Odisha CM flags off senior citizens’ pilgrimage to Prayagraj, Varanasi

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today flagged off a pilgrimage train to Prayagraj and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh under the ‘Baristha Nagarik Tirthayatra Yojana’ of the state government at Bhubaneswar railway station here.

All together 982 passengers comprising select senior citizens from seven districts and security officials will have the opportunity to visit the two religious places in Uttar Pradesh under the scheme, sources said.

Select senior citizens from Khordha, Nayagarh, Puri, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Dhenkanal were included under the pilgrimage scheme, sources said.

“The senior citizens’ pilgrimage scheme of Odisha government was suspended for the two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, we have decided to include 7,000 senior citizens under the scheme,” said the Chief Minister in a video message.

The senior citizens, who have been included under the scheme to travel to Uttar Pradesh, will have the opportunity to have a glimpse of Lord Vishwanath. They will bring blessings of the deity for their family as well as the people of Odisha, he added.

“The state government has made all arrangements for the accommodation, food and healthcare of the senior citizens included under the scheme,” said the Chief Minister.

The senior citizens were brought to the capital city in special buses yesterday. Arrangements were made at Utkal University campus, Biju Patnaik Sports Stadium, Unit-3 Government Boys’ High School and Brarat Scouts and Guides’ School in the capital city here for their night stay, sources said.

Ministers Ashok Panda, Samir Ranjan Dash and Tusharkanti Behera, MLAs Prasanta Kumar Muduli, Sashi Bhusan Behera, Suresh Kumar Routray, Ananta Narayan Jena, Aravind Dhali, Sambit Routray and Sushant Kumar Rout, Bhubaneswar Mayor Sulochana Das and OTDC Chairperson Lenin Mohanty among others were present on the occasion.

Notably, the state government had launched the pilgrimage scheme in 2016. So far, at least 14,500 senior citizens from several districts of Odisha have been included under the scheme, said an official.

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