Details of the Kartarpur bridge that India is building on its side were shared, and Pakistan side was urged to also build a bridge on their side
Attari/Wagah: India on Sunday (July 14) conveyed its concerns to Pakistan on possible flooding of areas adjoining the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara due to the construction of a causeway by the neighbouring nation and urged it to make a bridge like India is building.
"At a bilateral meeting, New Delhi also urged Islamabad to take into consideration the sentiments of pilgrims to have smooth, easy, unrestricted access throughout the year for visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev ji," an official statement said.
A dossier was handed over to Pakistan to highlight India's concerns to which it assured the Indian delegation that no anti-India activity would be allowed.
In this context, concerns regarding individuals or organisations based in Pakistan who might try to disrupt the pilgrimage and misuse the opportunity to play with the pilgrims' sentiments were shared, the statement issued after the second round of discussions on the project said.
The Indian delegation has also sought consular presence in the Gurudwara to be able to provide assistance to the pilgrims, if required.
The Indian side conveyed concerns regarding the possible flooding of the Dera Baba Nanak and adjoining areas on the Indian side as a result of earth-filled embankment road or a causeway that is proposed to be built by Pakistan on their side. The Indian delegation shared detailed flood analysis with Pakistan to underscore these concerns.
"It was clearly conveyed that an earth-filled embankment or a causeway will create problems for Indian people and should not be built even in the interim," the statement said.
Details of the bridge that India is building on its side were shared, and Pakistan side was urged to also build a bridge on their side.
This would not only address the flooding related concerns, but also ensure smooth, hassle-free, all-weather pilgrimage to the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib throughout the year. "The Pakistan side agreed, in principle, to build a bridge at the earliest," it said.
Pending the construction of the bridge over the old Ravi creek by Pakistan on their territory, India offered to make interim arrangements for making the corridor operational in November, given the historic importance of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
The talks with Pakistan on the modalities for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor was held at the Pakistan side in Wagah for which an Indian delegation crossed over to the other side of the international border.
The Indian delegation was led by home ministry joint secretary SCL Das and comprised representatives from the ministry of external affairs, ministry of defence, the Punjab government and the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI).
Throughout the year, 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara per day and it will be a visa-free access. The pilgrims will be allowed to travel as individuals or in groups and also on foot, the statement said.
Government of India has made significant progress in building a state-of-the-art infrastructure, including passenger terminal on the Indian side that can handle over 15,000 pilgrims in a day. This is targeted to be completed by October 31.
Last Updated Jul 15, 2019, 11:49 AM IST