March 25, 2011

A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)

Issue: X-3March 25, 2011
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Since many of the GOPIO officers were in India in january to attend GOPIO Convention and Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, we coudl not bring out Ferbuary issue. Regular bulletin starts with this issue.


GOPIO is a community supported non-profit organization taking up issues of the Indian Diaspora and attempting to unifying the community in its common causes. Support GOPIO by becoming a Life Member or chapter member. Once can become Life Member online by visiting



The Kolkata Memorial was inaugurated on January 11, 2011 at Kidderpore Depot along the Hugley River in Kolkata by Mr. Vayalar Ravi, Minister of India's Overseas Indian Affairs, attended by Shrimati Mamta Banerjee, Minister of Railways. Also in attendance and participating were MOIA Secretary Dr. A Didar Singh; Shri M L Meena, Chairman of Kolkata Port Trust and Shri Mukul Roy, Hon Minister of State for Shipping.



Kolkata Memorial and the old tower adjacent to it. 

The event was attended by a huge turn-out from several countries including Guyana, Trinidad, Surname, Guadeloupe, USA, Canada, UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Kenya, Fiji, Mauritius, Re-Union Islands, New Zealand, Australia and other many others countries where Indians and persons of Indian origin reside.


The Kolkata Memorial is inscribed with a memorial plaque (in English and Hindi) that pays tribute to those who left India as indentured Indian laborers from 1834 thru' 1920. It  is meant as "recognition and remembrance of their journeys and the as Indian indentured laborers to faraway lands seeking better livelihoods for themselves and their descendants; for their pioneering spirit, determination, resilience, endurance and perseverance amidst the extremely harsh and demeaning conditions they encountered; for their preservation of sense of origin, traditions, culture and religion, and their promotion of the Indian culture; for their achievements and successes despite insurmountable odds".


GOPIO Exec. VP Ashook Ramsaran with Minister Vayalar Ravi at the Memorial




The plaque is based on a proposal by Guyanese born Ashook Ramsaran, in his capacity as Executive Vice President of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) who, along with Leela Sarup of Mauritius/Kolkata, made several trips to Kolkata and collaborated closely and continuously with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs to draft the inscription and on the design of the plaque. The Government of India accepted the proposal and proceeded to erect the memorial monument with the inscription plaque contained within the monument. The inscription on the plaque was taken directly from the proposal provided by Ashook Ramsaran who quite succinctly captured the shared sentiments of the descendants of those indentured laborers.







The inaugural was preceded by a commemorative luncheon hosted by the newly formed Global Indian Heritage Society (GIDHS) and GOPIO and attended by Min Ravi and members of his staff at the Oberoi Grand Hotel in Kolkata. Many remarks were made by those attending from various countries, expressing their gratitude for the Kolkata Memorial as a symbol of their connection and roots in India. It is a long overdue tribute to those who took the risks on barely a promise, to their individual and shared sacrifices and their endurance that made it possible for their descendants to flourish with the spirit of Indianness that transcends time, and to their courage which become a living testament in so many lives.



Photo below: GOPIO and Gidhs opresent memen to Minister Vayalar Ravi for his help and commitment to make the Kolkata Memorial happen.Head Table (left to right): Indian High Commissioner to Trinidad & Tobago Malay Mishra; GOPIO Executive Vice President Ashook Ramsaran; Leela Sarup of Global Indian Heritage Society; MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi,; MOIA Secretary Dr. A Didar Singh; GOPIO International Chairman Inder Singh; Empire India Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty

 Kolkata memorial Launch Luncheon and Inauguration, Jan. 11, 2011
Photo above - Kolkata Memorial Inauguration. From L. to R. Minister of Railways Mamta Banerjee, MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi, Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy, Former Vice President of Mauritius A. Raouf Bunbhun, MOIA Secretary Dr. A. Didar Singh and the MC.


In his remarks after the unveiling, Min Ravi said that the memorial is in remembrance of all Indian emigrants who passed through Kolkata seeking better lives elsewhere and reflects on their endurance and spirit of Indianness.


In the speech preceding the presentation of the Pravasi Samman 2011 awards on January 9, 2011 President of India Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil remarked of the "steps to set up a Memorial for Indentured Workers at Kolkata Port to mark the indomitable spirit of Indian emigrants". At the same ceremony, MOIA Min Ravi also praised the efforts that made the Kolkata Memorial a reality. The Pravasi Samman 2011 Citation states that, "Ashook Ramsaran has been deeply involved in working to establish a memorial for indentured workers in Kolkata".


The inaugural and unveiling was a solemn event with the expected heartfelt emotions by so many who came from far off lands to witness this historic event. After the unveiling and remarks by Min Ravi, Min Banerjee, Min Mukuk Roy, Chairman Meena and Secretary Dr Didar Singh, attendees from the various countries gathered at the memorial and praised the efforts of the Government of India for the recognition and remembrance of their ancestors who left those shores generations ago. It was at times very emotional and there was singing with fervor unmatched in recent times. The delegations from Mauritius and Re-Union Islands sang familiar songs, expressing their gratitude for their presence and participation at the inauguration and unveiling with meaningful significance to all of them.


Photo below: Invited Guests at the Inauguration. GOPIO was well representaed by it internaitonal officers and members.

Kolkata Memorial Inauguration Audience and Guests at the Memorial Site

Photo above: Attendees from Reunion Islands and Mauritius at the inaugural of the Kolkata Memorial Monument along with Dr Thomas Abraham and Ashook Ramsaran of GOPIO Int'l.


The Kolkata Memorial project has meaningful significance to millions of descendants of those who left India as indentured Indian laborers from 1834 thru' 1920. The plan to begin with the installation of the inauguration plaque on January 11, 2011 followed by the memorial museum and resource center, has been received with overwhelming emotional sentiments and enthusiastic support from all corners of the global Indian diaspora, in particular from persons of Indian origin (PIOs) in destination countries where Indian indentured laborers emigrated from 1834 thru' 1920.


"This will be a lasting legacy for present and future generations of their descendants", remarked Ramsaran."The museum will house records of Indian indentured laborers' emigration during the 18th and 19th centuries" said Sarup; " A momentous occasion" remarked Sayantan Chakravarty of Empire India;"A noble effort indeed", said writer and historian Dr Anand Mullo of Mauritius; "An extra ordinary service to the Indian Diaspora", said Indian emigration roots researcher Shamshu Deen of Trinidad & Tobago; "A commemoration tribute whose time is overdue" said Prof Mohan Gautam of The Netherlands; "I congratulate Ashook for his efforts to remember our ancestors in a profoundly historic way" said Dr Arnold Thomas of St Vincent's; "We are all deeply indebted for the Kolkata Memorial which is a tremendous achievement", said prominent Indo-Caribbean Diaspora icon Dr Yesu Persaud of Guyana.


