More than a month after the Union government gave its approval to constructing the Kartarpur Corridor, the project is yet to take off on the ground with the Punjab government waiting for the Centre to select one out of four design proposals for the corridor that were submitted to it by the state.
Punjab’s Public Works Department (Buildings and Roads) Minister Vijay Inder Singh Singla told The Indian Express that a fortnight ago a joint inspection of the site was conducted along with Additional Secretary, Union Home Ministry.
“After the inspection, we have prepared four design proposals for the corridor. The Centre has to choose one after getting in touch with the Ministry of Home, the Ministry of External Affairs. After that the entire process will start. After the Centre chooses one of the four proposals, we will decide about the compensation to be given to the land owners. After that the process for identification of the owners of the land and its acquisition will start. It will take its own time as it is a lengthy process,” said Singla.
He added they were guarding the four proposals as “secret” so as to discourage the land sharks to start buying the land and creating problems for the government thereby delaying the project.
On Monday, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had accused the Centre of not providing money for acquisition of land. He had stated that the project was being delayed because of non-payment of money.
Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who is also an MLA from Dera Baba Nanak, from where the corridor is to be set up, too has been accusing the Centre of delaying the project. “I got on the BSF tower on the border two days ago and found that on the Pakistani side, the work on the road has reached just 500 m short of border. They are moving so fast. We do not even know from where the corridor would join their side. If you do not trust me then you can log in to Google Earth and find out for yourself. I can tell you that within 15 days they would be touching the Dhussi bandh on there side,” said Randhawa.
He said the Union government was only doing politics over the issue. “We have already received Rs 8 crore grant from the state for giving a facelift to 13 villages in the block related to Guru Nanak Dev.”
An official of the National Highway Authority of India said, “We are rather going very fast. We are in touch with the district administration and the acquisition of land for the project will start very soon. Afterall, procedures take time.”
The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 22 last year approved the development of the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district to the International Border. The corridor is meant to give Indian pilgrims easy access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur on the banks of the Ravi river in Pakistan.