16 November 2019
Bhubaneswar: The State Government has decided to plan four pilgrimage trips for 4000 senior citizens under its Barista Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Yojana in the financial year 2019-20, stated Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi in reply to a query of Bhubaneswar (Central) MLA Anant Narayan Jena in the Odisha Assembly on Saturday.
Like previous years, the State Government will run four pilgrim trains originating from Balasore, Sambalpur, Bhubaneswar and Berhampur. Around 1000 senior citizens can board each train to visit the religious places.
While train originating from Balasore will take the pilgrims to Haridwar and Rishikesh, train from Sambalpur will visit Agra, Mathura and Vrindavan, train from Bhubaneswar will visit Allahabad (Prayagraj) and Varanasi and train from Berhampur will visit Rameswaram, Madurai and Tirupati.
Jena had today asked the Minister to provide details regarding how many senior citizens have availed the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage since launch of the Barista Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Yojana.
In his reply Panigrahi stated that around 12,000 senior citizens over 65-75 years of age have availed 12 pilgrimage trips with Government assistance in the financial year 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 since the launch of the scheme in February 2016.
In collaboration with the IRCTC, three trains were run in the financial year 2016-17 to take the pilgrims on a visit to different pilgrimage centers in the country.
Train originating from Berhampur on July 25, 2016 took 977 pilgrims to Rameswaram and Madhurai, train from Bhubaneswar on September 23, 2016 took 971 pilgrims to Allahabad and Varanasi and train from Sambalpur on November 22, 2016 took 983 pilgrims to Haridwar and Rishikesh.
In the financial year 2017-18, three trains were again run from Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Sambalpur. Train originating from Bhubaneswar on November 23, 2017 took 1024 pilgrims to Ajmer and Pushkar, train from Berhampur on January 4, 2018 took 978 pilgrims to Tirupati and Vellore and train from Sambalpur on April 16, 2018 took 1000 pilgrims to Shirdi, Nashik and Trimbakeshwar.
However, six trains were run in the financial year 2018-19 originating from Balasore, Titlagarh, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Bhubaneswar and Rayagada. Train from Balasore on October 6, 2018 took 990 pilgrims to Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Mathura, train from Titlagarh on November 15, 2018 took 1000 pilgrims to Haridwar and Rishikesh, train from Sambalpur on December 6, 2018 took 1000 pilgrims to Rameswaram and Madhurai, train from Berhampur on February 15, 2019 took 947 pilgrims to Velankanni and Chennai, train from Bhubaneswar on February 24, 2019 took 935 pilgrims to Kolkata and Kamakhya and train from Rayagada on March 3, 2019 took 899 pilgrims to Tirupati, Vellore and Srikalahasti.