Says Ramsaran of the Kolkata Memorial, "I feel so honored and privileged to be actively working in prominent civic leadership role to make it possible for the Kolkata Memorial become a reality. I have remarked previously that, "our ancestors who left those shores truly deserve their place in the annals of Indian history and the journeys of people of Indian origin. We owe them due recognition and a lasting remembrance - and that is what the Kolkata Memorial will be". I feel so honored and privileged - truly so fortunate and blessed -- to be doing this.  The vision of a single, suitably significant place of emotional and physical connection for the descendants of indentured workers is finally becoming a reality".


The significance of the Kolkata Memorial transcends all boundaries and can become an example for other groups who emigrated from India during and/or subsequent to the 1834-1920 period. The message of the Kolkata Memorial should be disseminated to as many as possible to inform others as well as generate support for its museum and resource center plans.


The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) concluded its very successful Convention 2011 in New Delhi from January 6th through January 7th 2011 preceding Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2011. The GOPIO meetings and conferences were held at the FICCI Conference Centre and GOPIO's Community Service Awards banquet was held at the Hotel Ashoka. The conference was formally inaugurated on January 6th by Hon Salman Khurshid, Min of Water Resources, Min of Minority Affairs. FICCI Secretary General Dr. Amit Mitra was featured speaker.


GOPIO Conf Delhi - Minister SalmanKhursheed & Dr.Amit MitraSpeakingGOPIO Convention included several intensive meetings and conference sessions, in addition to other related GOPIO events that combined to produce a very comprehensive and successful Convention 2011 that was well attended and produced tremendous positive feedback and interaction among the participants and attendees. In addition, GOPIO discussed, deliberated and issued several resolutions on pertinent issues of concern to the global Indian community.


On January 5th, 2011, GOPIO held its Executive Committee Meeting followed by its General Council Meeting at which several operational and procedural matters were discussed and decisions reached. The Executive Committee Meeting was chaired by President Lord Diljit Rana and the General Council Meeting chaired by Inder Singh, Chairman. GOPIO Council & Country/Chapter Reports were provided by: Dr. Piyush Agrawal, Regional Vice President, North America; Sunny Kulathakal, Middle East Coordinator; Chanchal Chowdhry, Secretary General; K. N. Gupta, President GOPIO-India; Harrry Walia, Regional Coordinator, GOPIO Australia; Umesh Chandra, GOPIO  Australia; Suman Kapoor, GOPIO New Zealand. Council Reports by: Dr Mohan Gautam, Academic Council (Netherlands); Deo Gosine, Business Council (Trinidad/USA); Munish Gupta, Media Council (India-USA); Lady Shruti Rana, Women's Council (UK).


On January 6th a full day conference was held on FICCI Conference Centre comprising four (4) sessions as follows:

 Session I:  Is Single Window Open & Working?

Session II:  NRI/PIO Services at Overseas Indian Consular Offices: Issues & Challenges

Session III:  Kolkata Memorial and 19th Century Indian Emigration

Session IV:  Cultural Preservation in Expanding Indian Diaspora

Session V:  Resolutions


Session I: "Is Single Window Open & Working?"


The session was chaired by Lord Diljit Rana (UK); Co-Chaired by Chan Chowdhry (UK). Speakers included: Mr. Gaurav Makhija (KPMG India); Mr Pamarty VenkataRamana(New Delhi, India); Mr Vijay Kumar Gupta, Chairman, Beekay Engineering Corp (India). Wrap-Up & Concluding Remarks by Dr Thomas Abraham (USA). See videos of some presentations at the following links:

Full Session -

Industrialists Vijay Kumar Gupta speaking -


GOPIO Conf. Delhi - Session on Is Single Window Open?

Photo above: GOPIO conf. sessionon on Is Single window Open and Working. From L. to R.: GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham, Industrialist Vijay Kumar Gupta, GOPIO Secretary General Chan Chowdhry and GOPIO Preisdent Lord Diljit Rana


Session II: "NRI/PIO Services at Overseas Indian Consular Offices: Issues & Challenges"


The session was chaired by Mr Inder Singh (USA); Co-Chaired by Mr Umesh Chandra (Australia). Speakers included: GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham; MEA Additional Secretary B.K. Gupta, Ministry of External Affairs (New Delhi, India); Mr J C Sharma (New Delhi, India); Jay Banerjei (Canada); Wrap-Up & Concluding Remarks by Mr Ravi Gidar (UK). See videos of some presentations at the following links:

Full Session -

Dr. thomas Abraham Speaking -

Mr. Jay Banerjei speaking -

Mr. Umesh Chandra speaking -

MEA Additional Secretary B.K. Gupta speaking -


Photo below:Session on Consular Issues. From L. to R. Ravi Girdar (GOPIO London). Dr. Thoms Abraham (GOPIO Intl.), Ambassadro J.C. Sharma, Umesh Chandra (GOPIO-Brisbane), GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, MEA Additional Secretary B.K. Gupta and Jay Banerjei (GOPIO-Toronoto)

GOPIO Conf. Inaugural and Session on Consular Issues

Photo above: Inaugural Session - Suman Kapoor (GOPIO New Zealand), GOPIO Secretary General Chan Chowdhry, Prof. Prabhat Jha MD, GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, Minister Salman Khursheed, GOPIO President Lord Diljit Rana and GOPIO Exec. Vice President Ashook Ramsaran.


Inaugural Session: Inauguration by Hon Salman Khurshid,Min of Water Resources, Min of Minority Affairs. Special recognition of achievement was given to Prof. Prabhat Jha, MD DPhil (Canada) who worked to improve health and quality of life of resident Indians, started the Million Death Study in 2001 in collaboration with the Registrar General of India. The session was chaired by Inder Singh, Chairman of GOPIO and Co-Chaired by Lord Diljit Rana, President of GOPIO. See videos of inaugural session at the following links:

Full Inaugural Session -

Minister Salman Khurshid speaking -


Special Session - Financial Matters for NRIs and PIOs


Officials of Kotak Mahendra, the main sponsor of the GOPIO convention, spoke at a special session on financial matters and investment opportunities for NRIs and PIOs. See presentations below:


Session III: "Kolkata Memorial and 19th Century Indian Emigration"


The session was chaired by Ashook Ramsaran (Guyana-USA), Co-Chaired by Dr Shekhar Tiwary (India). Speakers included: Leela Sarup (Mauritius-W. Bengal); Christelle Gourdine (Guadeloupe); Jean Regis Ramsamy (Re-Union Islands); Marina Budhos (USA). See full presentations below:


Session IV:  "Cultural Preservation in Expanding Indian Diaspora"


The session was chaired by Harmohan Walia (Australia).  Speakers included: Arvind Sood (USA); Prof Mohan Gautam (Netherlands); Dr Harshinder Kaur (India). Wrap-Up & Concluding Remarks by Deo Gosine, (Trinidad-USA).See presentation by Prof. Mohan Gautam below:


Session V:  Resolutions


The session was chaired by Dr Piyush Agrawal (USA) and Co-Chaired by Rajindre Tewari (Netherlands).




