Onus on India to ensure good footfall at Kartarpur Corridor: Pak SGPC
Expressing concern over the low footfall of pilgrims on the newly opened corridor to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) on Wednesday said now it is the responsibility of the Indian government to ensure the number remains reasonably high as it demanded to allow 5,000 people on normal days.
PSGPC member Inderjit Singh, a resident of Kartarpur, the last resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak, told HT over phone, “Initially, the Pakistan government planned to make arrangements for 500 pilgrims daily through the corridor. On India’s insistence, Pakistan allowed much bigger number of devotees and made arrangements for them along with the PSGPC, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and other stakeholders. They (India) also demanded the number of pilgrims be kept at 10,000 on special occasions .”
“Pakistan has spent 20 billion rupees, giving a facelift to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib complex and creating other infrastructure. A large number of employees of various departments have been deployed starting from the international border to the gurdwara to facilitate the pilgrims. Now, if few pilgrims are coming from India, it raises a question mark on their arrangements,” he added.
“There is no denying the fact that it was a long-pending demand of Indian Sikhs. Devotees used to have ‘darshan’ of Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur, with the help of binoculars at the international border and did ardas for opening of the corridor for decades. Now, when Guru heard their ardas, they should come here in large numbers so that the purpose of opening of the passage could be achieved,” he said.
He pointed out that the sangat (devotees) is enthusiastic to use the corridor but is not able to use it due to certain hiccups.
Most pilgrims are not aware of the online registration process which requires one to have a proper knowledge of computer, he said, adding that now it is the duty of Sikh community to create awareness about how to apply for the pilgrimage and get permission.
“We don’t bother how much the visiting pilgrims offer money to the golak. We want the pilgrims to come here in large number,” he said.
Other Sikh bodies are also worried over the low footfall and are spreading information on social media and other forums about the online registration procedure.