First train to Ayodhya under Delhi govt’s free pilgrimage scheme to leave on Dec 3
Nearly a month after announcing the inclusion of Ayodhya under its free pilgrimage scheme, the Delhi government on Wednesday said that the first train will leave for Uttar Pradesh town on December 3. Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal made the announcement at a press conference. “Our first train for Ayodhya will be leaving on December 3, registrations have started,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The CM further stated that the Delhi government has also added Tamil Nadu’s Velankanni Church in the list of pilgrimage sites under the scheme for senior citizens of the national capital.
Last month, the Delhi cabinet gave a go-ahead to the inclusion of Ayodhya as one of the pilgrimage sites under the scheme.
The first train to Ayodhya under the scheme will carry as many as 1,000 senior citizens of Delhi, PTI reported citing Kamal Bansal, chairman of the Delhi government’s Tirth Yatra Vikas Samiti.
“There is a great demand from senior citizens for the pilgrimage scheme…Pilgrims for other places will be sent after preparations are complete,” Bansal was quoted as saying by PTI.
Notably, the AAP-led Delhi government bears the expenditure of the pilgrims under the 'Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana' for their pilgrimage to a total of 13 religious sites, including Shirdi, Haridwar, Mathura, Vaishno Devi, Vrindavan and Puri, among others.
Since the scheme is for elderly people, one attendant aged 21 or more can accompany the person and Delhi government will bear his/her expenses as well.
Kejriwal has promised the same free pilgrimage schemes in Goa and Uttarakhand as well, where assembly elections are scheduled next year. During his recent visit to Uttarakhand, he said that if AAP is voted to power, it will provide senior citizens with free pilgrimage facilities to Ramjanma Bhoomi in Ayodhya for Hindus, Ajmer Sharif for Muslims and Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan - that was recently reopened - for Sikhs residing in the state.