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Delhi govt's free pilgrimage scheme for senior citizens to resume on Dec 3

The first train under the scheme carrying 1,000 elderly pilgrims will depart for Ayodhya on December 3

The proposed model of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya
Last month, the Delhi Cabinet had approved the inclusion of Ayodhya in the scheme

The Delhi government will resume its free pilgrimage scheme for senior citizens, the 'Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana', on December 3 with a batch of 1,000 people who will leave for Ayodhya, officials said on Tuesday.

Last month, the Delhi Cabinet had approved the inclusion of Ayodhya in the scheme.

The first train under the scheme carrying 1,000 elderly pilgrims will depart for Ayodhya on December 3, said Kamal Bansal, chairman of the Delhi government's Tirth Yatra Vikas Samiti.

"There is great demand from senior citizens for the pilgrimage scheme. We are getting large number of applications for pilgrimage to different places, including Ayodhya. Pilgrims for other places will be sent after preparations are complete," he said.

Under the 'Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana', the Delhi government bears the expenditure of the entire pilgrimage of a number of senior citizens to 13 circuits, including places like Puri, Rameswaram, Shirdi, Mathura, Haridwar and Tirupati.

Any resident of the national capital aged 60 or above can avail the scheme after acquiring a certificate from their local MLA, stating that they live in the legislator's constituency.

One attendant aged 21 or more can accompany each traveller. The government bears the expenses for the attendant too.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal is currently touring poll-bound states like Goa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

The pilgrimage scheme had been halted due to COVID-19, but now instructions have been issued to resume it, the official said, adding that trains for various destinations are expected to start in the next month.

The 'Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojna' was approved by the Delhi Cabinet on January 9, 2018. More than 35,000 senior citizens have availed the scheme.