A day ahead of Guru Nanak Jayanti, the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the construction and development of the Kartarpur Corridor from the Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab's Gurdaspur district to the India-Pakistan border. The decision was made at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in view of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh confirmed the news on Twitter:
In landmark decision, the Cabinet approves building and development of Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to International Border. Kartarpur corridor project with all modern amenities and facilities to be implemented with Central Government funding.
" ¤°¤¾¤¤¨¤¾¤¥ ¤¸¤¿¤¤¹ (@rajnathsingh) November 22, 2018
He also said:
The Kartarpur corridor will provide smooth and easy passage to pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib throughout the year. Government of Pakistan will be urged to reciprocate and develop a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory. " ¤°¤¾¤¤¨¤¾¤¥ ¤¸¤¿¤¤¹ (@rajnathsingh) November 22, 2018
At a press conference after the decision was announced, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley outlined the Cabinet's plan in detail, saying that the Centre is looking to expand its support for the Sikh community. He also announced the government's plan to develop Punjab's heritage town of Sultanpur Lodhi, which is of religious significance to the Sikh community. The town will also be developed on the principles of a Smart City.
The central government will also set up a centre for interfaith studies at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Jaitley said. An international seminar on the life and teachings of Shri Guru Nanak Devji will also be organised in New Delhi, and chairs on Shri Guru Nanak Devji will be set up at one university each in the United Kingdom and Canada.
The Centre will also release commemorative coin and postage stamps for the occasion, and the Indian Railways will run a train that will pass through all the holy sites associated with Guru Nanak Dev.
As part of efforts to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019, Indian missions overseas will be asked to organise special events. The finance minister said the Centre will also request UNESCO to publish Guru Nanak's writings in world languages.
A committee led by the home minister will regularly review, monitor and oversee the implementation of the activities commemorating Guru Nanak Dev 550th birth anniversary.
A history of the Kartarpur Corridor
The Kartarpur Corridor is a proposed project between India and Pakistan that will connect the Dera Baba Nanak Sahib gurdwara in India's state of Punjab to the Kartarpur Sahib shrine in Pakistan's Punjab province.
Even though Pakistan, on 19 September, had claimed that there was no formal communication with India regarding the construction of the Kartarpur Corridor, The Express Tribune reported that Pakistan has decided to begin the project later this month.
India Today quoted government sources as saying that Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan will likely lay the foundation stone of the project, and that the Sikh pilgrims will also be allowed visa-free entry.
Although authorities have not set a date to begin the construction, the Pakistan government was hoping to coincide the announcement with the arrival of the Sikh pilgrims celebrating Guru Nanak Jayanti at the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in the country.