The first train under Mukhyamantri Teerth-Darshan Yojna left for Rameshwaram from Habibganj railway station here on Monday. The train was flagged off by senior BJP leader LK Advani.
Under the scheme, about 1,000 pilgrims availed the facility offered by the government. To avail the facility a person should be more than 65 years of age and he shouldn’t be income tax payee. One person can avail the facility once in his lifetime.
Addressing pilgrims before sending them off on the journey, Advani said those in power should set ideals like Lord Ram. They should pave the way for everyone’s welfare by introducing novel welfare programmes.
He said respect to all religions was the basic tenet of Indian culture and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had presented its apt example by including sacred places of all the religions in the scheme. He said other BJP-ruled states should also replicate the schemes.
He said he knew how important it was visiting pilgrimage. When his (Advani’s) parents shifted to India from Pakistan, his grandmother wished that she would live in Kashi (Varanasi). His father fulfilled her wishes.
Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that senior citizens would also be covered under Deendayal Antyodaya Upchar Yojna. Besides this, they would also be provided assistance from State Sickness Assistance Fund in case of serious illness. He said old age homes would be opened in all the districts, which would be run by the state government.
He said a strict law would be implemented in the state under which a person ignoring parents will be punished with three months’ imprisonment. A commission was considering schemes aiming at welfare of senior citizens.
Chouhan said he felt satisfied that his one more resolve took a concrete shape with the launch of the scheme. Senior citizens deserved all respect and we all owed existence to them.
Culture minister Laxmikant Sharma said the chief minister had launched several such schemes, which were not only being lauded in entire country but were also being emulated by several states.