The Rajasthan government has decided to fly its senior citizens free of cost to three more pilgrimage destinations, including Pashupatinath temple in Nepal, an official statement said Thursday.
The two other destinations that the state's elderly residents would be flown free this year onward are Dehradun and Kolkata en route to shrines in Uttarakahd and West Bengal.
Besides adding three more "pilgrimage-circuit" destinations to the six existing ones on its free air route map, the Gehlot government has also decided to add two more pilgrimage-circuits on its free rail travel routs.
The senior citizens going to Pashupatinath Temple will be flown free of cost to Kathmandu, while those heading for Gangasagar-Dakshineshwar Kali-Velur Math will be flown to Kolkata, the statement said.
The elderly pilgrims heading to Uttarkhand's shrines will avail free air travel till Dehradun, the statement said, adding their onward travels will then be facilitated through bus.
The two new circuits added to the rail route map are Srigovardhan-Nandgaon-Barsana-Mathura-Vrindavan circuit and Ajmer (Ajmer Sharif)-Delhi (Dargah of Sheikh Nizamuddin Auliya)-Fatehpur-Sikri-Agra (Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chishti), the statement said.
With the new additions, the Rajasthan government will now be providing free air travel to its senior citizens to nine destinations and free rail travel to eight destinations, the statement said.
The decision to add more destinations for free pilgrimage for elderly state residents were taken Wednesday after modifying the state's Senior Citizens Pilgrimage Scheme, the statement said.
Announcing the decision, State Tourism and Devsthan Department Minister Vishvendra Singh said, "5,000 passengers will go by airplane and another 5,000 by rail this year."
Applications to avail the benefit of the scheme can be made from July 5, he added.
Under the modified scheme, citizens aged 65 years or more going by train can now take one person to assist them, said the statement.
The facility was earlier available only for pilgrims above the age of 70 years.
The retired government employees will also be able to avail the scheme, said the statement, adding five per cent seats among the pilgrims would be reserved for journalists aged 60 years or more.
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