MP Tourism corporation wants govt to take back Teerth Yojana responsibility
The Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) has expressed its inability to function as a nodal agency for disbursement of subsidies under BJP government’s flagship Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana as it lacks requisite infrastructure to reach out to beneficiaries in districts.bhopal Updated: Oct 08, 2016 11:35 IST
The Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) has expressed its inability to function as a nodal agency for disbursement of subsidies under BJP government’s flagship Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana as it lacks requisite infrastructure to reach out to beneficiaries in districts.
Madhya Pradesh provides subsidy to its citizens wishing to visit Sita Mandir in Sri Lanka, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Kailash Man Sarovar in China and Nankana Saheb Shrine (Sikh) and Hinglaj Mata temple in Pakistan.
Under the chief minister pilgrimage scheme, government provides 50% subsidy on expenses (maximum Rs 30,000) to pilgrims.
The scheme was launched in 2006 with chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announcing to provide financial assistance to citizens undertaking a pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar.
It was further expanded by including two places of religious importance in Pakistan in 2007-08 and Sri Lank and Cambodia in 2012.
Govt also provides subsidies for visiting 15 centres of pilgrimage in India
Apart from that the state government also provides subsidies for visiting 15 centres of pilgrimage in India.
The MPTDC was made the nodal agency for implementation of the one-of-its-kind scheme for subsidized pilgrimage to so many places of religious importance within and outside India.
More than 150 people from the state have so far visited the holy places in Sri Lanka and Cambodia since their inclusion in the scheme, MPTDC chairman Tapan Bhowmick said. Though many from far-flung areas of the state also applied for subsidies to visit Kailash Mansarovar, none shown interest to visit holy places in Pakistan, he added.
Pilgrims need to submit the reimbursement claim with details of expenses within 60 days of completing the journey to MPTDC to avail the subsidy.
But for the past one year the MPTDC has stopped accepting any claims for reimbursements and seeking grant from the department of culture for implementing the scheme.
“We have not taken the grant because we face lot of difficulties to carry out verification and disbursement in every district,” Bhowmick said.
The corporation urged the government to implement the scheme through the offices of district collectors.
“People should directly apply for the subsidy at the collector’s office and collect the money from there,” Bhowmick said.
The corporation, however, would continue to disburse subsidies, as of now, for visiting religious places within the country, MPTDC chairman added.