ISLAMABAD   -   The development of first phase of Kartarpur Corridor will cost Rs 13 billion and the government has decided to constitute a technical committee to look into the matters of land acquisition, cost-sharing mechanism between Centre and Punjab and other technical issues.

While chairing a meeting on development of Gurdwara Kartarpur Corridor here on Friday, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar said that the prime minister had performed the ground breaking of the corridor on November 28, 2018 and will inaugurate it in November this year.

The meeting was attended by Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Secretary Religious Affairs, Director General FWO Maj. Gen. Inam Haider Malik, Members Planning Commission, Commissioner Gujranwala, representatives from NESPAK and high level officials of the ministry.

During the meeting, the DG FWO gave a detailed briefing to the participants about the development of the corridor, including, construction of border terminal buildings, langar khana, Gurdwara complex and a bridge. He apprised that technical details and designs have been shared with the Indian side and the work was in full swing. He said that all cultural, religious and social issues have been taken care of while developing the corridor. He further informed that a media visit will be arranged soon to the corridor for a briefing on its development.

The minister was informed that the total cost of the phase-I of the project is Rs 13 billion, an official source told The Nation. The minister said that the cost is too high but he was informed that the India is spending Rs 15 billion on a much smaller compound on other side of the border.

According to the source, the minister was of the view that the Punjab government should fund the major share.

Talking on the occasion, Bakhtyar said that the incumbent government took a major initiative last year by announcing opening of Kartarpur Corridor to provide access to Sikh devotees to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib on the request of Navjot Singh Sidhu. He underlined that the government is committed to timely completion of the corridor which will provide easy access to Sikh devotees besides promoting religious tourism. 

The Kartarpur Corridor will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Narowal district with Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur. The government has allocated Rs 1 billion for the development of Kartarpur in the federal PSDP 2019-20.