Punjab scraps NRI meet, opts for low-profile event

Chandigarh (IANS): Marking a shift from its earlier high-profile annual NRI meets, the Punjab government has decided to opt for a comparatively low-profile events for the diaspora early next year.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Sunday held his first “Sangat Darshan” for NRIs in Punjab’s Moga town, 175 km from here.

“The chief minister held the Sangat Darshan exclusively for direct interface with Non Resident Punjabis (NRPs) to redress the problems faced by these sons of the soil in a far more effective manner,” said a state government spokesman.

Punjab used to hold a high-profile annual event for NRIs annually for the last six years, spending millions of rupees. A number of NRPs from US, Canada, Britain, European nations and other countries used to attend with the Punjab government making tall promises to them and claiming that the NRPs would invest in the state.

However, none of the big promises made have been delivered in recent years.

On Sunday, the Punjab government claimed that it had got an “over-whelming response” from NRPs for the new format to meet them.

“The initiative of the state government got an overwhelming response from the Punjabi Diaspora as the venue of this first-ever NRI Sangat Darshan was packed with the NRPs hailing from eight districts of Moga, Bathinda, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Mansa, Sri Muktsar Sahib and Barnala,” the spokesman claimed.

Badal announced to set up separate NRI cell in every district across the state to facilitate getting their routine administrative works done smoothly.

He also asked the state home secretary to review the list of NRP Proclaimed Offenders (POs) saying that no injustice should be done to NRPs who were not involved in any crime.