Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 21
India today said it had conveyed to Pakistan its willingness to sign the Kartarpur corridor agreement on October 23 and had asked Islamabad to reconsider its insistence to levy $20 service fee on pilgrims.
The government said it had taken the initiative to put in place the state-of-art infrastructure and open Kartarpur Sahib corridor on the auspicious occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak so that pilgrims from India and those holding Overseas Citizen of India card could visit the holy shrine in Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
“It’s a matter of disappointment that while an understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continues to insist on levying a service fee of $20 per pilgrim per visit. The government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee,” the MEA said.
It said visa-free access to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib was a long-pending demand of the pilgrims and in the interest of operationalisation of the corridor in time, the government had conveyed to Pakistan that it was ready to sign the agreement. “While agreeing to sign the agreement, the Government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the agreement accordingly at any time,” it said.
In November last, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone of the corridor to connect the 4-km stretch from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab to Kartarpur across the Ravi.
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