Punjab NRI Sabha headless since March

  • Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
  • Updated: Jun 21, 2015 08:45 IST

The Non-Resident India (NRI) Sabha, Punjab, has become a defunct organisation in absence of a regular president with the sabha failing to carry out its routine work in absence of any elected representatives.

Even as Jalandhar divisional commissioner R Venkatraman has been entrusted the charge of administrator of the sabha on March 4 by the state government ever since last president Jasvir Singh Shergill left the office but since the division commissioner is already overburdened with many other assignments, including his fresh posting as principal secretary in Chandigarh, routine work of the organisation has been hampered.

It was only due to the absence of regular administrators that the NRI Sabha faced embarrassment when it failed to pay the bills for the telephones and the Internet usage and ultimately, the telephone providers had to cut off the connections.

Sources in the sabha said the reason behind non-payment of bills was the delay in getting sanctions for the payment of bills from the administrator's office. After this embarrassment hit the headlines, the bills were paid immediately and services were restored for three connections.

As per an NRI Sabha senior official, another reason behind delaying of bills was the move of the divisional commissioner to check the spending made in the tenure of previous president. Sources said the division commissioner is irked at the over-spending made during previous payments in which the sabha had total 17 mobile connections for only 15 employees.

The routine functioning of the sabha has also been hit as there is no person sitting on the head of the employees to directly monitor the functioning and the sabha employees have also been found irregular.

The sources said the other work of the NRIs have also been hit as the files first go to the table of the division commissioner to get the clarity. Notably, the NRI Sabha here remains flooded with complaints.

Meanwhile, sources in the state government have disclosed that there could be more delay in conducting the elections as the possible contenders for the post of presidents were in no mood carry the polls in coming two months citing that most of the NRI member of sabha were not in country and have gone overseas because of summers here.

"Generally, number of the NRIs remains maximum in Punjab in October and November month and that is the best suitable time to carry the polls in order to ensure the proper participation of NRIs" said a contender.

The Jalandhar division commissioner was not available for the comments, despite repeated attempts made to contact him. However, as a part of making preparation for the polls, the sabha has started verifying the voters list following reports that many "bogus" persons have been registered as voters.

During the last elections conducted in January, 2013 as well, the issue of bogus registration of votes had caste its shadow over the polls with a group led by former president of the NRI Sabha Kamaljit Singh Hayre, challenging the voters list in Punjab and Haryana High Court after Shergill was elected the chief.

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