New Delhi: As India and Pakistan are all set to sign the agreement on Kartarpur Corridor on October 23 and Pakistan will be charging $20 for each pilgrim, it is expected to earn up to Indian Rs 258 crore per annum — about Pakistani Rs 571 crore — from pilgrims visiting Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of founder of Sikhism Shri Guru Nanak Dev.
According to a PTI report, the service fee from the pilgrims will be another source of foreign currency generation for Pakistan, which, as Pakistan claimed, will be spent for the maintenance of the corridor.
Since 5,000 pilgrims are allowed to visit the gurdwara Darbar Saheb Kartarpur, Pakistan will earn USD 1,00,000 every day.
With Monday’s rate of Indian Rs 70.95 for one USD, Pakistan will earn Indian Rs 70.95 lakh every day. As the rate of Pakistani currency is Rs 156.46 for one USD, the per day earning will be Rs 1.56 crore (Pakistani rupees).
Since the pilgrimage will be allowed all 365 days in a year, Pakistan will earn USD 3,65,00,000. The amount will be Indian Rs 258 crore and Pakistani Rs 571 crore, the report said.
On Monday, the ministry of external affairs issued a statement confirming the signing of the agreement. At the same time, it expressed disappointment over Pakistan’s insistence on charging a service fee.
“It is a matter of disappointment that while an understanding has been reached on most of the elements for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continues to insist on levying a service fee of USD 20 per pilgrim per visit. Government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee,” the MEA statement said.
“In view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa-free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalisation of the Corridor in time before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on 12 November 2019, Government has today conveyed that we would be ready to sign the Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 23 October 2019,” it said.
Several rounds of meetings took place to iron out the differences between India and Pakistan over the corridor. India had initially wanted Pakistan to allow 10,000 pilgrims every day. Later, it was decided that 5,000 pilgrims will be allowed. On special occasions, more pilgrims will be allowed. Pakistan also agreed to open the shrine for people belonging to all faiths — not only to Sikhs.
(With PTI inputs)