Punjab CM Amarinder Singh calls service charge for Kartarpur ‘jaziya’
In an informal media interaction at Dera Baba Nanak, the chief minister said that he had sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to pressure Pakistan into withdrawing its proposed service charge.Updated: Sep 20, 2019 05:51 IST
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said on Thursday that the service charges of USD 20 per head proposed by Pakistan for Kartarpur Corridor pilgrims was like ‘Jaziya’, a tax imposed in earlier times on non-Muslims in Muslim countries.
Reviewing the progress in the project, the CM reiterated his demand that Pakistan withdrew the proposal, adding that even Mughal emperor Akbar had abolished the controversial and regressive tax during his rule. “Proposed Pakistani service/facilitation charge of $20 per visitor is against the basic spirit of Sikh ideology of allowing ‘Khulle Darshan Deedar’ of the Gurudwara Sahibs which remained in Pakistan after Partition,” he said.
Amarinder inspected the Kartarpur Corridor construction work, including the integrated check post construction, where he interacted with workers.
In an informal media interaction at Dera Baba Nanak, the chief minister said that he had sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to pressure Pakistan into withdrawing its proposed service charge. He had also suggested that the minister of external affairs took up the matter in bilateral meetings.
The Chief Minister was confident that the work on the Indian side would be complete by October 30, though he expressed concern about the same on the Pakistani side.
In response to a question on the security threat along the corridor, Amarinder underlined the need to remain on constant guard.
Meanwhile, the state Cabinet has sanctioned ₹75.23 crore for widening and strengthening the road network leading to the historic town. With less than two months to go for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, another ₹3.7 crore has been approved for the construction of a “heritage street” and a “food street”.
Later, chairing the third meeting of the Dera Baba Nanak Development Authority, constituted to ensure development of the historic town associated with the first Sikh Guru, the CM directed officials to ensure timely completion of the projects related to the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations.
He said he had written to Union minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari for the Sultanpur Lodhi-Beas-Batala and Dera Baba Nanak road (which is to be named as Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji Marg) as national highways. He also directed the powercom chairman to ensure underground cable wiring of electricity polls being erected at the passage leading to the Kartarpur Corridor.
The CM also asked the health minister to put in place an elaborate healthcare plan for devotees expected to visit the city during the celebrations.
First Published: Sep 20, 2019 04:22 IST