India agrees to sign Kartarpur pact, but urges Pak to reconsider fee clause

NEW DELHI: India on Monday said it is ready to sign agreement with Pakistan on Kartarpur corridor but added that it is a matter of “disappointment” that while an understanding has been reached for facilitating the visit of pilgrims from India, Pakistan continues to insist on levying a service fee of USD 20 per pilgrim per visit.
“Government has consistently urged Pakistan that in deference to the wishes of the pilgrims, it should not levy such a fee,” a statement from MEA said here.
However, it said in view of the long pending demand of the pilgrims to have visa free access to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib and in the interest of operationalisation of the Corridor in time before the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak falling on 12 November 2019, “ Government has today conveyed that we would be ready to sign the Agreement on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 23 October 2019.”
The statement also said while agreeing to sign the Agreement, the Government of Pakistan “has been once again urged to reconsider its insistence” to levy service fee on pilgrims.
India would be ready to amend the Agreement accordingly at any time, it said.(agencies)