Delhi government’s first free train for Ayodhya will depart the national capital with 1,000 senior citizens today on December 3. “We have introduced a free pilgrimage scheme [Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana] for the elderly in Delhi under which they are taken in the comfort of AC trains for free to 12 different pilgrimage destinations all over the country including Haridwar. Their food, lodging and stay is all free," chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced at a press conference in Haridwar last month. The train will depart at 7 pm on Friday, tweeted Kejriwal.
आज शाम 7 बजे हमारे दिल्ली के बुजुर्गों को श्री रामचंद्र जी के दर्शन कराने पहली ट्रेन अयोध्या जी के लिए रवाना होगी। उन्हें रवाना करने मैं भी स्टेशन जाऊँगा। अयोध्या जी से लौटने के बाद मेरी इच्छा थी की ज़्यादा से ज़्यादा लोगों को दर्शन करवाऊँ। इतनी जल्दी ये संभव हो जाएगा, सोचा ना था— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 3, 2021
Last month, the Delhi Cabinet had approved the inclusion of Ayodhya in the scheme. According to reports, the goverment will also bear expenses of one attendant aged 21 or more, who will accompany the senior citizen. Under the free pilgrimage scheme, Hindus will be sent to Ayodhya, Muslims to Ajmer Sharif and the Sikhs to Kartarpur Sahib, Kejriwal had announced.
The first train to Ayodhya under the scheme will carry as many as 1,000 senior citizens of Delhi, PTI reported citing Kamal Bansal, chairman of the Delhi government’s Tirth Yatra Vikas Samiti. “There is great demand from senior citizens for the pilgrimage scheme. We are getting large number of applications for pilgrimage to different places, including Ayodhya. Pilgrims for other places will be sent after preparations are complete," he said.
‘SIMILAR SCHEME FOR UTTARAKHAND, GOA IF…’
The Aam Aadmi Party national convener had also promised to start similar free pilgrimage scheme in Uttarakhand and Goa if his party is voted to power in the state. Kejriwal has been promising freebies to the people of Uttarakhand which goes to polls early next year. He had promised free electricity for farmers and up to 300 units to every household at no cost during one of his earlier visits to Uttarakhand.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MUKHYAMANTRI TIRTH YATRA YOJANA
Under the ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana’, the Delhi government bears the expenditure of the entire pilgrimage of a number of senior citizens to 13 circuits, including places like Puri, Rameswaram, Shirdi, Mathura, Haridwar and Tirupati.
Any resident of the national capital aged 60 or above can avail the scheme after acquiring a certificate from their local MLA, stating that they live in the legislator’s constituency.
One attendant aged 21 or more can accompany each traveller. The government bears the expenses for the attendant too.
The pilgrimage scheme had been halted due to COVID-19, but now instructions have been issued to resume it.
The ‘Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojna’ was approved by the Delhi Cabinet on January 9, 2018. More than 35,000 senior citizens have availed the scheme.
(With inputs from PTI)