India is going to open 40 new consulate sub-offices in countries with a strong presence of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said on Sunday, referring to a "communication received from the External Affairs Ministry".
“India is going to open 40 new consulate sub-offices in countries where NRIs have settled in large numbers," the Anandpur Sahib MP said in a statement. Chandumajra has been taking up the issue of NRIs in general and NRI Punjabis in particular in Parliament
Referring to countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, where NRIs had to travel long distances to get visas from consulate offices, the SAD general secretary and spokesman said, “They (NRIs) had been demanding more sub-offices in their respective countries. This step would go a long way in mitigating their problems.”
Chandumajra claimed that the Centre had also agreed to allow those from Punjab, granted political asylum in other countries, to visit India along with their families for up to two years at a stretch.
Stating that he had been pressing for these people to be treated as “economic asylum-seekers”, he said, “Many people had sought political asylum in countries, including the US, Canada and Germany, despite never being active in the militancy (earlier in Punjab). However, once they were granted asylum on political grounds, it became impossible for them to visit Punjab."