The Madhya Pradesh government recently announced that the Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana would resume on April 18. A minister added that the cabinet has plans to add air travel to the senior citizens’ pilgrimage scheme, to make distant centres more accessible. By Eshita Srinivas
The Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana offers free pilgrimage for senior citizens, and it had to shut down due to the spread of the pandemic. However, with cases dwindling, the government has announced that it would resume the pilgrimage scheme on April 18, adding the cabinet plans to add air travel to the itinerary to make distant pilgrim centres more accessible.
4 trains to operate under Madhya Pradesh’s senior citizens’ pilgrimage scheme
A senior minister stated that the Madhya Pradesh cabinet, headed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, discussed details pertaining to the pilgrimage scheme in a two-day brainstorming session. Minister for Home Narottam Mishra, a spokesperson for the state government, stated, “Mukhyamantri Teerth Darshan Yojana (a free pilgrimage scheme for senior citizens) will start again in April in a renewed form. Four trains will operate in the month of April. In the first train, the Chief Minister and all the ministers will go to Kashi to offer prayers at Kashi Vishwanath and take a dip in the Ganga,” a report by The Economic Times notes.
He further added, “There was also discussion on organising such pilgrimages via bus and trains for small groups. It was also discussed to take senior citizens to distant pilgrim centres via air.” He stated that the initiative to add air travel to the schedule was met with a general agreement in the cabinet. At the moment, an entire train is run to pilgrimage destinations, a report by The Mint states.
The government recently also announced that it would set up a luxurious old-age home with five-star amenities in the state. Prateek Hajela, Principal Secretary, Social Justice Department stated, as per a news report by The Hindustan Times, “The building of an old age home is being constructed in INR 10 crores by the Public Works Department (PWD). It will have all amenities. From floor to wall design everything is being done by experts so that senior citizens will feel relaxed in the home.” A senior official of the department added, “If it succeeds, it will start in other cities too. The home is being started to provide a safe place for people who have been living a luxurious life and are now living alone. Their safety is also a matter of concern because MP is the second most unsafe place for senior citizens.”