Odisha Chief Minister calls on Sushma Swaraj

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik met the Hon’ble Union Minister of External Affairs, Smt. Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on March 16.

Hon’ble Chief Minister discussed a number of issues relating to Post Office Passport Seva Kendras, grievance redressal of immigrants from Odisha working abroad and sharing of database on immigrants with the State Government. He mentioned there is a need to improve the outreach of Post Office Passport Seva Kendras in Odisha and urged upon the Union Minister of External Affairs to open three more Passport Seva Kendras in the second phase at Balasore, Berhampur (Ganjam) and Bhawanipatna (Kalahandi). This, he said, will ensure that people located in far flung areas of different regions get the desired access to Passport services in the State.

Hon’ble Chief Minister informed that a large number of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers from Odisha are employed in different parts of the world, particularly in Middle East and South East Asian countries and many times immigrants from Odisha face difficult situations including exploitation by employers, economic hardships and accidents, etc. He added that even after rescue and repatriation of people in distress, there remain many post-repatriation issues relating to their wages, salaries, insurance and compensation etc. He expressed that many immigrants from Odisha complain of not having received the adequate response from our Diplomatic Missions in time and impressed upon the Hon’ble Union Minister to issue suitable advisory to India’s Diplomatic Missions abroad to demonstrate utmost sensitivity to their problems.

Hon’ble Chief Minister stated that the State Government does not possess details of persons from Odisha working as skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour abroad and most of the time, the Government is reached by family members, informal contacts or by media persons whenever any immigrant faces a problem. In the absence of database, substantial time is lost in obtaining vital details of the concerned immigrant and it becomes difficult to provide precise details like Passport number, address, etc required to access services of ‘Madad’ e-portal and this causes further avoidable delay in addressing their grievances. Hon’ble Chief Minister urged upon the Union Minister to provide the database of people of Odisha working in different countries so that the Government is better informed to reach out to families of the people in distress abroad and well prepared to take timely action for their rescue and repatriation.

Hon’ble Union Minister of External Affairs appreciated the concerns of Odisha and assured that during the second phase, three more Post Office Passport Seva Kendras will be set up in Balasore, Berhampur (Ganjam) and Bhawanipatna (Kalahandi). While mentioning that India’s Diplomatic Missions are regularly sensitised to address the needs of immigrants from India on priority, she assured that another advisory will be issued to them to provide adequate and timely response to immigrants from India including from Odisha who are in distress and to provide the desired assistance in respect of post-repatriation issues relating to settlement of their wages, salaries, insurance and compensation, etc. Hon’ble Union Minister agreed to share the database on immigrants from Odisha working abroad who have legally emigrated to different countries through authorised agents approved by Ministry of External Affairs.

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