Punjab rides high on growing ties with Italy
Chandigarh: The growing bonhomie between Italy and Punjab seemed to bode well for the state that was in dire need of foreign direct investment to boost its infrastructure. Wednesday’s meeting between Punjab advocate-general HS Mattewal and Italian embassy officials reportedly took forward the positive note which emerged at the August meeting between Italian Ambassador Antonio Armellini and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. Focusing on Punjab’s potential, Garbriele Annis, first secretary (political and consular) and Nicolo Tassoni Estense di Castelvecchio, counsellor, head of economic and commercial office stressed, ‘‘We want to push for economic, social and political ties.’’ While conveying the CM’s keenness about enhancing bilateral trade and ties with Italy to augment the state’s agrarian, social and educational infrastructure, Mattewal said, ‘‘A curb on illegal immigration is a must.’’ Stressing on the need to beef up laws to check unscrupulous travel, what with 80% of Indian migrants in Italy hailing from Punjab, Mattewal said, ‘‘The state government is in the process of bringing about a legislation to regulate the functioning of travel agents in Punjab.” Italy was reportedly welcome to opening its doors for skilled Punjabi workers, especially in the field of agriculture, agro-processing, machine tools and horticulture. To which, it was revealed, that Badal had reciprocated and sought Italy’s expertise in the field of education, especially at the primary and high-school levels. While many Italian universities and institutions had Indian affiliates, but none was from Punjab. Meanwhile, Italian Ambassador, in a letter to CM Parkash Singh Badal, has requested him to inaugurate a seminar on ‘Business opportunities for Italy and Punjab’ on December 17.