August 06, 2009

Message From Senior Congress Leader Jassi Khangura MLA

Message from Jassi Khangura MLA
Friends, the last month has been quite eventful as for as our mission to serve people and raise the issues of public importance is concerned. The beginning of the month was marked with the Vidhan Sabha (Punjab assembly) session, which certainly is a forum of good discussion and the best platform for raising important issues. Unfortunately the session was short and most of the questions were rejected. Even those accepted could not come up for the discussion and did not get satisfactory answers.

Vidhan Sabha
NRI Problems in Vidhan SabhaThe Vidhan Sabha session provided me a good opportunity to raise the issue of Non Resident Indian brethren on the floor of the house. I tried to put up a strong case for bringing to the centre-stage the main problems of the NRIs particularly those related to grabbing of their properties and matrimonial disputes.I brought to the notice of the house that 75 per cent of the NRIs who I meet faced the problem of their property in Punjab being forcibly seized with due patronage from the government and the ruling politicians.
I also reminded the government about the measures it had promised for the welfare of the NRIs and that it had done virtually nothing so far on the ground. I also questioned the government whether the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, (although he had to resign later) had any plans to visit the NRI Punjabi Diaspora -UK, Canada, USA, Australia or New Zealand in this calendar year, but to no avail. I was frequently interrupted but I persisted in making my key points to defend NRI interests in Punjab. We hope to publish my house speech on NRI issues separately.

Budget speechAs expected, this government once again presented a disappointing and hopeless budget. It was quite surprising how the Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal despite claiming so much about financial efficiency, disappointed everyone. The budget seemed more to be a formal exercise in accounting manipulations than any real time financial planning.I made it clear to the Finance Minister in the house that had he taken strong and corrective measures in the beginning of his tenure, the situation would not have been as bad as it is now. Tough measures were required to be taken.
A good guy in the wrong company
In fact Manpreet Badal had himself been saying it. But when it came to taking decisions he succumbed to the populist pressure of his party and that of his uncle and Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal. In my reply I commented on how this government had resorted to back door taxation with a 200% increase in the PIDB levy and VAT increases on market agricultural purchases, all by executive order. The government has a right to tax but all large proposals need to be part of the budget and not just addressed by executive order. I hope to publish a full text of my speech soon.

Grilling Sukhbir Badal
From day one of my joining politics I have critically evaluated the performance of the government. I have been regularly criticising the wrong and inefficient policies of this government which is run more by Sukhbir Badal than his Chief Minister father, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. That is why I have been critical of Sukhbir Badal. My consistent grilling has generated much response and people have generally been appreciative.Particularly on the issues like negative campaigning by Sukhbir, seeking review of all the decisions taken by Sukhbir Badal as Deputy Chief Minister after he resigned (as he could not become an MLA

Someone who regularly turns logic on its head!
within six months of taking the oath), demand for action against SAD for unduly influencing voters in three assembly constituencies where bye-elections were being held, my letter to the Director General of Central Industrial Security Force about the possibility of black money being flown out of the upcoming Chandigarh International Airport, and my question as to whether we really need a ‘Deputy Chief Minister’, all got phenomenal press coverage followed by an overwhelming response from public. I do not have any fixation with Sukhbir but I do find his workings abhorrent. He is not really CM material, so I guess we'll have to suffer him for a short while.
Click to read1. Khangura wonders how come Punjab is poor while Badals are richer! (29.07.09)2. Khangura to Sukhbir Badal: Stop criticising the centre and present your policies (28.07.09)3. Khangura to Sukhbir Badal: "Come clean on power" (23.07.09)4. Is there a critical administrative need for a Deputy Chief Minister? (4.07.09)5. Khangura seeks review of all Sukhbir decisions as Dy CM, HM (2.07.09)

My Suggestion on Efficiency Audit Generates Significant Comment
My suggestion to the Finance Minister to introduce Efficiency Audit in the government departments led to a half page humorous article in the Hindustan Times (Click to view JPG / Click to view PDF)on July 5, 2009. Ms. Dona Suri writes a weekly column in the Magazine Section of the Hindustan Times every Sunday which is full of satire. We all know that Government departments in India are inefficient and unresponsive. I have called for statistical measures to assess the efficacy of these services.
Read my letter here.Rest assured that my advice and suggestions will not end here. I will carry on my mission to ensure that the government works efficiently and to minimize all wastage.

