New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and asked the government to intensify efforts to ensure the safe and prompt return of Punjabis stranded in strife-torn Iraq to their motherland.
Expressing gratitude to Swaraj, the Chief Minister said he was fully satisfied with the concerted efforts undertaken by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to secure the safe release of the Punjabis trapped in Iraq.
He also apprised, Swaraj that the distressed family members of these Punjabis had met him a couple of days ago and requested him to seek your personal intervention for securing the immediate release of their beloved ones.
Swaraj is said to have told Badal that her Ministry had even issued directive to the Indian Embassy in Iraq to issue duplicate passports, in case these were required for their immigration to India adding clear cut instructions have been issued to officials in Embassy to arrange free air ticket to hapless Indians for their safe return to their motherland.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Rajya Sabha MPs Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
Badal later met Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati who assured him that the civil airport Bathinda would be inaugurated soon and it would be a gift for the people of Punjab.
During the course of meeting with the Union Minister, the Deputy CM expressed his gratitude to the NDA government and said it was a matter of pride for the people of Punjab witnessing unprecedented development in every sphere.
Badal also emphasized the need for revival of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering College at Patiala that was facing closure for the last more than two years.
He said that the Union Government must review the policy in extending further approval to this state institute at the earliest as this college has been producing quality aircraft engineers for the last 30 years.