BERHAMPUR: THE much-awaited first pilgrimage tour for senior citizens being organised by the State Government will be flagged off by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik from the railway station here on Monday.
The tour, ‘Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Yojana’, has been designed to facilitate the aged visit various pilgrimage centres at subsidised prices.
To review the preparation, Odisha Tourism Minister Ashok Panda held a meeting here. The first trip will be from Berhampur to Rameswaram and Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The highest number of 112 senior citizens of Ganjam followed by 109 from Kalahandi, 75 from Kandhamal, 60 from Nuapada, 55 from Malkangiri, 52 from Rayagada, 44 from Nabarangpur, 34 from Koraput, 29 from Gajapati and 25 from Boudh have registered their names.
The travel cost from Berhampur to Rameswaram and Madurai is estimated to be `18,000 per pilgrim, and includes lodging as well as food.
The State Government has reached an agreement with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation for the scheme. During the journey, the pilgrims would be served vegetarian meals, drinking water, accommodation, road transport and medical facilities, Panda said.
They would also be provided snacks in the morning, along with lunch and dinner. Each senior citizen will be provided a special kit under the scheme.
The selected pilgrims will be accommodated at Utareswar Bhavan and Gurukul Vidyalaya while two nodal officers have been appointed from each district to manage the tour.
All the pilgrims will be given a green colour hat for easy identity and to assist them, 160 IRCTC staff have been deployed in the train.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahy, District Planning Board Chairman and MLA Dr Ramesh Chandra Choupatnaik, Tourism Secretary Gagan Kumar Dhal, IG (SR) Amitav Thakur, Mayor K Madhavi and Tourism Director Nitin Bhanudas Jawale.