My Forthcoming North America Visit
I am planning to visit North America at the end of September, reaching New York on September 29 from where I will visit New Jersey and Detroit. From there I am scheduled to reach Vancouver on October 6. On October 11, I will depart for Calgary before moving on to Edmonton and Winnipeg. Much as I would love to celebrate Diwali in North America, my love and affection for my family will pull me to London. These dates are as yet tentative but I am committed to visiting those cities that I have so far missed since my election. The final programme may not be confirmed till 21 September. Except for a visit to Ludhiana by the PM accompanied by Mrs.Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi I would hope to stick with the above dates. We shall publish the final city-wise itinerary by 21 September.

Students' Visit to the Vidhan Sabha
Continuing with the mission of providing maximum exposure at all levels to the students and younger generation of my Halqa I arranged a visit of the students aged between 14 to 16 years of the Partap Public School Ludhiana to the Vidhan Sabha. The students were excited and thrilled to watch the budget session from the visitors’ gallery, and to hear the Finance Minister, S. Manpreet Singh Badal, present his budget. This year there was, quite rightly, no walkout by Congress members, thus enabling the school kids to appreciate the proceedings in full. The school children appeared to be quite enthralled, as were some of the school staff including Principal Jagpal Singh. Afterwards, all were hosted for lunch.

Jassi Khangura with Partap Public School Students at Vidhan Sabha Chandigarh
Most said that it had been quite an enlightening experience. I intend to introduce more school kids from my Halqa to the workings of the Vidhan Sabha.

Leading delegation of NRIs to visit Mrs Preneet Kaur, Union Minister of State for External Affairs
In pursuance of my efforts to provide as much relief as possible to the NRIs living in different parts of the world, I led a delegation of NRIs from the Philippines to the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Mrs Preneet Kaur.The Philippines delegation comprised of Surjit Singh, President and Chairman of the Board Of Khalsa Diwan Inc., Gurbinder Singh, General Secretary, Jagdev Singh Grewal, Member and President of the Bicol Indian Sikh Temple, Nagacity, and Jagtar Singh Bassi, Executive Member.The delegation presented a Memorandum to the Hon. Minister which listed many issues including the need for direct international
Jassi Khangura with Punjabi NRIs from Philippines and Mrs Preneet Kaur

flights between the countries, the failure of the Philippines government to grant residency to those Indians already in the country and the harsh attitude of the Indian Embassy to persons of Indian origin in the Philippines.The delegation also invited the Hon’ble Minister to Manila to visit the Philippines on 12 September for a function and to have an on the spot assessment of their problems. The delegation sought the total revamp of the embassy and also wanted that the next ambassador be a Punjabi, since out of about a lakh Indians living in the Phiilipines, about eighty per cent are Punjabis.

Facilitating Legal Migration
Punjabis have for decades been keen to move abroad. Those not able to get a visa are often tempted to use other means, which often lands them in trouble. I get numerous cases of persons defrauded by "kabutarbaazi". Many never get to leave India even after having handed over large sums of money. Others sweat it out in prisons. Many are deported. Some, horrifically, even die en-route.To address this issue I have been facilitating a programme called ‘Migration; the legal way’. Last year I worked closely with the British High Commission to communicate to my young constituents that the best way to migrate is the legal way.
Jassi Khangura with Harpreet Singh successful WHM Visa applicant from village Mohi
The British High Commission held road shows in several of our villages and I held meetings in many more, just to explain that there is an alternative to "kabutarbaazi". We recommended that the youngsters apply for UK Working Holiday Maker (WHM) Visas. We counseled them, helped them with documentation and explained to them that if their visa was rejected, we would assist with the appeal in the UK. The whole process takes time, so we are just beginning to receive some determinations. Of the 22 applications submitted, two youngsters are already in the United Kingdom, while three others have been sanctioned visas. Seven more cases are in the pipeline. We are confident of more successes. I will continue with this work to ensure that more people interested in immigration do it in a legal manner.

