Duplicate passports offered by GOI to Indians residing in Italy Punjab Newsline Network Wednesday, 16 September 2009 .CHANDIGARH: Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs has been extremely concerned with the problems in getting duplicate passports, by the NRIs living in Italy. The Italian Government has declared AMNESTY SCHEME for the immigrants living in Italy for several years. The sizeable population (around 35000 to 40000) from Punjab fall under this category of immigrants. This amnesty would be available only for a month i.e. till the end of September 2009 and is open to all the immigrants in Italy who are not having proper authorization. These are people having no passports, or they initially had and have lost their passports or their passports have expired and they have been approaching the Indian Mission abroad for getting the duplicate passports. Preneet Kaur, took up this issue at the highest level in the Government of India to address their problems and with her intervention, now these people have started getting their duplicate passports issued on priority basis. With this, such immigrants are quite hopeful to get their stay regularized under the amnesty scheme. This will give a great relief to a large number of Punjabi community who have been hoping to be regularized and looking for better opportunities in Italy. Mr. Sukhpal Singh Khaira MLA from Bholath constituency in Punjab visited CGI Milan, met with the Counsel General there and the people affected and had apprised the Minister of State with the facts of the situation recommending immediate action for their relief. To expedite the process of issuing the duplicate passports, with the instructions of Preneet Kaur, a special team consisting of officials from different passport offices in Punjab has been deputed to the Indian Embassy in Rome and CGI Milan. They have been instructed to work 24 hours a day, including Saturdays and Sundays to issue duplicate passports to NRIs so that they can avail the facility under the amnesty scheme. This initiative by the Kaur has been greatly appreciated by various organizations in India and abroad including Indian Overseas Congress in E.U. and NRI Sabha in Europe.Surinder Singh Rana, President of NRI Sabha (Europe), Nishan Singh President Gurudwara Committee Italy, Santokh Singh President Kabaddi Federation Italy and Baljit Singh Padda Norway have expressed special gratitude to the Minister for the cooperation extended in resolving this passport issue in Italy. He has categorically indicated in the letter faxed from Amsterdam that many people desirous of availing of the facility under the amnesty have already started getting Indian passports from Embassy of India in Rome and CGI Milan.