Chandigarh: Punjab’s NRI Affairs Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal on Wednesday asked the Central Government to stop harassing the NRI Punjabis who participated in the farmers’ agitation.
Speaking at ‘videsh sampark programme’ jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and the NRI Department of Punjab at JW Marriott hotel here, Dhaliwal said the NRIs who had participated during the farmers’ agitation against the centre’s farm laws, were being harassed in various ways, including being prevented from entering India and many others were blacklisted, which is condemnable.
He said that this practice should be stopped at once as NRI Punjabis had participated in this movement because they love their country and their motherland. He said that every foreign Indian, including NRI Punjabis, is concerned about their homeland and its progress. He said that by behaving in such a way towards NRI Punjabis, a negative message is being sent by the Government of India in abroad, which should be stopped.
Raising another serious issue, Dhaliwal said the Government of India should also formulate a concrete policy for those seeking political asylum abroad. He said that when such persons become settled abroad, they find it very difficult to return to their native places. He said that the Government of India should come forward to resolve the issue whether he/she can come to his country after settling abroad or not.
Dhaliwal, speaking on the occasion, also pitched for allowing foreign nationals, especially NRI Punjabis, to buy agricultural land in Punjab. He said migrants can buy commercial land but they are not allowed to buy land for agriculture and a concrete solution should also be found in this regard.
He said that the Punjab Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has been taking very concrete steps to resolve the issues of NRI Punjabis. He said that while addressing the problems of NRI Punjabis by organizing NRI Sammelan, directions have been issued to the concerned departments to resolve the complaints on priority basis by taking serious note of the complaints of each NRI.
He said that though the Punjab Government was serious and committed to resolving the issues of the NRIs, many issues had to be resolved at the level of the Government of India so that the Central Government should cooperate with the State Government.
He said that there is a dire need to crack down on those travel or immigration agents who indulge in human smuggling by enmesh innocent people in their trap. Speaking about the IELTS centres in Punjab, Dhaliwal said that a large number of youth from Punjab and neighbouring states are going abroad and exorbitant fees are being charged for the 4-5 months IELTS course.
Dhaliwal suggested that courses like IELTS should be linked to the education system. This will not only strengthen the hold of the youth on the English language but will also save them from economic loot.
Dhaliwal also stressed on the need for special courts for NRIs who can deal with their issues in a time-bound manner. He also said that the Government of India should issue directions to the ambassadors appointed abroad to have compassion and respect for the NRIs as such complaints are common that the attitude of the staff in the embassies outside is very disappointing and negative towards the migrants.
The Cabinet minister also suggested that NRIs should also be invited for discussions in the state outreach conference and such events should continue to be held to resolve the issues of the diaspora.