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NRI semmelan 2008 in Punjab- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2008



NRI semmelan 2008 in Chandigarh on Jan 05

Jan 05, 2007
Gurmeet Sandhu/Chandigarh
Gary Singh/Los Angeles

On Saturday, Mr.Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and SAD working president unveiled SAD-BJP vision of a new Punjab and said that state was all set to move into a higher orbit of progress and development. Over 500 NRI delegates were present at the semmelan as against confirmed participation of 200. Badal had to apologize for lack of proper arrangements.

A senior official at the Taj Hotel said, “We were told that the guests would number around 250. But now they are over 550. We have the back up to cater to them with food and other things but there is not enough space for people to sit or stand. We are trying our best.”

NRI semmelan was chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal after the lunch. Mr.Sukhbir Singh Badal and Mr.HS Mattewal, Advocate General Punjab were the co-chairman of the semmelan.

For referring 'Punjab Vision' through a power point presentation, Sukhbir Singh Badal said:

  • The focus of this Sammelan is what Punjab Government can do for NRIs and not what NRIs can do for Punjab
  • Punjab was the land of opportunities and the NRIs participating in growth this year would reap benefits in next 10 years.
  • Our mission is to the bridge the gap between the Indian Punjab and the world Punjab. Today Punjab is the land of opportunities. Foreign countries do not need investment. It is Punjab that needs investment. If you invest now you will get the benefit
  • The problems faced by NRIs includes lack of airport in Punjab, bad roads and power cuts. But I assure you and promise to change it all. Work at most projects will start immediately and will be concluded within three years.
  • Since Punjab does not have a sea port, the Badal government is concentrating on the expansion of airports at Amritsar, Bathinda, Ludhiana and Pathankot
  • NRIs will reach home in one or two hours after landing in Mohali or Amritsar. About 30- 40 per cent buses on Punjab roads will be air-conditioned by the year-end and 70 per cent by next year. Travel for NRIs will become very comfortable as the government to introduce radio cabs in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Mohali in three to four months.
  • In future no constriction will be allowed in any of the seven town planning authorities, unless it conforms to a master plan being prepared by a Singapore-based company called Jurong
  • If Dubai can have a 100-storey building, why can’t Punjab replicate it? We have decided you can build as high as you want to, provided you have adequate parking in the basement.
  • SAD-BJP would take care of every problem, including the shortage of power for which the state would soon be producing 5000 MW. We will become a power surplus state and sell power to other states like the "Sheikhs sell oil”, leaving it at that for NRIs to ponder and invest in Punjab

The Chief Minister, Parkash singh badal released a book titled "Overview of legal issues" for NRIs. Addressing to the queries raised by NRIs, the Chief Minister said:

  • I assure you all the 1300 cases of proclaimed offenders would be reviewed within next two months. I informed all the SPs headquarters, has been designated as SP NRI to deal with the cases pertaining to NRIs at priority and the image of state police would be made people friendly to redress the grievances of NRIs at the priority.
  • The Punjab government is setting up six police stations for NRIs. These police stations will be set up in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Moga, Nawanshahr and Ludhiana districts. All of them will have web-enabled hotlines and each will have jurisdiction over the entire state.
  • The state government has also designated senior officers in the Punjab Police to look after NRI affairs exclusively.
  • The state government is also setting up of a fast track court at Jalandhar to deal with their property and revenue cases. Certain amendments had already been made in the Land Tenancy Act and Rent Act to protect the property owned by NRIs in Punjab. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had been approached to set up fast track courts for the NRIs to dispose of their disputes in the shortest possible time. A senior officer has also been posted at Delhi to deal with NRI issues.
  • If any NRI wanted to invest money in setting up a school, hospital or other institution at his village, the state government would put 75 per cent share in it.
  • We are setting up a committee under senior Akali Dal leader, former central minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, to deal with issues relating to NRIs.
  • I also announced the setting up of an empowered committee headed by Chief Secretary RI Singh to clear NRI projects quickly. Another committee, which will also have NRIs members, will look into the problems of NRIs and resolve them. All revenue records will be put up on a web site so that NRIs can get details at the click of a mouse.

One news reporer told NRI press that the chief minister himself, while listening to suggestions and grievances of the NRIs present, kept asking them to give their mobile numbers and offered to give those of his ministers and bureaucrats to solve their problems. The CM said, “You can come to my residence or call for an appointment. I will give you an appointment as per your convenience.”

US NRI, not like to mention his name, said, "Do you beleive this?. It did not happened for the past ten years. Let we see and trust this statement."

