Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday January 11 said the ball was totally in the Centre's court regarding the execution of the project for the Kartarpur corridor in Dera Baba Nanak area in Gurdaspur district.
Accusing the leadership of the Shiromani Akali Dal of "playing games" on the Kartarpur corridor issue, the Chief Minister said that it was the central government which had to take steps and release funds for the execution of the project in Punjab.
Countering the claims of Union Minister and senior Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal that the Punjab government was not taking appropriate steps for the project, Amarinder Singh said that the Minister was spreading falsehood.
"The state government has already sent a reminder to the Ministry of Home Affairs 11 days ago. Harsimrat had once again put her foot in her mouth without doing her homework on the issue of extreme religious importance to the Sikh community, which she was trying to mislead with her false statements," he said in a statement on Friday, January 11.
The Akali Dal is part of the NDA government at the Centre. Harsimrat Kaur, wife of SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal, is a Union Minister since 2014.
"The fact of the matter was that a meeting was held on December 12 under the Chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Home Affairs, and Justice, Punjab, said the Chief Minister.
At the meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Border Security Force (BSF), National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Bureau of Immigration and other stakeholders presented their views, based on which four different alignment options were proposed for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, he said.
The Chief Minister said that his government would continue to pursue and pressurize the central government to take the vital project to its logical conclusion by initiating development work at the earliest
The Chief Minister said the project execution was a bilateral issue between the central and state governments and a response from the Home Ministry was awaited.
He made it clear that any move to acquire land for the project can be initiated only after due approval from the Union government, "coupled with the flow of funds to acquire the required stretch of land".
"My government, and I personally, are very keen to ensure the completion of the project in time for the 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Devji in November this year. The Akali leaders, including Harsimrat, are playing over such a sensitive issue," he said.
The Chief Minister said that his government would continue to pursue and pressurize the central government to take the vital project to its logical conclusion by initiating development work at the earliest.
"The state government would go all out to support the Centre to ensure the timely completion of the Kartarpur corridor project, which successive Congress governments at the centre and in the state had fought hard, through the years, to realize," he added.
The Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara is located around 4 km from Dera Baba Nanak town in Punjab's Gurdaspur district. Most of the work of the project has to be carried out inside Pakistan.
Sikhism founder, Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539), spent the last 18 years of his life in Kartarpur. A gurdwara is built at his final resting place.