At its Convention 2011 held on January 5-6 in New Delhi, GOPIO deliberated, discussed and passed resolutions pertinent to the interests and needs of the global Indian Diaspora of NRIs and PIOs. The following is a list of the resolutions passed.


RESOLUTION 1:  Image of India as a Country

RESOLUTION 2:  Inconsistent Policies of Government of India

RESOLUTION 3:  Taxes on NRIs after stay of 60 days in India

RESOLUTION 4:  International Indian Emigration Day

RESOLUTION 5:  Consular Services for NRIs and PIOs

RESOLUTION 6:  Policies & Practices

RESOLUTION 7:  Rajya Sabha Seats for Non Resident Indians (NRIs)

RESOLUTION 8:  Pravasi Bharatiya Divas & Problems at Delhi Airport

 RESOLUTION 9:  Registration Fee Surcharges & Additional Fee for Late Registration at PBDs

RESOLUTRION 10:  Terrorism: Safety of Life & Property

RESOLUTION 11:  Investments In Properties & Disputes

 RESOLUTION 12  Divorces and Child Custody in Indian Courts


Further details can be obtained at




Following the conclusion of the GOPIO Conference on January 6, 2011, GOPIO held its annual CSA awards banquet on the same evening at the Ashok Hotel in New Delhi. The Chief Guest was Hon. Vayalar Ravi, India's Union Cabinet Minister of Overseas Indian AffairsMinister and Parliamentary Affairs. The Guest of Honor was Shri Bhoopinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister ofHaryana.


 GOPIO Officials at Delhi Conf. Awards Banquet with Dignitaries

Photo above: GOPIO officials at the Awards Banquet with Digntaries. From L. to R. Inder Singh, Ashook Ramsaran, Minister Vayalar Ravi, Lord Diljit Rana, Chief Minsiter Bhoopinder Singh Hooda, Candadian Member of Parliament Ruby Dhalla and Chan Chowdhry.


GOPIO's annual CSA awards were established to recognize and honor those NRIs and PIOs who have provided significant community and public service or done philanthropic work for the Indian Diaspora and/or to India.


T.K.A. Nair being inducted GOPIO's Honor Roll at GOPIO Banquet, Jan. 2011

Photo above: India's top bureaucrat and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minsiter of India T.K.A. Nair being inducted into GOPIO's Honor Roll at the Awards banquet. From L. to R.: Lord Diljit Rana, Inder Singh, T.K.A. Nair, Ashook Ramsaran, Dr. Thomas Abraham


The awardees for GOPIO Community Service Awards 2011 for services to the Indian Diaspora were: Mr Gambhir Watts (Australia) and Prof. M.C. Madhavan (USA). In addition, Mr. T. K. A. Nair, Principal Secretary, Prime Minister's Office, was inducted to GOPIO's Honor Roll.See full session at the following link:




GOPIO offcials meet CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat on Jan. 5, 2011During the stay in New Delhi, GOPIO offcials met with opposition political leaders. GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham and GOPIO Detroit President Radha Krishnan met with CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat on Jan. 5th and discussed many of the NRIs issues as well as on how NRIs can be be fully invovled in India's devleopment.







A larger delegation of GOPIO officials including President Lord Diljit Rana, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Vice President Dr. Piyush Agrawal, Secretary General Chan Chowdhry, Ambassador J.C. Sharma, BJP Mumbai Pradesh Committee President Raj Purohit and several GOPIO chapter presidents called on to the leader of Opposiiton in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on Jan. 5th evening at her residence. The delegation discussed a wide range of issues including the passport surrender issues implemented by Govt of India last year, areas where NRIs/PIOs can be utilized to develop and support India's image aborad and promoting investments by NRIs/PIOsin Inida.


GOPIO delegation meeting Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj in Delhi

Photo above; GOPIO delegation with Leader of Opposiiton in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. From L. to R: Dr. Piyush Agrawal, Sudha Agrawal, Suman Kapoor, Raj Purohi, Lord Dilji Rana, Sushma Swaraj, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Radha Krishnan, Ritesh Agrawal and Ambassador J.C. Sharma


Statement by Main Sponsor Kotak Mahindra Bank:

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Virat Diwanji Executive Vice President, Kotak Mahindra Bank said "Kotak Mahindra Bank is happy to be associated with GOPIO and partner in events and initiatives undertaken by GOPIO. As a large India centric bank and investment focus, Kotak can be a perfect financial partner for GOPIO and its member to support this engagement. Kotak Mahindra Bank would like to strengthen the association going forward and support GOPIO on their various initiatives."


Kotak Mahindra Bank offers investments and wealth management services to NRIs and PIOs across the globe. Kotak Mahindra Bank has a comprehensive suite of investment products and services for NRIs across the globe which includes deposits, remittance, mutual funds, life insurance, loan and other banking and investment products and services. Visit www.NRI to check out information and answers to questions on Finance, Investments, Real Estate and Citizen Law.

GOPIO New Delhi Convention 2011 Sponsor Kotak Bank  


At the concluding session of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2011, the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, called upon Indian Diaspora to participate in building a better future of India for the disadvantaged sections of society. She said, "Your contribution in the health and education sectors, in efforts to make India slum-free, as well as your participation in infrastructure development projects would be welcomed." She also said that the Indian Diaspora have come to be recognized as the 'knowledge Diaspora'. Diaspora's expertise and skills will be a vital resource for India's efforts to forge inclusive growth for all its citizens.


President Patil conferred the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award to fifteen distinguished members of the Indian Diaspora for their achievements in life and contribution to the welfare of the Indian community and enhancing India's image overseas. The awards were presented to these the eminent Overseas Indians at the valedictory function of the third and concluding day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2011.


