Chandigarh , Nov 13 : Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday asked the 'cash-rich' Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to pay USD 20 per pilgrim fee for travel out of their own coffers, at least to the 'yellow cardholders' who simply could not afford to pay the amount to visit Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan.
Captain Amarinder Singh said in a statement "These should be acceptable since there was no requirement of visa to be stamped on the passport in any case."
With footfalls at the Kartarpur corridor reported to be quite low so far, Singh said "The low number of devotees reportedly crossing over to the historic gurdwara was not because of lack of interest among the people but because of the two conditions of passport and USD 20 fee".
"Lakhs of pilgrims were waiting to visit Kartarpur gurdwara on this historic 550th Prakash Parv of Guru Nanak Dev Ji but were held back because of these problems," he added.
Captain Amarinder also pointed out that though Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had tweeted, before the opening of the Corridor, that passport would not be needed for devotees to come through, the decision was not formalized.
He urged Imran, as well as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to resolve the problem by coming to an agreement to amend the MoU requirement for a passport to travel through the corridor.
"If pilgrims are unable to make full use of the Kartarpur corridor then the whole purpose of this unique initiative on the part of the two governments would be defeated," he added.