India is going to hold talks on Kartarpur infrastructure with high expectations and the government is keen to complete the construction of the corridor on both sides by the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, sources said on Friday. The statement comes two days before the scheduled India-Pakistan meeting at Wagah Border on Sunday, i.e. July 14, 2019.
On the Indian side, the construction of the Kartarpur Corridor is expected to be completed by October 31 with an outlay of Rs 500 crore. It will also use high tech surveillance system and put a robust security system in place. Besides, the government is looking forward to create all-weather facility to cater to 10,000 pilgrims on special occasions like Guru Nanak's birth anniversary and 5,000 pilgrims daily.
Other issues currently on table are - who all can visit the corridor, how pilgrims will move and access to the gurdwara and discussions on permits or visa free access to the pilgrims. On India's request to build a bridge in the Creek area, Pakistan says it will build causeway, adding that the area is flood prone and if a bridge is not built on their side it may increase the risk of flooding on the Indian side.
Experts from India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet on Sunday at the Wagah border and will discuss the draft agreement for finalising the modalities of the Kartarpur corridor and related technical issues.
The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.
The first meeting of officials of Pakistan and India to finalise the modalities of the landmark corridor was held in Attari in the shadow of escalating bilateral tensions in March following the Pulwama terror attack by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14. India had conveyed its concerns over the presence of several Khalistani separatists in a committee appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor.
Last November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district.
Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. Two days later, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the corridor in Narowal, 125 km from Lahore.
Early this month, Pakistan government earmarked Rs 100 crore in the federal budget 2019-20 for the development of the much-awaited corridor. The funds will be used for land acquisition and development of infrastructure of Kartarpur under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the next financial year 2019-20.