CHENNAI: As a Christmas gift, the State government, on Sunday issued a GO fulfilling a promise made by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa that financial assistance would be provided to Christians to undertake a holy trip to Jerusalem.
The CM announced this decision on December 20, while participating in Christmas celebrations organised by the AIADMK. As per the GO, 1,000 Christians chosen from all sects will get Rs 20,000 each for Jerusalem pilgrimage every year. In the first phase, 500 pilgrims will get the assistance this year. The government has earmarked Rs 1 crore for the purpose.
At present, Rs 45,000 to Rs 47,000 is being charged as air-fare to Jerusalem. The assistance will be provided only to those who undertake the pilgrimage through Air India and Israel Airlines. A Jerusalem Pilgrimage Committee will be constituted on the lines of Haj Committee for implementing the scheme. The panel will select the beneficiaries through a draw of lots.