In the final draft on Kartarpur Corridor sent to New Delhi by Islamabad on Monday, the $20 fee has been kept intact, justifying it as a charge to manage the operational cost of the Kartarpur Corridor. The Indian government is yet to reply on the final draft.
The fee includes permission to enter Pakistan to visit Kartarpur Sahib, a revered Sikh temple and transportation to and from the zero point.
The draft agreement was handed over to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad last week. India had asked for the fee to be waived, but Pakistan says that the amount is needed to meet operational costs for the corridor.
Pakistan will allow 5,000 pilgrims daily on the corridor that will link Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Punjab state to Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Kartarpur. It has also agreed to the demand that people of all faiths be allowed to visit the shrine and not just Sikhs.
There would be no stamping on the passport but only a permit would be issued.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the corridor in November and the construction work would be completed by October 31. The 4.2 km-long corridor is to be opened on the occasion of the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev on November 9.
This was decided 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.
Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had tweeted on Saturday that 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.
Randhawa said the Land Port Authority assured that all the works relating the national highway and the Integrated Check Post would be completed in time.
He said the devotees would have to apply 30 days in advance for visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, which is highly revered by the Sikhs as Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life there and it is his final resting place.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will lead an all-party delegation across the border to Kartarpur Sahib on the opening day of the Kartarpur corridor on November 9.
His delegation would comprise all the 117 state legislators, the state's Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) members, as well as members of the Sant Samaj and representatives of each recognised party in the state.