Kartarpur bridge work in Pakistan stalls

Against the clock: The deadline for completing work on the Kartarpur corridor is November 23.  

Pakistan is reluctant to build a bridge on its side to connect with the one being built on the Indian side for seamless movement to the Kartarpur shrine, a senior government official said on Saturday.

The official said the bridge on the Pakistani side would cut into their defence embankment, and the neighbouring country had refused the proposal after initially agreeing to it.

The Kartarpur corridor, which will connect Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to Kartarpur in the Narowal province of Pakistani Punjab, is being constructed to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism. The Guru spent the final years of his life at Kartarpur. The corridor is to be constructed before November 23, 2019.

“A 4.2-km all-weather road is being constructed to overcome the threat of floods on the Indian side. A bridge was to be built connecting the road with the corridor on Pakistan’s side, but they are not agreeing to it. We don’t want to block the path of the Ravi river as any construction will inundate areas on the Indian side,” the official said.

On June 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while replying to a congratulatory message by his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, asked for early operationalisation of the corridor.

India and Pakistan had another round of talks to discuss the technical details of the corridor earlier this month.

The official said Pakistan was adamant on capping the number of daily visitors at 700, while India’s demand is 5,000.

“Pakistan has not responded to our demand of allowing 10,000 pilgrims on special days. They are also adamant on allowing pilgrims in groups of at least 15 persons while we want permission for individuals. It is also insisting on putting a permit fee and we have demanded visa-free, no-fee movement,” the official said.

The official said they were also concerned about the corridor being used to push Khalistani separatist propaganda and had conveyed the threat to Pakistan.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 6:02:40 AM |

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