Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, one of the largest gasoline retailers in the United States, will be presented with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman 2023 by Draupadi Murmu, the President of India.
A well known philanthropist in India and abroad, Dhaliwal was denied entry into India in October, 2021, during the farmer’s protest against the now-repealed three farm laws, for organizing a ‘langar’ at the Delhi border.
New India Abroad spoke with Dhaliwal about receiving the award, his plans in India, and other topics. Excerpts:
How do you feel on receiving the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman 2023?
I'm visiting Indore for the first time. It is a great honour for me to receive the Pravasi Bharti Samman award 2023. When we do something good for the community and get something in return, it makes me happy.
India will most likely be number one by 2050. It will be the number one power in the world. The country has changed dramatically in recent years. For the last 7-8 years, the government has been bringing about very positive changes in India.
What are your upcoming projects in India?
I am going to start Indoor Farming this year in Punjab. It is to grow everything under climate control. You will have crops all year around, use only five percent of water and get ten times the produce. I will probably start it in six months. We will go all over India where we find the land to expand this project.
What inspired you to come up with this project?
I belong to Punjab where there is a shortage of water right now. They are facing many issues related to it. We want to give them something nice and clean so I came up with this plan. It will greatly benefit Indian farmers as is not a very technical project. All that is required is a temperature controlled environment so it is very simple to practice. The farmers who are not educated can implement it. It will improve a lot of people’s lives.
What is your advice to Indian start-ups when they start a business?
If you are certain that this is what I want to do. Then go for it. Nowadays anything is possible.
What are your views on the Indo-US relationship?
Indo-US ties are getting better. They need us, and we need them. We should take it further for a better future for both countries.
What keeps you busy besides work?
I spend a lot of time with friends and family and have a great time with them. I like to do community work which can help them.