Four years on, bridge on Kartarpur zero line nears completion in Pakistan
After recent suspension of pilgrimage due to floods, work picked up pace in Pakistan; though Pakistan spent billions of rupees on the Kartarpur corridor project, it delayed the work on the bridge for a long time
Four years since the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, work on a bridge in Pakistan on the zero line of the corridor to connect to the Indian side is nearing completion. The corridor crosses the flood plains of the Ravi and is prone to flooding. India has already constructed a bridge over the zero line — the line that demarcates the territory between two countries — to connect to the road on the other side.
“The construction work is in its final phase. Only minor tasks need to be done. Work is underway on war footing. Now, it is up to the governments of both the countries about when they will join both the sides,” said Inderjit Singh, member of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC).
Earlier, work on the bridge was going on at a snail’s pace. The pilgrimage through the corridor, a visa-free access for Indian pilgrims to historic Sikh shrine Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, which is only 4 km away from the international border on the Pakistan side, stayed suspended for five days as the area submerged due to floodwater from the Ravi in July. After this, the neighbouring country completed the work on priority.
Though Pakistan spent billions of rupees on the Kartarpur corridor project, it delayed the work on the bridge for a long time. Had Pakistan completed the construction earlier, the pilgrimage would not have been interrupted due to floods.
Presently, the pilgrims after checking by immigration personnel at Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Dera Baba Nanak are taken to the zero line in electric vehicles. After completion of the bridge, the pilgrims will straightway reach near the border through an escalator from where a Pakistan bus will take them to the ICP in Pakistan and further to the gurdwara.