The following 15 eminent NRIs were selected after a careful scrutiny to be recognized for their outstanding contributions. Indian President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil gave away Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards to the eminent Overseas Indians which included two active GOPIO members, Executive Vice President Mr. Ashook Kumar Ramsaran from USA and Wahid Saleh from the Netherlands. Other recipients are: Dr. Rajiv Shah from USA. Sir Anand Satyanand from New Zealand, Prof. Veena Harbhagwan Sahajwalla from Australia, Ms. Lata Pada from Canada, Mr. Harindrapal Singh Banga from Hong Kong, Mr. Mohammad Munir Nazir Hassan Ansari from Israel, Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva from Liberia, Tan Sri Dato' Ajit Singh from Malaysia, Indian Community Benevolent Forum of Qatar, Dr. Mohiaddin Syed Karimuddin from Saudi Arabia, Mr. Mano Selvanathan of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mohan Jashanmal from UAE, Baroness (Dr.) Sandip Verma from UK.


Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees 2011 with President Pratibha Patil 

Photo above: Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award Recipients 2011 with President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi and MOIA Secretary Dr. Deedhar A. Singh.


Ramsaran, who is a third generation PIO born in Guyana, joins two (2) other GOPIO executives who were previously accorded the prestigious award: GOPIO President Lord Diljit Rana and GOPIO founding president and former chairman Dr Thomas Abraham. Ramsaran also joins three (3) others from Guyana were previously accorded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman: President Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana; Sir Shridat Ramphal, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth; Dr Yesu Persaud, industrialist and civic leader.


GOPIO Exec. VP Ashook Ramsaran receiving PBD Samman from President PatilThe Pravasi Samman 2011 Citation to Ramsaran states that, "As a PIO originally from Guyana, he has been deeply involved in working to establish a memorial for indentured workers in Kolkata. He is recognized for his immense services to the Indian community". In the speech preceding the presentation of the Pravasi Samman 2011 awards on January 9, 2011 President of India Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil remarked of the "steps to set up a Memorial for Indentured Workers at Kolkata Port to mark the indomitable spirit of Indian emigrants". At the same ceremony, MOIA Min Ravi also praised the efforts that made the Kolkata Memorial a reality. When asked how it feels to be accorded such a prestigious award by the Government of India for his efforts, Ramsaran remarked that, "it is indeed a special honor to be recognized as such. It is because of the strength, resilience, perseverance and sacrifices of our ancestors that we all stand tall. I feel gratified that I have been able to contribute towards recognition and remembrance of our ancestors who left India as indentured laborers from 1834-1920".


Addressing on the occasion the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Shri Vayalar Ravi said that the ninth PBD took forward the 'inclusive agenda' we had initiated last year in the eighth PBD. The focus this year was on discovering innovative areas in which overseas Indians can benefit from the many opportunities that India offers. Minister Ravi emphasized that the event provided an opportunity for the Diaspora to explore new areas for cooperation in the national priority areas of Health and Education. We need to work towards building a relationship that will see India emerge as an economic power in the true sense. The Indian growth story is an absorbing, inspiring and continuing one. In the midst of one of the worst worldwide economic downturns, India has demonstrated the merits of effective regulation combined with a free market democracy, he reminded.


Celebrating the many contribution of the Indian Diaspora the Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh said, "I think it would not be an exaggeration to say that the sterling achievements of our Diaspora represent a triumph of the value that Indian culture places on education. We hope to use the wisdom, experience and resources of the global Indian community to develop a world class education system, particularly in the field of higher education,"  Dr Singh said the PBD had enabled the establishment of a new bond between India and her children who live around the world. "It is a new bond based on our pride in the achievements of people of Indian origin worldwide and their pride in India's re-emergence as a cradle of creativity adventure and enterprise."


"These interactions have enabled you to discover a new India and feel enthused by our progress. When you see the knowledge explosion in Bangalore, the entrepreneurial vibrancy of Gujarat, the creativity of Tamil cinema, the awakening of a new India, you feel proud to say you are a person of Indian origin," he said.


The President said that Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is being celebrated every year in one of the countries which have a significant number of Indians for close-interaction with more and more overseas Indians. She also announced that the next Regional Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas would be held in Toronto this year.


Mr. Vayalar Ravi announced that a memorial plaque at Kolkata Port on 11th of January 2011 will be unveiled to honour and remember all the Indian indentured workers who had emigrated in the 19th and early 20th centuries.  


Mr. Ravi announced that the next PBD would be held at Jaipur, Rajasthan from January 7th to 9th, 2012.


 The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) urges compassion, support and all necessary relief on an urgent basis for those affected by the natural disasters of recent floods and cyclones in Australia, the earthquakes in New Zealand and the massive earthquake/tsunami in Japan.


The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) joins with all respective GOPIO's chapters, GOPIO's councils and membership worldwide in expressing concern for all the citizens of the affected areas of Australia, New Zealand and Japan which are experiencing unusually harsh conditions caused by the effects of flooding and cyclone, earthquakes and tsunami conditions that have caused tremendous loss of lives, undue suffering, pain and anguish to those affected.


GOPIO supports and encourages all efforts being made by the respective governments to bring needed relief to the affected citizens for alleviate the difficulties being experienced and for the well being of its citizens. GOPIO urges other countries, as well as local, regional and international relief agencies, to respond urgently to this disaster and provide needed relief in a timely manner".




GOPIO-Edison and Central Jersey Chapters in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Plainsboro, New Jersey announced a Japan Disaster Relief Fund at a function held on March 22, 2011 at the Guru Palace restaurant in North Brunswick, New Jersey. "Japan and India have accomplished great things together. People of Indian Origin would like to show their solidarity with the brave people of Japan at this very difficult time by mobilizing the resources of GOPIO and its members to support the disaster relief efforts for Japan." , said Arvind Sood and Rajeev Mehta, Presidents of their respective GOPIO Chapters. About 50 people attended the event and some of the members pledged their contributions towards the Japan Disaster Relief.



GOPIO Edison and GOPIO Central Jersey for Japan Disaster Relief

Photo above: Officials of GOPIO-Edison, GOPIO-Central Jersey and rotary Cus of Plainsboro after their joint meetings.


The initiative has strong support of GOPIO International's office leaders Lord Diljit Rana, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Mr. Inder Singh, as well, Mr. Ashook Ramusaran, and will be rolled out to other GOPIO Chapters around the globe.


Fund Raising drive will begin immediately and will last until May 31st, 2011. GOPIO will announce the fund recipient organizations as it completes investigating organizations that can make the maximum impact, both in terms of immediate relief needs as well as the longer term recovery process. All funds will be routed through "GOPIO International" which is a 501 (c) (3) non profit entity. 100% of your generous tax-deductible contributions will go to organization(s) that directly help victims recover from the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.


GOPIO is also requesting volunteers donate their time to make phone calls, send emails, organize collection boxes, handle media messages, and collect funds in your respective localities and a host of other tasks needed to make a maximum impact.


In the past, GOPIO-Central Jersey and Rotary Club of Plainsboro have jointly conducted many local community projects such as Medical Camps and Soup Kitchen, and several international projects such as Jaipur Limb, Nepal School facility, etc.


