After launching a frantic door-to-door search for NRIs who are untraceable, Punjab on Saturday warned them of stringent action of writing to the Union Ministry of External Affairs and getting their passports/visas cancelled.
The government has been unable to trace 1,330 NRIs at their addresses, while about 10,000 are yet to be contacted based on contact details shared with the state by the Centre. The Union government collated this data from details shared by the NRIs at the time of landing.
Now, these NRIs and foreign travellers, who landed in India after January 30, have been asked to furnish their details on Helpline Number 112, immediately.
The warning comes as the state government now wants to finish the task of identifying and quarantining these NRIs within two days.
A government statement said that a self-declaration proforma has also been issued in this regard on which they would have to give their details such as passport number, name of airport, date of landing and date of arrival in Punjab.
A spokesperson said that NRIs/foreign travellers would also furnish details about their permanent address or present stay and hotel, if any. They also need to mention the places of they have visited in Punjab since, including details like mobile phone number, fixed line phone number and email ID.
He further added that if any NRI/foreign traveller deliberately conceals this information from government then authorities may contemplate stern action against him/her. He said that NRIs and foreign travellers, who came in India after January 30, can give their details on Helpline No. 112, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and portal https://ners.in/, besides sharing these details on 112 mobile App.
A government official said: “We have now warned them that they should report to the government themselves failing which we will write to MEA to either get their passports or visas cancelled after getting in touch with their countries to cut short their travel.”
He added: “We have told the Sarpanches to make announcements in their villages that their (NRIs’) passports would be cancelled. A few villages made the announcements and we have got many calls from NRIs today asking for the procedure. We have now asked them to call up at 112 and report, and then remain in quarantine for at least 14 days from their date of landing.”
According to the official, several NRIs had hidden their travel history from the administration to ensure they did not have to remain confined to their houses. “But now many of them have realised the gravity of the situation. After getting phone calls, it seems we will be able to trace all of them in two days,” he said.
On Friday, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had sought community participation in tracking these NRIs. He had asked the Panchayats and Rural Development Department to ask Sarpanches to report to the police about any NRI in their village. The CM’s orders came after the Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba had written to states about tracking all the NRIs who could jeopardise the efforts to contain the spread of the contagion.
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