Passports to prove a dampener for Kartarpur Sahib pilgrims - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Passports to prove a dampener for Kartarpur Sahib pilgrims

Passports to prove a dampener for Kartarpur Sahib pilgrims

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur), March 15

The initial euphoria generated by the Kartapur corridor has been replaced with despair and despondency after news spread that both India and Pakistan have come near to reaching an agreement that passports will be mandatory for pilgrims willing to cross over to Pakistan through the 4.5 km-long passage. CM Capt Amarinder Singh has already voiced his resentment against the development.

“The purpose of constructing the corridor stands defeated if passports are made mandatory. Not many villagers have access to the document. Moreover, getting a passport prepared is a cumbersome process and villagers may not like to get themselves entangled in procedural requirements. To complicate things, the Pakistani authorities have restricted the movement of pilgrims by granting access to just 500 per day. There should be no limitations on the number of people crossing over every day,” he said.

Cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who is Dera Baba Nanak MLA, corroborated the CM’s views. “The passage will not have many takers if the passport requirement is not waived. In my Assembly segment itself villagers do not even know what a passport is, leave alone possessing one. Hence, a mechanism should be evolved in which a traveller can apply online for a permit three days before he wants to cross over,” he said.

Gurdaspur resident Manjit Singh Dala, who is preparing to be a part of the first jatha of pilgrims to cross over, said: “A majority of people, particularly those belonging to rural areas, do not possess a passport. The corridor will be reduced to a non-starter if the requirement is not done away with.”

Pak response on corridor inadequate: CM

Chandigarh: Expressing disappointment at Pakistan's response to various issues raised by India during the first meeting on the corridor, CM Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday urged Islamabad to be more amenable and responsive to India's demands. He said Islamabad’s response to India’s demands was totally inadequate and it needed to reconsider its stand if the corridor was to serve its true purpose, in the spirit in which it was decided to be opened. TNS

SGPC offers to raise infra on Pak soil

Amritsar: If the Pakistan Government gives its nod, the SGPC has offered to raise the requisite infrastructure closer to the historic Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal district. Ironically, the SGPC had refused to swap its chunk of land at Dera Baba Nanak with equivalent portion on the other side to resolve the acquisition row as there was disagreement between the owners and the government over compensation. TNS

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