For further details, call  Arvind Sood at 732 277 6313, Email: or Rajeev Mehta at 908 917 4081,


For more information about GOPIO and Rotary Club of Plainsboro, please visit:


GOPIO-Central Jersey,



Rotary Club of Plainsboro,


Tax deductible contributions can be sent to GOPIO Inc, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.



GOPIO's Convention 2011 is scheduled to be held in Toronto on September 2 - September 4, 2011. The convention will be a 3-day event with GOPIO of Canada holding its first international event along with its several GOPIO chapters. 


Tentative program outline is as follows:

7      Friday, Sep 2 (day): GOPIO Meetings

7      Friday, Sep 2 (evening): Inaugural Reception

7      Saturday, Sep 3 (day): Conference

7      Saturday, Sep 3 (evening): Banquet

7      Sunday, Sep 4 (day): Conclusion


GOPIO of Canada will take the lead, supported by all the GOPIO chapters in Canada, taking the lead role in planning and coordination. The organizing committees are being established. The conference program would be addressing current, relevant PIO/NRI issues.


Contact: Jay Banerjei, GOPIO of Canada at






May 31- Jun 1, 2011: Business & Diaspora Conference (Trinidad)

June 8 - 9, 2011: PBD Canada (Toronto)

September 2 - 4, 2011: GOPIO Convention (Toronto)




On December 24th, the GOPIO Youth and Young Professional Group of Connecticut held its 5th  annual Youth and Young Professional Luncheon at the Hampton in Stamford, CT. The attendees consisted of of middle school, high school and college students. The group was led by GOPIO Youth Chair Sharon-Priya Banta, who has been a part of leading the youth for the last 5 years. Sharon stated, "We want to provide an environment where we can mentor and learn from one another."


"When I attended high school in Stamford, we didn't have any such youth groups and I see the opportunities to help these kids since they are smart and talented," Sharon added. Until recently, Connecticut had only small Indian youth population. Now that the number has increased, GOPIO-CT Youth and Young Professionals would like to organize programs to create a positive environment which facilitates a sense of community for the younger Indian crowd.


GOPIO-CT Youth Mentoring Speakers Arun Singh and Manu Bhat The event consisted of two main speakers, an adult member and a youth member. The first speaker, Mr. Arun Sinha, a Group Chief Marketing Officer of Zurich Financial Services, eloquently spoke to the youth about his own experiences in the corporate world. The main focus of his speech includes five key points, which he feels are essential for success, they included the following:

1) Dream Big. The sky is the limit, and if you don't push yourself, to reach the highest you can go, then you will never reach there.

2) Work hard; you can never achieve a goal without putting in due effort.

3) Network. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you can have in life.

4) Follow your heart. The only way to find success in a field is if you want the success. If you do not like what you do, then how can you do it well?

5) His final point was sort of clichid, but completely true and practical, have fun. If you enjoy what you do, then nothing can derail you from becoming better.


Mr. Sinha grew Zurich brand from almost obscurity to become one of the top global 100 brands and has also written a book called, "Sweet Spot: How to Maximize Marketing for Business Growth," which he passionately shared with the youth that afternoon.


The second speaker, Manu Bhat, a senior at University of Pennsylvania, spoke about his experience growing up in Stamford and getting into him dream school. Manu encouraged kids to participate in internships through out their summers in college and take advantage of all the free time they have with activities they enjoy. He also discussed that besides getting good grades in high school, community involvement is also extremely essential. Manu held an internship with UBS Investment Bank in New York in the past summer,. He is currently a senior at UPENN and a double major in both business and engineering. Manu told the youth to feel free to reach out to him as their mentor and that if he could accomplish his goals, they all could too! He told them to stay positive and "Never give up". 


GOPIO-CT Youth Annual Networking and Youth Mentoring Program

Photo Above: GOPIO-CT Annual Youth Networking and Mentoring Program participnats with Coordinator Sharon Banta in the left


Both speakers had great energy, were extremely inspiring and left the youth who attended motivated and hungry to work hard to achieve their dreams. 


High school rep, Ashish Ramachandran, Youth Marketing Chair Rahul Sinha and youth member Ashwin Singh spoke about upcoming youth events including a youth talent show this spring being planned by GOPIO Youth group. For additional information on how to get involved with the talent show, please contact Rahul Sinha at


The youth who attended said that they had fun and were excited for more GOPIO Youth events. The group is looking for new youth members to join on the board and current open positions including middle school rep, secretary and historian. Please join the Facebook page and message for info. 


Adult leaders, Anita Bhatt, Shailesh Naik and Dr. Thomas Abraham have been instrumental in providing positive energy for the co-chairs as well as the youth group members to stay driven and active. The event would not have been possible without the help of Shelly Nichani, GOPIO Vice President and owner of the Hampton Inn who generously lets the youth hold events there every year. One can look for GOPIO-CT Youth Group on Facebook and join its page to get more info on the group.




GOPIO is collaborating with St. John's University's  Committee on Latin American and Caribbean Studies on a 1-day conference "Empowering our Immigrant Neighbors Part II: Agenda for Action" to be held on Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at St. John's University at the D'Angelo Center of the Queens Campus located on 8000 Utopia Parkway, New York. It is the second annual multi-disciplinary conference, Empowering our Immigrant Neighbors Part II: Agenda for Action. This all-day multidisciplinary conference will highlight some of the most important issues immigrant neighbors face in the tri-state area and provide an agenda for action that would include solutions and support to the difficult situations that diverse immigrant communities sometimes face


Sessions comprise of pertinent topics to be deliberated and discussed. These include:


o    "Who are We? A Demographic Portrait of the Immigrant Population"

o    "Empowering Immigrant Students: Promising School Practices"

o    "Press Coverage of National and Local Immigration Concerns"

o    "Psychological Strategies to Encourage Resilience in our Immigrants"

o    "Immigrants' Activism in Adversarial Times"

o    "The Experience of St. John's University's Immigrant Students"

o    Documentary


Among the several speakers and presenters are Dr. A.M. Gondane, Deputy Consul General of the Consulate of India in New York; Commissioner Fatima A. Shama of the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs; and  Ashook Ramsaran, Executive Vice President of GOPIO International whose presentation is titled "Challenges and Opportunities Facing Immigrants of Indian Origin from the Caribbean in the USA."


For details and reservations, please contact St John's University CLACS at 1-718-990-5829 or by email at




GOPIO and The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC), a not for profit public private initiativeof Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), have agreed to collaborate and cooperate to foster a closer networking between Indian diaspora, and with people and organizations in India to expand the economic engagement of the Indian diaspora with India. Shefali Chaturvedi, CEO of OIFC and Ashook Ramsaran, Executive Vice President of GOPIO International, worked closely towards agreement on the partnership.


