Open new consulates, appeals Overseas BJP to PM | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Open new consulates, appeals Overseas BJP to PM

PTI | ByLalit K Jha (HindustanTimes.com), Minneapolis
Jul 16, 2005 02:25 PM IST

NRIs are demanding opening new consulates and linking more US cities with that of India's, reports Lalit K Jha .

While the large desi communities is gearing up to welcome and felicitate the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, on his first official trip to the US next week, the Overseas Friends of the BJP in United States (OFBJP-US) has decided to present him a memorandum with a set of demands for the NRIs in this country.

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Topping the list of demands to be submitted before the Prime Minister when he arrives in Washington on July 17 include opening new consulates in the U.S., connecting more U.S. cities with that of India by Air India, a toll free number for the NRIs so that they can call up the Indian Embassy with their grievances and seek help in need of help and more visa camps across the country.

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"Not much has been done fore the NRI, especially in the United States, ever since this Government came to power. The memorandum is our first step to knock at the door of this Government," the OFBJP president, Chandra Kant Patel, told HindustanTimes.com, before leaving for India early this week on an urgent party work.

The memorandum, highlighting the problems faced by the NRI community in the U.S. along with a set of demands would be submitted to the Prime Minister by senior party leaders, he said.

Patel said there was an urgent need to connect more U.S. cities by Air India, the national carrier, as over the years the desi population has spread over to other large cities besides the traditional New York, Washington and Chicago.

"Based on the concentration of population in the United States, we would urge the Prime Minister to prevail upon Air India to start its commercial operations to cities like Houston, Dallas, Orlando, Tampa, Detroit and Boston," he said, adding that there was also need to increase the frequency in existing cities of New York and Chicago.

Stating that the number of Indians in the U.S. has jumped considerably over the past two decade as a result of which the existing five Consulates which were established several decades ago, are not able to meet the increasing needs of the Diaspora, the memorandum, he said, would urge the Prime Minister to open consulates in Florida (Tampa or Orlando), Michigan (Detroit), Washington (Seattle) and Arizona (Phoenix).

"Till the time new consulates are opened, we urge the Prime Minister to increase the staff of the existing ones so as to meet the needs of the people," he said.

Opening up of a toll-free number, working round the clock all seven days a week, would help the NRIs community spread in every nook and corner of the country, to reach out to the Embassy anytime, Patel said.

Giving an indication of the things to come, the memorandum, Patel said, would demand the removal of the NRI Minister, Jagdish Tytler. "If he is not removed, we would launch a campaign against him," he said.

"This is primarily because of his involvement in the anti-Sikh riots in India in 1984. We do not wanted to be represented by a person who has been responsible for killing Sikhs," he alleged. The allegations, however, have been refuted by Tytler in the past.

Secondly, he said: "Tytler does not seem to be bothered about the welfare of the NRIs in the U.S. After becoming the Minister, he has not come even once," he alleged.

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