The Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh has cracked down in a big way against unscrupulous travel agents to register 2140 cases under various Acts since it came to power in March 2017.
This was disclosed in the Vidhan Sabha on Thursday by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra, on behalf of the Chief Minister, in response to a call attention notice moved by MLA Kanwar Sandhu.
Of these 2140 cases, 1107 had been filed under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 528 under The Punjab Travel Professionals Regulation Act 2014 and another 505 under the Emigration Act, 1983.
On the recent case of four Kapurthala youth who were fraudulently sent to Armenia by a group of travel agents, Mohindra apprised the House that three accused agents had already been arrested under the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act 2012, and said the remaining would be apprehended soon.
A Look Out Circular (LOC) had been issued and raids were being conducted, he added. All the victims had returned from Armenia and safely reached their homes on February 9, Mohindra further informed the House.
Reiterating Captain Amarinder Singh’s personal commitment to check exploitation of the state’s youth at the hands of illegal travel agents, Mohindra said the state would also soon set up a Corporation to provide skill training to youth to match foreign job requirements, the terms of reference for which were being finalised.
Further, he said, the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act, 2012 and the Punjab Travel Professionals Regulation Act, 2014 had been enacted by the Government, for which the rules had already been framed.
Acting on the Chief Minister’s directive, the state government had already issued a directive and advisory to all the top civil and police officials to crack down on illegal travel agents through a series of measures to ensure strict compliance with the laws and legislations governing
the licensing and operations of travel agents.
The measures include holding of educational seminars and publicity campaigns by Punjab Police for educating the common people, especially the youth, about the activities of illegal agents.
The 181 helpline set up for the assistance of needy youth laid astray by illegal elements was also being monitored round the clock, Mohindra added.
Further, for safe and legal migration in State, various educational seminars were being organised under SAANJH project of Punjab Police, for giving widespread publicity through public meetings.
Orientation programmes in collaboration with the Union External Affairs Ministry were also being organised to for pre-departure training of youth going abroad, Mohindra said further.