Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu will on Monday lay the foundation stone for the construction of the Kartarpur road corridor, which will provide pilgrims an easy passage to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan. The ceremony will take place in Mann village of Gurdaspur district of Punjab.
Two Union ministers – Nitin Gadkari and Harsimrat Kaur Badal – and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will be present at the ceremony, the Centre said. Gadkari heads the ministry for road transport and highways.
The Shiromani Akali Dal, the Opposition party in Punjab, said its leaders and workers will be part of the ceremony, reported ANI.
The Union Cabinet had on Thursday cleared the development of the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the International Border. The gurdwara is located at the site where Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru, died in 1539. It is one of the holiest shrines in Sikhism.
Pakistan has agreed to build a similar corridor in its territory. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone for its construction on Wednesday. Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Amarinder Singh declined Pakistan’s invitation to attend the foundation-laying ceremony. Swaraj cited prior commitments and deputed Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri to attend the event instead, while Amarinder Singh cited continued terrorist attacks in his state as the reason.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday welcomed India’s decision to send two Union ministers to Wednesday’s function and described it as a “positive response to Pakistan’s move”, reported Radio Pakistan. “India has responded well to Pakistan’s initiative in its bid to bring the Sikh community closer,” he told the Associated Press of Pakistan.