New Delhi: Pakistan is expected to earn up to Rs 258 crore in Indian currency per annum – about Pakistani Rs 571 crore – from pilgrims visiting Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of founder of Sikhism Shri Guru Nanak Dev, officials said Monday.
The service fee from the pilgrims will be another source of foreign currency generation for Pakistan, which is already reeling under severe financial crisis, a government official said.
Since 5,000 pilgrims are allowed to visit the gurdwara Darbar Saheb at Kartarpur, Pakistan, which will be charging USD 20 service fee per pilgrim, will earn USD 1,00,000 every day. With Monday’s rate of Indian Rs 70.95 for one USD, Pakistan will earn Indian Rs 70.95 lakh every day. Since the pilgrimage will be allowed all 365 days in a year, Pakistan will earn USD 3,65,00,000 which converted stands at Indian Rs 258 crore and Pakistani Rs 571 crore.
Though India decided to sign a pact October 23 with Pakistan for ensuring smooth travel of pilgrims through the Kartarpur corridor, it has asked Islamabad to review the decision to charge the fee in future.
Last month, India and Pakistan agreed on visa-free travel of Indian pilgrims to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib using the Kartarpur corridor. Pilgrims will only have to carry their passports to visit the revered gurdwara in Pakistan.
Persons of Indian origin holding OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card too can visit the Gurdwara using the Kartarpur corridor.
It was also decided that 5,000 pilgrims can visit the shrine everyday and that additional pilgrims will be allowed on special occasions, subject to capacity expansion of facilities by Pakistan side.