DW BUREAU / SULTANPUR LODHI
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh will take up the issue of visa-free entry through Kartarpur Corridor with the External Affairs Minister, as per a decision taken on Tuesday by the state cabinet, which also resolved to convene a special session of the state assembly next month, to commemorate the 550th Prakash Purb of Guru Nanak Dev.
The Council of Ministers, in its resolution, also decided to invite the President of India and various eminent Sikh personalities to address the planned Special Session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
In another resolution, the Cabinet, chaired by the Chief Minister, decided to strongly recommend to the Government of India to convene a Special Joint Session of Parliament to mark the historic occasion. The Parliament session should be addressed by the President of India, with prominent Sikh personalities to be invited for participation, it added.
The cabinet also resolved to take up, with the External Affairs Minister, the matter of allowing visa-free entry to the devotees intending to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, without any entry fee, facilitation charges, service charges etc. This would help them in `khula darshan’, enabling them to pay obeisance (Darshan-Didare) without any restriction in accordance with the prayer (ardaas) of Sikh Sangat. The Chief Minister promised to personally call on the External Affairs Minister, and urge him to prevail upon his counterpart in Pakistan to ensure visa-free entry to its territory for facilitating the millions of devotees to have Darshan-Didare seamlessly.
The Chief Minister also decided to convene the next meeting of his cabinet at Sultanpur Lodhi on October 10 to review the further progress of the ongoing infrastructural and development projects in the historic city. On a personal request from Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, the Chief Minister agreed to convene a special meeting at Dera Baba Nanak before September 30 to review the status of various development projects being executed in the area.
The special meeting of the cabinet, convened here today to review the progress of various ongoing projects in the historic city of Sultanpur Lodhi, also cleared a proposal for declaring Sultanpur Lodhi-Kapurthala-Kartarpur-Beas-Batala (including Batala byepass)-Dera Baba Nanak as ‘Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Marg’. It was decided to upgrade the 136.14 km long road, and widen it to 10 meters at a cost of Rs. 96.15 crore.
Conceding a request from Sultanpur Lodhi MLA Navtej Singh Cheema, the cabinet okayed a proposal to upgrade the local Civil Hospital to a super specialty institution, and also sanctioned Rs. 1.24 crore for the construction of a kilometer-long stretch new road from Gurdwara Sant Ghat to connect with the Kapurthala-Sultanpur Lodhi Road.
The Chief Minister directed the executing agencies to complete all the development works within the stipulated time frame and directed the Deputy Commissioner Kapurthala to regularly hold meetings of all concerned officers to meet the deadline. Captain Amarinder also asked the state Chief Secretary and DGP to take stock of the ongoing development and traffic management projects on regular basis.
The Chief Minister directed the Chairman PSPCL and Secretary Water Supply and Sanitation to find ways and means for exempting the free langars from electricity and water charges. Captain Amarinder Singh asked the Cultural Affairs Minister to set up a committee for honouring 550 Sikhs/Nanak Naam Leva Personalities on the occasion.
Earlier, the Principal Secretary Cultural Affairs and Tourism, in his presentation, apprised the Chief Minister that tented accommodation facility was being installed at three different locations – near Gurdwara Ber Sahib, Lohian Road, Sultanpur Lodhi-Kapurthala Road – within an area of 277 acres in the holy city having capacity for 30,000 pilgrims and 5000 officials.
On the occasion the Deputy Commissioner Kapurthala also gave a brief presentation to update the Chief Minister about ongoing development projects in the historic city of Sultanpur Lodhi.