The Delhi government has added Kartarpur Sahib and the Velankanni church to the list of places for free pilgrimage for senior citizens under the Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojna. Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot today reviewed the preparations for the launch of the Yojna as well as flagging off the first train on the Delhi-Ayodhya-Delhi route.
The train to Ayodhya is scheduled to leave Delhi on 3 December.
According to an official statement, senior officers from the Revenue Department, the IT Department, the Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), the Tirth Yatra Vikas Samiti and the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) were also present during the review meeting.
The Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra scheme will now have a list of 15 routes for free pilgrimage after the two new routes are added. The new routes are Delhi-Velankanni-Delhi and Delhi-Kartarpur Sahib-Delhi.
The devotees would be provided berths in AC-III tier trains on the Delhi-Velankanni-Delhi route whereas pilgrims will be given seats in Deluxe 2×2 AC buses for Kartarpur Sahib. The first batch of yatris to Kartarpur Sahib would depart on 5 January, 2022, and the first train for Delhi-Velankanni-Delhi would depart on 7 January, 2022.
As many as 15,000 persons had applied for the yatra under the scheme in 2019 but could not avail themselves of the facility due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They will receive SMS informing them about the option of amending their applications for choosing the Delhi-Ayodhya-Delhi route and also uploading fully vaccinated certificates on the e-district portal.
The Delhi government will also provide doctors and paramedical staff for accompanying the yatris in all trains and buses under the scheme.
The Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana, under which senior citizens of Delhi can go on pilgrimage at government expense, could not be implemented in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A meeting to review the preparedness to resume the yatra was earlier held under the chairmanship of Revenue Minister of Delhi Kailash Gahlot on 30 November, 2021, wherein the IRCTC informed that the trains could be made available for Yatra only after 15 October, 2021.
The official statement informed that recently, with the approval of the Delhi Cabinet, the New Delhi-Ayodhya-New Delhi route was added to the list of routes under the scheme. Now, with the addition of two more routes, the total number of routes under the scheme has reached 15.