India to not reopen Kartarpur Hall on ‘well being grounds’

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 3

India on Saturday decided to continue the closure of the Kartarpur Corridor despite Pakistan reopening it. Citing COVID-19 protocols, and a ‘technical issue’ the reason behind the closure.

Earlier in the day, the Pakistan government had announced, that the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on their side has been reopened as the coronavirus situation had improved in their country.

But India has crossed one-lakh COVID-19 deaths. The COVID situation has worsened. The decision of reopening would be taken in accordance with the COVID protocol, and easing of restrictions, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, the government had shut down the Kartarpur Corridor in March. Pakistan had also imposed a ban on its nationals from accessing the Corridor.

In June, Pakistan had briefly reopened the Corridor to commemorate Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s death anniversary, but India had rejected the offer as COVID was a major concern.

The MEA said, that it continued to remain in touch with all the concerned authorities, including Ministries of Home Affairs and Health, on its reopening.

Pakistan Ministry of Religious Affairs on Friday issued a notification, allowing Indian visitors to come daily from dawn to dusk.

The MEA had pointed out, that Pakistan was yet to fulfil some of the commitments at the time of reopening of the Kartarpur corridor, and in the bilateral agreement signed in October last year.

It has been a year, and Pakistan is yet to construct the bridge at Budhi Ravi Channel, but it is ready at India’s side. Despite a technical meeting with Pakistan, there is no progress, regretted Srivastava.

Meanwhile, Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is a 4.7 kilometre-long passage, which was inaugurated last year between Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Gurdaspur and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur.

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