Jasvir Singh Gill was elected as president of the NRI Sabha, Punjab, by defeating rival Kamaljit Singh Hayre by 197 votes, as poll authorities declared the results here on Sunday evening.
Assistant returning officer-cum-SDM Iqbal Singh Sandhu said Gill secured 657 votes while Hayre bagged 460 votes. Pritam Singh Naurangpur was adjudged a close third with 452 votes. Though over 18,000 NRIs were enrolled as voters, only 1,624 turned up at NRI Sabha Bhawan, the venue for elections, to exercise their franchise. The votes of 55 NRIs were declared invalid.
Interestingly, all candidates were supported by Akali leaders. While Gill got the backing of former MLA Sarabjit Singh Makkar and Nakodar MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala, Hayre was supported by chief parliamentary secretaries Avinash Chander and Sohan Singh Thandal. Naurangpur had the blessings of Bholath MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur.
Assuring people to redress the expatriate community's problems on priority, Gill announced that a single window system would be introduced to get redressal of property and matrimonial disputes on priority. He said the extension counters of airlines, banks, money exchangers and ATMs would also be provided in the NRI Sabha Bhawan. "I will set up online complaint redressal system so that NRIs can lodge their complaints while sitting at home abroad," he said.
Listing his priorities, the 51-year-old agriculturist said efforts would be made to strengthen the Sabha's presence in foreign countries by appointing international directors as per constitution. "We will also take up the issue of opening NRI police stations in all districts with NRI affairs minister Bikram Singh Majithia. Besides, the state government will be pursued to set up fast-track courts to deal with NRI cases in all districts," he said.
"Their revenue-related issues or police cases will be taken up with the authorities concerned on priority," said Gill, who had unsuccessfully contested the elections last time.
* Special scheme will be launched to sponsor young Punjabi generation in foreign countries to visit Punjab so as to connect them with their roots
* Overseas grievances redressal desks will be set up to provide assistance in ascertaining credentials of the bride or groom in their country of residence so as to check matrimonial frauds
* It will be ensured that challans in property and matrimonial cases should be expeditiously submitted to the upcoming fast-track courts for speedy justice
* State government will be pursued to ensure Sabha president is made member of the PM's Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians
* International board of governors and advisory board will be constituted to engage expatriate community in forming the policies