by Manish Shukla and Siddhant Sibal
NEW DELHI: India will soon send the draft proposal of Kartarpur corridor to Pakistan. The decision was taken a high-level meeting on Tuesday at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
This major inter-agency coordination meeting was chaired by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and attended by Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Border Security Force DG RK Misra, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria and senior officers of other agencies.
The meeting discussed ways to fast-track the implementation of the Kartarpur Corridor Project and deliberated on land acquisition for the highway and Integrated Check Post (ICP), sources told Zee Media.
Preliminary notification for land acquisition for the highway has already been issued. The notification to acquire land for the corridor is likely to be issued on Wednesday, sources added.
The Punjab Government has assured that the land will be made available for both the projects by mid-March.
Meanwhile, possession of the land to begin preliminary work will be made available to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI). A detailed plan outlining the same is expected to be finalised within the next few days.
Coordinates of zero point have been communicated to Pakistan, senior officials were informed during the course of the meet.
Briefing the reporters after the meeting Punjab chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh said," All concerned GOI stakeholders and Indian high commissioner Ajay Bisaria attended the meeting. We discussed on aspects of the agreement that we want to finalise with Pakistan. We are hopeful that we will send the draft proposal to Pakistan and complete legal modalities within a month."
"Land acquisition work is in progress. This involves 4 stages, we are in the second stage as of now. We are hopeful that in a month and a half we will complete this process," he added.
The first top-level meet on the corridor took place on January 15.
India on November 22 shared coordinates of the Zero Point (Crossing point) of the corridor along the International Border with Pakistan. New Delhi has also invited a Pakistani delegation to India to discuss and finalise the modalities of the corridor and suggested two sets of dates – February 26 and March 7, 2019. Pakistan is yet to respond to it.
Bisaria had earlier told ZeeMedia that India and Pakistan are in contact with each other on the issue of Kartarpur Corridor and hope that the Kartarpur Corridor will be functional by 2019.
Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev lived at the location of Kartarpur Gurudwara in Pakistan for 18 years.
India last year approved the building of the corridor on the Indian side so that pilgrims can easily visit the Holy Gurudwara to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev this year. Pakistan later announced that it will also build a corridor on its side of the border from the holy Gurudwara till the international border.
India's Vice President Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone for the corridor on the Indian side on November 26, 2018, while Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone on 28th November on its side of the border.