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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

At Kartarpur Corridor meeting, India asks Pakistan to build bridge over flood-prone Ravi river

During the meeting, Indian officials reportedly requested their Pakistan counterparts to construct a 300-m bridge in flood-prone areas across the border, which can be the bane of pilgrims with the rising level of water in Ravi river during the monsoon season..

chandigarh Updated: Apr 17, 2019 13:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Dera Baba Nanak
Officials from India and Pakistan before their meeting on Kartarpur Corridor project at the Zero Line along the international border at Dera Baba Nanak on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Officials from India and Pakistan before their meeting on Kartarpur Corridor project at the Zero Line along the international border at Dera Baba Nanak on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.(HT Photo )
         

The second meeting of officials from India and Pakistan to discuss technical points related to the Kartarpur corridor project was held at the Zero Line along the international border at Dera Baba Nanak on Tuesday.

During the meeting, Indian officials reportedly requested their Pakistan counterparts to construct a 300-m bridge in flood-prone areas across the border, which can be the bane of pilgrims with the rising level of water in Ravi river during the monsoon season..

The officials discussed the alignment of the corridor which will be around 5-km long. Out of this, nearly 4.5 km will fall in Pakistan’s territory. They also discussed security arrangements for the corridor.

Both the countries have already laid foundation stones of the project being executed to give Indian devotees access to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the last resting place of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak, which is 3 km from the international border.

In the meeting that lasted from 11 am to 2 pm, the officials of Punjab irrigation department also took part, apart from the officials of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Land Port Authority of India (LPOI).

An official present in the meeting, seeking anonymity, said the NHAI will construct a 100-m bridge on the Dhusi Bund defence wall in the Indian territory and Indian experts urged Pakistan to construct a 300-m bridge in its territory so that devotees do not face inconvenience during the monsoon season.

The Pakistan officials reportedly said they have already started work on the construction of a road for the corridor and they will work as per the prepared plan. The Indian side was represented by Akhil Saxena of LPAI, Maneesh Rastogi and YP Jadon of NHAI, and officials of the Union home ministry and the irrigation and drainage departments of Punjab. Experts from Pakistan included officials of Pakistan Frontier Works Organisation, ministry of religious affairs and foreign ministry.

The Indian and Pakistani flags kept fluttering at the makeshift venue throughout the duration of the meeting. Security was so tight that pilgrims were not even allowed to pay obeisance from the raised platform from where people can view the Kartarpur Sahib shrine across the border through binoculars installed by the BSF.

Like the March 19 meeting, media persons were kept away from the meeting venue and Indian experts made no official briefing about the deliberations.

Meanwhile, cabinet minister and local MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said in statement, “Now, there is every possibility that the corridor will see the light of the day before the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev that will commence in November.”

Earlier, India had postponed the proposed meeting between the officials of two countries at the Wagah border, which was scheduled for April 2.

The first meeting of technical experts of both sides was held on March 19 at the Zero Line at Dera Baba Nanak.

The first delegation-level joint meeting was held at Attari on March 14 to discuss the modalities and the draft agreement for the project.