Ottawa’s famous radio show Asian Sounds broadcast live every Wednesday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on CKCU 93.1FM has initiated a petition in co-operation with various other Indo-Canadian organizations. This petition is to urge the Indian government to re-consider its discriminatory policy towards Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) while granting a visitor visa.
The host of Asian Sounds Mrs. Jagjeet Sharma and Mr. Surinder Sharma met with the officials of the High Commission of India along with some other members of the Indian community in a forum organized by the High Commission of India on August 27, 2010. At the meeting, some key issues were addressed and one of the issues is the visa fee charges levied on PIOs. A non-PIO can pay a fee of CAN$62.00 for a six month visitor visa and a PIO is charged CAN$123.00 for the same visa. During the meeting, a senior member of the community suggested that there should be a discounted rate for senior citizens seeking a tourist visa to India. The level of service provided by the outsourced firm VFS Global was one of the key issues. The High Commission officials were requested to review the poor service provided by VFS Global. The High Commission was represented by the Deputy High Commissioner, Mrs. Narinder Chauhan.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that the community members formally present a petition to the Indian High Commission, which would be forwarded to the concerned officials in New Delhi, India. The Asian Sounds team has drafted a petition, which will be circulated amongst members of Ottawa’s Indo-Canadian community towards the end of September. The three main issues being addressed in this petition are:
- Stop discriminating against PIOs while issuing a visitor visa.
- Introduce a discounted rate for senior citizens applying for a tourist visa.
- Review the current level of service provided by VFS Global.