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Punjab Govt
May 01, 2008


Toll-free Punjab Call-Centre for NRIs


Chandigarh, May 26, 2008

Punjab will hoist a 24-hour toll free call centre for live and on-the-spot redress of problems and grievances of the Punjabis settled in different countries across the globe. The call centre, a bilingual facility in Punjabi and English, comes as a follow-up to the decisions taken during the NRI Sammelan held in Chandigarh and Jalandhar in January this year.

Disclosing this, Mr. Harcharan Bains, Media Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal said that in addition to the Call Centre, the NRI-specific official website of the state government would also function as a logistic back-up for increased facilitation of government-to-NRI interaction.

It may be mentioned here that about 70 lac NRIs of Punjabi Origin are settled in different parts of the world, with Canada U.K., U.S.A, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain and some countries in the middle-east being the favoured destinations

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in the Government of India for putting in place a structured mechanism for the welfare of Punjabis going to or already settled in different countries across the world. The MOU was signed in the presence of the Punajb Chief Minister with Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh and Mr. K. Mohan Das, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas India Affairs representing the State and the Union governments respectively.

Although the major thrust of the MoU is at creating awareness among the common Punjabis about issues relating to problems faced in migration and employment-related issues, one of its key clauses concerns imparting vocational skills to the aspiring emigrants. Short-duration skill-training courses would be organized keeping mind country-specific demand for skilled work-force from Punjab. The MoU also provides for a stepped-up co-ordination between the Punjab and the Central government on legal aspects of migration from the state. It also seeks a joint initiative for setting up help centers for solving immigration related problems at various airports and for providing emergency documentation in case of loss of passports abroad, said Mr. Bains.

The MoU lists the broad outlines of the programme for training for prospective emigrants at identified training centers through three tracks, namely training through the centers of Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Private Partners and recognized Non-Government Organizations and the State Government. Apart from this the MoU also envisaged the setting up of regional overseas workers resources centre for rendering assistance to potential Emigrant Workers from the state, supporting the awareness campaign on promoting legal migration and NRI marriages in regional language, taking strict deterrent action against unscrupulous Recruiting Agents & Travel Agents involved in illegal migration and checking on exploitation of workers and conducting research studies on issues relevant to emigration, especially on the productivity of workers and on countries with scope for future employment abroad.

The principal objective of the MoU was to safeguard the interests and well being of potential immigrant workers against exploitative policies of their prospective employers and to ensure that they migrate legally to foreign countries only after acquiring skill levels required for working in the countries of their choice. The MoU would also focus to provide guidance to prospective brides & their families on marriages with Overseas Indians and to take expeditious legal action against unscrupulous recruiting agents.

Presiding over the simple and brief function, the Chief Minister said that the state government had decided to make NRI Sammelans an annual feature. Some Sammelans would also be held in countries with strong Punjabi presence and these would be in the nature of "NRI Sangat Darshans" with decisions being taken on the spot for redress of NRI grievances. He said the major issues referred to property, matrimonial disputes, duping by travel agents, harassment by foreign employers, loss of passport in foreign land and immigration at Indian Airports were being taken up by Punjab Government for the welfare of NRIs. The Chief Minister said that since more than 20 lac Punjabi NRIs visit India every year, their welfare had made one of the centerpieces of the government's overall approach to governance.

Commissioner NRI Affairs, Punjab Mr. A.S. Chattwal gave a power point presentation on the bold initiatives taken up by the Punjab Government for the welfare of NRIs, that included setting up of six special NRI police stations, designating SP (HQ) of each district as nodal officer for NRI complaints and criminal cases, setting up of fast track revenue courts, setting up of facilitation centre at International Airport at Amritsar, setting up of a single window investment cell and setting up of a NRI portal.

