NRIs

Punjab to appoint ombudsman to resolve NRI problems

July 23, 2017 01:12 AM

Chandigarh: The Punjab to appoint ombudsman to replace the NRI Commission to revamp the grievance redressal system for NRIs.

The ombudsman could be headed by a former bureaucrat in the rank of Principal Secretary or above. 

Kamaljeet Singh Hayer, honorary member of the NRI Commission, said the commission needed more powers. “There is a need to set up a tribunal to listen to all judicial and revenue matters and it should be the final authority. Many NRIs face problems related to property. They come to the state for a short period every year and can’t afford to spare time for protracted legal proceedings,” he said. 

After legal vetting, the draft has been readied, a senior functionary in the Chief Minister’s office said. CM Capt Amarinder Singh, who holds the NRI portfolio, is expected to take the final decision in the next few days.

The government has also proposed to depute the Additional Deputy Commissioners (Grievances) as additional ombudsmen at the district level. The complainant would be able to file an appeal against the decision of the ADC’s court before the ombudsman.

Rakesh Kumar Garg, chairman of the NRI Commission, opined that anyone dealing with NRI affairs should have judicial powers. The commission is a statutory body enacted under the law. “The commission has been disposing of about 300 cases every year,” he said. 

To give more teeth to the ombudsman, various departments whom the NRIs have to deal with would be brought under one roof. There is reportedly a lack of coordination between the office of the Commissioner, NRI Affairs, and the civil administration and the police in dealing with NRI complaints. The Commissioner, NRI Affairs, does not have an office to operate from here. 

Kamaljeet Singh Hayer, honorary member of the NRI Commission, said the commission needed more powers. “There is a need to set up a tribunal to listen to all judicial and revenue matters and it should be the final authority. Many NRIs face problems related to property. They come to the state for a short period every year and can’t afford to spare time for protracted legal proceedings,” he said. 

Three fast-track courts planned for Moga, Ludhiana and Mohali are yet to see the light of day.

The state is also drafting a NRI Property Safeguards Act for the speedy eviction of NRI property from tenants/ encroachments. A committee has been constituted to work out the details of the proposed Act. 

 

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