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5,000 pilgrims can visit Kartarpur gurdwara every day: Sources

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Over 5,000 pilgrims can visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib through the corridor every day, said government sources on Wednesday.

"5,000 pilgrims can visit the holy Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib by using the corridor every day. Additional pilgrims, over and above the figure of 5,000, can visit on special occasions, subject to capacity expansion by Pakistan side," sources added.

Adding that Pakistan has conveyed its commitment to increase this number to the maximum possible, sources said: "The corridor will be operational round-the-clock throughout the year. The pilgrims will have a choice to visit either as individuals or in groups."

India and Pakistan have agreed to build a bridge at Budhi Ravi channel. According to officials, both the countries have agreed to the crossing point coordinates of the temporary service road, which is being built till the construction of the bridge is completed.

Pakistan has also agreed to offer visa-free travel to Indian pilgrims without any restrictions. As per the agreements, Indians holding OCI card too can visit the gurudwara using the corridor.

The two countries have also agreed upon emergency evacuation procedures, especially medical emergencies. For this, a direct line of communication between the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers will be used, sources said.

According to government officials added that both the sides have also agreed upon ensuring a safe and secure environment for the movement of pilgrims. India has requested Pakistan to accompany pilgrims every day for facilitating their visit.

In addition, Pakistan has agreed to make sufficient provision for preparation and distribution of 'Langar' and 'Prasad' for the pilgrims.

However, the third round of talks between Indian and Pakistani officials over the corridor concluded on Wednesday without finalising an agreement owing to certain differences on a few issues.

Pakistan insisted on charging a service fee for allowing pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, which was not agreeable in spirit to the Indian side.

Sources said that Pakistan showed its unwillingness to allow the presence of Indian Consular or Protocol officials in the gurdwara premises.

The Kartarpur corridor along the India-Pakistan border is nearly four kilometres away from Gurdaspur in Punjab, India. Once opened, this corridor will allow Sikh pilgrims direct access to the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev passed away in 1539.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, September 04 2019. 18:12 IST