New Delhi: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to pressure Pakistan into withdrawing its proposal to impose a service charge on the passage through the Kartarpur corridor.
In a letter to the prime minister, the chief minister suggested that the Ministry of External Affairs take up the matter in the bilateral meetings on the subject for an early resolution.
Pakistan's insistence on service charges would impose a significant financial burden on the lakhs of pilgrims seeking darshan of the gurdwara, many of whom may not be so well-off, said the chief minister.
The chief minister noted that on earlier occasions too he had requested the Government of India to intercede with the Government of Pakistan not to levy any visa or other charges on the pilgrims visiting Kartapur.
This would be in fulfilment of the long-cherished desire to have "khulle darshan deedar" of the holy shrine of Sri Kartarpur in Pakistan, he stressed.
Amarinder Singh underlined the historic importance of the Kartarpur corridor, slated to be opened as part of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, being celebrated with great devotion and fervour in November this year.
India and Pakistan had agreed to a visa-free travel by pilgrims to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan through the Kartarpur corridor.
However, Pakistan has been insisting on charging service fee from Indian pilgrims and not allowing protocol officials to accompany them.
In November 2018, India and Pakistan had agreed to set up the border crossing linking the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, with Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district.
Kartarpur is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the Ravi river, about four kilometres from Dera Baba Nanak.