ISLAMABAD/GURDASPUR: India has reportedly told Pakistan to fast-track the process of constructing the 300-metre long bridge on the river Ravi on its side which will connect the Kartarpur corridor on the zero line between both the countries.
India has already completed 70 per cent of work of the 100 metres of the same bridge being constructed on its side.
Sources said that the fourth round of technical talks about the corridor between both countries took place on Friday on the zero line at Dera Baba Nanak. Fifteen officials from each side participated in the meeting.
The bridge has been a bone of contention between the two countries. Initially, Pakistan was not willing to construct the bridge as it insisted that it would instead build a causeway.
Indian officials, though, said the causeway would lead to flooding in the area. An agreement was reached and construction of the bridge was approved.
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The Indian delegation comprised of HK Wadhwa and Alok Kumar from the Ministry of Home Affairs; Yash Pal Singh Jadon, Project Director, National Highway Authority of India; Akhil Saxena, Member (Planning and Development), Land Port Authority of India; Jeetendra Singh, Vice-President of Ceigall India construction company; and Mahipal Yadav, IGP, BSF (Punjab Frontier).
This was the first meeting on the Kartarpur corridor after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and will probably be the last one before the first batch of Sikh pilgrims from India pass through the corridor on November 8 to attend the 550 birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.
Over the past few months, many rounds of meetings have been held on the corridor during which the experts from the two sides have discussed its alignment, coordinates and other engineering aspects of the proposed crossing points.
The corridor will be the first visa-free corridor between the two neighbours since their independence in 1947.
Harpal Singh Pala, a close aid of pro-Khalistan leader and former secretary of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Gopal Singh Chawla, was arrested by Punjab Police three days ago for spying from Bhatija village of Kartarpur region. Pala had made a phone call to Chawla on August 15.
A case was registered against him at the Kartarpur police station under Sections 121 and 121-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Police claim he was in touch with terrorists across the border and supplied them with sensitive information about army movement from Adampur, in Jalandhar district of Punjab.