The Punjab government on Tuesday decided to hold a special assembly session next month to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev and also press for a similar sitting of Parliament.
At a state Cabinet meeting in Sultanpur Lodhi —associated with the life of the founder of Sikhism— the state government also decided to take up with the Ministry of External Affairs the issue of entry fee for Sikh pilgrims using the planned Kartarpur Corridor.
Pakistan has been insisting on the entry fee despite having waived the visa requirements for Sikh pilgrims.
The decisions were taken in a special Cabinet meeting held in the historical city of Sultanpur Lodhi where the Sikh founder is said to have stayed for over 14 years and attained enlightenment.
The main event to commemorate Guru Nanak Dev's 550th birth anniversary is to be celebrated in this historical city in Kapurthala District in November.
It was for the first time that the Punjab Cabinet meeting was held anywhere outside Chandigarh.
The state Cabinet passed a resolution to invite President Ram Nath Kovind and eminent Sikh personalities to address the State Assembly special session next month, said an official statement.
“In another resolution, the Cabinet also decided to strongly urge the Centre to convene a special joint session of Parliament to mark the historic occasion,” it added.
“The Parliament session too should be addressed by the President and various prominent Sikh personalities,” the state Cabinet resolution added.
The Cabinet also resolved to take up with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar the issue of allowing visa-free entry to the devotees visiting Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, without any entry fee, facilitation charges, service charges etc.
This would help Sikh devotees pay obeisance without any restriction, said the official statement.
The Chief Minister decided to convene his next Cabinet meeting too at Sultanpur Lodhi on October 10 to review further progress in infrastructure development projects in the city.
On a personal request from Co-operation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, the Chief Minister also agreed to convene a special meeting at Dera Baba Nanak before September 30 to review the status of various development projects being executed in the area.
The special Cabinet meeting cleared a proposal for renaming 136 km Sultanpur Lodhi-Dera Baba Nanak Road as 'Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Marg' and sanctioned a sum of Rs 96 crore to upgrade and widen it to 10 metre.
The road passes through Kapurthala, Kartarpur and Beas-Batala.
Acceding to another request by Sultanpur Lodhi MLA Navtej Singh Cheema, the Cabinet also passed a proposal to upgrade the local civil hospital to a super-specialty institution.
It also sanctioned Rs 1.24 crore for the construction of a kilometer-long new road from Gurdwara Sant Ghat to connect it with the Kapurthala-Sultanpur Lodhi Road.