Punjabi Society hosts Consulate outreach event

Members of Sikh community with Indian CG and Consulate officials
Members of Sikh community with Indian CG and Consulate officials

CHICAGO: The Punjabi Cultural Society (PCS) coordinated a luncheon interactive session with the Consul General Dr Ausaf Sayeed and Indian Consulate in Chicago on Saturday, April 2 at Viceroy of India Restaurant and Banquets in Lombard. The event was attended by 100 persons.

The purpose of this event was to provide a forum to Punjabi and Sikh community to receive information on the services provided by the Indian Consulate in Chicago, and provide an opportunity to the community members to ask questions directly to the staff in a cordial environment, and to introduce face to face the Consul General and his staff to the community they serve. Ms. Mohina Ahluwalia, past chairperson of PCS Chicago, hosted the event and also welcomed the guests

Rajinder Singh Mago, the convener of the event briefed the audience on the mission statement of the PCS Chicago organization and its upcoming social and cultural programs like “Rangla Punjab 2016” on April 23, “Graduation & Scholarship Award Night” on June 12, “PCS Sports Festival” in July, “International Bhangra & Giddha Competition” in November, Thanksgiving Day parade also in late November and so on. Mago also introduced the Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed.

Dr. Sayeed addressed the gathering and expounded on the various Consular services being provided by his office in Chicago. Dr. Sayeed introduced O.P.Meena, Consul (Community Welfare), Rajeshwari Chandrasekaran, Consul (CG Office), Anuradha Negi, Vice-Consul (Visa) and other members of the staff who participated in the event.

Dr. Sayeed spoke about the Passport & Visa processes, E-Visa, Passport Surrender certificate, P.I.O., O.C.I., and many other miscellaneous day-to-day consular services that his office provides to the Indian nationals, the Indian American community, and others in his jurisdiction in the Midwest of U.S.A. from his office in Chicago.

There was a Q&A session where several passports, visa and OCI related issues were discussed and some constructive suggestions were also given. He patiently listened to grievances or suggestions, answered all questions and gave solutions where possible.

One attendee complained that the current office premises of the visa outsourcing vendor in Chicago where visitors go to collect visa is not very clean or presentable. “It does not give a very good first impression to the visitors going to India about India,” he said.

Another participant appreciated the clarifications given by the Consul General on extension of passport services where old Indian passports have not been renewed for several years. “I was told by some third party agents that it costs 3 to 4 thousand dollars to get such passports renewed but now I know that it is not true,” he added.

Amarpal Singh Matharu presented a book “Lost Heritage – The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan” by Amardeep Singh of Singapore to CG.

Surendra Ullal

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