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Tsunami's effect to be felt at PBD
Ehtasham Khan in Mumbai | January 06, 2005 19:38 IST
The effect of the devastating tsunami that killed thousands of people in Asia, including India, will be felt even at the third Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which begins on Friday in Mumbai.
To express solidarity with the victims of the tragedy, the organisers have decided to do away all entertainment and cultural programs planned for the three-day event.
Also, making a last-minute change, the organisers have added a special plenary session on 'Disaster Management Reconstruction and Rehabilitation: Role of Overseas Indians' in the list of scheduled events.
The session will focus on how non-resident Indians and people of Indian origin can help India in the aftermath of disasters like tsunamis and earthquake.
Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Jagdish Tytler told rediff.com that a large number of overseas delegates have come out with offers to contribute to the Indian government's efforts to rehabilitate tsunami victims.
Keeping in view the response, some sessions at the PBD event have been modified to focus on ways to channelise contributions of overseas Indians in a constructive manner, he said.
Tytler said due to the tragedy, all elements of celebration, like cultural programmes, entertainment functions, cocktails and 'thanks-giving' dinners had been cancelled.
He said his ministry would make all efforts to use this opportunity to build a global Indian family and strengthen India's bonds with the Diaspora by involving voluntary groups of overseas Indians, scientists, engineers, geologists, community activists and people working at grass-roots level in the rehabilitation and reconstruction works in tsunami-hit areas.
Talking about the event, the minister said: "There is lot of enthusiasm among overseas Indians, which can be gauged from the fact that so far 1,902 delegates have registered themselves for PBD. Out of these, 1,400 are overseas Indians from as many as 60 countries."
"This is a significant increase as compared to last year when only 800 overseas Indians had registered," he said
"We expect productive outcome from the PBD deliberations, which my ministry will systematically follow-up thereafter," he added.
"Such a high-level participation is an ample demonstration of the fact that despite the magnitude of the tragedy, the Government of India is back in business as usual and coping with relief works and projecting Indian's resilience in the face of adversity," Tytler said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the PBD on Friday and President A P J Abdul Kalam will confer the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards at the valedictory session on Sunday. Several other senior Indian ministers, chief ministers and eminent people have also confirmed participation.
However, there are reports that Bharatiya Janata Party president and former deputy prime minister Lal Kishenchand Advani might skip the PBD to attend a function in Gujarat.
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