of land grabbing and illegal possessions of their properties will be settled to their satisfaction.
PROF MOHAN SINGH
Take up, solve their cases on priority
The NRI department started a new programme, ‘NRI Punjabian nal milni’, to interact with NRIs and to resolve their disputes. This is a good initiative started by the government. The government can take many more initiatives to address their concerns. The government can make a dedicated NRI department for helping NRIs. Special instructions should be given to working officers for prioritising NRIs and providing necessary facilities. Secondly, an official NRI website should be made for providing required and necessary information. Moreover, a call centre with 24X7 helpline should be made available. Therefore, by adopting such initiatives will lead to fluent interaction.
Allow NRIs to buy agricultural land
After the successful launch of the first-of-its kind public interaction programme ‘Lok Milni’ for redress of public complaints, the Punjab Government’s decision to organise ‘NRI Punjabian Nal Milni’ programme in Jalandhar, Mohali, Ludhiana, Moga and Amritsar from December onwards is welcome. It is aimed at providing a platform to people to register their complaints and promptly resolve the social, economic and cultural issues of Punjabi diaspora living in various countries across the world. Over the past several years, Punjabi immigrants have been a harried lot courtesy corruption and apathetic attitude of officials. In a majority of cases related to marriage disputes and property, they have been suffering at the hands of their in-laws and real estate sharks. Equally appreciable is the initiative to grant Rs 30 lakh for revamping basic facilities at 15 NRI police stations. The state government will organise such meetings twice every year. There is no doubt that this will encourage Punjabis to invest in their native state and boost its economy as before. If the Centre accedes to the request of the state government, the Punjabis will get the right to buy agricultural property in Punjab. But the success of this much-hyped scheme depends on people’s participation and submission of complaints, and the government’s response and its efficient implementation by the district administration in a time-bound manner.
Initiatives taken in past, but no results
The ongoing ‘NRI Punjabian Nal Milni’ programme being organised by AAP is nothing new. Previous governments, too, have held such interactions with NRIs without any results. Land-grabbing is a major issue; many NRIs, when they visit India, have been murdered, mostly by their relatives and friends to grab their land and even homes. Most Punjabis have now settled in Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries. Both my sons are in the US. We have been visiting them since 2006, but we have no such problem that our house would be grabbed. In many Punjabi films about NRIs, this problem has been highlighted. All previous governments encouraged and mollified Punjabi NRIs to protect their lands and homes with no results. Let us hope that the new government and its minister for NRIs will do something positive. Already the government is on the back foot with agitations happening in Ferozepur, Fazilka and Mansurwala. How will they manage NRIs’ problems is a big question.
Dr JS Wadhwa
Now, NRIs getting easy access to officials
It is gratifying that the Bhagwant Singh Maan-led AAP dispensation has taken an unprecedented noble initiative to conduct meetings in five districts twice every year in December and April to resolve the grievances of Punjabis residing abroad in a timely manner. They have already made a huge contribution towards the progress and prosperity of the state. Previously, these immigrants faced a great deal of harassment visiting secretariat or ministerial and other administrative offices. They had to grease the palm of corrupt officials to get their cases heard and addressed. It has become very easy for them to register their complaints online besides on the registration counters set up at different places. So far, these meetings have got a good response from NRIs and the officials concerned. The government should continuously display its commitment for the cause. Since there is strong resentment among members over the government’s spending funds from the NRI Sabha accounts, the authorities should provide enough funds for smoothly holding such camps in future also.
Tajpreet S Kang
Appoint spl envoys who can raise issues
The state government’s initiative is appreciable as the face-to-face interaction would result in contentment for both the stakeholders, i.e. the NRIs and the administration, after getting the opportunity to express their views and grievances. The rising offences against the Punjabis abroad or their families here need to be handled seriously. There must be every possible help, especially financial and at the government level, provided to the traumatised economically poor families, which lose their sole source of income, because of death, job loss, discrimination, etc. There should be an app and 24times;7 helpline numbers made available, exclusively for the NRIs to directly contact the government to acquaint it with any threats, opportunities or suggestions. Special envoys could be appointed in the Punjabi immigrants-dominated regions for the welfare of NRI Punjabis, who would voice their insecurities and requests before the officials of the native or foreign government. Also, agreements must be signed with the countries to ensure amicable, secure, supportive, non-exploitative and non-discriminatory environment for the immigrants and for mutual discussion in case of illegal immigration, detention, deportation, trafficking and terrorism.
