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Georgia leaves Punjabi farmers in lurch, denies visa to many
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

The trouble
Punjabi farmers say Georgia has imposed a ban till further orders on purchase of land by non-citizens following protests by local farmers there. Georgian farmers want its government to preserve the “Georgian land for Georgians”

Chandigarh, August 30
Kuldip Singh’s dream to till farms in far-off Georgia, situated on the east end of the Black Sea near Russia, has turned sour. He is not sure whether he will be able to visit that country again. He is also worried about several lakhs of rupees he deposited in a bank in Georgia for the land he purchased there.

A resident of Chuhar Chak village near Moga, former sarpanch Kuldip Singh went to Georgia about one- and-a-half years ago and bought a 30-hectare farm at a price of about Rs 65,000 per hectare there. Kuldip purchased the land from a farmer and deposited the money in a bank at the time of registration of the land deed. Afterwards, he returned to his village.

Now as he wants to visit Georgia again to get the land deed and start farming there, he has been denied visa by the Georgian Embassy at least five times in the past one year. “I am returning to my village from Delhi which I visited to collect my passport this morning”, said an agonised Kuldip.

Pandit Som Nath of Rode village near Moga has a similar tale to tell. Last year, his family bought 35 hectares of land near Gardwani in Georgia. However, since then his family has been struggling to get the visa to visit the country again.

Same is the story of hundreds of farmers from Daudhar, Charik and other villages.

Following advertisements in newspapers, farmers visited Georgia to purchase land two years ago. But now they are repenting their decision. “In advertisements, we were offered all support by the Georgian government”, said Som Nath.

Senior SAD leader and former Union Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said he had submitted a detailed memorandum to the Centre explaining the problems faced by Punjabi farmers who had purchased land in Georgia. “I have also sought an appointment the Georgian Ambassador to India to take up the issue. I will urge Embassy officials to grant visa to Punjabi farmers, who have legally purchased the land there. They should not be made to suffer for no fault of theirs,” said Ramoowalia. He added that he would also discuss the issue with SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal.





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