Chandigarh, Jan 18: Punjab government on Monday, Jan 18 urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister to immediately dispatch a team to the US to offer necessary assistance to the victims of a boat tragedy in Panama in which 25 youths from the state are feared drowned.
"Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today had a telephonic conversation with the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who assured that the government would reach out to the victims immediately," an official spokesperson said here.
Badal said the Punjab Government is also sending a team of senior officials to US to trace out the survivors of the tragedy.
Meanwhile, referring to the report that as many as 25 youths from Punjab were feared dead as the boat in which they were travelling capsized near Panama, Badal said it is "alarming". The youths were reportedly headed to the US illegally in a boat when it capsized.
The incident happened on January 10 and the parents of the youths got to know about it on January 12-13, he said.
He said the incident took place at sea between the Colombian port city of Turbo and neighbouring South American country Panama.
Meanwhile, the Deputy CM has directed the Director General of Police and SSP Kapurthala to take action against travel agents involved in human trafficking. Kapurthala Police has registered a case under Sections 420 (cheating) and 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various sections of the Immigration Act against the travel agents.
Interrogation would be conducted to ascertain how many youths were on the boat.