Jalalabad Bye-Election Campaign
Recently I was campaigning for Congress candidate Hans Raj Joshan who is fighting against the Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal. Despite the misuse of government and official machinery by the ruling party, the Congress candidate was getting a reasonably good response from the people.I highlighted the mis-governance 0f the Akalis particularly the aborted ‘Deputy Chief Minister stint’ of Sukhbir Badal.Although the media has placed Sukhbir at an advantageous position, given the fact that he is in power and is the son of the Chief Minister, the Congress candidate, Joshan, was resolute and mounting a good campaign. Ravneet Bitu, MP, was also active in the constituency.
Jassi Khangura campaigning in the main bazaar on 29.07.09 at Jalalabad.

People have been asking me why the anti-incumbency feelings are not stronger at this stage. My answer is that with all the confrontation in recent times, people’s voting intentions have changed. True votes are mostly cast only in the Assembly and Parliamentary elections. In all other elections what most voters wish for is an easy life and peace and harmony.

Anti Narcotics Campaign
A large section of our youth is afflicted with the curse of drug addiction. Various non government and social organizations are involved in creating greater awareness against drug addiction.We all know that drug dependency makes a person unemployable and unsociable. It wrecks life - breaking families, affecting health and studies. I have also been trying to contribute my own bit to this social cause. In the first week of this month I attended a Drugs Communication programme organized by the Block Youth Congress at village Sahauli. I suggested that the youth should be involved in more constructive activities so that their energy is channeled to a better end result. I am planning to take this mission to its logical conclusion because anti drug campaign and de-addiction are part of my mission. We must all encourage the youth to participate in sports without stimulants.
Jassi Khangura at village Sahauli, attending programe "Hoka", on removing social ailments of our society accompanied by Malkiat Singh, Gurnam Singh Sewak , Lakhbir Singh, Deepak Khandoor, Ranjit Singh Ruby, Sanjeev Jain, Ranjit S. Magat, Harveer Singh Lohgarh,Simranjeet Singh and Gagneet Singh.

The real problem is that youngsters are unemployed and bored. I am happy that the employment opportunities that I am generating in my target area will reduce unemployment and drug use. We need lesser youngsters on drugs and more on the factory floor. It is a BIG problem, particularly in rural Punjab. Better education and a better understanding about the effects of drug dependency are critical to reducing addiction.

Helping Deaf Cricketers
The whole world knows that Indians are crazy about cricket. It was heartening to learn that an organization like - The Deaf Cricket Federation, Punjab, actually existed. These youngsters hold regular events and continue to surprise people that in spite of their handicap they can actually play excellent cricket. I was delighted to learn that they will be sending a team of the hearing impaired (deaf) for a ten day T20 tournament in Singapore from September 23 to October 2. The federation had solicited my support for the cricketers and also organised a function at Jalandhar.
Mr. Harbans Kanwal giving a cheque of Rs One lakh to the Federation
Although I could not make it to the function myself, but my worthy uncle, Mr Harbans Kanwal, former Mayor of Hounslow, London and "Mayor Sahib" to all that know him, went there on my behalf to handover a cheque of Rs One lakh as my humble contribution to the federation. I wish the cricketers all the success since they have worked very hard to come up to the level of this international competition. Moreover, we need to encourage more physically and mentally challenged persons to participate in sports to improve their health and to boost their morale.

My Work Schedule
I have always maintained a strict work schedule. Barring unexpected emergencies or engagements, I try to stick to a regular weekly schedule.On Monday, I am in the halqa office all day from 9am till 5pm, typically, I meet 200 to 300 people. Then I get 3 hours for business.. On Tuesday, I am in Chandigarh in connection with various official engagements including the Vidhan Sabha committee meetings. On Wednesday and Thursday, I am usually in Delhi visiting government departments and Congress Party functionaries. I try to squeeze in about 3 hours per day on these 2 days attending to my business interests. On Friday, I return to Ludhiana via Chandigarh to review or complete the pending work. If lucky, I get 3 hours for business on a Friday. On Saturday and Sunday I am in the constituency attending numerous social functions, including Akand paths, bhogs and weddings. I also try to catch up on events I missed out during the weekdays.
This strict schedule is publicised, and so are any last minute changes. This gives my constituents, and anybody else who wishes to meet me, a good idea of where I should be on a particular day. As is obvious, almost my entire time is committed to serving my constituents directly or indirectly. At the most I get 12 hours a week for business.
Jassi Khangura in his office darbar with constituency people

Constituency people at Halqa office

Best regards,Jassi Khangura MLAPunjab's Most Responsive MLARead my CV Read My Communications
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