Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the state-of-the-art Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) at Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab on November 9, formally opening the Kartarpur Corridor connecting two historical gurdwaras on either side of the India-Pakistan border for pilgrims, officials said on Thursday.
The prime minister will also address a public meeting nearly three kilometres from the building after the inauguration, following which he will attend the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak being organised at Sultanpur Lodhi, they said.
The much-awaited corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur, Punjab, with the gurdwara at Kartarpur, just around four kilometres from the international border, located at Shakargarh in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, had spent more than 18 years of his life at the Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur, Pakistan, located on the banks of the river Ravi, making it one of the holiest sites for devotees.
Spanning over an area of around 2.5 lakh sq feet, the terminal will have a facilitation centre to host government officials responsible for ensuring hassle-free travel of pilgrims, food kiosks, parking areas and security points.
The government had acquired 50 acres land for the project which can accommodate 5,000 passengers.
The foundation stone for the Rs 178-crore Kartarpur Corridor was laid by Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu in November 2018.
A total of 55 immigration counters are being set up at the passenger terminal.
There will be no visa requirement but pilgrims will have to carry their passports.
Over 1,800 labourers are working in multiple shifts while 58 heavy-duty cranes are also being engaged to ensure completion of the work on schedule.
The arch rival neighbours had agreed on visa-free travel for Indian devotees to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib using the Kartarpur Corridor.
The arrangement allows a pilgrim to reach the PTB with a passport and a permit, which can be applied for online.
Persons of Indian origin holding OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card too can visit the gurdwara using the Kartarpur Corridor.
Both countries had agreed to allow 5,000 pilgrims every day and that additional pilgrims will be allowed on special occasions, subject to capacity expansion of facilities by Pakistan side.
India and Pakistan had also decided that the corridor would be operational throughout the year and seven days a week, and that pilgrims would have a choice to visit as individuals or in groups.
Both sides agreed to build a bridge on the Budhi Ravi channel. Pending the construction of the bridge on the Pakistan side, both sides agreed to the crossing point coordinates of the temporary service road.
In November 2018, India and Pakistan had agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak.
The two sides had planned to open the corridor before the year-long celebrations to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev beginning next month.