This Article is From Feb 25, 2020

Waive Passport, $20 Fee For Kartarpur Corridor: Punjab Assembly Resolution

The House also sought a reduction in the USD $20 fee that Pakistan charges Indian pilgrims using the visa-free facility to visit the Sikh shrine just near the border.

Waive Passport, $20 Fee For Kartarpur Corridor: Punjab Assembly Resolution

The Kartarpur Corridor was opened on November 9 last year. (File)

Chandigarh:

The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution urging the Centre to ask Pakistan to do away with the condition that pilgrims using the Kartarpur Corridor must hold passports.

The House also sought a reduction in the USD $20 fee that Pakistan charges Indian pilgrims using the visa-free facility to visit the Sikh shrine just near the border.

The resolution was moved by minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on the third day of the Budget session in Chandigarh.

"Many people who want to pay obeisance at the Kartarpur gurdwara do not have passports and that is why they cannot go there," Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said.

He suggested that documents like the Aadhaar could be allowed instead of the passport.

He also sought the simplification of the process for applying for a visit to the shrine, which marks the place where Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev spent his final years.

Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala said the number of pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur shrine is low because of the passport requirement.

Aam Aadmi Party MLA and Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema demanded that the state government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) should bear the USD $20 fee equally.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he would take an all-party delegation to the Centre and urge it to take up the issue with the Pakistan government.

The Kartarpur Corridor was opened on November 9, linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib with Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur a few kilometres away across the border.

Earlier in a statement, Mr Singh informed the House that Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta has tendered an apology for his purported remarks on the Kartarpur Corridor.

The Chief Minister said "anybody can make a mistake".

DGP Dinkar Gupta had triggered a row when he suggested that Pakistani agencies could make overtures to pilgrims using the Kartarpur Corridor, sending them back as trained terrorists.

Mr Singh expressed his government's commitment that the Kartarpur Corridor would not be allowed to shut.

He also lashed out at Pakistan, saying its spy agency ISI aimed to disturb the peace in Punjab.

"We have to be on our toes," he said in the statement.