Other States

SGPC should foot the $20 pilgrim fee, says Amarinder

‘Instead of flaunting their money, they should support the pilgrims’

Amid low footfalls at the newly built Kartarpur Corridor, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has asked the “cash-rich”' Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to pay the $20 per pilgrim fee out of its coffers.

Capt. Amarinder has also urged the Prime Ministers of both India and Pakistan to waive the passport condition for travel through the corridor and instead accept other forms of identity.

‘No visa to be stamped’

“These should be acceptable since there was no requirement of visa to be stamped on the passport in any case,” he said.

“The low number of devotees reportedly crossing over to the historic gurdwara was not because of lack of interest among the people but because of the two conditions of passport and $20 fee. Lakhs of pilgrims were waiting to visit the Kartarpur Gurdwara on this historic 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji but were held back because of these problems,” he added.

“Though Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had tweeted before the opening of the corridor that passport would not be needed for devotees to come through, the decision was not formalised,” Capt. Amarinder pointed out.

He urged Mr. Khan, as well as Mr. Modi, to resolve the problem by coming to an agreement to amend the MoU requirement for passport to travel through the corridor.

‘Flush with funds’

Pointing to the lavish spendings of the SGPC on holding separate programmes to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nana Dev Ji, the Chief Minister said it was evident that the religious body was flush with funds.

“However, instead of flaunting their money to appease their ego and make a political point through this religious occasion, they should spend the same on supporting the devotees, especially the poor ‘yellow card’ holders who simply did not have the money to pay the necessary fee to Pakistan for entering their territory and pay obeisance at the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara,” he said.

Aam Aadmi Party senior leader and Leader of the Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema also demanded that the government simplify the process to travel to Kartarpur by lifting the mandatory passport condition.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 7:22:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sgpc-should-foot-the-20-pilgrim-fee-says-amarinder/article29965845.ece

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