"Punjabi NRI Sammelan 2008" offers diaspora a platform for discussion

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By Sunil Sharma

Chandigarh, Jan.21 : The Punjabi NRI Sammelan' is fast emerging as a vital bridge between expatriates and their home State.

During the recently held fifth meeting, hosted by the Punjab government, about 2,000 Punjabi expatriates engaged in a dialogue on their grievances and to frame a policy to ensure their future welfare.

Non-Resident Punjabis shared their views and problems with the Punjab government in both Chandigarh and Jalandhar.

The four major areas of concern on which they reflected were -- assets in Punjab (land, property, bank deposits, shares etc.), matrimonial alliances, litigation (mostly intra-family) and problems concerning travel and transit.

Dr.Ruby Dhalla, a Member of Parliament in Canada, said: "When you take a look at the Punjabi community, they have done so much. Prakash Singh Badal government is commanding you in Punjab and organising this conference. We have Vikram Singh Majitha as a minister who has done so much and really tried to fill the bridge. I think we take a look at the priorities in the areas like agriculture, economy and manufacturing."

"Canada offers a tremendous amount in terms of investment, advice and knowledge. I think we are moving forward and Canada and Punjab are going to continue to work together and ensure that we build a strong team and build a Punjabi power house the world over," said Dr. Dhalla.

Ujjal Dosanjh, M.P, Vancouver South Canada, said: "It's a basic achievement. Where you born and raise, you never forget as you are emotionally attached, you grow here, you are Indian. I think all these attachments bring us back. It's not that we get anything out of this, but a personal satisfaction. All of us like the home. That's why we go and build our houses. That attachment is interminable."

Sukhbir Singh Badal, the working president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) illustrated Punjab's vision and its calling for NRI investment in sectors like education, health and social and rural development.

He stressed that the upgradation of the power and irrigation sector was the major thrust area.

"We have opened our economy for everything - for full-time investment. Let them come and choose their field. Ours is pure private investment. Every field is open for private investment. Single ministry, single stop shop," said Badal.

Undoubtedly, the expatriate Punjabis are the true ambassadors of Punjabi culture, their religion and their language in abroad.

ANI

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