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CM to help scrap ‘blacklist’ of Punjabis in Canada
Tribune News Service

Rajasansi (Amritsar), May 18
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today agreed to help end ‘blacklist’ of Punjabis, settled in Canada and other countries. He said he would take up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs in this regard.

More than 300 Punjabis, especially Sikhs, settled in Canada, America, England and other countries could not visit India because they had been ‘black listed’ by the Union government for their direct or indirect support to Punjab’s militancy in the past.

Talking to reporters before leaving for Canada from Rajasansi Airport, here today, the Chief Minister said the state government was not competent to deal with the ‘black list’ as such cases could be dealt by the Ministry of External Affairs only. However, when asked that he had took up the matter with Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf and helped the release of many youths from jails of Pakistan recently, he said that he would definitely help genuine cases.

To a question, the Chief Minister said that he would not align with any group of Sikh politics during his five-day stay there, as it was his official visit only. He said he was unlikely to visit any gurdwara there, apparently because of sharp division in the Sikh community following ‘Hukmnamas’ (edicts) pronounced by Akal Takht on ‘Langar’ (Community kitchen) and ‘same sex’ etc.

The Chief Minister said that he would try to encourage NRIs to invest in Punjab, especially in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), announced by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for Amritsar. The SEZ can re-trigger economic growth of India and various states through increased exports and foreign direct investment. He said eight private companies had already expressed willingness to invest in SEZ.

The District Administration is geared up to handle the SEZ initiative, which would ensure the economic development of the State as well as the Amritsar region. Mr Amarinder Singh said that during their five-day stay in Canada, the delegation would explore the opportunities and possibilities in the field of small-scale industries and biotechnology through the mode of technology transfer, partnership and marketing network.

He said that he would also sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Agricultural Biotechnology between the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada and the State of Punjab. A “Made in Punjab” Trade Show at International Centre, Mississauga Ontario Canada was also being organised which would be the first initiative of Punjab’s Industry to organize such a show anywhere outside India, the Chief Minister added.

This show would also provide an opportunity to the small-scale entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative skills and entrepreneurship to tap the international market. By the grit and stamina of Small scale entrepreneurs the exports from Punjab have gone up from just about Rs 4000 crore three years back to over Rs 11000 crore in the last year.

The Chief Minister further said that the main thrust of his visit would be to motivate Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to invest more and more in different projects related to the devolvement of their mother land, in this way they could also have a feeling of attachment with their roots.

Other members of the delegation are Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD (B&R) Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, besides Mr S.C. Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce Mr D.S. Jaspal, Principal Secretary Information & Public Relations and Mr Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister.


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