Berhampur, Feb 28 (LocalWire): The State pilgrim train started off from Berhampur Railway station for Tirupati and Vellore on Friday.
Tourism Minister, Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi along with MP (Berhampur) Chandra Sekhar Sahu flagged off the train and conveyed good wishes to the pilgrims. Several MLAs of the district were also present at the occasion.
Under the ‘Varishth Nagrik Teerth Yatra Scheme’, around 970 pilgrims of eight southern Odisha districts boarded the train from Berhampur.
They were from Ganjam (482), Gajapati (50), Boudh (30), Koraput (113) Nabarangapur (83) Rayagada (97), Kandhamal (53) and Malkanagiri (53).
The plan is to visit Tirupati and Vellore and return to Berhampur on 5th Match 2020. 30 government officials, doctors and nurses have been assigned to accompany the beneficiaries.
“I have only visited Puri. It has been a long-cherished dream to visit another holi place other than Puri. I’m really happy that the government has taken the initiative to take us on pilgrimage to Tirupati free of cost” said the 70-year old, Daya Gouda.
Odisha is among the few states that are sponsoring pilgrimage through trains since 2017. Under the scheme, it is the state government which has allocated funds for helping elderly persons to on pilgrimage.
‘We have made all arrangements for a safe train journey” said Odisha’s Tourism Minister