NEW YORK: Prominent Rajasthanis in the Tri-State area headed by Prem Bhandari, a leading community activist, felicitated Jaipur-based Jagdish Chandra, CEO and Head of E-TV (Hindi and Urdu) for his stellar role in helping in the of release 82 Indians from inhuman conditions in Saudi Arabia.
At a function held in Bombay Palace recently, the community leaders showered praise on Chandra for his expose in television on the plight of bonded laborers and leading to their release from captivity. E-TV was in the forefront to highlight the sufferings and hunger of the hapless bonded laborers who were subjected to abuse at workplace after being taken there under the pretext of employment.
Prem Bhandari in his address referred to Chandra as a crusader and head of the channel whose stories made the Government of India sit up and apply diplomatic pressure for the release of bonded laborers.
E-TV Hindi and Urdu channels mounted continuous pressure on the governments to ensure that the workers are safe and return home, Bhandari said, I thank the efforts of President of Rajasthani International Association in Riyadh Gauri Shankar Parekh who had arranged to feed the starving workers for weeks though he was in Juvel a good 400 miles away from the capital. He refused to accept any payment saying it was a humanitarian cause.
Similarly Iqbal of Madina Restaurant and Asif of local bank helped in filling immigration forms for the illiterate workers in Riyadh and also supplied food to them. Munish Gupta of PIO TV mounted continuous pressure on the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs and ensured the bonded laborers returned home alive, Bhandari said.
These laborers had paid Rs one lakh ($2000) each to an agent to get jobs in Saudi Arabia but were cheated. Besides monitoring the progress daily, Bhandari ensured that the troubled workers did not resort to suicide and arranged financial support to meet their basic needs.
Bhandari also praised the services of Chandra for his efforts to make Rajasthani language as an official language under Eighth Schedule of Constitution of India. We have been fighting for the last 66 years and if our demand is accepted then there will be a lot more civil servants coming out of our state as in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The recognition will help them write the civil service exams in their mother tongue like in other states. Now the students have to choose between either English or Hindi. This will be good for the development of the State, Bhandari said.
Chandra in his remarks thanked the organizers and promised to do more work for the cause of Rajasthanis.
Others who offered felicitations include Capt Stanley George of New York Police Department; KK Mehta, President of Rajasthan Foundation and a CPA; Shudh Parkash Singh President INOC, Kanak Golia, perfume magnet; Sushil Goyal, president of INOC Rajasthan Chapter; Chander Prakash Sukhwal, vice president of Indian National Overseas Congress Rajasthan Chapter, Anand Ahuja and Ramesh Jain, diamond merchant.