Badal for enhancing quota of Haj pilgrims of Punjab

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Chandigarh, Dec 4 (UNI) The Punjab government would approach the Union Ministries of Home and External Affairs for enhancing the quota of Haj pilgrims of Punjab from 558 to 1000 and declaring Chandigarh as a demarcation point instead of Delhi, for facilitating the Hajis from Punjab to undertake direct pilgrimage.

An assurance to this effect was given by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while chairing the first meeting of State Advisory Committee on Minorities here this morning.

In the meeting, the members of the committee urged the Chief Minister to take up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs for relaxation of Visa norms for the visiting Pakistan nationals to Punjab.

The Chief Minister directed the Chief Secretary to look into the demands of the minorities including reservation of minorities in educational institutions and government jobs, giving the status of second language to Urdu and giving representation to minorities in corporations, boards and universities.

The Chief Minister also asked the Chief Secretary to direct the deputy commissioners of the state to take necessary action for the protection of grave yards, idgahs and churches from the encroachments.

He also assured the members of the committee that the government would look into the modalities of Public Premises Act for Wakf properties.

The members of the committee also demanded the establishment of Punjab State Minorities Development Corporation on the pattern of National Minorities Development Corporation and suggested that it should be initially governed by Punjab Backward Classes Land Development and Finance Corporation to extend soft loans to the eligible beneficiaries from minorities.

UNI

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