Last month, the Delhi Cabinet had approved the inclusion of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh in the scheme

The Delhi Government has included Velankanni  Church in Tamil Nadu to the list of pilgrimage sites under its free pilgrimage scheme for senior citizens, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on November 24.

The Delhi Government will resume the “Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana” on December 3 when senior citizen pilgrims will travel to Ayodhya, he said.

Last month, the Delhi Cabinet had approved the inclusion of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh in the scheme.

The first train under the scheme carrying 1,000 elderly pilgrims will depart for Ayodhya on December 3, Kamal Bansal, chairman of the Delhi Government’s Tirth Yatra Vikas Samiti, said.

“We were getting requests from our Christian brothers to add some pilgrimage sites to the scheme. We have decided to include Velankanni Church to the scheme,” Mr. Kejriwal said in an online briefing.

Under the “Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana”, the Delhi Government bears the expenditure of the entire pilgrimage of a number of senior citizens to 13 circuits, including places like Puri, Rameswaram, Shirdi, Mathura, Haridwar and Tirupati. Any resident of the national capital aged 60 or above can avail the scheme after acquiring a certificate from a local MLA, stating that he lives in the legislator’s constituency. One attendant aged 21 or more can accompany each traveller. The government bears the expenses for the attendant too.

The pilgrimage scheme that had been halted due to COVID-19 will resume in December. The “Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojna” was approved by the Delhi Cabinet on January 9, 2018. More than 35,000 senior citizens have availed the scheme.