Disappointed with Pakistan, India to sign Kartarpur agreement later this week

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Updated: Oct 21, 2019 8:19 PM

On November 9, the first Jatha of 550 people are expected to travel to Kartarpur, for the inauguration, which will be done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee, it said. (ANI Image)This is the place where Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life.  (ANI Image)

India will go ahead and ink an agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor with Pakistan, despite that country’s insistence on charging $ 20 per pilgrim. The Agreement which will be inked on Wednesday will operationalise the cross border corridor to Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Kartarpur before November 12.

On November 9, the first Jatha of 550 people are expected to travel to Kartarpur, for the inauguration, which will be done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement on Monday announcing the date for signing the agreement urged the Government of Pakistan “to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee of $20 on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time.”

According to officials, once the agreement is signed, then the process of registration of pilgrims will start and it is expected that Pakistan will take six days to process the request. And just four days before the actual date of travel, the neighbouring country will announce the names which have been given approval for travel.

The MEA statement expressed disappointment over Pakistan’s proposed service fee and reiterated the Indian government’s request to withdraw the levy. The two sides were expected to sign the agreement last week, as there were unresolved issues related to the pilgrimage. Most of the issues were resolved except the $ 20 per pilgrim fee. Attempts were made to convince the neighbouring country to remove the fee aspect but it has decided to let it be there.

The 4.2 km-long corridor on the Indian side in Dera Baba Nanak area in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district is scheduled to be completed by month end. The Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province is located 4.5 km from the border near Dera Baba Nanak.

According to the MEA, the government has put in place the state of art infrastructure and has ensured that the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is open on the auspicious occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. This will allow pilgrims from India and those holding Overseas Citizen of India Card can undertake a visit to the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, in Pakistan.

This is the place where Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life. And each day as has been agreed 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit the holy site.

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