The Punjab Advocate General Punjab H.S. Mattewal, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Punjab D.S. Guru, Principal Resident Commissioner Punjab Bhawan New Delhi Mrs. Anjuli Chib Duggal, Secretary Labour & Employment N.S Kang, Secretary Technical Education & Industrial Training V.K.Sharma, DGP Punjab Mr. N.P.S. Aulakh and Director Industries V.K. Janjua were among those present at the ceremony.

More than 80 % turn out in Panchayat elections
Badal thanks Punjabis for peaceful Conduct of poll process

Chandigarh May 26 – The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today thanked the people of Punjab for the peaceful conduct of the Panchayat elections in the state.

In a statement here, Mr. Badal said that the polling remained totally peaceful, free and fair and this was a "triumph for grass-root democracy in the state. Punjabis voted with enthusiasm and responsibility to set an example for the rest for the country in dignified democratic conduct."

The Chief Minister said that he was particularly happy over the massive turn-out of voters in the elections, with over 80% of rural Punjabis taking part in the exercise. "That a democratic exercise of such vast magnitude was conducted without any complaint being reported from anywhere totally vindicated our position that our commitment to democratic values has firmed-up the roots of popular governance in the state. This has also exposed the irresponsible campaign of wild incriminations launched by some of our political detractors about the fairness of the poll," said Mr. Badal

Nevertheless, Mr. Badal said that he was grateful to everyone, including the Opposition parties, for their co-operation in making this exercise a grand success.


Chandigarh May 26:

The State Election Commission, Punjab today decided that re-poll to those Gram Panchayats would be held on Wednesday 28th May 2008 in the cases where it has been adjourned due to faulty, insufficient printing of ballot papers or due to other contingency.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the State Election Commission, Punjab said that the some Electoral Officers has stated that polls to a few Gram Panchayats have been adjourned due to faulty, insufficient printing of ballot papers or miss-printing of names/symbols of the contesting candidates. Keeping in this view the Commission has decided that re-poll would be held on 28.05.2008 in the cases where it has been adjourned due to faulty, insufficient printing of ballot papers or due to other contingency.

Giving directions to all the District Electoral Officers-cum-Deputy Commissioners, Additional District Electoral Officers-cum-Additional Deputy Commissioners (Development) in the State, the Commission has said that however, in a specific case the re-poll could not be held on 28.05.2008 for any reason what so ever, then clarification/ confirmation might be obtained from the State Election Commission.

"The fresh ballot papers where-ever required would be got printed locally at district level on competitive rates. The polling hours would remain the same i.e. from 8 AM to 4.00 PM. It is reiterated that the re-poll applies only in the cases of adjourned polls to the Gram Panchayats and not the countermanded ones, for which the fresh election programme would be intimated separately", he added.


Mohali May 26, 2008

Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today expressed profound grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Smt.Vidyawati mother of former Member Parliament Mr. Satpal Jain, who passed away here after a brief illness. She was 90 years old and survived by four sons. Her eldest son Mr. Satpal Jain lit the pyre.

Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal along with Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, Cooperation Minister Punjab and Mr. Jasjit Singh Banni, Chairman Punjab State Cooperative Bank placed wreaths on the body of Smt. Vidyawati.

The Chief Minister shared his heartfelt sympathies with the inconsolable members of the bereaved family and prayed to Almighty to give strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss and grant peace to the departed soul. Meanwhile Member Parliament and President Shiromani Akali Dal Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal also condoled the death of Smt. Vidyawati and Information & Public Relations Minister Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia also condoled shared his heartfelt sympathies with the members of the bereaved family.

Prominent amongst other who attended the cremation included Charanjit Singh Channi, MLA Chamkaur Sahib, Balbir Singh Sidhu, MLA, Deputy Commissioner Mohali Rahul Bhandari, SSP Ranbir Singh Khatra. Eminent personalities from different walks of life including senior officers of Civil and Police Administration besides the leaders & workers of Shiromani Akali Dal and Bhartiya Janta Party, Bar Association & Journalists and Members of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee attended the cremation.



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