While OIFC  works to facilitate the economic engagement of the Overseas Indians with India, it has a mandate to promote overseas Indian Investment into India and facilitate business partnerships, establish and maintain a diaspora knowledge network, assist states in India to project investment opportunities, provide advisory services to PIO's and NRI's. GOPIO is the international network of people of Indian origin, a non-profit organization in the service of Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) around the world. GOPIO has set its priorities in pooling resources, both financial and professional, for the benefit of PIOs, the countries they come from and India.




GOPIO Australia installs hand pump at Punjab schoolGOPIO Australia has provided clean water and winter clothes for a rural school in village Wara Pohwindia, Zira. GOPIO Australia Coordinator Harmohan Singh Walia along with Balkar Singh Kang of GOPIO Australia travelled from Sydney to India to provide a hand pump for clean water, winter clothing, shoes, socks and stationary for kids of Wara Pohwindia Govt. Middle School, Zira, Dist. Ferozepur on 3rd January 2011. Fruits were also distributed to all school children. To witness this event, local authorities, Mr T.N. Passi, SDM of Zira and Mr Avtar Singh Zira, Director Cooperative Societies were present along with local prominent dignitaries. Mr Walia presented GOPIO Mementos to them along with School Head Mistress. Mr Walia informed the gathering that this is one of the objectives of GOPIO Australia to help under privileged schools in India. GOPIO Australia had helped earlier flood victims of Bihar and Fiji, victims of tsunami in Samoa, earthquake in Indonesia, victims of Victoria Bushfire, victims of attack on Indian students in Sydney are some of the examples.


GOPIO in Australia and abroad has now set its priorities in pooling its resources, both financial and professional, for the benefit of people of Indian origin and the countries they come from. GOPIO North West has come up with the idea to help underprivileged school kids in India. Antakshri 2010 was held in November 2010, where funds were collected for this event has left a lasting legacy for the students of a selected school by providing them with well needed basic amenities.


Mr. Walia said that at the background of this event were all GOPIO Australia Chapters' contribution, namely Neeru Singh of GOPIO Sydney North West (lead chapter), Lucky Singh of GOPIO Sydney, Amit Pall of GOPIO Parramatta, Balbir Singh of GOPIO Ryde and Aayush Sharma of GOPIO Glenwood along with their chapter members, many sponsors, attendees and volunteers.


GOPIO Australia helps Punjab school 

Photo Above: GOPIO Australi and school officials with some childrena nd staff. Sitting i=on the chair, from l. to.r. an unidentified school teacher; Mrs. Surinderpal Kaur, Head Mistress; Mrs. Manbeen Walia; Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, Member GOPIO Sydney North West; Mr. T.N. Passi, SDM Zira; Mr. Avtar Singh Zira, Chairman Cooperative Societies; Mr. Harry Walia, GOPIO Area Coordinator, Sydney; Inspector Mr. Sandhu, Punjab Police; Mr. Baldev Singh, Member Block Samiti 



Prominent Indian American community activist and GOPIO Northern Virginia President, Jay Bhandari, has been appointed by Fairfax (Virginia) County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova, in Citizens Advisory committee on Reapportionment of the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Bhandari will represent the Asian Pacific Islander community. This committee will plan and advise the Board on redistricting options. Mr. Bhandari is the only person in 19 members committee from the Indian American community.


Jay Bhandari has been a successful community activist and political leader for the Indian community in numerous capacities. He is the immediate past President of Association of United Hindu & Jain Temples of Metro Washington, which is a congregation of 15 Temples in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC.  He is also director of Indian Cultural Coordination committee and Chairman Public Relations committee of the Jain Society of Metro Washington area.  He has also served as President of Jain Society of South Florida (2001-2002).


Mr. Bhandari has organized several successful big events including largest Diwali Mela of the decade in 2009, Grand Hindi Kavi Sammelan in Metropolitan Washington area in 2010. Other events organized include: Republic Day, Independence Day, Diwali celebration, Holi Mela or Community picnic.




GOPIO Life Member Shashi Ruia has been named as Businessman of the Year at the 29th Business India Award event. Shashi Ruia, Chairman, Essar Group, is a first generation entrepreneur industrialist. He has made invaluable contributions toward strengthening the core and infrastructure sectors in India and has steered the Essar Group to a premier position in global industry. Mr Ruia has masterminded the group's business strategy and consolidated a range of activities through backward and forward integration. This has enabled the group unleash unique synergies across its businesses.

Today, the Essar Group is a multinational conglomerate and a leading player in the sectors of Steel, Oil & Gas, Power, Communications, Shipping, Ports & Logistics, Projects and Minerals. With operations in more than 20 countries across five continents, the Group employs 60,000 people, with revenues of USD 15 billion.  Mr Ruia is also on several important national bodies and industry associations, including the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) the Indo-US Joint Business Council and the Indian National Ship Owners Association (lNSA).

In 2007, Mr Ruia joined an elite list of achievers who will independently fund The Elders, a group of world renowned personalities who have joined hands to tackle the world's most difficult problems. Widely regarded as one of the architects of modem India, Shashi Ruia has a passion for education and mentoring young talent




Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo was conferred with the Doctor of Literature by the Padmashree Dr. D. Y Patil University in Mumbai at its Annual Convocation ceremony on February 8, 2011. The university is part of the D. Y Patil Group, one of the largest groups in India in the area of private education with over 100 educational institutions with over 100,000 students covering a range of disciplines.  Along with President Jagdeo, there were two other recipients:  Professor M. S Swaminathan who lauded the important contribution Guyana has been making towards sustainable forest management and offering lessons that can serve as a global example for other forest countries.  The other recipient was Dr. Makarand Jawadekar, former executive of Pfizer global research and development who received a Doctor of Science.


President Jagdeo, in accepting the award alluded to the global trends of greater access to information which will change the demand for educational services and technical expertise. India has emerged as a leader in modernizing and expanding education to meet not only its domestic demand but, has also strategically positioned itself to be able to offer this expertise to other countries.  In recognizing the global challenges, President Jagdeo pointed to the opportunities for many cultures to work together. The rich cultural heritage and tradition of India and Guyana has provided a good foundation for the two countries to continue to work closely. 




Two Indian Americans, Sushil Jacob and Devi Rao are among the 29 candidates named as Fellows by the Skadden Fellowship Foundation for the year 2011.Jacob is with the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley, California and advocates to advance green community economic development by providing free, comprehensive legal services to low-income entrepreneurs.


