CHANDIGARH: In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the Kartarpur Corridor will be shut down for an indefinite period from March 16 by the union government. yesterday, the Pakistan government banned its citizens from travelling to the shrine. A senior official of the Border Security Force (BSF) said, "In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, as a precautionary measure to contain and control the spread of the disease the travel and registration for Kartarpur Sahib is temporarily suspended from March 16.’’
Sources said that the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a formal notification in this regard.
Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, Jathedar Harpreet Singh had on Friday appealed to the Union Government not to shut down the corridor. "Unless the government imposes a travel ban on all foreign countries, it should not seal the corridor," he had said.
The corridor is a 4.6 km long passage with two Integrated Check Posts on either side of the Indo-Pak border. It starts from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of India and goes till the Kartarpur shrine in Narowal district of Pakistan.
The closure of the corridor was on the cards as the Union Government on Friday closed the Attari border. No foreign national will be allowed to cross the Radcliffe line. The Indians coming back will be allowed to enter but they will be quarantined for fourteen days. With this move, the trade with Afghanistan also came to a standstill as the truck drivers from Pakistan and Afghanistan will not be allowed to enter.
In the first 100 days of the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, from November 9(2019) to February 19(2020), 50,403 devotees have paid obeisance at the historic Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan where the first Guru of Sikhs Guru Nanak spent last 18 years of his life.
The highest number of pilgrims went in December last year, 23,383, while in last 21 days of November 11,194 devotees visited. In January the number fell down to 10,056 and in first nineteen days of February 5,770 pilgrims went. On an average 504 devotees visited the gurdwara through the corridor, in the December the average was the highest between 600 to 1000 pilgrims per day.