Kartarpur corridor work slow on Pakistan side

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GURDASPUR: The online registration of pilgrims visiting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan, is expected to begin on October 20, officials said on Wednesday. They said the government is mulling on the option of making the application process completely online. 

While construction work is going on in full force, work on large portions of the corridor is yet to be done, a site visit revealed. Authorities, however, said that the project will be completed on time. 

Chairman of the Land Port Authority of India and Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Govind Mohan said, “75 percent work is complete and we will finish the remaining work within 15 days”.
The main passenger terminal building, where immigration officers will scan the passports of pilgrims, is still under construction. A four-lane highway that will connect the ‘zero-point’ for the onward journey into Pakistan is yet to be completed. 

While India has constructed a bridge that goes up to the zero lines, the construction of the bridge on the Pakistani side has been deferred. Mohan said an alternative road, a ramp-up to the zero points is being made. 

Government officials, however, said that Pakistan has committed to India to build the bridge over the last mile within the next six months.

The slow progress of the work in Pakistan could be seen from the Indian side. Pakistan will provide transportation up to zero points to pick up the pilgrims on their side of the facilitation center and then drop them back.

Officials said a “state-of-the-art” passenger terminal of this magnitude takes around 18 months to build but it is being readied within five months. 

Sailendra Ajri, vice president of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, the contractor of the project, said 1,832 labors are working in multiple shifts and 58 heavy-duty cranes are also engaged. Once the geometric roof is put on the passenger terminal, most of the work will be done, Ajri said.

If all goes well, both countries will sign an MoU after which the registration process will begin. The Kartarpur corridor is expected to be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on November 8.

India has proposed that the first group of pilgrims should cross over to Pakistan on November 8. The MHA is also planning to boost mobile connectivity along the Kartarpur corridor.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)