Rao seeks to improve protection against gender-based bullying and preventing and remedying such harassment by seeking enhanced enforcement of Title IX, in collaboration with school districts and advocacy groups. Rao works with the National Women's Law Center in Washington.


The Skadden Fellowship is awarded for two years. The foundation, established in 1988, gives a salary and pays all fringe benefits to which an employee of the sponsoring organization would be entitled.



On January 13, 2011, the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada announced the election of Guyanese born PIO attorney- at- law Julius Nathoo as the president of the Transitional Council for the College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario. The Transitional Council is the regulatory college that formulates the regulations to enable the Psychotherapy Act to be proclaimed and for the college to begin registering members. The council was established in 2009. Once its members are registered, the college will monitor them to ensure they uphold professional competence and ethical standards


This is Nathoo's second term in that office. Nathoo, from Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne, Berbice, was a Guyana scholar. His father was a bookkeeper at the Port Mourant sugar estate. Nathoo was admitted to the Bar in Guyana in 1996, and has since been associated with the legal firm of Rawana Scott and Bahadursingh of South Road Lacytown, Georgetown in Guyana. Nathoo holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of London, England; a postgraduate diploma in Education from the University of Guyana; a Barrister- at- Law degree from London, England; and a Masters degree in English from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Nathoo taught English and Law at Regina Mundi College, London, Ontario before he was appointed by the governor- general of Canada to the Chair of the Federal Appellate Tribunal that ad ministered the Employment Insurance Act, a position which he held for nine years.




A new book has been released by Guyanese born PIO Professor Paul Erriah titled "QUO VADIS: Perspectives on the Commonwealth Caribbean from Colonial Times to Present". It is an in-depth research study of the history and motivations in the Commonwealth Caribbean during British colonial times.


Quote from the book: "Spain brought nothing to the New World except the horse and Roman Catholicism. The French wished to expand; the Spanish wished to hold on to everything they could; the Dutch wished to be left alone; the English planters wished to make money, at whose expense was irrelevant; and the English Government also wished to make money at the expense of the English planters in a chain of exploitation irrespective of place and people".


The book is available at




Ludhiana born Jimmy Hansra is part of the Canadian World Cup team and will play matches in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. Jimmi's father and brother are accompanying him to India to see him play Canada and to give him moral support. For Jimmy's teachers at Ludhiana's Sacred Heart Convent School too it is a proud feeling that their student was playing in the World Cup.



Pravasi Samman 2011 recipient Ashook Ramsaran was recognized in Toronto, Canada at a gala awards event in recognition of his efforts to make the Kolkata Memorial became a reality due to his initiative, articulation of the need and for his persistence that convinced the Government of India to build the Kolkata Memorial which was unveiled on January 11, 2011 in Kolkata. The awards event took place on February 12, 2011 at The Mirage Banquet Hall and Convention Centre located at 1917 Albion Road in Etobicoke, Ontario with this year's theme being "An Evening Of Love & Appreciation".


Over the years the Indo-Caribbean community has played a significant role in the development of the rapidly growing society in Canada. There are many individuals and organizations that have contributed tremendously in making that community more accessible, progressive and convenient in which to live and express its unique heritage.


A recognition plaque was presented to Ramsaran by the Indo-Caribbean Music Culture and Community (MCC) in recognition of his "dedication, excellence and service to our community". The Caribbean East Indian Cultural Organization (CEICO) presented a suitably inscribed and elegantly designed Outstanding Achievement Award 2011 globe for "proudly sharing your heritage with the world"




Two Indian-Americans Ganpat Mani and Vijay were appointed on Monday by US secretary of commerce Gary Locke to serve on the Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee for two years. Mani and Sazawal along with 28 others will make recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce concerning trade policy development, improving the competitiveness of US industry and its ability to compete for international contracts for civil nuclear products and services.

The 30-member committee will also identify priority markets for US civil nuclear products and services in the short- and long-terms.

Mani, originally from Tamil Nadu, is president of the Denver, Colorado-based ConverDyn, which us a joint venture between affiliates of Honeywell International and  General Atomics. It manages the international marketing of UF6 conversion and related services from Honeywell's Metropolis, Illinois facility. Active in the industry trade organizations, Mani was elected to Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Board of Directors in 2009.

He received his bachelor's degree in metallurgical engineering in 1971 from Loughborough University in England and his MBA in 1973 from Rutgers University, New Jersey.

Srinagar-born Sazawal, 64, who is currently the Director of Government Programs of USEC Inc, was involved in Track-2 discussions preceding the completion of the 123 Agreement between India and the United States.

For over three decades Sazawal has participated in the US civilian and defence nuclear programmes covering the entire nuclear fuel cycle, and an array of reactor designs that have included conventional and space based reactors, and black programs.

Sazawal was born and raised in Srinagar, and came to the US in 1970 for doing PhD. He graduated from the Tyndale Biscoe Memorial High School and the Amar Singh College, and completed his post-graduate engineering studies in the US.

As director of programs funded or supported by the US federal government, Sazawal provides corporate programme oversight and coordination of various government projects within the company. He is a member of the management team involved in the American Centrifuge Project (ACP), the leading initiative by USEC Inc to build a state-of-the-art centrifuge nuclear enrichment plant based on American technology.

Sazawal holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Benarus Hindu University (India), M Tech in Materials Engineering from the M A College of Technology, Bhopal (India), and PhD in Structural Mechanics from the Michigan Technological University. He has authored nine published technical papers and articles.






The 2011 Regional PBD will be held in Toronto on June 9 and 10th.  Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce is the nodal agency for the event.  The theme is Building Bridges: Positioning Strategy of the Indian Diaspora.  Indian Diaspora members in Canada, USA, Mexico and the Caribbean countries are expected to attend the PBD­Canada 2011 convention in large numbers. Also expecting participate are the provincial governments and Canadian mainstream organizations.


Start Date:  06/09/2011

End Date:   06/10/2011

Address:   255 Front St W, Toronto, Canada

Price:   $250.00 CDN (taxes not included)


For more information, visit




US authorities have agreed to work closely with the Indian embassy here for early resolution of the problems faced by hundreds of Indian students affected by the closure of a fraud US university. The agreement was reached during a meeting here between a group of Indian students of the Tri-Valley University (TVU) with Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar with representatives from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) present.

There was a detailed and useful discussion and exchange of information on the manner in which the problems of students at TVU are being addressed, and some of the continuing concerns of the students, the embassy said. It was agreed that the students and representatives from ICE and SEVP would remain in touch with the Embassy to continue to work together for early resolution of the issue.

The Embassy said it had also been informed by US authorities that more than 50 per cent of the students were at various stages of processing for reinstatement.

Other students were advised to contact ICE on their website (, or contact their call centre at telephone 703-603-3400 to initiate the consideration of their cases.

