In a landmark decision, the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved the building and development of Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to International Border to visit the holy Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the banks of Ravi River in Pakistan where Guru Nanak Devji had spent several years of his life.
Responding to media queries, the official spokesperson of MEA Raveesh Kumar said, “In keeping with the resolution by the Cabinet today to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji in 2019, we have approached and urged the Pakistan government to recognize the sentiments of Sikh community and build a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory to facilitate easy & smooth visits of pilgrims from India to Kartarpur Sahib throughout the year.
Adding, “Kartarpur corridor project with all modern amenities and facilities will be implemented with Central Government funding.” The gurdwara is 3.5 km from the Radcliffe Line that separates the two countries.
In fact, Home Minister Rajnath Singh took to the social media platform Twitter to urge Pakistan to reciprocate and develop a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory. “The Kartarpur corridor will provide smooth and easy passage to pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib throughout the year. Government of Pakistan will be urged to reciprocate and develop a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory,” he said.
Besides the corridor, the government also has plans to install a “high-powered telescope” in a Punjab border town where pilgrims now use binoculars to see the shrine. And plans are afoot to grant “heritage city” status to Guru Nanak’s hometown Sultanpur Lodhi, in Pakistan, which has been pending for over a decade now.
Earlier this week, the minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma had announced various initiatives to mark the first Sikh Guru’s 550th birth anniversary.
Reportedly, Sharma had said that “Our science and technology ministry will install a high-powered telescope and a big screen for people on our side of the border to be able to get a darshan (of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Narowal district)…. The whole country will also be able to get a darshan.”
During his visit to Pakistan to attend Prime Minister Imran Khan’s swearing in ceremony, Punjab minister Navjot Sidhu had hugged Pakistan’s Gen Qamar Bajwa. As quoted in the media Sidhu said that Bajwa had hugged him and said that a corridor for Indian pilgrims to Kartarpur may be opened for the 550th birth year celebrations.