‘Security concerns can't be ruled out in Kartarpur Corridor’
New Delhi, March 28: The security concerns will be there in the ambitious Kartarpur Corridor Project, says an official associated with the project.
The Kartarpur Corridor will connect the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Gurdaspur, Punjab and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan. The corridor will allow religious devotees from India to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur, 4.7 kilometres from the Pakistan-India border, without a visa.
Currently, an elevated platform has also been constructed on the Indian side, where people use high powered telescope to get a good view of Kartarpur Sahib.
The official, who is not authorised to speak to media, tells this scribe that despite all the clearances given by the security agencies, the security concerns cannot be completely ruled out in the ambitious project.
"It is a fact that unlike Americans, we Indians do not take security very seriously, and the Kartarpur Corridor Project will not be an exception," said the official.
Though India is committed to complete the corridor within time considering the religious sentiments of the millions of Sikhs around the world, it has reasons to be concerned as well.
New Delhi is concerned that the corridor might be used by Pakistan to undermine India's security and also to fuel Khalistan movement. Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Secretary General Gopal Singh Chawla, a pro-Khalistan activist, is associated with the Kartarpur project in Pakistan.
According to the official, the work on the Indian side will be started in full swing very soon and will be completed before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev, first Sikh Guru.
"The work on the Pakistani side is on fast track. The work on the Indian side will be carried out day and night and will be completed before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev on November 23, 2019," the official said.
The construction includes a 'boarding terminal' from where shuttle buses will take the pilgrims from India to Kartarpur. There will be temporary accommodations and tents for the pilgrims. The pilgrims will need to obtain special permits, though no visas, for making the trip, and they will need to undergo biometric checks.
Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib is very sacred for the Sikh community as Shri Guru Nanak Dev had spent the last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on November 22 last year approved the building and development of the Kartarpur corridor with Government of India funding, to provide smooth and easy passage, with all the modern amenities.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone for construction of Dera Baba Nanak - Kartapur Sahib corridor.
On 28 November 2018, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor near the Narowal district of Punjab, Pakistan. Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Lok Sabha member from Amritsar Gurjeet Singh Aujla were also present on the occasion.