The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said an agreement had been reached with Pakistan on every matter related to the Kartarpur Corridor project except the question of service fees, ANI reported.
Islamabad wants every devotee visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Punjab province’s Narowal district to pay $20 (Rs 1,422) service fee. The corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur in India’s Punjab state with the gurdwara in Kartarpur, where Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev is supposed to have settled after his travels. The two countries are striving to complete the project before Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary on November 9. The corridor will allow Indian Sikh devotees to travel to the pilgrimage site without visa.
“We have urged Pakistan not to do so in the interests of devotees, and also because this is a P2P [peer-to-peer] initiative,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. “We hope that the agreement can be concluded and signed in time for the great event.”
On October 10, Pakistan had said no date had been fixed for the inauguration event. “We will update you on the progress of the Kartarpur corridor,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal told reporters during his weekly briefing. “We have formally invited former [Indian] Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the inauguration.” He said the project was expected to be completed on time, adding that work was going on fast. On September 16, Project Director Atif Majid had said 86% of the work had been completed.
India’s Additional Secretary of Home Ministry Govind Mohan has said the corridor would be open from November 11. India and Pakistan laid the project’s foundation stone last November.
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