The Pakistan government has earmarked Rs 100 crore in its federal budget to develop the much-awaited Kartarpur corridor connecting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in its territory.
The funds will be used to acquire land and develop infrastructure under the Public Sector Development Programme for the corridor, news agency PTI quoted Geo TV as saying. The joint India-Pakistan project is aimed at facilitating visa-free movement of Sikh pilgrims between the two holy sites.
The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur holds great religious significance because that was where Sikhism founder Guru Nanak died in 1539. The corridor is expected to open in November.
According to data released by the Imran Khan government, the project will cost the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony around Rs 300 crore. While Pakistan is building the corridor from the border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the centre is taking up construction work on this side. According to sources, around 50% of the work on the four-kilometre stretch being laid by Pakistan has already been completed.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu had laid the foundation stone for the Indian side of the corridor at an event in Gurdaspur's Mann village on November 26. Two days later, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan reciprocated by flagging off work at his end.
According to Punjab Minister Vijay Inder Singla, work on the Indian leg of the Kartarpur corridor would be completed by September 30 - well before Guru Nanak's birth anniversary celebrations. It would be on a par with a state-of-the-art expressway, he added.
Although tensions had erupted between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack in January, both the governments confirmed that the Kartarpur corridor project will not be affected. This assertion was further reinforced when officials from both countries held a meeting to discuss modalities of the project in May.
(With inputs from PTI)
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