November 29, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: The Governments of India and Pakistan have laid foundation stones of a corridor between Dera Baba Nanak (in East Panjab) and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib (in West Panjab). The corridor was a long pending desire of the Sikhs as it would enable Sikhs residing in East Panjab to visit the Gurdwara Sahib in Kartarpur Sahib the last place on this earth resided by the Guru Nanak Ji.
Following are details about the initial details of the plans related to the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. These details were shared during the foundation laying event held by the Government of Pakistan at Kartarpur Sahib on November 28. These details were reported by The Dawn newspaper and are reproduced below in verbatim:-
At the start of the event, the attendees were briefed about the measures that will be undertaken to facilitate Sikh pilgrims seeking to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib.
The government announced that it aimed to open the four-kilometre-long visa-free corridor on Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary next year.
In the first phase of the project, set to be completed before Nov 2019, a boarding terminal will be set up near the border. Transportation will be arranged to shuttle pilgrims possessing a special permit to the gurdwara. An 800-metre-long bridge will also be built across the River Ravi for this purpose. Moreover, accommodation facilities for 10,000 pilgrims will also be arranged in this phase.
In the second phase, hotels and other accommodation facilities will be constructed to house pilgrims arriving with visas. A 300-metre track starting from the border will be built for pilgrims carrying special permits, after which a 4.5km road will also be constructed from the border terminal to the gurdwara. From there, pilgrims will be able to travel by foot or in cars.
The border terminal will have immigration, parking and medical facilities, a tuck shop, a souvenir shop and other amenities.
After receiving their permits, special transport will take the pilgrims to a parking area near the gurdwara. Security posts will be set up to ensure the safety of pilgrims. When the pilgrims reach the parking, biometric verification of their identities will be conducted, and then they will be able to enter the gurdwara premises and worship freely within the specified time.
The facilities available will also include a place to worship, food arrangements, a library, a souvenir shop and a flower shop.
The pilgrims who have been issued visas and are travelling from India via the Wagah border or from other countries to the Lahore and Sialkot airports will reach the gurdwara through predetermined routes. A separate parking area will be created for those pilgrims.
Pakistani Sikh Yatris will need to carry travel documents and identification in order to enter the gurdwara premises.
All arrangements will be made for the safe and timely return of pilgrims, who will exit after showing their permits and going through biometric verification. They will then be transported to the border terminal via special transportation and, after returning their permits, will be able to return to the Indian side either by foot or their own transport. (Source: The Dawn).