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.
All readers are invited to post comments responsibly. Any messages with foul language or inciting hatred will be deleted. Comments with all capital letters will also be deleted. Readers are encouraged to flag the comments they feel are inappropriate. The views expressed in the Comments section are of the individuals writing the post. The Tribune does not endorse or support the views in these posts in any manner.
PITEX Offers cost-effective handmade items to visitors
Few battling for life; reason yet to be ascertained
Court turns down request for victim’s statement again
Funds allocated by Centre in last 3 fiscals for highway deve...
Residents hold protest, seek arrest of other suspects by Mon...
Mayor says some other buildings also sealed in city
Threaten to hold state-level rally on January 19
Had sought 24x7 access to library