Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today inaugurated the pilgrimage programme for senior citizens from Balasore to Haridwar-Rishikesh via video conferencing from Lok Seva Bhawan here.
As of now, 12 groups of pilgrims have availed the opportunity of visiting places of pilgrimage since 2016 under the programme organized by the State Tourism department with the cooperation of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways.
A special train carrying a total of 970 pilgrims from Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur and Keonjhar districts today started its journey to Haridwar from Balasore railway station.
To help the pilgrims in their pilgrimage, 30 Escort Officers are accompanying them.
Pilgrims thanked the Chief Minister and highly praised the government for this programme.
Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi and MLAs present at the function organized on this occasion at the Balasore Railway Station bid farewell to the pilgrims.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik extended his good wishes to the senior citizens for their pilgrimage.
It may be noted here that around 12,000 senior citizens from different parts of the State have availed the opportunity to take pilgrimages under the programme which started in 2016.
During the year 2019-20 three more pilgrimage tours-from Berhampur to Rameswaram-Madurai (January 2020), from Sambalpur to Agra-Mathura-Brundaban (February 2020) and from Bhubaneswar to Allahabad-Banaras (February 2020) will be undertaken.
The function organized at Lok Seva Bhawan was attended by Chief Secretary Asit Kumar Tripathy, Chief Advisor CMO R Balakrishnan, Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra and Principal Secretary Tourism Department Vishal Dev among others.