New Delhi: Delhi government plans to offer free pilgrimage to its senior citizens Velankanni Church in Tamil Nadu There has been a sluggish response.
last November, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal The popular church was announced to be added to the list of pilgrimage sites under Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana,
“We were getting requests from our Christian brothers to include some pilgrimage sites in the scheme. We have decided to include Velankanni Church in the scheme,” Kejriwal said.
Also known as the Church of the East, the church is one of the most revered sites for Christians in the country.
However, officials close to the development said fewer applications have come in.
An official said, “We have received only 500-600 applications since the resumption of the scheme after a disruption due to the third wave of coronavirus in January this year. At least 1,000 applicants are required for the pilgrimage ”
The scheme was launched in July 2019 but was suspended due to the outbreak of COVID-19. It was restarted after nearly 23 months in December last.
However, it was again disrupted due to the third wave of COVID-19 in the first week of January operated by Omicron Edition and was resumed on 14 February with the flagging off of the Dwarka-Somnath train.
The official said the weak response to the Velankanni pilgrimage could be due to lack of awareness or only a few senior citizens of the Christian community living in the national capital.
In all, 63,077 beneficiaries have taken advantage of the scheme, under which the government fully sponsors pilgrimages of people aged 60 years and above on 15 routes.
The government pays for the travel, accommodation and other expenses of each pilgrim, who may also be accompanied by an attendant. About 1000 people board each train.