Some popular leaders who spoke on the function are MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, senior Akali Leader and former Minister Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Cooperation Minister Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, Industry Minister Manoranjan Kalia, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and President Punjab BJP Prof. Rajinder Bhandari

Others who attended the NRI semmelan were Transport Minister Mr.Mohan Lal, Rural Development Minister Mr.Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Media Advisor Mr.Harcharan Bains to CM, Advisor to CM Dr.DS Cheema, Special Principal Secretary to CM KJS Cheema, Principal Secretary Financde DS Kalha, Secretary Technical Education NS Kalsi, Special Secretary cum Director Information Technology Mr.Rakesh Verma, Principal Secretary Industry AR Talwar, Secretary Housing & Urban Development Arun Goyal, Commissioner NRI Affairs Mr.AS Chhatwal, Principal Secretary Tourism Ms.Geetika Kalha, Director Information & Public Relations Mr.Tejveer Singh and Director Industries Mr.VK Janjua

Some of the prominent NRI entrepreneurs and politicians who attended the semmelan were:

  • Sukh Dhaliwal M.P. from Newton, BC, Canada- By profession, Sukh is a Professional Engineer and British Columbia Land Surveyor. He said, "NRIs don't have too much time. If they want to invest here, they want things to move fast. Otherwise they lose interest."
  • Ujjal Dosanj, Former British Columbia premier and MP, BC, Canada- He was asked the reasons why NRIs were not investing in Punjab- the Canadian MP said lack of basic infrastructure had prevented them from investing in India, though he stressed that the number of those who could actually invest was very less. He also said the large-scale construction activities are being undertaken on agriculture land in Punjab, which could lead to elimination of farms. The construction of buildings should be vertical so that agriculture land does not get reduced.
  • Gurbex singh Malhi, MP, Bramalea--Gore--Malton, Ont. Canada- He was talking good about sukhbir singh badal. Major problems of NRIs- about passport problems created by punjab police due to a small dispute He said Govt. should appoint IAS level officer on Amritsar & delhi Airports to help the NRI. He also raised question about black-listed NRIs and reservation for NRIs in all fields. NRI SABHA should be answerable to public for these all problems
  • Dr.Ruby dhalla M.P. from Bramton-Springdale: She said there should be a office in canada and other countries to provide information to NRIs. She also talked about frauds marriges of punjabi girls and must be stopped.
  • Minister Harinder Takhar from Canada
  • Mr. Varinder sharma M.P. from U.K. said ----"the idea of CM is good to develop the basic infrastructure but some body tell me from where they got finance, Govt. is encourage the NRI to invest in punjab, first win the confidence of NRIs and release their properties from others. Even though the development in infrastructure was not upto the desired level, yet there was quiet a good progress and development on this front too", he remarked. "This development impressed NRIs."
  • Baroness Usha Prashar, UK
  • Raj Loomha from London
  • Lord Daljeet Rana, UK
  • Mr.Pajit Walia from New York of Royal Bank of Canada
  • Neena Gill - Member of EV Parliament from Brussels
  • ROMA SINGH (editor-in-chif of KAURS )
  • S.Keher singh (President shiromani akali dal canada

US NRI Sant Chhatwal hotelier ready to spend Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore in Punjab
I have a cheque book in my pocket and prepared to invest right now
but the government should provide a right atmosphere for the same

Chhatwal plans 2 hotels
A seven-star in Mohali and a heritage hotel in Amritsar
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 5

Sant Singh Chhatwal, one of the leading hotelier of the USA, here today said he was ready to spend Rs 1,500 crore to Rs 2,000 crore in hotel industry in Punjab provided he was not made to wait along the corridors of bureaucrats. “I have a cheque book in my pocket and prepared to invest right now but the government should provide a right atmosphere for the same,” he said.

Asked that he made a similar statement 10 years ago, Sant Singh said he was ready to invest then also but no one took him seriously. “As the Punjab government did not respond, I invested in southern states. I plan to set up 25 hotels in Southern cities, including Hyderbad, Cochin, Bangalore and others. First hotel in the south would be inaugurated on January 10 and another in April.

“I feel that Mohali is now ready for setting up a seven-star hotel and other cities like Ludhiana and Jalandhar are ready for five-star hotels. However, first I will opt to set up a heritage hotel at Amritsar. I am prepared to take Gobindgarh Fort at Amritsar for setting up the hotel,” he added.

“I have talked to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today in this regard and if he clears the proposal, I would go ahead with it soon,” he said, adding that he had a plan to invest Rs 5,000 crore in next four years in India in hotel industry.

Asked whether the setting up of the heritage hotel will be a profitable for him, he said though every business invested money to earn profit but he would not mind losing money if he was allowed to set up the hotel at Amritsar.

Sant Singh, who belongs to Faridkot, said for the past seven years, he had been visiting the Golden Temple on New Year without fail.

“Even when I got my corporate plane, I came to the Golden Temple to perform ardas,” he said.



NRI semmelan 2008 in Chandigarh on Jan 05

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