Despite $20 fee waiver, only 546 pilgrims visit Kartarpur

DERA BABA NANAK: Even as Pakistan had announced not to charge the $20 fee on the occasion of Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday, barely 546 devotees visited Kartarpur gurdwara via the corridor against the expected target of 5000.

Despite $20 fee waiver, only 546 pilgrims visit Kartarpur

Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan. file photo

editorial@tribune.com

Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service
Dera Baba Nanak, November 12

Even as Pakistan had announced not to charge the $20 fee on the occasion of Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday, barely 546 devotees visited Kartarpur gurdwara via the corridor against the expected target of 5000.

After receiving a lukewarm response on the first two days, officials manning the Integrated Check Post (ICP) were hoping to deal with a substantial number of pilgrims today. An official said, “The number is not picking up. We are manning the ICP with more than 50 immigration officials, but a majority of them remain without work. The initial sheen seen at the inauguration is tapering off. Devotees are unwilling to come because they think once their passports are scanned into the immigration software, they might face difficulties in getting visa of other countries. Youngsters hoping to study abroad are mainly concerned about this aspect.”

The low turnout has forced the SGPC officials to urge the Centre to hand over the project to it. Roop Singh, secretary, SGPC, has been quoted as saying, “The current system is complicated. A majority of the people who want to travel do not know how to register online. The government has to simplify the process. For the corridor’s smooth operation, it should be handed over to the SGPC because we have vast experience in sending jathas to Pakistan. We will take care of collecting passports, registering devotees online and fulfilling other formalities.”

Today, many pilgrims were seen carrying Aadhaar and PAN cards which, in any case, are not required. BSF officials say the security concern is also proving to be a big deterrent. “There were many pilgrims who wanted our men to go till Kartarpur. They were not willing to be escorted by Pakistan Rangers because of apprehensions that they will not be allowed to return,” said a BSF officer.

Batala SSP Opinderjit Singh Ghuman, who camped at the site, claimed that more than 25,000 pilgrims turned up at the ‘Darshan Sthal’.

The SGPC and the DSGMC have decided to hold awareness camps where people will be educated as to howto go through the online registration process.

Cities

View All

Setback for P’kula police

Court turns down request for victim’s statement again

UT sits on Rs 2 cr as NH drivers suffer bumps

Funds allocated by Centre in last 3 fiscals for highway deve...

Midday meal workers demand salary hike

Threaten to hold state-level rally on January 19

Students win battle against varsity with Gandhigiri

Had sought 24x7 access to library