NRI panel chief to tour Toronto, New York to hear grievances

  • Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 31, 2015 10:04 IST

After the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) office-bearers and Punjab cabinet ministers, now the NRI commission chairman of the state will visit Canada and the US to hear the grievances of the non-resident Indians, Punjabis particularly, in Toronto and New York.

In his campaign to get Punjabi diaspora’s support for the 2017 assembly elections, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is focussing on the North American countries especially, where backing for the rival Aam Admi Party (AAP) has swelled since the parliamentary elections of 2014. NRI commission chairman justice Rakesh Garg (retd), who will be on a five-day visit to Toronto from September 5 and in New York for three days later, told HT much more remained to be done to redress the grievances of the Punjabis settled in the two countries, which will be the objective of his meetings with them. Justice Garg said he was making this tour on the state government directions.

Trying to avoid the backlash that Akali ministers and office-bearers faced on their recent tour, Garg said he would not address public meetings but have planned gathering for people with genuine grievances. “Already, a number of these meetings have been fixed. We have tied up with the Indian consulates in Toronta and New York to facilitate us in this mission. The commission will follow up all the issues that would be brought to his notice.

Garg said the NRI commission could do a better job if it had the power of the adjudication commission that came into existence in 2011. “Punjab probably is only state to have such a commission,” he said, calling upon non-resident Punjabis to lodge their complaints with the commission in case the NRI wing of Punjab Police has not solved their problems. “Non-resident Punjabis tend to approach the NRI sabhas, which though voluntary and non-profitable, are ineffective because of a limited area of operation.

Overseas Akali bodies in Sept

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is expected to announce the office-bearers of its overseas units by the second week of September after party president Sukhbir Singh Badal returns from his South Korean tour. Last week, the party discussed the names its America-returned delegation had recommended for overseas office-bearers and Sukhbir said they would be assigned specific tasks.

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