This Contents taken from "Times of India" Delhi government use trains instead of buses to take 77,000 senior citizens on a free annual pilgrimage to five popular destinations in north India under Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana.
Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC) has submitted a proposal to the government to ink an agreement with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for transportation and accommodation through its hotels, said a source. “The journey by train will be safer and more comfortable for senior citizens. We will go for air-conditioned coaches,” he added. The arrangement is likely to cost the government Rs 35 crore.
Use of toilets and arrangement of foods are two other reasons behind the choice. “We have evaluated similar free pilgrimage schemes in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab and found that all of them use trains. In these states, the beneficiaries have found the trains comfortable,” said the source. IRCTC will be asked to provide vehicles for last-mile connectivity.
As the scheme is meant for senior citizens, DTTDC will also requisition the service of a doctor and nursing staff from the health department for each contingent. A few officers of DTTDC will also be sent with each trip.
Every year, 1,100 citizens above 60 years from each of the 70 assembly constituencies will be selected under the scheme for the three-day and two-night trip. The application forms, which will be available online, will have to be submitted in the office of the division commissioner or the office of the local MLA or that of the pilgrimage committee.
The selection will be done through a draw of lots and the MLA concerned will certify that the beneficiary is a resident of the city. The applicants will also have to declare that they have not availed of the scheme earlier. The selected applicants will be allowed to be accompanied by an adult attendant, whose expenses will also be borne by the government.
The revenue department was eyeing to roll out the scheme on October 2 but it is now likely to begin in the second week. Senior citizens have started submitting applications in the MLA offices.
Immediately after the Supreme Court judgement on the power tussle, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal overruled all objections by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and approved the scheme.