CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said it would soon take up with the Centre all pending issues of the Punjabis living abroad and expressed satisfaction with the response given by them to the senior party leadership which had visited the USA and Canada last month.
In the review meeting which was chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and attended by senior leadership it was decided that Badal will get in touch with both the Union Home and External Affairs ministers to take up the issues, a party release said.
Briefing Badal about the visit, ministers Tota Singh, Sikander Singh Malooka and Daljit Singh Cheema said NRIs abroad had asked the visiting team that those who had filed for asylum in these countries were not able to visit India.
The leaders said there was a demand from this section that they should be treated as economic asylum seekers and not political asylum cases, it said.
Badal said the state government has taken several steps to resolve the problems of NRIs, including giving a fair hearing to NRIs who had been declared proclaimed offenders due to disputes.
"We have reduced this figure considerably and will also work assiduously to ensure all NRIs who have gone abroad due to economic reasons are able to visit their country again," he added.
The leaders, including Chief Minister's advisor Maheshinder Singh Grewal and CPS Pargat Singh, also talked about the problems faced by the NRI community in securing nativity certificates.
Other team members spoke about the "massive" response received by team members from the NRI community, especially the youth.
Leaders Manpreet Ayali and Rinku Atwal also claimed that at two places 15-20 "anti-national" persons had tried to disrupt the meetings and said these actions had been decried by a majority section of the Punjabi community in both US and Canada.
Notably, Tota Singh had faced protests from Sikhs during his visit to New York last month.
After the briefing, during which Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia, was also present, Badal said the SAD-BJP government would do its best to ensure all problems being faced by NRIs are resolved at the earliest and added that he would get in touch with the Centre in this regard.