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Kartarpur land notification issued

January 27, 2019 05:23 AM


Anisha Dutta and Sudhi Ranjan Sen letters@hindustantimes ■
Kartarpur land notification issued
An official says Punjab will begin land acquisition process after MORTH issues a final notification
From page 01 NEW DELHI: The ministry of road transport and highways has finally identified the land it requires for the Indian side of the Kartarpur corridor and issued a so-called land notification under the National Highways Act 1956, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times — kickstarting work on connecting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine on the Indian side of the border with the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith.

■ The two sides are yet to reach a consensus on if only Sikh pilgrims from India will be allowed to visit the shrine.
“We have already had a meeting to decide the alignment for the corridor based on which a stretch of road has been identified to be notified as national highway and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will be building it. The state government now has to begin land acquisition process,” a senior transport ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

The four villages identified for the 4.25 km stretch along Indo-pak border in Gurdaspur district of Punjab are Chandu Nangal, Jaurian Khurd, Pakhoketahli Sahib and Dera Baba Nanak.

The Border Security Force (BSF) and Bureau of Immigration will be entrusted with access control and over all security of the area, the home ministry official said and added, “we have had several rounds of meetings.” Stake holders have advised the government that security measures should not be implemented in a piecemeal manner. “We cannot have gradually implementation or add on requirements, “a senior official in the security establishment said on condition of anonymity.

A second transport ministry official said land acquisition may take longer as another final notification for the land is yet to be issued by the ministry of road transport and highways.

“This notification was for intent to acquire the land following which we will be issuing another notification which would be the final notification. The current notification gives provisions for anyone to file their objections, if any, with the concerned state authorities within 21 days. After the objections are finalised the final notification will then be issued only after which the state government can begin land acquisition,” this official added, asking not to be identified.

Construction on the Pakistan side of the corridor has begun.

India and Pakistan are yet to finalise the security details and protocol. Broadly, however, there is agreement within the security infrastructure in New Delhi that arrangement will be like the Wagah-attari border, a senior official in the Home Ministry who didn’t want to be named said.

For better access control, India wants visas for pilgrims visiting the shrine.

The issue on whether only Sikh pilgrims from India will be allowed to visit the shrine is still open. New Delhi would like the shrine to be open to all Indians because Guru Nanak’s appeal cuts across faiths.

In a statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign office on Tuesday, the Pakistani government said the draft agreement between the two governments has been shared with New Delhi through the Indian High Commission in Islamabad inviting New Delhi to “urgently” send a delegation for negotiating and finalising the proposal.

“Pursuant to the decision taken by the Government of India on 22 November 2018 to expeditiously realise the long pending proposal to establish Kartarpur Corridor, India has today shared the coordinates of the zero point (crossing point) of the corridor along the International Border with Pakistan. India has also proposed two set of dates, 26 February and 7 March 2019, for the visit of Pakistan delegation to New Delhi to discuss and finalise the modalities so that the Indian pilgrims can visit the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor at the earliest,” a ministry of external affairs statement issued Tuesday said.

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