India on Monday said that it will sign the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor agreement with Pakistan on October 23. In a press release, the Miinistry of External Affairs said that keeping in mind the interest of Sikh devotees, it has agreed to sign the Kartarpur Corridor with Pakistan despite the neighbour's 'insistence' on $20 fee per pilgrim. The Centre has called Pakistan's decision to levy the fee a 'disappointment' and added that the agreement was made in interest of operationalising the Corridor before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak falling (November 12, 2019)
"The Government has taken the initiative to put in place the state of art infrastructure and open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on the auspicious occasion of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji so that the pilgrims from India and those holding Overseas Citizen of India Card can undertake visit to the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, currently in Pakistan. It is a matter of disappointment that while understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continues to insist on levying a service fee of USD 20 per pilgrim per visit. The government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee.
In view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa-free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalisation of the Corridor in time before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on 12 November 2019, Government has today conveyed that we would be ready to sign the Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 23 October 2019. While agreeing to sign the Agreement, the Government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time."
Pakistan will open the much-awaited Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Sunday.
The proposed corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian 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 in Kartarpur, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab's Gurdaspur district up to the border will be constructed by India.