In a statement issued on Monday, the MEA urged Pakistan govt to shed rigidity and drop the ideas of charging $20 “Service Fee’’ from the pilgrims.
New Delhi: With time running out to sign the agreement on Kartarpur Corridor, India on Monday made one last attempt to convince Pakistan to drop its plan to charge $20 from the Indian pilgrims, who will be visiting Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara using the corridor.
In a statement issued on Monday, the MEA urged Pakistan government to shed rigidity and drop the ideas of charging $20 “Service Fee’’ from the pilgrims.
India has said that it is a matter of disappointment that while understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continues to insist on levying a service fee of $20 per pilgrim per visit. “Government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee,” the Indian government said in a statement.
The agreement will be signed on October 23. However, the ministry of external affairs said that while agreeing to sign the agreement, the government of Pakistan has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence to levy service fee on pilgrims. “India would be ready to amend the agreement accordingly at any time,” MEA said.
“In view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa free access to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalisation of the corridor in time before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on 12 November 2019, government has today conveyed that we would be ready to sign the agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 23 October 2019,” MEA said.
MEA added that the Indian government has taken the initiative to put in place the state of art infrastructure and open the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, so that the pilgrims from India and those holding overseas citizen of India card can undertake visit to Kartarpur Sahib.
The Indian government has to on Sunday postponed the registration process of pilgrims for Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. India has been constantly objecting to the $20 fee which Pakistan claims to use for the infrastructure maintenance and providing others facilities to the pilgrims at Kartarpur Sahib. The Indian side maintains that any amount charged is against the spirit of the goodwill that Pakistan is trying to create by opening the corridor. India also feels that this can lead to charging higher amount from Indian pilgrims in future.