New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) Two major works of the cross-border Kartarpur corridor, including a passenger terminal building and a four-lane highway, are well on way to completion ahead of its inauguration for Sikh pilgrims in November to mark the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, Sikhism’s founder.
Sources said a state-of-the-art passenger terminal building would be completed by October 31 on the Indian side, while a four-lane highway is to be ready by September 30.
Reports in the Pakistani media said that Pakistan has completed over 70 per cent of the works, including construction of the main road, a bridge and buildings.
The corridor will allow pilgrims to travel from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak.
The Kartarpur gurdwara is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the Ravi river, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur.
Pakistan will build the corridor up to the Indian border from the gurdwara in Kartarpur.
India remains committed to expeditiously complete the Kartarpur corridor so that the pilgrims can have an easy, smooth, secure and safe access to the holy Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib throughout the year, sources said.
India has raised concerns regarding possible flooding of Dera Baba Nanak due to construction of an embankment-filled road on the Pakistan side. Three rounds of technical-level discussions have been held with Pakistan and they have been asked not to create structures that would, in any manner, endanger life and property on the Indian side due to flooding, the sources added.
India is already building a bridge on its side to provide all-weather connectivity for the Kartarpur corridor. Pakistan is also to build a similar bridge on its side that would provide safe and secure movement of the pilgrims and also address concerns with regard to flooding.
According to the sources, issues related to providing facilities for the pilgrims, including allowing larger number of pilgrims from India to move across the corridor and other modalities for the Kartarpur corridor would be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of officials from both sides on July 14 at Wagah.
According to Pakistani media reports, construction of a ‘langar khana’, ‘darshan khana’, administration block and washrooms have been completed by up 70-80 per cent and work on the electricity wiring, gas connections and water lines is being carried out.
A parking area at the border terminal is almost complete and plantation and landscaping work is on.
Punjab Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who is head of the Kartarpur Development Project, had claimed that Pakistan had completed more than 70 per cent of work, while India was still lagging behind with just about 30 per cent completed.
In November 2018, India and Pakistan agreed to set up a corridor linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur.
The corridor is expected to provide visa-free access for Sikh pilgrims to the gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib.