Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 21
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and his Cabinet colleagues will call upon the Prime Minister to formally request the Centre to prevail upon the Pakistani authorities to open the corridor from India’s Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan on the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, beginning next year.
If not permanently, Punjab will seek an early opening of the corridor at least for a year, till the culmination of the celebrations. The issue came up for discussion in Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was recently given an assurance by Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on opening of the corridor.
The Congress government is keen on getting the corridor to Kartarpur Sahib, where Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life.
The issue also came up for discussion in a meeting of the state panel on Parkash Ustav, chaired by the Chief Minister, who is personally involved in ensuring development and infrastructural work for the celebrations at Sultanpur Lodhi, Dera Baba Nanak and Batala — holy places visited by Guru Nanak. The CM issued orders for the release of Rs 70 crore for the development of Sultanpur Lodhi.
Cooperation and Jail Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa, who is member of the state panel on Parkash Ustav, said the CM would be steering the efforts for the opening of the corridor. Punjab would also bear the expenditure of decking up the Indian part of the corridor, once it was opened.
Randhawa said the issue had been pending for long, adding that former PM Dr Manmohan Singh had also taken up the matter with the Pakistani authorities.
3 committees formed
The CM on Tuesday set up three committees (infrastructure development, celebration and cultural affairs) to supervise the arrangements for the Parkash Utsav, including development of infrastructure at holy places visited by Guru Nanak, namely Sultanpur Lodhi, Dera Baba Nanak and Batala.
Sikh shrine 2 km away, travel time via lahore 4 hrs
The Nishan Sahib of the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara can be seen from the raised platform constructed by the BSF near the border. The BSF has put up binoculars through which people can see important landmarks of the shrine.
A distance of just 3 km separates Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur) from the Pakistan shrine. The latter is 2 km from the International Border.
If a corridor is constructed, it will take 20 minutes to reach the gurdwara from Dera Baba Nanak. At present, pilgrims have to go via Lahore, which takes nearly 4 hours.
In 1921, when the structure of the gurdwara started crumbling, Capt Amarinder Singh’s ancestors paid Rs 1 lakh for its upkeep.
The Muslims have constructed a mazaar (place of worship) inside the gurdwara. Legend has it that when Guru Nanak died, Muslims, who revered him, wanted to bury him while the Sikhs wanted a cremation to be held. Finally, the Sikhs had their way. Text: Ravi Dhaliwal
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