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Amarinder hopeful of visa centre opening at Amritsar

Written by: Staff
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Kathunangal, Amritsar, Mar 31 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today announced that a visa centre would be set up at Amritsar to facilitate the people visiting Sri Nankana Sahib and Lahore in Pakistan.

Talking to mediapersons after addressing a public rally here at the birth place of Baba Budha Sahib ji, the first head Granthi of Sri Darbar Sahib, Capt Singh said that he had already taken up the issue with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his recent visit to Amritsar to flag off the direct bus from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib.

He said that the Prime Minister had asked him to send a detailed blue print to enable him to take up this matter with Pakistan's Foreign Minister. ''My government has worked out the details about the required infrastructure for the immigration, custom and visa formalities at Amritsar,'' he said.

He pointed that his government was fully seized about the necessity of this visa center because there was no logic at all if all the passengers from Amritsar and nearby places in Punjab had to go to New Delhi for the visa clearances. ''The very purpose of direct bus service from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib and Lahore would also be defeated if there is no visa centre at Amritsar, Capt Singh added.

He reiterated the underlying objective of the bus services to Pakistan was to provide ''hassle-free and comfortable'' journey, that could only be achieved with setting up of a local visa centre.

He also informed that the Pakistan government had also allowed the devotees from India to visit Gurdawara Sri Sacha Sauda Sahib and Sri Kartarpur Sahib because both these religious places had been well connected with newly constructed roads. On the reciporcal basis, the Indian government was also contemplating to work out modalities to allow Pakistan to start a bus service to Ajmer Sharif to enable their citizens to undertake the pilgrimage to the shrine there.

Replying to another question for a direct corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, Capt Singh quipped ''first of all we should learn to walk instead of running. Since all these are bilateral issues and we should not rush through because both the national governments of India and Pakistan are involved''.

He hinted that efforts would be taken to open Indo-Pak border at Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur and Hussainiwala in Ferozepur district after Wagah.

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