Set up board that can liaison with embassies
Punjabi is a cosmopolitan community. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi once said wherever she had visited the world, she had seen a “sardar wearing a turban” meaning thereby wherever Punjabis have settled abroad, they have contributed significantly to the nation in which they are residing. NRIs can easily make investments in Punjab provided the state government creates conducive atmosphere for investment here. NRIs have complaints related to matrimonial, improper land records and illegal occupation of property among others. Therefore, it is important that their problems, be it domestic or external, get resolved on priority. A special policy needs to be formulated for the NRIs in this regard. Also, the NRI board can be established which should have good liaisons with all embassies of the world through the Union Ministry Of External Affairs. Even the Chief Minister should regularly meet with all embassies of India wherever Punjabi NRIs are settled and should discuss their problems on a priority basis so that their faith can be restored in the development of Punjab.
Harvinder Singh Chugh
Such steps can instil confidence in NRIs
Over the decades, a number of people from Punjab migrated to developed countries for better prospectus. Leaving behind ancestral properties with locals or close relatives for routine care, the ambitious migrants put in hard labour there and made heavy remittances out of their earnings back home to invest in land and other assets. With the result, the region registered a tremendous growth and Punjab became a highly prosperous state. Thereupon as the time passed and the future generations grew, most of them upon getting permanent residency permits finally settled abroad. Taking advantage of long absence of these NRIs from home, unscrupulous elements grabbed their properties in connivance with the local authorities by impersonating or manipulating the records. Even though the government carved out special administrative cells, besides legislating fast track courts for quick resolution of NRI issues, there seems no end to their problems. Subjected to cumbersome eviction litigations from forcible possession, NRIs have eventually lost faith in the redress mechanism. Consequently, it has given rise to a colossal outflow of capital rather than foreign inward remittances. Besides, many youngsters are these days found moving abroad for studies or business purposes which are further aggravating to the flight of capital, rendering our domestic resources overstrained. According top priority to the issue and check this trending, the present state regime has initiated a campaign to address the grievances of NRIs through interaction with them at different places. The task is, indeed, stupendous and requires strenuous and sustained efforts for improvement. A resolute mechanism prohibiting all kinds of encroachments and illegal possession on lands and properties needs to be adopted forthwith. The safety and security of all has to be ensured to instil confidence in the law of land.
Nirmaljit Singh Chatrath
Set up control rooms, keep NRIs updated
Though the initiative taken by the Punjab Government to have an effective interaction with NRIs is praiseworthy, yet some concrete measures are still required to be taken to address their grievances on the ground. It is observed that their major issues are related with immovable properties both in rural and urban areas. While the government is already considering setting up fast-track courts and Lok Adalats to settle the disputes quickly within a time frame, more is needed as preventative measures to minimise such cases in the absence of NRIs. To prevent connivance of revenue officials in cases of land-grabbing and tampering of revenue records, respective patwari be held responsible for any loss besides related sarpanches in the cases of rural areas. Moreover, nodal officer at each district be appointed with responsibility of getting all grievances addressed from various authorities within the stipulated period even in the absence of NRIs. A state-level control room needs to be established with web-enabled mechanism to deal with the complaints and keeping the NRI complainants updated with their status.
Protect interests, property of NRIs
Many Punjabis are immigrating to Australia, Canada and other western countries and getting permanently settled there. The increasing number of NRIs means more remittance and investment. However, for that to happen, the government must ensure their interests and properties are safeguarded. As of now, cases of land-grab and illegal occupation of houses are NRIs’ major concern. Despite filing cases, they have to go through an ordeal to get their legit property vacated. Many of them complain of the slow justice process which goes on for decades. If the government wants NRIs to invest in industrial projects, schools, and hospitals etc., and play a constructive role in the state’s development, it must ensure their immoveable properties are protected.
Rajat Kumar Mohindru
Amid the rising cases of Covid in various parts of the world and reports regarding the circulation of new variants in India as well, the Centre has asked the states to remain alert. Is the state well-prepared this time to ward off the Covid threat?
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