Prime Minister Narendra Modi will in November inaugurate the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, linking India with historical Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev breathed his last.
Construction of the 4.2 km-long Kartarpur corridor is targeted to be completed by October 31, a week before the celebrations to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
The announcement was made at a high-level meeting held on Monday between officials of the Central and the state governments in Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur. The Union government was represented by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and the state by Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.
Earlier on Saturday, Union Minister Harsimrat Badal had tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Kartarpur corridor on November 8.
The delegation inspected undergoing projects at the international border after which they held a meeting with officers at the Integrated Check Post, a state government statement said.
The officers also visited the spot where the Prime Minister is scheduled to address a rally.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will lead the first Jatha or all-party group to Kartarpur Sahib after the opening of the Kartarpur corridor.
Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has also reportedly accepted Amarinder Singh’s invitation to join the ‘jatha’.
Meanwhile, Amarinder Singh has ruled out a visit to Pakistan for the Kartarpur corridor opening, making it clear that he would be only leading the first all-party ‘jatha’ to the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara to pay obeisance.
“There is no question of me going (to Pakistan for Kartarpur corridor opening) and I feel Dr Manmohan Singh will not go as well,” he said, pointing out that there was a huge difference between visiting Pakistan and going to the historic gurdwara through the corridor.
The Chief Minister’s remarks came in response to questions after a section of the media erroneously claimed that Manmohan Singh had accepted Pakistan’s invite and would be going across the border for the Kartarpur corridor inauguration.
Pakistan had earlier extended an invitation to Manmohan Singh for the inauguration function of Kartarpur corridor on November 9, saying that he represented the Sikh community.
Despite tensions between the two neighbours, Pakistan had assured that it stands ready to open the corridor and welcome the Sikh pilgrims to take part in celebrations in connection with the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.
The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district in Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev.
Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak up to the border will be constructed by India.
On November 22, last year, just a day before the 549th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Union Cabinet decided to build and develop a corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the international border for Sikh pilgrims to visit Pakistan.
On November 28, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the corridor, which was attended by Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Puri.