**Bhubaneswar: ** As part of the Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Yojana being implemented by Odisha Government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the tenth trip for the senior citizens was flagged off today from the State Secretariat here.
Informing media, Odisha Tourism Minister Ashok Chandra Panda said, “Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Yojana was started in 2014 after the State Cabinet chaired by Hon’ble Chief Minister had given its seal of approval. It had been a promise given to the senior citizens of Odisha by BJD in its election manifesto.”
He added, “Accordingly, the Yojana had three trips in 2016-17, also three pilgrimages in 2017-18 and in 2018-19 decision was taken for six pilgrimages. While nine trips had been completed, today’s is the tenth one. Today’s trip will be to the three pilgrim spots in south India.”
The Minister further informed, “Around Rs 11 crore budgetary allocation has been made for the purpose by the State Government. It has been aimed that the senior citizens those who were deprived of the opportunity of pilgrimage, they are being benefited by this programme. They have also clearly admitted it. Even some senior citizens have confessed that they had never boarded a train earlier in their lives.”
“State Tourism Department and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) have shouldered the responsibility. Total financial burden is being borne by the State Government. In today’s trip, around 1000 pilgrims are on the trip from the Southern RDC zone. Till date, over 9,000 senior citizen pilgrims have reaped the benefit,” stated the State Tourism Minister.
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