Kartarpur agreement to be signed on October 23: MEA

The Indian government has once again urged the Pakistan side to reconsider its stance on levying the service fee. (File Photo)

The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said that the government is ready to sign the Kartarpur agreement on October 23 so that the corridor can be opened on November 12. The government has, however, urged Pakistan to reconsider its stand to levy service fee of $20 on pilgrims.

“In view of the long pending demand of pilgrims to have visa free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalisation of Kartarpur Corridor in time before November 12, Govt conveys that we would be ready to sign Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on October 23,” news agency ANI quoted MEA statement.

“While agreeing to sign the Agreement, the Government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee of $20 on pilgrims. India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time,” the statement added.

Pakistan has been insisting on the service fee to meet operational costs of the corridor linking the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur, Punjab.

The Pakistan government in September had announced that the corridor will be opened on November 9, three days before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, news agency PTI reported.

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib.