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Kartarpur Corridor work going on round the clock

An alternative road laid by India to connect the Kartarpur Corridor with the Pakistani side.

An alternative road laid by India to connect the Kartarpur Corridor with the Pakistani side.   | Photo Credit: Vijaita Singh

Over 1,800 men are working round the clock in three shifts to give final touches to the passenger terminal building and related infrastructure near the Dera Baba Nanak Gurudwara in Gurdaspur along Pakistan border.

India and Pakistan are building a corridor to connect Dera Baba Nanak and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of the Sikh founder.

As men carried construction material on the head and excavators scooped out mounds of earth, Land Port Authority of India (LPAI) chairman Govind Mohan claimed that all work will be completed by October 31.

“The first batch of pilgrims are expected to visit the Kartarpur shrine in Pakistan on June 8, that’s what we have proposed,” Mr. Mohan said. He added that the bridge which is the part of the corridor has been built only on the Indian side.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit the corridor on November 7.

The Hindu visited the site of the proposed corridor at the invitation of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday. There was no bridge on the Pakistani side and the one on the Indian side stood suspended.

“To facilitate the pilgrims we have built an alternate road and Pakistan has also laid a road. The pilgrims will be taken in golf carts till the border gates after they have completed the immigration formalities at the terminal building. From there on Pakistan will take pilgrims in buses to the Kartarpur shrine which is 3.5 km from the border gates,” Mr. Mohan said.

He said Pakistani authorities have assured they will soon construct the bridge that was part of the original agreement.

Around 5,000 pilgrims are expected to visit the shrine everyday with the number expected to increase in future. The Pakistani demand on levying $20 fee from each pilgrim is being discussed, he said.

“Online registration for pilgrims of Kartarpur shrine will begin October 20 onwards,” Mr. Mohan said.

“Passport will be the only valid document for pilgrims to travel and they will have to return the same day,” he said. The terminal will have 55 immigration counters.

He said around 50 acres of land was acquired to construct the complex of which 20 acres has been used so far. There was a proposal to seek special relaxation to enable mobile connectivity in border areas. “It is a state policy that speed along border areas is slow and in some areas a little hampered but we are asking for relaxation on our side so that normal phone connectivity is allowed and pilgrims are not inconvenienced,” he said.

Sailendra Ajri, Vice-President of the Shapoorji Pallonji construction company that has carried out the work on behalf of LPAI said only the ‘roofing’ work was pending.

“The passenger terminal building is spread over 2.5 lakh sq.ft and is 30 metres high. This is not a regular steel structure complex, we completed it in five months against 18 months required for such projects...all fabrication was done in Delhi and we transported it in segments to the site,” said Mr. Ajri. He said the construction of roof was 60% complete and the entire work will be competed on October 23.

Construction work at the site started on June 22, 2018.

Mr. Mohan also gave a presentation on the construction work on the Pakistani side through photographs obtained from unammaned aerial systems (UAS). He showed the construction work around the Kartarpur shrine and said Pakistan has completed the road till the border gates.

He added that as per the Land Port Act, security has to be provided by the Border Security Force (BSF).

He said the terminal will have a song and light show on the life of Guru Nanak and in the second phase a revolving restaurant will come up at the site. The project is being built at a cost of ₹178 crore.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 12:58:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kartarpur-corridor-work-going-on-round-the-clock/article29711464.ece

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