The ambitious Kartarpur corridor linking Pakistan’s Gurudwara Darbar Sahib with India’s Dera Baba Nanak shrine has hit a roadblock after the technical experts from both the countries could not find a consensus on building a bridge over the Ravi’s floodplain, a media report said on Tuesday.
The experts from Pakistan and India on Monday held a meeting to discuss the modalities for the corridor at the Kartarpur Zero Point.
The Express Tribune reported that the meeting lasted only one hour during which the representatives of both the sides exchanged details of the construction work.
India wants the construction of a km-long bridge on the Ravi river while Pakistan suggested the need to construct a road, it said.
The Indian officials objected to the road, citing the possibility of floods in the river. However, the Pakistani officials said that a dam could be built around the road and the inclination of the road could be kept high to avoid flood waters, the report said.
The two countries also could not agree on the date for the next meeting.
The group from the Indian side had officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Land Ports Authority of India, National Highways Authority of India, among others.
The Pakistani side was represented by the officials of Federal Investigation Agency, customs, construction, Pakistan Rangers Punjab and Survey of Pakistan.
Earlier in April, technical experts and foreign ministry officials from both the sides participated in the talks held at the same venue.
In the March meeting, the two sides decided to present surveys and maps for border fencing and developmental work on the Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib Corridor to their respective governments.
In November 2018, India and Pakistan agreed to set up a border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak – to Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district.
Pakistan has said that the work on the corridor will be completed before the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in November this year.
The Kartarpur corridor is expected to provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib — a small town in Narowal, four kilometres from the Pakistan-India border, where Sikhism founder Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.
Pakistan will build the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur up to the border will be constructed by India.