The NRI Sangat Darshan (public meeting for non-resident Indians) held by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal here received a lukewarm response on Sunday.
It was the last in a series, and 174 complaints from NRIs and their relatives from Ludhiana, Sangrur, Patiala, Nawanshahr, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mohali and Rupnagar were discussed, compared to 233 and 173 received at the programmes at Jalandhar and Moga, respectively.
Most complaints pertained to land disputes wherein NRIs alleged that officials of land revenue and police departments had failed to take appropriate action.
Colonel RS Sohi (retd), who had come to plead the case of his NRI sister, having given the case details to the CM, said, “The whole idea of having an NRI Sangat Darshan is nothing but a waste of money from the exchequer and the efforts of bureaucrats. Instead, the CM should hold respective departments responsible for dealing effectively with the complaints of NRIs.”
Another complainant stated that the Rs 20 lakh reportedly spent on the programme could have been used to repair roads.
On the other hand, the CM while addressing the meet said the state government would review major policies concerning the NRIs. He referred to NRIs as “ambassadors of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat”. He declared that in order to save time and energy of NRIs, the state government was contemplating giving powers regarding inquiry of cases against them to the senior superintendents of police (SSPs). At present the complaints against them are investigated at the level of the inspector general (IG) of the police’s NRI cell.
He also promised that the process for evacuation of grabbed properties of NRIs would be made “hassle-free”
Expressing concern over the pendency of cases in dedicated civil court for NRIs in Jalandhar, the CM said he would flag up the issue before the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Later, during a media interaction, when asked to comment on the transfer of enforcement directorate assistant director Niranjan Singh who had been probing a drug racket in which revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia has also been quizzed, the CM said, “We have got nothing to do with transfers in the ED as the agency is under the central government.” He claimed the Centre had not taken the state into confidence on the transfer.
He also justified the state’s stand of banning the screening of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Rahim Singh’s movie ‘MSG’ citing law and order concerns.