Bhubaneswar, Oct 6: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today flagged off the Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra train from Balasore Railway station through video conferencing from here.
The train with 1,000 pilgrims on board will visit Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Mathura during its six-day tour. The Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Yojana was launched by the state government in 2016 to enable the poor senior citizens of the state to visit various religious places across the country. The scheme is offered to people of all religions free of cost.
The pilgrim is provided vegetable meal, break fast, tea and snacks, tour escorts, tour guides, travel insurance and medical facilities by IRCTC throughout the journey. The pilgrim can avail the benefit of the journey only once in life time. Under the scheme, poor senior citizens in the age group of 60 to 75 enrolled under any welfare scheme like Antatodaya, Annapurna, NFSA, Widow pension, Old age pension or a MGNREGS job card holder can apply to avail the benefit.
During the last two years the senior citizens from the state had already visited Madurai, Rameswaran, Allahabad, Varanasi, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Ajmer, Puskar, Tirupati, Vellore, Siridi, Nashik and Traimbkeswar in six phases. The tourism department had so far organized six trips of journey under the scheme during the last two years under which around 6,000 senior citizens of the state have been benefitted.The state government had made an expenditure of Rs five crore during 2016-17, Rs 6.5 crore for 2017-18 and has made a budgetary provision of Rs 11 crore for the current year. (UNI)