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Posted at: Nov 7, 2018, 1:24 AM; last updated: Nov 7, 2018, 1:24 AM (IST)

Chief’s post vacant, NRIs seek sabha elections by Jan

Chief’s post vacant, NRIs seek sabha elections by Jan
In April 2015, Jasvir Singh Shergill was relieved of the post of president of the NRI Sabha after completing his term. Tribune photo

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 6

It has been more than three years since the post of president of the NRI Sabha, Punjab, is lying vacant. With NRIs beginning to visit home, they have begun demanding that the elections be held by January next year.

It was in April 2015 that the last president, Jasvir Singh Shergill, got relieved from the post after completing his term. Ever since, the nearly 23,000 members of the sabha are eagerly waiting for the polls to be held.

Almost all the past presidents are keen on contesting for the lucrative post. They have been visiting the sabha office frequently, continuing to strengthen their relations with the visiting NRIs and helping them with works at government offices here.

Pritam Singh Narangpuri, who was the president of the sabha in 2004, said he would certainly contest. “I have met officials of the NRI Affairs Department and they have assured that the polls will be held in two months or so. So, I have started preparing for them too,” he maintained.

Sabha members have alleged that owing to the president’s post remaining vacant, even the IAS officials are misusing the machinery and funds of the body. Former president Shergill has alleged that an official car belonging to the NRI Sabha has been taken along by an officer to the next place of his posting. “Its fuel is being brought by using the funds of the sabha. Another official used Rs 3 lakh from the sabha’s account for giving a loan to a family member at 4 per cent interest rate. Still another used funds for refurbishing his office. Many employees of the sabha are doing their duties at the residences of local officials. All this has to be stopped and it can be done only if elections are held,” he said.

He said, “The NRI Sabha is an NGO and is in no way dependent on the NRI Affairs Department for deciding the course of elections. The Divisional Commissioner is fully competent to declare elections.”

Principal Secretary, NRI Affairs, SR Ladhar said he had already told Divisional Commissioner, Jalandhar, B Purushartha to hold elections anytime in January. Purushartha, however, said he was currently busy with the ongoing inquiry into the Jora Phatak train tragedy in Amritsar and would deliberate on the NRI Sabha election issue after that.

Meanwhile, the Department of NRI Affairs, Punjab, in association with the Union External Affairs Ministry is mulling an NRI sammelan in Jalandhar in December. Ladhar said, “In the programme we will enlighten the NRIs about various schemes of the government. We will also tell the youth interested in going abroad to only depend on the registered travel agents.”


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