Kartarpur corridor: Harsimrat targets Captain over delay, he says ball ‘totally in Centre’s court’

By Indian Express

Jan 12, 2019 12:10 PM

The ongoing war of words between Capt Amarinder Singh and Harsimrat Kaur Badal over Kartarpur corridor issue escalated further Friday with the Union minister accusing the Punjab government of non-cooperation and the chief minister countering her, saying they have sent a reminder to the Union government and the ball was now totally in the Centre’s court.

Harsimrat, the Union minister for food processing industries, charged the Congress government in Punjab with not being serious about the early opening of the corridor that will facilitate Sikh pilgrims from India in visiting the historic Kartarpur gurdwara in Pakistan. “The central government is doing its best on a war footing to complete the corridor at the earliest,” she told reporters in Ludhiana.

The Punjab government has been asked to start acquisition of land, she said, adding, “It was sad that the Punjab government was not cooperating the way it should.” She said the Punjab government took one-and-a-half months to send the minutes of the high-level joint meeting of central and state officials on the matter.

The Punjab CM, however, accused Harsimrat of trying to mislead the Sikh community with false statements and said she has “once again put her foot in her mouth by not doing her homework”. In a statement issued in Chandigarh, he claimed that the state government has sent a reminder to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the matter 11 days ago asking them about further actions required by the state government.

The fact of the matter was that a meeting was held on December 12, 2018 under the chairmanship of additional chief secretary, Department of Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab. At the meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Border Security Force (BSF), National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Bureau of Immigration and other stakeholders presented their views, based on which four different alignment options were proposed for the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor,” the statement read.

“Of the available options, one was mutually agreed upon as the most appropriate,” the CM said adding that the departments concerned were asked to submit their requirements. ince it was a bilateral issue with wider ramifications, the follow-up meeting was proposed to be held under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

The CM made it clear that any move to acquire the land can be initiated only after the approval of the Union government, coupled with the flow of funds.

He said that a reminder had also been sent to the MHA on January 1, 2019, asking them about further course of action for initiating the project at the earliest. His government, and he personally, were very keen to ensure the completion of the project in time for the 550th Prakash Parab of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji in November this year, Amarinder said while “lamenting the games that the Akali leaders, including Harsimrat, were playing over such a sensitive issue”.

“The wall of deceit that the Akali leadership was trying to build between the government and the people would not stand even for a day,” he said, adding that the people of Punjab were ready to show the Badals the exit, once again, in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, is said to have lived in Kartarpur in Pakistan for 18 years till 1539. The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is built where he took his last breath.

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