India has agreed to a 20 dollar fee sought for allowing pilgrims to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan through a much-awaited corridor that will open next month. It will sign the Kartarpur pact on Wednesday.
Differences over the payment had resulted in a delay in launching online registration for the first pilgrimage to the Sikh religious site on November 9. Although India has now agreed to go ahead with signing the pact, it continues to request the withdrawal of the said fee.
Last month, India and Pakistan agreed on visa-free travel of Indian pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib using the Kartarpur corridor. The two nations had also decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine every day, and additional pilgrims will be allowed on special occasions, subject to the expansion of facilities on the Pakistani side.
However, the 20 dollar fee had caused some heartburn in India, with both Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal demanding its withdrawal.
Amarinder Singh claimed that imposing such a fee will prevent many economically backward pilgrims from realising their long-cherished dream of visiting the final resting place of Sikh guru Guru Nanak.