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Kartarpur talks: Pilgrims' safety high on India's agenda

ANI | July 12, 2019 05:13 PM
A view of Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara (file photo)

New Delhi [India], July 12 (ANI): India is looking forward to the upcoming talks with Pakistan over the Kartarpur corridor and will take up a number of key issues, including infrastructure, pilgrims' movement and safety, government sources said on Friday.

Officials of the two countries are slated to meet on July 14 to finalise modalities of the Kartarpur corridor and related technical issues.

The Kartarpur route along the India-Pakistan border is three kilometres away from Gurdaspur, Punjab. Once opened, it would allow Sikh pilgrims direct access to the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev died in 1539. Sources added that the work on the corridor is expected to be completed by October 31, which is much before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

One of the main points in the discussion would be India's demand for the construction of a bridge by Pakistan in the creek area. India has raised concerns regarding the possible flooding of Dera Baba Nanak due to the construction of an embankment-filled road on the Pakistani side.

While India has already been building a bridge on its side to provide all-weather connectivity for the Kartarpur corridor, it has urged Pakistan to build a similar bridge on their side as it would provide safe and secure movement of the pilgrims while also addressing concerns over flooding.

The other key issues on the table would be the number of pilgrims allowed to access the corridor, safe and unhindered movement of pilgrims throughout the year, whether they would travel as individuals or groups, and whether they would travel by transport or foot.

Additionally, India will spend Rs 500 crore to build the corridor. The money would be spent, among other things, on installing a high tech security and surveillance system to ensure the safety of pilgrims and creating an all-weather facility to cater to 10,000 pilgrims on special occasions and 5000 pilgrims on a daily basis. (ANI)

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