Nearly 1,500 Indian students face the prospect of deportation unless they can secure admission to another school to maintain their visa status.

As many as 18 Indian students were radio tagged to prevent their fleeing. Anklet monitors of 11 of the students have since been removed following the intervention of the Indian consulate in San Francisco.




The Special Implementation Taskforce on the Indian Community (Prime Minister's Department), in cooperation with the National Registration Department, has launched a nationwide campaign between Feb 19 to 26, 2011 to register and assist all undocumented Malaysian Indians secure their rightful citizenship. The Special Implementation Taskforce on the Indian Community has undertaken two micro business awareness programs. The first was in Peri on December 18, 2010 and the second in Kapar on Jan 23, 2011. The participating agencies at the first was BSN and AgroBank and in the second we also invited AKPK which the Bank Negara Credit Counseling and Debt Management Agency. These institutions provided financial education on the availability of micro loans as well as how to effectively manage finances in running a micro and small business


Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria congratulated EWRF for the fine work they were doing especially in targeting underachieving youths and seeing the close correlations between weak education performance and behavior issues. He acknowledged the vision and dedication of the EWRF leadership and volunteers. He made reference to his earlier work while he was in YSS on the five levels of intervention which is relevant for analysis and reflections: Youth living in high risk neighborhoods; Youths at risk of social ills; Youths in active involvement in crime; Youths in custody; Youths in the post custody stage.


This whole process of identifying the educational needs and concerns, developing the modules, teaching materials, documenting the experiences at the ground, noting stories of achievements & success, failures & challenges is an integral component of the learning journey. This will be very useful and EWRF can set the framework for other NGOs to also use the modules and experiences to reach out in other locations and areas. In an effort to clear squatters the Federal government together with the Selangor government established the Lembah Subang flats some 10 years ago to provide transit accommodation while the squatters were cleared, flats built and the people re-housed. There are eight blocks at Lembah Subang with 392 units per block. Therefore there are over 3,000 units which are in three phases. It is a large area allocated on the road towards the Subang airport. The relevant agencies have all agreed to cooperate with the Taskforce and community groups.




Guyana is planning to build a specialty hospital in Turkeyen on the East Coast Demerara in Guyana using an US$18 million line of credit from the Government of India. The Indian Government was approached some time ago where it was agreed that a line of credit will be used for the construction of the specialty hospital and Guyana would choose a partner from India to manage the facility.The specialty hospital would perform complicated surgeries, ranging from heart operations and organ transplants to cosmetic surgery. Upon his return from India in early February 2011, Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo announcement that tenders would go out for an Indian company to build the hospital since the line of credit is from India. The plan is for an 150-bed surgical specialty hospital to do complex surgeries, ranging from heart operations and organ transplants to cosmetic surgery.


The hospital would be staffed by specialist doctors and the rates would be negotiated with the government and the managers of the hospital. He said the government has settled on a management partner for the hospital. President Jagdeo said the cost of complicated surgery would be at a fraction of the cost that Guyanese pay for surgery overseas but at the same quality. In time, he said the hospital would open its doors to clients form the Caribbean, Northern Brazil and even from North America, mainly Guyanese in the Diaspora. Jagdeo said that he is looking for construction to start by the end of the year and for the hospital to open its doors in two years' time.




GOPIO Academic Council Co-Chair Dr Arnold Thomas has started the first Indian radio program in St Vincent's of St Vincent's & The Grenadines in the Caribbean, broadcasting live on SVG Cross Country Radio every Monday evening. The radio program is known as The Vincy Indian Hour" and serves the people of Indian origin numbering approximately 6,000 in the twin islands of St Vincent's & The Grenadines. There have been several Indo-Vincentian guests on the program discussing a wide range of topics such as yoga, Hindu burials, marriage customs in St. Vincent including arranged marriages, and the involvement of Indians in politics. We also discuss the Indian festivals (both Moslem and Hindu) that are held during the year


It is an interactive program where listeners are invited to call in with views and comments. Listeners could call the following numbers: From St. Vincent's 1-784-458-5555; from Canada: 1-416-628-2981; and from the USA 1-718-412-8986.


This year on June 1 marks the 150th anniversary of arrival of Indians to the shores of St Vincent's & The Grenadines and it is expected that the St Vincent's & The Grenadines Indian Heritage Foundation will plan several activities to mark the occasion.




Lawyers for a group of Indian guest workers, trafficked to the US from India to work in shipyards after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, have sued an American company, Signal International, along with its co-conspirators and other entities for human trafficking and racketeering.

If class status is granted, the lawsuit could be the largest human trafficking case in US history, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said in a statement. Workers were allegedly lured here with dishonest assurances of becoming lawful permanent US residents, the statement said.

The ACLU joined a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of over 500 guest workers from India charging that the workers were trafficked into the US through the federal government's H-2B guest worker program with dishonest assurances of becoming lawful permanent US residents and subjected to squalid living conditions, fraudulent payment practices, and threats of serious harm upon their arrival.

The complaint alleges that recruiting agents hired by the marine industry company Signal International held the guest workers' passports and visas, coerced them into paying extraordinary fees for recruitment, immigration processing and travel, and threatened the workers with serious legal and physical harm if they did not work under the Signal-restricted guest worker visa.

The complaint also alleges that once in the US, the men were required to live in Signal's guarded, over crowded labour camps, subjected to psychological abuse and defrauded out of adequate payment for their work.

The ACLU charges that the federal government has fallen short of its responsibility to protect the rights of guest workers in this country.

According to the lawsuit, the treatment of the workers violates the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO).

In addition to the federal court litigation, in partnership with the ACLU, the workers have testified before the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and senior staff at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Signal, a marine and fabrication company with shipyards in Mississippi, Texas and Alabama, is a subcontractor for several major multinational companies.




GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.


GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.


GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (

and get details of chapter initiation (visit Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.  For more information, contact:


GOPIO Chairman - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: 818-708-3885, E-mail:

GOPIO President - Lord Daljit Rana, UK, Tel:  +44 28-9807-8787, Email:

GOPIO Executive Vice President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail:



To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117, New York NY 11356, USA.





Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO Executive Vice President (New York, USA)

Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (GOPIO Intl., USA), Munish Gupta (GOPIO Media Council, New Delhi), Harry Walia (GOPIO-Australia), and Jay Banerjei (GOPIO-Toronto), Sharon Banta (GOPIO-CT); Dr Arnold Thomas (GOPIO-St Vincent's); Dr Yesu Persaud (GOPIO-Guyana); Netram Rambudhan (GOPIO-Upper New York, USA). 


GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail:

Visit GOPIO's Official site at or