Pak to earn Rs 259 crore per annum from Kartarpur

Pakistan is expected to earn up to USD 365,00,000 from pilgrims visiting the holy Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, officials said on Thursday.

The service fee from the pilgrims - Indian Rs 259 crore per annum and about Pakistani Rs 555 crore - will be another source of foreign currency generation for Pakistan, which is already reeling under severe financial crisis, a government official said.

Since 5,000 pilgrims are allowed to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan, which will be charging USD 20 service fee per pilgrim, will earn USD 1,00,000 (approximately Rs 71 lakh) every day.

As the rate of Pakistani currency is Rs 155.74 for one USD, the per day earning will be Rs 1.55 crore (Pakistani rupees).

Since the pilgrimage will be allowed all 365 days a year, Pakistan will earn USD 3,65,00,000.

The value of amount will be Indian Rs 259 crore and Pakistan Rs 555 crore, the official said.

Though India signed the pact with Pakistan for ensuring smooth travel of pilgrims through the Kartarpur Corridor, it has asked Islamabad to review the decision to charge the fee in future.

For registration of pilgrims, online portal (prakashpurb550.mha.gov.in) has gone live on Thursday. The pilgrims will have to register themselves online on this portal and exercise their choice to travel on any day.

The pilgrims will be informed by SMS and email of the confirmation of registration three to four days in advance of the date of travel. An Electronic Travel Authorisation will also be generated.

The pilgrims need to carry Electronic Travel Authorisation, along with their passport, when they arrive at the Passenger Terminal Building.

India and Pakistan on Thursday signed a landmark agreement to operationalise the historic Kartarpur Corridor to allow Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, notwithstanding a chill in bilateral ties.

Last month, India and Pakistan agreed on visa-free travel of Indian pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib using the Kartarpur Corridor.

Pilgrims will only have to carry their passports to visit the revered Gurdwara in Pakistan.

Persons of Indian origin holding OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card too can visit the Gurdwara using the Kartarpur Corridor.

It was also decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine everyday and additional pilgrims will be allowed on special occasions, subject to capacity expansion of facilities by the Pakistani side.

India and Pakistan have also decided that the corridor will be operational throughout the year and seven days a week and that pilgrims will have a choice to visit it as individuals or in groups.

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