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Mr. Badal requested Home Minister for immediate action on Kartar Marg issue

Chandigarh March 28, 2008
Gary Singh, California

On March 27, NRI community leaders, entrepreneurs and business men get together at Fontana, California under the umbrella of United Sikh Mission to make request to Indian Governement for Kartarpur gurdwara marg (link) and provide visa-less access to the holy shrine from India side. The press was released yesterday.

The Kartarpur gurdwara is 2 km from Indo-Pakistan border on the Pakistan’s side of the Ravi and three kilometres from gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur. The partition of the country deprived the Sikhs of paying obeisance in this shrine. A bridge which joined the two gurdwaras was bombarded during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

From our unconfirmed report, Pakistan government is ready to provide unrestricted passage to Indian Sikh devotees who want to visit gurdwara Kartarpur in that country without a passport or visa. President Pervez Musharraf has offered to provide Indian Sikhs with a corridor, which would be fenced on both sides. No passport or visa would be required, but pilgrims would have to return same day.

In March 2004, SANGAT LANGHA KARTARPUR, Amritsar had given Memorandum to Prime Minister, Attal Bihar Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister on their visit to Amritsar but no action was taken.

NRI Dr. Surinder Singh from New York said While the Sikhs feel that Kartarpur is a universal shrine where the three prominent religions of the region are represented by three memorials of Guru Nanak: an Islaminc grave and two samadhis. It is believed that real peace can be in the region only if Kartarpur shrine is opened for public.


Press Release By Punjab Govt dated March 28, 2008

The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today called on the Union Home Minister Mr. Shivraj Patil and sought a Comprehensive Development Package for border areas in Punjab.

The Chief Minster also asked Mr. Patil to facilitate early interaction between the Governments of India and Pakistan on the proposed free corridor from Indo-border to the historic and holy town of Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. The corridor would allow devotes from India to visit the holy place connected with the life of Guru Nanak Devji without the mandatory visa. The Pak authorities had reportedly given their consent in principle to the proposal.

Disclosing this, Mr. Harcharan Bains, Media Advisor to Chief Minister, Mr. Bains described the Union Home Minister's response as "extremely positive and helpful" and said that Mr. Badal raised the issue of development of 11 border towns, including a cantonment, in tune with modern town planning. He sought funds under central schemes for improving water supply and sewerage system in these areas and said that the state had not got its due share in the on going schemes. Mr. Badal also told the Union Home Minister that the Border Roads Development Authority needed to pay greater attention to the plight of infrastructure in the Punjab along the belt neighboring Pakistan. The plight of roads and even pontoon bridges was 'pathetic'.

The Chief Minister also sought compensation of Rs. 5000 (five thousand) per acre per annum for farmers whose lands fall beyond the border fence as they had been facing major handicaps in the interest of the defense of the country.

Mr. Badal also raised the issue of modernization of the police force and said that the state should not be penalized for the failure of the previous regime headed by Captain Amarinder Singh to issue utilization certificates on the central funds meant for the purpose. He said that the present government in Punjab had been prompt in certifying the usage of all central assistance. As a result of the failure of the previous government, central funds for the purpose had been slashed by nearly 300 per cent. He Chief Minister also emphasized the need for recruiting more female security staff for border areas in central security forces.

Mr. Badal asked Mr. Patil's to use his good offices to ensure early clearances for the proposed highway to link the holy City of Hemkunt Sahib with Punjab.