Punjab CM Amarinder Singh to meet PM Modi over passport waiver for Kartarpur
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said on Tuesday he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with an all-party delegation and urge him to take up the issue of passport for visiting Kartarpur Sahib with Pakistan.
The Punjab assembly also passed a resolution urging the Centre to ask Pakistan to do away with the condition that pilgrims using the Kartarpur Corridor must hold passports.
It also sought a reduction in the $20 fee that Pakistan charges Indian pilgrims using the visa-free facility to visit the Sikh shrine just near the border, which marks the place where Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak spent his final years.
The resolution was moved by the state’s jail minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa in the assembly on the third day of the Budget session.
“Many people who want to pay obeisance at the Kartarpur gurdwara do not have passports and that is why they cannot go there,” Randhawa said.
The minister suggested documents like the Aadhaar could be allowed instead of the passport. He also sought the simplification of the process for applying for a visit to the shrine.
Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Gurpartap Singh Wadala said the number of pilgrims visiting the Kartarpur shrine is low because of the passport requirement.
Aam Aadmi Party MLA and Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema demanded that the state government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) should bear the $20 fee equally.
The Kartarpur Corridor was opened on November 9 last year linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib with Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab’s Gurdaspur a few kilometres away across the border.